“Ready or Not” Exhibit Held Over at the VAC
Artist’s talk scheduled for Tuesday, March 7, 5:30pm
When artist Dawn Stetzel was installing her exhibition, “Ready Or Not,” in the Newport Visual Arts Center’s Runyan Gallery for a show in February, she knew her large scale sculptural works—with names such as “Houseboat” and “Tsunami Evacuation Cart”—would metaphorically challenge gallery visitors to consider issues of disaster preparedness and perceptions of security. What she didn’t realize was that her works would need to bear the natural elements of the Oregon coast itself—all while inside the safety of gallery walls.
The severe flooding of Newport’s Nye Beach neighborhood district on February 5, however, changed the context of Stetzel’s works, themselves made to “navigate specific environments.” As the waters flowed throughout Nye Beach, they found their way inside the VAC’s Runyan Gallery—under the building’s entry door itself. The resulting damage caused the gallery’s flooring to buckle and forced the gallery to close for a week. Fortunately, the sculptural works in “Ready Or Not” themselves were not damaged—they held up to the weight of their artistic convictions.
A week later, and the flooring having been removed by City staff and the gallery reopened, Stetzel’s sculptures continued to stand atop the now untreated concrete floor, triumphantly withstanding the very forces of nature they were designed to address.
Given these developments, and the schedule for future floor replacement, the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts has extended Dawn Stetzel’s exhibition, “Ready Or Not,” to Tuesday, March 7, and Stetzel will give a special presentation about the exhibition and her current work on March 7, 5:30pm at the VAC. The Runyan Gallery will be open from 11am to 7pm on March 7, providing opportunities for visitors to consider “Ready or Not” before and after Stetzel’s artist talk.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, the old flooring in the Runyan Gallery was scheduled to be replaced anyway,” says OCCA VAC director Tom Webb. “The floor now only seems to reinforce themes in Dawn’s work. And we are pleased to have given the community another week to see the exhibit and consider their own sense of security amid dramatic weather patterns.”
“The structure that I think about is not strong. It is teetering, fragile and just barely holds things together,” wrote Dawn Stetzel before installing her work at the VAC. “Metaphorically, this structure is the scaffolding that is the connection between humans. It is also the network that connects humans to their natural world.”
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 Stetzel’s 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’s regular hours are 11am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday.