Past Exhibition

Constance Fowler, [italics]Heceta Lighthouse, Oregon Coast[/italics], 1938

Constance Fowler, Heceta Lighthouse, Oregon Coast, 1938

Constance Fowler: Tradition and Transition

May 11 – July 21, 2013

Study Gallery and Print Study Center

A major new exhibition features more than 50 works by Salem painter, printmaker, author, and educator, Constance Fowler (1907-1996). Organized by Professor Emeritus and Senior Faculty Curator Roger Hull, the exhibition "Constance Fowler: Tradition and Transition" explores the artist's career from the 1930s to the 1980s. The exhibition will open on May 11 and continue through July 21 in the Study Gallery and the Print Study Center at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.  

Fowler’s early paintings and engravings from the '30s and '40s embodied an expressive realism of the Oregon landscape, while her later work embraced the abstract movements that dominated American art after 1950. Throughout her career, Fowler’s life-long love of the Oregon coast provided inspiration for her work as she merged realism and abstraction.  

Hull says “Fowler’s life and work provide a window not only onto her particular career but also onto a period in American art during which assumptions about art changed radically, and established artists faced the challenge of reinventing themselves and their artwork.” Hull added, “In the course of six decades, her prints and paintings saw major transitions and transformations, yet from the beginning her art was suffused with the restlessness and animation of modern expressionism.”

Fowler played an important role at Willamette University in 1935 when she was invited by university President Bruce Baxter to formally establish the art department. She continued to teach at the university until 1947, when she took a teaching position at Albion College in Michigan, where she continued to teach until she retired and moved to Seal Rock, Oregon in 1965. 

A lecture about Constance Fowler will be presented by Roger Hull on June 9 at 2 p.m. in the Roger Hull Lecture Hall and is free and open to the public. A free full-color brochure, written by Hull, will explore Fowler’s life and work and will be available at the museum.   

This exhibition was supported by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission. Additional funding for the exhibition and brochure was also provided by Constance Fowler’s friend and colleague Bennet Ludden (1914-2012).