Richard C. Elliott: Primal Op

Media Resources

Press Release

For immediate release: May 5, 2014
Media contact: Andrea Foust
Membership and Public Relations Manager
Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University | 503-370-6867
Public contact: 503-370-6855 | museum-art@willamette.edu

Color and light come alive with Richard C. Elliott’s art

SALEM, Ore. — The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is pleased to present the major retrospective exhibition “Richard C. Elliott: Primal Op,” May 31 through Aug. 24 in the Melvin Henderson Rubio-Gallery. This exhibition is accompanied by “Richard C. Elliott: Works on Paper,” May 10 through July 20 in the Study Gallery and Print Study Center. Richard C. Elliott (American, 1945-2008) was an innovative and nationally recognized Ellensburg, Washington, mixed media artist who became known for his artistic installations created with safety reflectors.

Organized by Director John Olbrantz, “Primal Op” traces the artistic career of Elliott from his early drawings and performance pieces from the late 70s and 80s to the development of his safety reflector artworks from the 90s and early 2000s that brought widespread attention and recognition to this innovative, yet largely overlooked artist.

“Primal Op” represents an unusual opportunity for museum goers of all ages. In an effort to help visitors more fully appreciate what Elliott sought to share with his audiences, the museum invites viewers to activate their own fun-filled sensory experience by borrowing a museum flashlight.

Elliott's biographer Sheila Farr says, “The beam of a flashlight or a ray of sunlight jolts the image into life, turning an installation of multicolored reflectors into a walk-in kaleidoscope. Silvery as moonlight on water or explosive as fireworks: the possibilities of the medium seemed limitless to Elliott and kept him spellbound for the last three decades of his life.”

“Works on Paper” features paintings, prints, and sculptures that were created in the 80s when he was heavily influenced by Australian Aboriginal art and performance art. It also includes prints from the last few years of Elliott’s life when he began an almost obsessive exploration of color and pattern in his quest to connect with the primal sources of art.

About the Artist

Born in Portland, Oregon, Elliott received his BA degree in art and economics from Central Washington University. During the 70s, he made meticulous drawings of his friends and other subjects, weaving light and form together to capture a particular moment in time. By the early 80s, he no longer felt that he could express what he wanted to about light and natural structure in drawing. He began to explore primary colors and light active materials, and by 1987, decided to focus on the safety reflector as his medium of choice. During the 90s and early 2000s, Elliott received over 20 public art commissions and created a broad range of work that combined safety reflectors with two-dimensional geometric designs to create site specific installations including “Portals Through Time” at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and a temporary installation at Times Square, New York City. During the last year of his life, he turned his attention to a series of computer-generated prints utilizing thousands of different colors and geometric designs.

Financial support
Financial support for the exhibition and book has been provided by funds from Caroline Rubio, mother of Melvin Henderson-Rubio, WU ‘74. Additional support has been provided by grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds, and the Oregon Arts Commission.

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ADDITIONAL PRESS KIT ITEMS

Exhibition note: some portions of this exhibition contain stylized nudity.

About the Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Oregon's third largest art museum features works by Pacific Northwest and Native American artists, and includes a diverse collection of traditional European, American and Asian art, as well as artifacts that date from antiquity. Frequently changing exhibitions include lectures, special events, tours, artist demonstrations and educational opportunities for children and adults.

The museum is located at 700 State St. in Salem. 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 on Monday. General admission is $6, $4 for seniors and $3 for students 18 and older. Students 17 and under and children are admitted free. Admission is free for everyone on Tuesdays. For more information call 503-370-6855 or visit willamette.edu/arts/hfma.

Exhibition Related Events

Conversation and Reception
Remembering Dick Elliott
Friday, May 30 at 5 p.m.
Willamette University College of Law, Paulus Lecture Hall
Free and open to the public

Family members Jane Orleman (Elliott’s widow) and Jim Elliott (brother) join biographer Sheila Farr, close friend John Hofer, Elliott’s fabricator Richard Johnson and HFMA Director John Olbrantz to reflect on the artist’s life and career.

