If Walls Could Talk | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

If Walls Could Talk

City Hall features local artists with City Walls

Lisa Marie Sipe

The City of Bend Arts, Beautification, and Culture Commission is seeking to inspire the community through art with its City Walls at City Hall initiative. The current exhibition opened at City Hall, 710 NW Wall St., on Friday, Oct. 2, and will remain open until March 2016. The display features the works of studio artists from The Workhouse, including Lisa Marie Sipe, Abney Wallace, Christian Brown, Natalie V. Mason, and Karen Eland.

Lisa Marie Sipe uses encaustic methods to create a three-dimensional painting surface to capture abstractions in nature and embed references to what she calls the "ideologies of our consumer culture." She finds inspiration in liquidity—everything from fat drippings to water stains—and it shows in the fluid nature of her work. Many of Sipe's pieces have an elegant aesthetic that belies the rich meaning behind her abstract works, creating a slow reveal.

Abney Wallace draws on a background in print media to create woodblock and linocut prints, acrylics, installation pieces, and mixed media. His prints, in particular, are both geometric and hypnotic, like a black-and-white kaleidoscope. But newsprint isn't Wallace's only connection to another time. Inspired by his childhood days in South Carolina, his recent work captures the timelessness and nostalgia found in objects such as crystals, shark teeth, and turtle shells.

The Rhode Island School of Design alum Christian Brown is no one-trick pony. The local artist's work includes watercolor and ink paintings, sculptures, drawings and mixed-media installations. But that list of artistic disciplines belies the breadth of his work. Case in point: Brown's online gallery features everything from human silhouettes made from poured paint to a sculpture that looks like someone got into a knife fight with a wall. He has also written and illustrated two books: 13 Riddles, 13 Rhymes and I speak in Frogs and Fish.

Natalie V. Mason's screen-printed, digital, and hand-dyed designs find a muse in nature, and often feature animals, water themes, organic shapes, and bright colors. She starts with block prints of images including mountain landscapes, flowers, and fish, often transforming them into home goods such as pillows, bags, and quilts.

Karen Eland creates paintings and recreations of famous images using the preferred beverages of the Pacific Northwest: beer, coffee, water, and espresso. Her work serves as a reminder of a time when artists more frequently mixed their own paints out of colors found in nature, and of the cultural, geographic, and culinary ties that bind. She has traveled the world for commissioned work and is particularly known for her piece, "Mona Latte."

The Arts, Beautification, and Culture Commission was created by the Bend City Council in 2002, with the purpose of determining the City's role in the arts and community beautification, emphasizing community gatherings, events, and cultural tourism. The Workhouse engages artists and the community by providing workshop/studio space and providing high quality classes and other events, such as Last Saturday. The Workhouse received the 2014 Arts, Beautification, and Culture Commission's Annual Award for serving as a key cultural contributor to the Bend community.

City Walls at City Hall

On display through March 2016

710 NW Wall St.

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