The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts welcomes Dawn Stetzel and her exhibition, “Ready or Not,” to the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center from February 3-26. Stetzel’s current work is specific to the Oregon coast, and “Ready or Not” is a collection of large-scale sculptural works made to navigate specific environments in order to explore notions of home, and perceptions of safety. Photo and video documentation will accompany the exhibition. The First Friday public reception opening for “Ready or Not” will be held on February 3, 5-7pm, with an artist talk at 6pm.
“The structure that I think about is not strong. It is teetering, fragile and just barely holds things together,” writes Dawn Stetzel. “Metaphorically, this structure is the scaffolding that is the connection between humans. It is also the network that connects humans to their natural world.”
Examples of Dawn Stetzel’s sculptural works include “Houseboat,” “Ski Cart” and “Tsunami Evacuation Cart”—all three of which are made from found materials and conceivably could be used during a natural disaster. Each work carries a depth of seriousness as well as a sense of humor. “Within ‘Houseboat,’ I reflect on the wide range of public conception regarding safety,” Stetzel says. “I also poke fun at the possible wariness of lifestyles deemed as seemingly not appropriate ways of living in a place.”
Stetzel’s work in the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center will remain stationery, though they are also creative tools or modes of locomotion in which the artist navigates her landscape. “Manually operated, these pieces require me to physically propel, push, pull, row or ski, and push the limits of my physical strength, safety and comfort levels,” Stetzel writes.
“Dawn’s sculpture works are so large that we had to make sure that both of the large wooden art doors at the VAC entry could actually open,” says OCCA VAC director Tom Webb.
Dawn Stetzel has been busy showing her unique sculptural vision around Oregon in recent months. Work from “Ready or Not” was included in “Portland 2016: A Biennial Collection of Contemporary Art” at the Disjecta Gallery in Portland last summer, and other pieces were included in her solo exhibit, “I Could Live There,” at The Art Center in Corvallis during fall 2016.
“There can be a grace to living on the edge, teetering on the brink, standing on shifting ground,” says Dawn Stetzel.
Dawn Stetzel received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (New Bedford) and her BA from the University of Iowa. She has been awarded artist residencies at the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology (Otis, OR), the Secatar Institute (Brazil) and the Elsewhere Artist Collaborative (North Carolina), among others. She has had solo exhibitions at The Arts Center, Artspace (Raleigh, NC) and The Artscenter (Carrborro, NC). Her work has been included in numerous group shows at locations such as the Chessman Gallery (Lincoln City), Gallery Underground (Astoria), Grounds for Sculpture (New Jersey) and Art League (Houston, TX). Her work has been commissioned by the City of Lincoln City, the Raleigh Arts Center (North Carolina) and North Carolina Zoological Park.
The Runyan Gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday, 11am-5pm