"Radio Flyer Flag," 2006, cut and punch wagon, tin and lunch box; 24 x 40 inches, courtesy of the artist and Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, Wash.
“George Washington,” 2000, wire-stitched metal, paint, wood, glass, found objects; 40 x 21 x 2.5 inches, Collection of the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, Wash.
Museum to feature Ross Palmer Beecher’s Americana
Ross Palmer Beecher is a Seattle mixed media artist who has developed a highly personal iconography based on American history, folk tales, colonial American art and aspects of contemporary American pop culture. Organized by director John Olbrantz, the mid-career retrospective will open June 4 and continue through July 31, 2011 at Willamette University’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
Born in Greenwich, Conn., Beecher studied drawing, painting and printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design before moving to Seattle in 1979. Many of her early sculptural works were inspired by her native New England, especially colonial American folk art. As her career progressed throughout the 1980s, she added found objects to carved and painted surfaces.
Over the past 25 years, Beecher has created wall sculptures of flags, quilts and famous Americans made from aluminum cans and other found objects. Her flags are a tribute to pop artist Jasper Johns, while her quilts are based on traditional designs. Her portraits range from Harriet Tubman and Ulysses Grant to Jackie Onassis and Dwight Eisenhower. In recent years, she has created a number of portraits of famous film directors.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum has planned a wide variety of free educational programs. On June 3 from 5-6 p.m., Beecher will present an illustrated lecture on her life and career. On June 4 from noon until 4 p.m., she will make flags and quilts from aluminum cans and found objects. On June 23, July 14, and July 28 at 10:30 am, docent Margaret Buhr will read popular children’s stories related to the Beecher exhibition.
The museum is located at 700 State Street 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 Monday, and admission on Tuesday is free.
For more information, please call (503) 370-6855 or visit www.willamette.edu/museum_of_art/.