The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents “Constructions,” an exhibition of small sculptures by Coastal Douglas County artist David Anthony, from June 9 to July 29, in the Coastal Arts Visual Artists Showcase (COVAS) at the Newport Visual Arts Center. Anthony will showcase his steel and bronze works, along with abstract drawings, as representations of his broader sculptural work. A opening reception is scheduled for Friday, June 9, 5-7pm, at the VAC, with an artist talk scheduled for 6:30pm.
David Anthony holds many titles from his home in Gardiner, Oregon, along Winchester Bay two miles north of Reedsport: commissioned sculptor, public artist, gallery owner, metalworker, property manager and building remodeler. Residents of Gardnier—an unincorporated community (population 248) located along Highway 101 near the confluence of the Umpqua, Smith and Scholfield rivers on the Southern Oregon Coast—are well aware of Anthony’s talents, and passersby have the equal chance of getting to know the artist firsthand. It just takes slowing down on Highway 101 and looking for the gallery signs.
There are two art galleries in Gardnier: the Tsunami Gallery, owned by Mack Holman, and the Three Rivers Gallery, owned by David Anthony. Both Holman and Anthony are sculptors and work synergistically (though not directly together) to pursue their interests in creating works for public spaces. The Tsunami Gallery follows a more traditional approach and represents various regional artists, while the Three Rivers Gallery is more of a storefront display for David Anthony’s work. Visitors will need to knock on his door or walk around the back to Anthony’s metalworking studio to meet the artist and ask for a tour of the place.
“When I moved from the Central California valley to Gardiner in 2005, I was looking for a place to make, store and show my work, and live under one roof. I was looking for a “shome,” or “shop home,’” says David Anthony. “I was considering Goldendale, WA, and other folks suggested Coos Bay. When driving south through Gardiner, the property owner was putting out a rental sign for a small warehouse at $450 per month. I never did make it to Coos Bay.” Anthony went on to purchase and repair the warehouse, converting parts into a living space and gallery, while also purchasing a triplex apartment building next door. “I’m making it here, but just scraping by. I’ve spent a lot of time getting these properties up to speed,” says Anthony.
David Anthony has completed public art commissions for various municipalities, mainly in California. For the City of Freemont, he created “Fire Fighters,” an 11’ x 9’ x 7’ site-based, cast concrete work that reflects the teamwork involved in fire fighting. For the Sybase Corporation in Emeryville, Anthony won a city-sponsored contest and fabricated “Celestial Motor” in his studio. The piece was designed as homage to the Industrial Revolution’s steel shapes which led to the Computer Age. The work is now owned by Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville. Other public clients have included the City of Stockton and the City of Tracy Transit Station. His resume includes other private commissions for functional as well as public art works. (For additional images of Anthony’s work, visit https://codaworx.com/profile/david-b-anthony/1476.)
“I often commission myself for work,” Anthony jokes. “And that work ends up around or inside the gallery.”
Visitors to David Anthony’s artist page on the CODAworx website will learn that the artist studied under prestigious sculptors Milton Hebald in Italy and under Aristides Demetrios in San Francisco. And that he currently operates a large metalworking studio on the Oregon Coast where he “explores his passion for visual rhythms and finding harmony between negative and positive shape in his sculpture. His interest and goal for each project is to engage the architectural space and underlying geometry of the site with his design.”
David Anthony earned his MFA in fine arts with a focus on sculpture from the University of Art College, now the San Francisco College of Art, in 1988. He received additional education at Cal State Chico and Cal State Hayward. He was awarded a Fine Art Fellowship from the University of Art College in San Francisco and participated in the City of Emeryville/Vladimir USSR Cultural Exchange Grant program in 1992. He exhibited his sculptural work in various capacities as a member of the 45th Street Artist Coop in San Francisco as well as the Tidewater Gallery in Stockton and the New Leaf Gallery in Berkeley, before heading north. Anthony’s collection of work for “Constructions” represents his first formal gallery exhibit in Oregon, outside of his Three Rivers Gallery in Gardiner.
David Anthony is currently focused on creating medium to large-scale work, though nothing larger than the human form. Still, he has always made smaller works such as those that will be included in the COVAS Showcase. He doesn’t view his smaller works (and drawings) as prototypes for larger pieces, though sometimes they serve that purpose. Rather, he says they are part of the creative process in considering forms and materials. “Working small is a great way to work out the problems of larger pieces,” he says.
Gardiner, Oregon, appears to be David Anthony’s home for the long-term. He has the space and resources to continue to build upon his established sculptural and technical skills. He can create his steel and abstract works on site, and he has built relationships with foundries in Italy and San Francisco that cast his bronze works.
Still, something more about Gardiner captures David Anthony’s imagination. “I am mesmerized by the beauty of the rivers and how their colors change,” he says. “Plus, I was actually baptized by the rivers, in 2016, when we had seven inches of rain and the entire town flooded.”
The Coastal Oregon Visual Artist Showcase feature mid-career artists living in Oregon’s seven coastal counties. David Anthony represents Coast Douglas County.
The COVAS Showcase is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.