James Shull and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art’s Senior Faculty Curator Roger Hull have collaborated with the Gordon House Conservancy to present a range of Charles E. Heaney’s prints and paintings in an exhibition that opens Nov. 2 and continues through Nov. 30 at the Gordon House in Silverton. The exhibition honors the Evelyn Gordon Art Collection at the Gordon House in Silverton, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and includes 17 artworks by Heaney from the Hallie Ford Museum of Art’s permanent collection.
As Roger Hull writes in the exhibition statement:
Charles Edward Heaney (1897-1981) and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) lived their creative lives in entirely different ways, but several parallels between the two men may be drawn when viewing Heaney’s paintings in a house designed by Wright.
As this exhibition helps make clear, Heaney had an innate appreciation for western terrain – as spacious landscape and as a setting for buildings and settlements. His train trip to Oregon as a teenager introduced him to scenery that would interest him for a lifetime: the mountains, endless highways, abandoned mines, and isolated trees interspersed with picturesque houses, sheds, and storefronts. Like Wright, he was interested in the interplay of architecture and nature. But in architecture he savored the decrepit, accidental, and time-worn – the miscellany of vernacular settlements and sites, while Wright’s mission was to replace the haphazard with coherency, efficiency, and organic unity between the built and the natural.
Evelyn Gordon, a weaver, was drawn to the ideas and philosophy of Frank Lloyd Wright, and in 1956 she and her husband Conrad commissioned the 88 year old architect to design one of his last Usonian houses. Following Wright’s death the house was constructed beside the Willamette River near Wilsonville.
During Evelyn’s life, she built a collection of paintings and prints in consultation with Portland’s Image Gallery owners Barbara McLarty and painter Jack McLarty. She assembled a choice collection of works by Northwest artists, with Charles Heaney being one of her favorites.
This exhibition honors her creative juxtaposition of the work of two twentieth-century American artists who in different ways responded to the fundamental realities of land and shelter, hearth and home, and the dignity of home places, all matters of importance to Evelyn Gordon.
The Gordon House will hold an art reception with a presentation by Roger Hull on Nov. 9 from 4 - 7 p.m. Hull’s book, “Charles E. Heaney; Memory, Imagination, and Place” (2005), can be purchased at the reception and Roger Hull will be available to sign copies at the event.
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