Visual Artists’ Group

Artists’ Group Monthly Show:  May 2017

Artist of the Month:  Sadao Watanabe

Artist’s Reception:  Sunday, May 14th, 6-7:00pm in the Pioneer Chapel immediately following Jazz Vespers

The Art Gallery is proud to present for the month of May, prints by Sadao Watanabe from the private collections of St. James’ members Don Nielsen, Nancy Nickel, Judith Smith and Shirley Roggen.  Sadao Watanabe (1913-1996), born and raised in Tokyo, was famous for his biblical prints rendered in the folk art tradition of Japan.  He was associated with the Mingei (folk art) movement which stressed “Art for the people and by the people.”  He placed biblical subjects in a Japanese context.  His process included using Kobo paper (from the mulberry tree) kneaded and crumpled by hand, squeezed and then wrinkled to give a rough quality to the print.  Watanabe used traditional and organic pigments in a medium of soybean milk which would bind the colors to the surface of the paper.  Watanabe taught in Oregon at Linfield College in 1969-70 and received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.  His work is in the collections of the Vatican Museum, the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and, during Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s administration, Watanabe prints were hung in the White House. Several of his works are also in the print collection of the Portland Art Museum.  Watanabe is quoted as saying, “I would most like to see them hanging where people ordinarily gather because Jesus brought the gospel to the people.”  A reception will be held in honor of the collectors on Sunday, May 14th at 6:00pm after the Jazz Vesper Service.

Easter Vigil Art by Craig Gerke
On display on the west wall of Pioneer Chapel are the 8 new works by Craig Gerke that were commissioned for this year’s Easter Vigil at St. James.  The pieces complement the 8 readings of the Vigil with Biblical accounts of the stories of Creation, The Flood, Testing of Abraham, Deliverance at the Red Sea, Salvation Offered Freely to All, Deliverance of Jonah, Valley of the Dry Bones, and Deliverance from the Fiery Furnace.  The art will remain on display through the end of the Easter season.  Next year the set of works will be made available to another local church for its Easter Vigil.  Thank you to Craig for his striking artistic expressions of these salvation stories!