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In Our Element

Passengers traveling through Portland International Airport (PDX) in Oregon this summer should allow extra time to enjoy the series of rotating art exhibits that grace its concourses. From April 1 through October 15, 2012, PDX is featuring an exhibit entitled “In Our Element.”

The display includes sculpture by eight Pacific Northwest artists—most are from Portland—that represent the elements of fire, water, earth, metal and wood. The contributing artists are: Richard Cawley, Steve Eichenberger, Rick Gregg, Jacquline Hurlbert, Mitch Lang, Alisa Looney, Pam Mummy and Joe Powers.

Richard Cawley is a Portland native who has been an artist for over 20 years. His metal sculptures frequently incorporate found objects. His body of work includes many architectural features such as gates, railings, trellises, bicycle racks and garden art. While working at Clan Chattan Foundry he created a sculpture now installed on the Interstate MAX light rail line.

Steve Eichenberger, an acrylic portrait artist and sculptor in clay, has been a full-time artist since 1995. He says of his work,”I’ve come to the conclusion after years of observation that for me technique is only 3% of the equation … and the relatively easy part. The other 97% is learning to get out of my own way internally and let things flow.” Eichenberger’s creates figurative sculptures that are humanoid or animal in form.

Rick Gregg started working with metal at age 16. His work is largely influenced by nature and primitive art. As his craft developed, Gregg began incorporating other materials such as stone, wood and glass into his works. Using both welding and blacksmithing techniques, Gregg’s sculptures include animal and human figures, some organic forms and functional art such as candle holders, furniture and home décor items.

Jacqueline Hurlbert’s clay sculptures are shown in art galleries throughout the Pacific Northwest and in many Southwestern states. She creates doll-like figures—some incorporating animals—that are whimsical and melancholy at the same time, reminiscent of characters created by filmmaker Tim Burton. Hurlbert expresses herself through the clay, stating “Clay serves as the vehicle for my meditation; it speaks without words. This is my voice, not heard but seen.”

Mitch Lang’s wood sculptures reflect simple forms with a calm, Asian esthetic. He began carving wood while still a teenager, and although school and life took him away from his art for a time, he has returned to wood working, finding fulfillment in the creative process. Lang’s sculptures are not for sale; instead, he donates them to Buddhist organizations and other non-profit entities.

Portland artist Alisa Looney is a painter, designer and dancer in addition to being a sculptor. Looney creates metal sculptures designed for public spaces with human forms in postures relating to dance and movement which seem to have a lightness and kinetic energy. One of her sculptures, “Going for your Vision”, is displayed in Lake Oswego and was a 2006 People’s Choice winner.

Pam Mummy’s figurative clay sculptures reflect her affinity for classical art and the Renaissance period. She creates busts and small figures that could be mistaken for museum-pieces were it not for slightly satirical elements and the incorporation of hidden objects or words. Mummy also does masterful paintings and drawings.

Joe Powers has experimented with many art mediums including drawing and wood carving; but for the past ten years his medium has been metal. Powers creates both decorative and functional sculptures. His work incorporates many forms from nature but also reflects some mythological and religious iconography.

This exhibit located on Concourse A is accessible only to ticketed passengers after passing through security.  The convenient Concourse Connector allows passengers to move freely between the north and south concourse wings.

Jackie Hurlbert_Intuitions Voice_courtesy Port of Portland