The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents the retrospective exhibition, Sandra Roumagoux (1975-present), from October 4 to December 1 in the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center. The exhibition, Roumagoux’s first retrospective, will include the artist’s oil paintings from the past 40+ years, as well as collage, drawings, lithography, encaustic and mixed-media works. A First Friday public reception is set for October 4, 5-7pm, with an artist talk at 5:45pm.
Roumagoux was born in Yakima, Washington, in 1940 and raised on a farm near Camp Adair in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. After earning her B.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, she returned to Oregon and Newport in 1985. From that time forward, Roumagoux has grown into one of Oregon’s most established and recognized oil painters. Still others know her as the City of Newport’s elected mayor, serving three terms ending on December 31, 2018.
“I’ve been called political, but I don’t know how to separate politics from art,” Roumagoux writes in her artist statement. “Both ask something of us, something that challenges us to a responsibility. Painter or politician, we come as candidates. We want our message to resonate with the body politic, with the voters. We make promises.”
“With this retrospective, the OCCA recognizes Sandy Roumagoux’s accomplishments as a gifted artist and visual storyteller, and her tenure of community service as Newport mayor, Newport City Council member, board chairman, Oregon Coast Community College, arts instructor and arts advocate, among other roles,” says OCCA VAC Director Tom Webb.
In the catalog for the exhibition, “Visual Magic: An Oregon Invitational” (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, 2019), Roumagoux further expands on the overlap of art and governance. “My political interest extends beyond the studio. While I have been and continue to be sincerely committed to my avocation as a policy maker and civic leader, it’s true that I see elements of social practice art making in my life as a politician.”
Sandra Roumagoux has shown her work in juried exhibitions such as the 1995 Oregon Biennial at the Portland Art Museum, the 1992 Drawn West: Third Biennial exhibition at Utah State University Museum of Art, the 2010 Art Around Oregon Annual at the Corvallis Art Center, and the 1997 N.W. Women Artists, 3rd Annual, at the Littman Gallery at Portland State University. She has had solo exhibits at Blackfish Gallery, Michael Parsons Fine Art Gallery, Mount Hood Community College, Quartersaw Gallery, Mark Wooley Gallery, and Worksound Gallery in Portland, as well as Gallery 110 (Seattle), LaSells Stewart Center (OSU, Corvallis), Triad Gallery (Seal Rock) and the Newport Visual Arts Center. (Visit http://roumagoux.com/heaven-bound.php for a complete artist bio.)
“Roumagoux paints what she sees, what grabs her, as she drives the back roads of Lincoln County,” wrote LC Smith for Hipfish Monthly in reviewing a 2013 exhibit at the KALA Gallery in Astoria. “She inserts human-made beauty – the classic form of a Conde McCullough bridge in cerulean blue, for example — into the wild,” “Some of the paintings are joyful or hopeful. Other reflect, simultaneously, deep serenity and profound loneliness. Still others are subtle-yet-biting commentaries on modern rural life. Every one of the paintings is strikingly beautiful, even those of discarded tires in the landscape. The tires become part of the flora, hauntingly appealing in much the same way the Ashcan School of the early 20th Century turned the squalor of the New York’s Lower East Side into a thing of aching beauty.”
“I see the human form and landscape in relation to social and environmental issues,” Roumagoux says. “I have never had the ability to completely lose reference to real-world subject matter, like my hero, Oregon painter CS Price. I love the abstract expressionists, particularly De Kooning, as well as Clifford Still and the Northwest mystics.”
Roumagoux’s paintings are part of the permanent collections at Oregon Health Sciences University, the Microsoft Corporate Art Collection, the University of Arkansas, the VA Medical Center (Portland), the Center for Diaconal Ministry (Indiana), the Clarence Bates Collection (Corvallis), and the City of Newport.
“The Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center is the appropriate place for Sandy’s first retrospective,” says OCCA Executive Director Catherine Rickbone. “This is the home from which she has established her statewide and regional reputation as one of the finest oil painters of her generation.”
The Runyan Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm (5pm in November).