Jan 21, 2024
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Newport Visual Arts Center

777 NW Beach Drive, Newport, OR 97365



Rena Ekmanis
Pelagic Wilderness

January 21 – February 25, 2024
Newport Visual Arts Center

An opening reception is planned for Sunday, January 21st from 2-4pm. Ekmanis will give remarks at 3pm, light refreshments will be served, and Andean Folk Music Group Chayag will perform. This event is FREE.

of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea–inhabiting the upper layers of the open ocean

Rena Ekmanis’s work encapsulates her love for and awe of the ocean and marine life. Working in a variety of mediums – including watercolor, acrylics, and clay – her beautiful renditions challenge the viewer to consider the reality of environmental threats to mammals and marine habitats, putting the need for protection and change top of mind. Ekmanis also utilizes found plastic debris to create mosaic work that is compelling in form and composition, with ominous undertones.

“I was introduced to Rena’s work through her participation in the 2023 OCCA Member Show,” said Chasse Davidson, director of the Newport Visual Arts Center, “so it seems fitting that her exhibit will open in conjunction with this year’s Member Show. I was instantly attracted to the color and realism of her paintings, as well as her success in conveying the threats to marine life – messages that are poignant and appropriate to be shared in a place so close to the ocean.”

Rena Ekmanis is an artist and natural science illustrator. She has lived in many beautiful places including Hawaii, California and New Zealand. Currently living in Newport, Oregon she enjoys being close to wild nature and the ocean. Her highly detailed work has a strong message of conservation and raising awareness about rare and endangered species.

Rena is skilled in a variety of mediums including watercolors, acrylics, clay flute making and – most recently – mosaics made from beach-collected plastic marine debris. She earned her B.F.A. in Drawing from California College of the Arts and a Graduate Certificate in Natural Science Illustration from California State University at Monterey Bay. 

Traveling and adventures have enriched Ekmanis’s life and work. In 2023 she and her daughter walked 500 miles along the Camino Del Norte in Spain.

Exhibits at Newport Visual Arts Center (VAC) are free to the public and can be viewed most Wednesdays through Sundays, from 12pm – 4pm, at 777 NW Beach Drive in Newport.

Newport Visual Arts Center

777 NW Beach Drive, Newport, OR 97365 - Get Directions