Art in the Valley

By Brian Egan

It is not often that we have the opportunity to see the work of a nationally known artist in our area, but our current exhibit shows the work of a local artist whose work is in private collections across the country. The Arts Center recently became the trustee of the Emily Steele Sculpture Collection when the Steele family donated eleven works for the display and enjoyment by the public.

Most of Emily’s work was completed during the 1970s and 80s but is timeless in its visual appeal. After graduating from Oberlin College, she completed her studies in Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon, where she learned the Tiffany technique of glasswork for windows. After moving to Corvallis, she established her own studio and developed a unique form of sculpture for free-standing, three-dimensional art forms in antique glass. She expanded the traditional copper foil-based method by a special process that permits the use of steel to support the lead, providing the strength for her large-scale sculptures. She collaborated with a team of local craftsmen for the steel frames and glass molds, challenging them with her ideas and forcing them to expand the boundaries of their own work methods. All glass used in Ms. Steele’s sculptures represent the finest quality of hand-blown materials throughout Europe and the United States. The show references the collaborative spirit she inspired to complete her work, and includes photos, sketches and memorabilia from which she drew inspiration, and that document her lifetime in the arts.

The time and passion Emily imbued in her work is released as energy in each of her creations. The many-sided figures are endlessly new and unique as the viewer alters his perspective. The play of light upon the glass surface evokes visions of sun reflecting on rippling water. The beauty of her work speaks to our attempts to resurrect wonder and regain grace in our lives. Emily’s work can be seen in permanent installations at the First Presbyterian church in Corvallis, the Corvallis/Benton County Public Library and at Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood.

The exhibit runs from now until November 2nd, with a reception on October 17th. Concurrent to this exhibit, our local Fire and Light Glass Guild will be showing the work of 18 members in the Corrine Woodman Gallery. If you are a lover of glass art this is a great time to visit The Arts Center.

About Light, a seasonal exhibit at The Arts Center features the many interpretations of light, both metaphorically and literally, and leads us to the Solstice on December 21st. This is a community-based show featuring the work of many local artists. The exhibit runs from November 9th to December 21st with a reception on November 21st.

The monthly Corvallis Art Walks take place on October 17th and November 21st and will provide opportunities for holiday shopping. The ArtShop at The Arts Center is another great place for unique gift ideas, featuring the work of many local artists.

The 16th Annual Philomath Open Studio Tour (POST), is coming! Local artists are busy preparing to open their studios again, for free, self-guided tours. In addition, several shows will be available in local wine tasting rooms. The 38 artists will discuss their processes and show work that may never have been on public display. A full spectrum of artistic media will be shown, including collage, painting, fiber art, jewelry, photography, ceramics, wood, sculpture, and many more. The tour takes place October 19-20 & 26-27, noon to 5pm.

Noon to 5:30 pm
Tuesday through Saturday
Evenings for special events
Phone 541-754-1551

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