June 27, 2011
Melissa Bob joins as interim executive director

Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts recently named Melissa Bob as interim executive director for the organization. She began full-time on June 6.

Melissa is a Lummi Nation citizen from Bellingham, Wash. In her most recent position she worked within the Lummi tribal government, managing a $6.4 million grant project that integrated Lummi cultural arts practices into the Lummi children’s mental health system. In 2008 Melissa received her master of public administration in tribal governance degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she also received her B.A. in indigenous art history and printmaking. As a graduate student she worked as program assistant at the college’s Longhouse Education and Cultural Center.

In 2005 and 2007, Melissa interned in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of the American Indian and at the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, respectively. As part of her extensive arts background Melissa completed a studio internship at Sidereal Press, where she helped print a portfolio of etchings by Seattle artists. She also worked as studio assistant for Northwest artist Joe Feddersen (Colville Confederated Tribes), from whom she studied printmaking at Evergreen.

Melissa’s own artwork has been exhibited in the United States, Mexico and New Zealand, as well as in Europe and the Middle East. Her prints are included in the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian; Missoula Art Museum; Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas; the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery; and at St. Lawrence University and Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates.

“She’s one of those kind of people who you work with who knows what’s going to happen next. She can just jump right in and help,” Feddersen said. “She has a lot of experience working in D.C. and working with the tribes. … I’m glad she’s back in the arts.”

At Crow’s Shadow Melissa will be working to expand and fine tune programs, as well as help develop sustainable funding for a permanent executive director. Within close to a year’s time, Melissa will transition to a studio apprenticeship position with Tamarind Master Printer Frank Janzen to become a collaborative printmaker for Crow’s Shadow Press, the publishing arm of the organization. As part of its ongoing programs, Crow’s Shadow offers printmaking residencies to emerging and established artists, who are guided through the sometimes highly technical processes of the artistic medium by a trained collaborative printer.

“I am absolutely delighted that she is here, because having watched her briefly printing I could see that she had the patience and the diligence to become a good printmaker,” Frank said. “I just think the fact that she made this major transition and is willing to take a chance here is a testament to her dedication.”

As part of the apprenticeship, Frank said Melissa will be directly collaborating with artists in residence and printing lithographic editions, vital hands-on training that Frank assures does not happen in a university setting. While Frank insists he has no plans of retiring just yet, the opportunity to train his eventual successor has been an important and longstanding goal.

“Something we’ve always said is that the ideal situation would be for me to teach a young tribal member,” Frank said. “She’s going to bring things to the table that I’ve never thought of. That combination of experiences is going to be really beneficial.”

Board of Directors President Patrice Walters described the hiring as encouraging and timely for the nonprofit organization that will turn 20 years old next year.

“Melissa’s expertise and talents will serve the organization in so many ways as we head into our third decade of programs,” Patrice said. “Melissa will help build and guide the foundation of our organization while enhancing the artistic quality Crow’s Shadow is becoming known for in the art world.”

June 21, 2011
More Jim Denomie prints added to website

Images for the entire catalog of Jim Denomie prints have been added to the website. Monotypes from the series “Blue Mountain Portraits” and “Burnt Umber Sketches” are now available to view.

Additionally, print prices for each of the three previously uploaded series have been altered.

Individual prints from the monoprint series “Canoe” and “Untruthful” are available for $800 each, and monotypes from the “Oil Sketches” series are now $600 each. Monotypes from the two newly uploaded series are selling for $450 each. One triptych from the “Burnt Umber Sketches” is selling for $1200.

To order prints, or for more information, please call Frank Janzen at (541) 276-3954.

You can read more about artist Jim Denomie’s residency here.

June 16, 2011
Jim Denomie prints added to website

We’ve just added images for three Jim Denomie print series to the prints for sale section of the website. You can view them here.

“Canoe” and “Untruthful” are both monoprint series. The “Oil Sketches” prints are unique monotypes with hand-drawn oil pastel over ink backgrounds.

Those interested in purchasing Denomie prints can contact Master Printer Frank Janzen at (541) 276-3954 or fjanzen@crowwshadow.org.

We will be adding images and prices for two other Denomie monotype series in the near future, so be sure to check back.

You can read more about Denomie’s recent printmaking residency here.

June 13, 2011
New Zealand artist prints at Crow's Shadow

Crow’s Shadow was privileged last week to welcome an artist from the other side of the globe.

Gabrielle Belz, a New Zealand native of Māori heritage, visited the Crow’s Shadow Press studio for five days to work with Master Printer Frank Janzen on two series of monotype prints prior to leaving for an invitational residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington.

A practiced printmaker for more than 30 years, Belz fell right into work and spent the first three days at Crow’s Shadow alongside longtime friend and native Oregon artist Lillian Pitt, who also worked on some new prints.

“I wanted to see what was happening, because I’d heard about Crow’s Shadow from Lillian a few years ago,” Belz said. “I received a grant from Creative New Zealand … and that sort of helped with some of these side trips.”

