The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is pleased to present Curry County artist Thomas Sheets in the Coastal Oregon Visual Artist Showcase at the Newport Visual Arts Center from July 10 through August 29. Sheets will exhibit environmental assemblage work as part of his exhibit, “Sticks & Stone.” A public reception will be held on July 10, 5-7pm, at the VAC and will include an artist talk that evening.
Thomas Sheets regularly shows his work at signatures & BRIAN SCOTT Gallery in Brookings, OR. A completely self-taught artist, he has shown work at the Art Cube in Laguna Beach, CA, and the Hawthorne Gallery in Port Orford, OR as well. His work has appeared in Oregon Coast Magazine and Southern Oregon Magazine.
Sheets moved to the southern Oregon Coast 8 years ago, after growing up in the Bay Area and spending time in Monterey, CA. After experimenting as an artist with oils, watercolors, ceramics, photography and music, Sheets, almost by accident, fell into environmental assemblage composed of found driftwood objects while beach combing on the Oregon coast. He stumbled upon pieces of driftwood and naturally polished stones intertwined in the ever-changing patterns of the water-washed sand. “Environmental assemblage is the perfect medium to express and reflect my various moods,” says Sheets. “It was almost an epiphany for me.”
Each of Sheet’s works tells its own story. Some are soft and smooth, others are jagged and rough in violent conflict. Each stick or stone adds its own personality or accent, its own highlight to each assemblage. Sheets can spend months traveling the Oregon coastline, regardless of the weather, to find the perfect pieces for his works. He hikes down to hidden beaches and fights the crashing surf for the perfect piece before struggling to carry his load of “sticks and stones” up the rocky bluffs back to his studio. Then comes the sorting, selecting, polishing, arranging and rearranging, until the final vision is realized. Keeping as close as possible to the original condition of the wood, the small pieces are combined with sea glass, wave-washed stones, iron pyrite and other minerals. Some have copper wire and braided steel wire interwoven into the composed patterns and bas-relief compositions.
In environmental assemblage, Thomas Sheets has found his creative calling. And in return, his works have found the walls of home and businesses across southern Oregon, and beyond.
The Coast Oregon Visual Artist Showcase is open noon to 4pm, Tuesday-Saturday.