For Who You Are

Sylvania North View Gallery

Debra Beers

Charcoal and pastel drawingSong Dog, 2016, charcoal and pastel on paper, 38″ x 50″

November 8 to December 15, 2018
Opening Reception and Gallery Talk:  Thursday, November 8, 1-3 PM
Weekend Reception:  Saturday, November 10, 2-5 PM
Closures:  The Gallery will be closed November 11 for Veterans Day, and November 22-24 for the Thanksgiving holiday


The North View gallery is pleased to present For Who You Are, an an exhibition of large and small format, mixed media and silverpoint drawings by Portland artist Debra Beers. Over the past several years the artist has sought to address the human animal relationship in various contexts and the entangled complexities that ensue. Beers has sought this primary objective; the nonhuman animal is an individuated being of intrinsic value. More recently her work has presented the intersection of animals and human affect in two series of large and small scale drawings: In Memoriam and Amongst Us.

In Memoriam

All of us see them, the “dark spots and small lumps”* on the road. We breathe a sigh of relief when such sightings turn out to be an inanimate object. However when our fears are materialized and we see an opened body, we wince and quickly look away as our car, bike or feet speed by.

These drawings are intended to serve as memorials to individual lives similar to the “awareness” writings of Barry Lopez as he encountered road killed animals and was himself an unwitting participant as he traveled across the United States (“Apologia” 1998). Similarly my drawings are the result of witnessing and paying tribute to those that I encounter on my daily walks. I seek to depict loss through the depiction of specific graveside memorials. These include reverent food and object offerings that further an understanding of a unique life once lived and invites the viewer to pay homage and to look – and not look away.

Pencil drawing

51st and Johnson Creek Blvd.,  2016, silverpoint and graphite on paper, 5″ x 7″

Amongst Us

Miniature silverpoint/graphite drawings portray the intersection of our imprint and little-recognized animals that live among us. These drawings are densely packed with images of human growth within specific areas and the animals that attempt to survive in such places. For example, a few of the miniatures are of urban wildlife that lives within a one-mile radius of Precision Cast Parts in Portland Or. These drawings highlight animals’ presence and struggle as they negotiate through and around human affect. The viewer is seduced through the patina of silver and delicate rendering but is left with unease. Something doesn’t feel quite right in this crowded and disjointed ecology but what remains of the planet’s nonhuman species offers potent lessons about the sanctity of life and beauty.

About the artist

Debra Beers is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Portland Or. Her current work explores the human/animal relationship through drawings and paintings. Her work is in public and private collections such as Oregon Health Sciences University, the City of Portland Portable Artworks Collection and Visual Chronicle, University of Oregon Knight Library, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the University of Washington School of Social Work and the City of Seattle Portable Artworks Collection. Beers is a recipient of a Puffin Foundation Grant and Regional Arts and Culture Council commissions and purchase awards. She has also served on the selection committee of the Portland Visual Chronicle. Beers holds a MFA in Drawing and Painting from The University of Iowa and is Professor Emerita at Lewis & Clark College where she taught drawing and Special Topics in Drawing: Looking at the Animal (1998-2017).

  • Two framed drawings on wall; both have birds and wires and telephone poles.
  • Charcoal and pastel drawing of dead bird on its back with a red rose in a jar of water beside it.
  • Charcoal and pastel drawing of an owl laying beside a votive candle.
  • Charcoal and pastel drawing of a possum laying in grass
  • Charcoal and pastel drawing of dead deer laying on street
  • Installation on wall: four large charcoal drawings with 5 small framed drawings
  • Installation on wall: five large charcoal drawings, with three small framed drawings
  • Three charcoal and pastel drawings on paper on wall. On left, an owl on the ground beside a telephone pole; middle a squirrel lies dead on the street; on right, a small cat also laying in the street with a flower hovering above it.
  • Two large charcoal drawings on wall; on left dead duck lies on street, a grouping of leaves and flowers beside it; on right a drawing of a dead black bird on it's back.
  • Two framed drawings on wall; one with a fish and industrial pipes; the other of black birds in the midst of wires.

Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM, Saturday 11 AM to 4 PM

Directions:  Follow signs to bookstore and visitor parking.  Gallery is located in the Communications and Technology (CT) building, adjacent to the bookstore, on the NE corner of campus.