Have you ever gone to an art show, seen some decent work that you kind of dig, and shit your drawers when you realized it costs the equivalent of a year’s rent and a rhinestone ankle bracelet?
Well I – a real rhinestone anklet enthusiast – have. I realize that the artist puts a lot of time and a piece of their special artistic soul into their work. I also realize that there is a phenomenon that may have a name I’ve forgotten that when a piece of art – be it a 20-foot oil painting or poo on china – enters a gallery, it becomes worth more scratch. Some artists have also told me that the prices must be high so people understand that this is “fine” art, a special cultural artifact that says something about the status and “fine” tastes of the consumer and producer (who usually can’t afford to buy a piece with the tag).
This art becomes distinguished and separate from the cool landscapes old ladies do for display and sale at the local waffle house. I’ve purchased some great log cabin at sunset and kitten paintings for my apartment. They really tie the room together and set the mood for love. All for under a hundred bucks.So I, and likely my editor before me, was captivated by a press release describing a coffee house show by Portland transplant Rose McCormick. It said “Welcome to the world of affordable, quality art.”
Rather than waffle house kittens and fruit baskets, McCormick paints colorful oil paintings on quality materials. She believes in a traditional, high-quality medium and materials: oil and canvas, hand stretched around a sturdy wooden frame.
McCormick thinks that “everybody should have some original art, there’s too much photocopying going on.” In regard to photocopying and computer-generated, modern mass-produced art, she said “Change is good, but don’t go overboard, use a computer but don’t kill the first thing … there was lots of good shit in the old days.”
Classically minded and trained, McCormick’s work could be categorized as symbolist and she is influenced by Alice Neel and Paul Klee.
She says her paintings “are like a theatrical situation.” She wants their various symbolic elements to “click into the subconscious,” of a viewer, “like a weird world.”
I think it safe to say that her paintings are at least as appealing, if not more so, as a kitten in a cabin at sunset.
I, like everyone else, will have to go deep into Southeast to look at the 11 paintings. They are hanging at a coffee shop called Papacino’s, 4411 S.E. Woodstock. The coffee shop is reportedly a popular place frequented by Reed college students and “artsy older people.”
She will be selling her larger paintings, two and a half feet squares, for around $200, and smaller ones for less. This, I think, is less than most oils on quality materials that take an average work week to complete. To keep it even more real and down to earth, she will be holding a free raffle for a painting of the winner’s choice. She wants to move the art into happy people’s residences so she can make room at hers to create more.