Mel Katz: Recent Donations and Acquisitions

Mel Katz, Reveal Line Series (#1), 1994, steelA small exhibition of sculptures by Mel Katz, a Portland sculptor and teacher whose work is rooted in the principles of geometric abstraction, will open May 27 and continue through July 29 in the Study Gallery of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.

Born in Brooklyn in 1932, Katz graduated in 1953 from the Cooper Union Art School in New York and attended the Brooklyn Museum Art School in 1954 and 1955. He moved to Portland in 1964 to accept a teaching position at the Portland Art Museum School, and in 1966, he accepted a similar position at Portland State University, where he taught for the next 32 years.

Mel Katz, Grey Series (#2), 1973, pastel/polyesterOriginally trained as a painter, Katz has made sculptures since the early 1970s. Katz is the son of a pattern maker in New York, and his sculpture reflects his father's work in the garment trade: pattern making, tracing and cutting. The exhibition, which spans a 35-year period, includes work from his Grey Series, Sawtooth Series, Pedestal Series and Reveal Series.

Over the years, Katz has been featured in numerous one-person and group exhibitions throughout the U.S. He was the subject of a major retrospective at the Portland Art Museum in 1988 and was included in the traveling exhibition Still Working in 1994. His work is included in the collections of the Portland Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, the City of Seattle and many national corporations.

In 2004, Katz and his wife Dianne Anderson offered to donate several older pieces to the permanent collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, with the first donation occurring in 2005 and subsequent donations in 2006 and 2007. In return, the museum agreed to purchase a newer work by 2008. The current exhibition is the result of this collaboration and partnership. The exhibition includes the four sculptures, which the museum took possession of last year.

Mel Katz: Recent Donations and Acquisitions has been supported in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax Funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the Willamette University campus. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855.