North View Gallery

Sylvania CT 214 Building | Gallery Director: Mark Smith

James Kirk: Face Forward Watercolors

artist james kirk's watercolor of woman's face
September 29 - October 28, 2011
9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday
Please join us for an artist's reception:
Thursday, September 29, 2 to 4pm

A Longtime Oregon resident and retired professor at Western Oregon University, artist James Kirk presents a salon style collection of monumental portraits and figurative paintings at Sylvania's North View Gallery. The exhibition, comprising ninety-nine painted panels, features artworks generated primarily over the last year. Now eighty seven, the artist maintains a rigorous studio practice and is known as one of the region's most prolific and gifted figurative painters. A veteran of many of the Portland Art Museum's annual Oregon artist surveys as well as the All Oregon Artists Show, held annually in conjunction with the Oregon State Fair, Kirk has won numerous awards and his portrait commissions are featured in private collections throughout the United States.

Known for his complex orchestration of light as well as an incisive accuracy, Kirk's camera-inspired paintings share affinities with contemporary luminaries such as Richard Avedon, Chuck Close and David Hockney. Throughout his career the artist has been preoccupied with the natural distortion of form when viewed through lenses, particularly at close range. Often choosing to fragment a figurative portrait into multiple panels, Kirk trains himself to record like a camera, playing with discrepancies and exaggerations in proportion, as seen from a fixed point of view. But contrary to his encyclopedic recording approach, the artist chooses to execute his paintings spontaneously in the watercolor medium, pushing it to extremes of liquid materiality. Through the artist's attention to luminous atmosphere and the obfuscating effects of cast shadows, Kirk's portrait subjects often appear to be in the condition of simultaneously emerging and disappearing.