Rock Creek Helzer Gallery
- Dates: September 25 – November 30, 2023
- Artist talk and gallery reception: November 15, 11am-1pm
- Gallery hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm
In 2010 Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife began an effort to track wild predators by radio-collaring wolves; OR7 is the name of the seventh wolf collared. This wolf, from the Imnaha pack in Eastern Oregon, made history by becoming the first wolf west of the Cascades since 1947, when the last wolf was killed. He left his pack in 2011 and began a 1000-mile journey across the state in search of a mate. We know that he walked all the way across the California border and back into Oregon where he mated and produced two litters. In 2014 the battery on his tracker expired. It is presumed that he died in 2021, one year after gray wolves were removed from the Endangered Species list, though it is still a mystery how he died.
To Andrew Myers, whose work has long dealt with the conservation and preservation of wild places and nature, the story of OR7 inspired a series of large-scale drawing constructions, titled Where-wolves. Myers has woven into these drawings the lore of werewolves, a metaphor for transformation which speaks to the affinity and difference between human and wild being. The story is one of isolation, instinct, perseverance, extinction, and preservation.
The large mixed media drawing constructions employ mark making, cutting, string, and other materials in a way that connects many pieces into a sprawling whole – much like a private investigator might pin up and find connections between clues and evidence. There is a sense that any part of the drawing might be moved or added to at will – they are not static – and indeed one of the drawings, Where Fox/Wolf – will be undergoing changes throughout this exhibition. (Myers will be doing a monoprint and drawing workshop on November 15 with Rock Creek students, and these student works will be added to the piece.) Just as our perceptions of a wolf-like OR7 are based on our constructs of place and of time, Myers’ drawings are made and remade according to the context of each exhibition.
There is an urgency, immediacy, and facility of drawing and rendering in all of Myers’ work, but especially in the monotypes. These prints explore different moments of wolf activity to which humans may relate – playing, napping, and walking. The seemingly spontaneous quality of the monotypes belies the skill of their making, adding a fleeting and transient feeling to an otherwise difficult medium. The stop-motion animations reveal a more playful approach to making: the rough wooden background is not hidden, and elements are cut and covered in endless transformations exploring the metamorphosis at the heart of werewolf lore. Through his making, Andrew Myers reminds us of the connections we share, and have always shared, with these amazing predators.
About the artist
Andrew Myers is an Oregon-based visual artist and educator. He received his undergraduate art degree from Eastern Oregon University and an MFA from Portland State University. Myers is a two-time recipient of the Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Ford Family Foundation. Notable exhibitions have been presented by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene OR, Duplex Gallery in Portland OR, Soil Gallery in Seattle WA, Rodgers Gallery at Willamette University, Fairbanks Gallery at Oregon State University, RISD ISB Gallery in Providence RI and the PM Bohúň Gallery in Liptov, Slovakia. He has been awarded funded artist residencies at Playa at Summer Lake, Oak Spring Garden Foundation, and Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture including an OAC Golden Spot Award at Caldera Arts. He currently teaches at Oregon State University.