Museum Opens Exhibition by Portland Painter

'Dog Day,' 2003, acrylic on canvas, collection of the artist, Portland'Self-Portrait with Tropical Box,' 1972, oil on canvas, collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.'Nocturnal Beach,' 1984, oil on canvas, private collection, Battle Ground, Wash.A major retrospective of work by George Johanson -- a distinguished Portland painter, printmaker and teacher whose work focuses on bathers, swimmers, artists and the streets and vistas of Portland -- will open Feb. 3 and continue through April 1 at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.

Organized by Professor Roger Hull, George Johanson: Image and Idea will trace the artist's career over a 60-year time period and will feature 68 works drawn mostly from regional collections. The exhibition represents the first time Johanson has been honored with a major retrospective.

Several lectures are planned in conjunction with the exhibition. Hull will present a slide show and lecture about Johanson's career Feb. 2 from 5 to 6 p.m. in Cone Chapel, on the second floor of Waller Hall. A preview reception will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. in the lobby and galleries of the museum. On March 3 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Roger Hull Lecture Hall at the museum, Prudence Roberts will discuss Johanson's work as a printmaker. Hull and Johanson will discuss the artist's life and career April 1 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the museum.

Born in Seattle in 1928, Johanson attended the Portland Art Museum School in the late 1940s, where he studied with Oregon modernists Louis Bunce, William Givler, Jack McLarty and Michele Russo. Responding to the work of these artists as well as to the New York School and European avant garde, Johanson forged a mature style and range of imagery characterized by its graphic immediacy, intense coloration and exuberant figuration.

A full-color, 128-page book will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. The book will include an extensive essay by Hull and more than 110 color plates and black and white illustrations. In his essay, Hull will discuss the inter-textual nature of Johanson's work and the significance of his subject matter. As with previous Hallie Ford Museum of Art publications, the Johanson book will be distributed through the University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.

George Johanson: Image and Idea is supported in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax Funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Mondays. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information call (503) 370-6855.