Time in Place: Northwest Art from the Permanent Collection
September 18 – December 18, 2021
Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery
With COVID-19 and restrictions on travel and socialization, people have been spending more time closer to home, exploring and re-discovering the Northwest. With this exhibition, Jonathan Bucci, the HFMA Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, turns the museum’s programing eye closer to home as well. Drawn entirely from the museum’s permanent collection, “Time in Place” explores the concept of place in the Northwest through the lens of time. Visitors are asked to consider a number of questions. How does a place change over time? How do artists’ responses to a specific place change? How do personal experiences affect one's relationship to a region or place? How does knowledge of history impact depictions of place? How has the idea of place changed in an increasingly interconnected world?
Since opening in 1998, the museum’s permanent collection has been built around a primary vision of regional art. The collection encompasses both historic and contemporary fine art – objects such as paintings, sculptures, and prints – as well as historic and contemporary artworks made in customary or traditional ways, often in the forms of baskets and regalia, by artists indigenous to this area.
The artworks included in this exhibition were selected not simply because they depict a Northwest location, but because they convey a specific sense of time or connect to a period of time unique to our region. Organized both thematically and geographically, the exhibition looks at the legacy of conquest and native resilience as well as the human impact on the land. It also explores broad regions of our area defined more by geological, ecological, and cultural connections than by state boundaries. These regions include the Columbia River Gorge, the Willamette Valley, the High Desert, and the Pacific Coast.
Many artworks included in “Time and Place” have never been exhibited before at the museum, and range from major works by well-known artists to hidden gems, which are plentiful in the museum’s collection of over 10,000 objects. The largest painting ever created by the renowned Willamette Valley artist Carl Hall, and a remnant from a Fort Rock sandal over 9,000 years old are just two examples of the remarkable pieces on view.
Bucci says, “Historically, the artists of the Northwest have had a strong connection to place in their work, drawing inspiration from it, and interpreting it freely. Their individual expressions help us better understand our shared past, who we are today, and what connects all within the Northwest.”
This exhibition has been supported in part by funds from the HFMA Exhibition Fund; by advertising support from The Oregonian/Oregon Live; and by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission. Financial support for the removal and restoration of the Carl Hall mural was made possible by the late Maribeth Collins and by an anonymous donor.