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January 24, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Participants of a unique artist residency program are reuniting for “The Return of the Winter Wrens” exhibition opening Friday, Feb. 7 in Nightingale Gallery at EOU.
Winter Wren was a temporary residency program run by Ryan Pierce, visiting professor of art at EOU in 2012. The premise was simple: artists could stay from one to four weeks in the upstairs of the house Pierce rented from EOU art faculty member Jessica Plattner, exploring the area and utilizing Plattner’s studio space in return for giving a short lecture at the university.
The project operated under the auspices of Signal Fire, an organization Pierce co-founded with Amy Harwood in 2008 to provide wilderness retreats and residencies for artists of all disciplines using public land.
The program specifically sought to introduce artists to the natural wonders of the Blue Mountains and Grande Ronde Valley. In turn, EOU students had the opportunity to meet these new artists who came from San Francisco, Montana, Portland – even abroad.
“The Winter Wren Residency allowed me to share my enthusiasm for this area with a crop of artists from as far away as Australia and Quebec,” Pierce explained. “The artists explored the open spaces around La Grande, created work and shared their knowledge, warmth and energy with the university community. Now the Winter Wrens return to us to share the product of their labors.”
Seven of the eight participating artists are exhibiting works. They are Nicole Breedon, Wayne Bund, Kiera Brew Kurec, Guillaume Légaré, Rebecca Najdowski, Julie Perini and Kerri Rosenstein.
Pieces were made either during the residency or influenced by their experiences in La Grande.
An opening reception for the artists is from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Nightingale Gallery in Loso Hall.
Pierce will also give a free, public talk about his studio practice and Signal Fire residency at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 in Zabel Hall, Room 101.
See “Return of the Winter Wrens” through Feb. 28. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more information visit www.eou.edu/art or “Like” the gallery on Facebook.
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