The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents the exhibition, “Needle and Crooked Knife: Exploring Northwest Art in Fiber and Red Cedar” by Tina McCann, from July 7 to September 2 in the Upstairs Gallery at the New Visual Arts Center. McCann’s exhibit will include masks and fiber wall art by the Depoe Bay-based artist. An opening reception will be held at the VAC on July 7, 5-7pm, with an artist talk at 6:30pm.
“The series, ‘Needle and Crooked Knife,’ has been my journey into Native American art forms,” says Tina McCanm. “A crooked knife is used in the process of hollowing the back of masks. Fascinated by the stylized forms of Northwest art, I began carving masks five years ago.” One of McCann’s masks is titled “OR7,” honoring the first wolf to wander Oregon since 1947.
Tina McCann was born in Akron, Ohio, and, after exploring various mediums, focused on painting while attending the Cooper School of Art in Cleveland. She reports that her creative spirit was occupied for ten years building a sailboat, followed by ten years living aboard. In 2007, she and her partner unexpectedly came ashore in Newport and have lived on the central Oregon coast ever since. “We decided this must be the time and place to become land based with a studio larger than a chart table.”
Copper, shell and cedar bark are incorporated into Tina McCann’s mask pieces. Her wall pieces employ various techniques and fibers. Some are three-layer dyed, discharged, painted, hand- and machine-stitched quilts. Others are formline paintings on tapa cloth, made from pounded mulberry bark found on South Pacific Islands. “My interest in Northwest coast painting grew as I studied their use of positive and negative space and flow of line,” she says.
Included in the “Needle and Crooked Knife” exhibit is the series, “Fragments,” based on boards saved from painted house fronts of a Tsimshian village along the northern Pacific Northwest Coast. The original paintings were partially retrieved from blackened wood panels using infrared photography. The form line fragments appear to be a perfect match for painting on tapa cloth.
“For me, creating art is stimulated by combining fiber, textures and color,” says Tina McCann. “I enjoy expanding beyond my normal boundaries with each new piece.”
Tina McCann’s work has been accepted and has received awards in various national and international juried exhibits.
The Upstairs Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.