Gallery Show of Mike Van at White Lotus Gallery, Eugene, Oregon

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On Saturday October 22nd, 2016, I attended the art opening of Eugene artists Mike Van and Connie Mueller. Mike Van also happens to be my grandfather, so this was a really great event for me and chance to do a little documenting of his career as an artist.

After a brief couple of speeches from the artists, in which Mike spoke about the mix of more recent works inspired by a unique Spring of 2016 in the Willamette valley and Connie remarking on the growing complexity of her impressive reduction prints, I had a chance to document the event some. I’ve included a gallery of images taken from my liveblog on my instagram page for this site. If you haven’t visited my instagram page before, it’s where I typically post a couple of paintings from the Renaissance through the 20th century and make a few concise observations about the work- much lighter fare than what I post on this site but also very fun and interactive. You can visit that page at @coupdedesart. I also have started doing liveblogs when I visit museums and galleries- this and the previous visit to the De Young in San Francisco (I posted it to this site too!) were so popular I will probably make this a regular thing as time allows.

A couple of things I noticed about this show is that over the years, the image of the crow has been prominent in the work of Mike Van. This has often been an image we can see as a totem or symbol in his work, signifying perhaps everything from a cryptic link between ourselves and our natural surroundings to the struggles we face in interfacing with those surroundings. While images such as “Bather” further this motif via the difficult to interpret actions and personae of the crows, images such as “Me?” are playful with the concept of meta-commentary and examine the psyche of those otherwise totemic characters. “More Cowbell” is a comical title that showcases the young-at-heart levity of the artist (the title being a reference to the Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Christopher Walken about the recording of “Don’t Fear the Reaper).

As I mentioned, this was a lot of fun for me. If you’d like to see more of this kind of contemporary art gallery commentary (specific to the Northwest, more or less ), leave a comment on this page and let me know! I may end up doing more of this in the future, we’ll see!

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