Gallery Talk
Tuesday June 3, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Free and open to the public

Join Hallie Ford Museum of Art Director John Olbrantz for a guided tour of the exhibition. 

High Resolution Photos for Media

Copyright Notice:

The following images posted on this page are for publicity purposes only, intended for use by journalists in media-related publications. Use of any image must be accompanied by its credit line. Use of these images by any other parties or for any other purposes, private or commercial, is strictly prohibited unless the express written consent is obtained directly from Hallie Ford Museum of Art. For information regarding educational, personal and commercial use of images, please visit our Copyrights & Reproductions page.

For assistance contact Andrea Foust 503-370-6867 or at afoust@willamette.edu.

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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Jane Picking Lilacs, 1979. Graphite on paper, 32 x 36”. Collection of Jane Orleman, Ellensburg, Washington. 

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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Medicine Hut, 1983. Paint, reflectors, wood, feathers, and nails on canvas; 55 x 55”. Collection of Jane Orleman, Ellensburg, Washington. 

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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Snake Dance, 1984. Acrylic on paper; 47 ¾ x 96”. Collection of Jane Orleman, Ellensburg, Washington.

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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Firewood Piece 2, mid-1980s. Firewood, iridescent resist paint, glitter, nails, and reflectors; 40 ¼ x 20 ½ x 9 ½”. Collection of Jane Orleman, Ellensburg, Washington.

 

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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Unity Weave #2, 1989. Reflectors on canvas; 60 x 60”. Collection of Kevin Gallagher, Lake Forest Park, Washington.

 

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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Seven Diamonds, c. 1992. Reflectors on shaped support; 88 x 178”. Collection of Jane Orleman, Ellensburg, Washington.


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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Four Color Variations, c. 2005. Reflectors on panel; 4 panels: 45 x 45” each. Collection of Jane Orleman, Ellensburg, Washington.


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Richard C. Elliott (1945-2008). Vibrational Field #3, c. 2008. Digital print; 30 x 24”. Collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Maribeth Collins Art Acquisition Fund, 2008.030.003.

 

Exhibition Related Publication

Richard C. Elliott: Primal Op

To download: click on the image above to open the high resolution photo in a new window, then right-click and save.

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color monograph by Seattle art critic and Seattle art writer Sheila Farr. In her essay, Farr provides the first critical assessment of Elliott’s work and places him within the broader context of 20th-century art.

Richard C. Elliott: Primal Op
By Sheila Farr
ISBN 978-1-930957-71-8
© 2014 
Price: $24.95

A pdf version of the book is available for review by contacting Andrea Foust at 503-370-6867 or at afoust@willamette.edu

Travel Package with the Grand Hotel in Salem, Oregon

Package your trip to the exhibition with an overnight stay at the Grand Hotel, located only blocks from the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and right in the heart of downtown Salem. The package includes:

  • Overnight accommodations for two in a King Deluxe Room
  • Early check in at 1 p.m., late checkout of 1 p.m.
  • Two tickets to the exhibition “Richard Elliott: Primal Op”
  • A $50 gift card to Bentley’s Grill and Lounge
  • Complimentary continental breakfast buffet
  • 20% off the price of the exhibition book
  • Package starts at $175
  • Suite upgrades available for an additional $20 plus tax.

Grand Hotel in Salem
Downtown Salem Oregon
201 Liberty Street SE
Adjacent to the Salem Conference Center
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: 503-540-7800
Fax: 503-540-7830
Reservations: 1-877-540-7800
http://www.grandhotelsalem.com/

Interview Opportunities

Interviews can be arranged with the following individuals: 

  • Jane Orleman, Elliott's wife. 
  • John Olbrantz, exhibition organizer and Director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. 
  • Shiela Farr, Elliott's biographer. 

To arrange for an interview: contact Andrea Foust 503-370-6867 or at afoust@willamette.edu.

Public Website for the Exhibition

http://www.willamette.edu/arts/hfma/exhibitions/library/2014-15/richard_elliott_primal_op.html