The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts welcomes painter and multidisciplinary artist Sean Christensen to the Upstairs Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center. Christensen’s exhibition, “Reclining on the Vanishing Point” will include Sumi ink and watercolor paintings, limited edition art zines and related works on paper. The exhibition will run from September 9 to October 1 and an opening reception will be held on September 9, 5-7pm, at the VAC. An artist talk is scheduled for 6:30pm during the opening reception.
Born and raised in the Portland area, Sean Christensen considers himself a self-taught artist, though he credits his graduation from the Art & Communications Magnet High School in Beaverton for fostering an interest in a variety of creative pursuits: illustration, painting, book making and music. His exhibition, “Reclining on the Vanishing Point,” will focus on his recent paintings—meditative and whimsical, yet somewhat hyperactive, free-form works combining Sumi ink and watercolor washes. “Starting from an illustrative perspective, I’m looking to create my own personal language with paintings,” Christensen says. “I’m also trying to add an iridescent quality to works on paper.” He says they follow a stream-of-consciousness that can reflect states of both meditation and anxiety. “It’s funny, while one person can like the breezy atmosphere of my paintings, another person can feel completely terrified,” the artist says.
Sean Christensen recently held an exhibition of work from the “Reclining on the Vanishing Point” series at Stumptown Coffee on Southeast Belmont Avenue in Portland. He enjoyed enough sales so as to be encouraged to create more work for the series. Christensen’s show at the VAC will be the artist’s first solo gallery exhibit.
Sean Christensen, 35, considers himself part of Portland’s experimental illustration and comics communities, working in the “vein of Portland’s illustration style.” He and fellow illustrators Daria Tessler, Andrice Arp and Theo Ellsworth have formed the collaborative, “Grid Board,” publishing two books per year by outside illustrators as well as personal work. For three years, Grid Board created art events combining visual art and independent music at the Hollywood Theater in Northeast Portland. Christensen now has comic titles forthcoming this fall from two independent publishers: Still-Life Publishers (Georgia) and Cold Cube Press (Washington). Christensen also teaches two courses — Experimental Practices in Comics, and International Studies in Comics — at the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland.
Music and installation art are also part of Sean Christensen’s creative practice. He has teamed with artist Lu Woo Allen to create a collaborative performance group, “LL LL,” which was awarded an artist residency to create a music and art installation room during the Spaceness Festival in February 2016 at the Sou’Wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington, on the Long Beach Peninsula.
The Upstairs Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 4pm.