Belz donated one print series, titled “Pou Series” to Crow’s Shadow. The vertical prints all incorporate the imagery of palisade posts, used to mark and defend traditional Māori villages or fort settlements (called “pā”).

Having grown up in Manurewa, once a country town now part of the greater Auckland metropolitan area on the North Island of New Zealand, Belz later moved to the Taranaki region, where she joined a collective of artists and first was introduced to working in prints.

Today, Belz works with and has helped found several artist groups and collectives, including Kauwae, a Māori women’s art collective, as well as Toi Whakataa Press (Toi = Art; Whakataa = to make impression), a collective of Māori printmakers. She also is a committee member for Te Atinga, which develops and promotes Māori art through exhibitions, wananga (symposia), publications and artist networks, among other things.

Regarding her personal artwork, Belz said she swings her creative focus between painting and printmaking.

“There are marks with printmaking you can’t make any other way,” Belz said. “It’s a good visual communications device.”

From an indigenous perspective, Belz pointed to the traumatic history of when Captain James Cook and other whites “discovered” the Pacific island and took away many sacred Māori artifacts and treasures, some of which have slowly been returning to New Zealand. In contrast, Belz said, printmaking provides a means for creating and disseminating common or duplicate images and themes.

“With a print you can have one at home and you can also send it away,” Belz said.

Belz said she hopes to establish a print workshop back in New Zealand.

“I just really appreciate having the opportunity to visit and work here and see how things operate,” she said of her collaboration with Janzen. “(I’m) overwhelmed with the patience, the dedication, the willingness to help achieve whatever ideas I want to create in the visual form.”

We will be adding images of the new artwork to the prints for sale section of our website as soon as possible, so be sure to check back.

May 28, 2011
Jim Denomie wraps up productive two-week residency

Crow’s Shadow was privileged to host Minnesota-based artist Jim Denomie for a two-week printmaking residency this month.

Working at a productive, 8-a.m.-to-5-p.m. pace for most of the ten working days, Denomie wrapped up his time in the studio with an amazing body of 72 signed prints, spanning five monotype and monoprint series.

“It’s a variety of imagery, but mostly they’re all some sort of portraiture,” Denomie said.

In addition to a colorful monotype series titled “Blue Mountain Portraits,” Denomie worked extensively on a series of monochromatic monotypes using dark brown burnt umber ink.

“I sketch a lot in just black ballpoint pen with a permanent ink, and my sketches are usually just frenetic gestural line drawings, done very loosely and fast,” Denomie said. “And so I wanted to incorporate that into these ‘Burnt Umber Sketches,’ where you just ink up the whole entire plate, one solid layer of dark burnt umber and draw into it. And it’s kind of a reverse of my sketches.”

On another monotype series Denomie employed a three-color monotype background with oil pastel sketches drawn directly onto the paper.

“Originally I thought maybe I would do a solid color background, but as I was inking up these plates I decided to go with three colors and just randomly develop a pattern,” Denomie said. “And so laying portraits over the tops of these random patterns would feed into the final project, where you’d get this unexpected juxtaposition of colors that wouldn’t have come if I’d have started with a blank palette.”

In addition to his time making art, Denomie explored some of the surrounding area and also presented a slide presentation at Tamastslikt Cultural Institute on the course of his work and career as a painter.

“My experience at Crow’s Shadow and my visit to Pendleton has been phenomenal. … I’ve met a lot of great people, very nice people,” Denomie said. “The art has been phenomenal too. I don’t believe I’ve ever created so much art in a two-week period as I have here.”

Prints from each of the five series are available for sale. Images of the work will be added to the “prints” section of the Crow’s Shadow website as soon as possible, and all questions regarding art purchases can be directed to Master Printer Frank Janzen at (541) 276-3954 or by e-mail to fjanzen@crowsshadow.org.

In the mean time you can check out some photos from Denomie’s residency on our facebook page.

Crow’s Shadow would like to thank Denomie for his visit and for lending his incredible talents to the organization. Thanks also to Laurie Fairbanks for her volunteer work as press assistant.

May 28, 2011
Crow's Shadow to host Maori artist Gabrielle Belz

Gabrielle Belz, a Maori painter and printmaker from Auckland, New Zealand, will be visiting the Crow’s Shadow Press studio for the week of June 6-10. The artist will be traveling through the region prior to a two-week residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington.

At Crow’s Shadow, Belz will work in collaboration with Oregon artist Lillian Pitt for three days of the five days on a project yet to be determined.

In addition to her service and membership with several other artist groups and councils, Belz is a founding member of Toi Whakataa Press, a collective of Maori printmakers (whose membership also includes Marty Vreede, who visited Crow’s Shadow in 2009 on a Fulbright grant).

You can read a full artist profile with links to artwork images at maoriart.org.nz.

The above photo appears on the Spirit Wrestler Gallery website.

May 21, 2011
Jim Denomie gets acclimated to inks

This week Crow’s Shadow hosted visiting artist Jim Denomie for the first half of a two-week printmaking residency with Master Printer Frank Janzen.

After spending two days on portrait monotype prints and getting “acclimated to playing with inks,” Denomie spent the rest of the week working on the first of possibly multiple monoprint series.

“Working on the monoprints has been more meticulous, more curves to slow down for,” Denomie said. “And they’ve been a little more challenging … but I’m pleased with the direction we’re heading.”

Denomie will be giving a free slide and lecture presentation tomorrow, 1-2:30 p.m. at Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. There also will be a public reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Crow’s Shadow.

Be sure to check out more pictures from the residency on our facebook page.

Thanks also to Laurie Fairbanks for volunteering as press assistant.

May 11, 2011
Nixyaawii art show on display

For a limited time … there will be a lot of very cool art on display in the Crow’s Shadow gallery, courtesy students from Nixyaawii Community School.

The exhibition on display shows a broad range of work—including self-portraits, masks and sculptures—from the 2010-11 school year.

Thanks to the students, art instructor Brian Purnell and everyone who showed up last night for the opening reception.

In case you missed it, you can still check out the artwork through May 20. Check out many more pictures of the show on our facebook page. For questions, please call us at (541) 276-3954.

April 27, 2011
Crow's Shadow to welcome artist Jim Denomie

Minnesota-based artist Jim Denomie (Ojibwe) will be bringing his talents, and possibly his particular brand of Indian humor, to the Crow’s Shadow Press studio this spring.

Denomie will collaborate with Master Printer Frank Janzen for a two-week printmaking residency, May 16-27.

Perhaps best known for his surrealistic painting style and cartoonish, “revisionist” depictions of Native American history and themes, Denomie has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including a 2009 Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art and a 2008 Bush Artist Fellowship. Denomie received a BFA degree from the University of Minnesota in 1995 and has since shown extensively in both Europe and the United States.

Gail Tremblay, artist and instructor at Evergreen State University, described Denomie’s work as that which both “sings and stings.”

“To penetrate Jim Denomie’s work and to engage with its imagery, one has to let go of all stereotypes one has about American Indians and their art,” Tremblay writes in the Eiteljorg-published book “Art Quantum.” “Indeed, few artists poke fun at stereotypes or at the romanticized images of ‘Noble Savages’ or primitive Indians with Denomie’s vigor.”

Along with the sometimes irreverent imagery—the United States cavalry depicted as fez-wearing go-cart drivers in the painting “Custer’s Retreat,” for example, or historic portrait photographer Edward Curtis as a peeping voyeur in “Edward Curtis, Paparazzi: Skinny Dip”—Denomie’s paintings also employ more subtle references to ongoing cultural and political issues.

In 2005 Denomie successfully completed a self-prescribed challenge of creating at least one new painting each day, resulting in hundreds of small-scale colorful portraits, many of which were later exhibited in 2007 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Denomie also works in photography, found-object sculpture, ink, oil pastel drawing and printmaking.

“Regarding my residency at Crow Shadow, I am really looking forward to visiting the Northwest area again, seeing some old friends and meeting new ones, working with a master printer and making art,” Denomie said via e-mail. “Although I have experience in monoprints and linoleum cuts, and recently took a print class at the [University of Minnesota] in lithography and etching, I would not call myself an experienced printer.

“I have some sketches and an idea or two to explore while working at Crow Shadow, but I am also available to the idea of spontaneous imagery. I hope to make a number of monoprints as well as lithographs.”

During his stay, Denomie also will present a slide-presentation on his work titled “Humor and Politics, the Art of Jim Denomie.” That free lecture event will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at Tamastslikt Cultural Institute.

Crow’s Shadow also will host an artist reception, 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, at the Crow’s Shadow gallery. Visitors will be welcome to come meet the artist and check out some of the newly created prints.

For more information about Denomie, you can view his website at www.waboozstudio.com. For other questions, please call us at (541) 276-3954.

April 26, 2011
Crow's Shadow hosts 5th PNCA monotype retreat

This past weekend Crow’s Shadow hosted the fifth annual four-day monotype printmaking workshop retreat, part of the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s continuing education courses. Artists from around the region spent the better part of the weekend taking in the Eastern Oregon landscape and putting ink to paper through the etching presses. Master Printer Frank Janzen taught several helpful techniques and helped guide both novice and experienced printmakers through the various processes.

First-time participant Joanne Oleksiak, utilizing a drawing sketchbook, said she derived inspiration both from the vast scenery and historic St. Andrews mission building. She said she looked forward to leaving with “hopefully, a few prints that aren’t too horrible,” emphasizing, however, that wasn’t her prime goal.

“My goal has been to relax and renew and find some new skills, which I’ve done. Frank (Janzen) is great,” Oleksiak said. “I appreciated the opportunity to be away from my routine for this many days, and I’m deliberately not checking my e-mail.”

Kris Andrews, printmaking hobbyist and another first-time participant, traveled all the way from British Columbia, having discovered Crow’s Shadow during a trip to the Umatilla Indian Reservation in 2010.

“I just discovered it by accident and I was thrilled,” Andrews said. “I’ve learned so much and I’d like to come back.”

We’d like to thank everyone who participated, including Debby Sundbaum-Sommers, who returned to volunteer as studio and press assistant.