WOU in the news: A Fantastical Exhibition of Extraordinary Art and Ingenious Contraptions

Story published on WillametteLive.com

What if the industrial revolution never really caught on?  Imagine a world where devices and technology were powered mainly by steam.  Imagine fashions based on Victorian clothing, but without the weight of strict Victorian social and gender roles.  Imagine a world which might include a bit of magic, where there are still huge areas of the  map marked “here be dragons,” where you might travel by airship and possibly own a computer or typewriter run by clockwork.  Interested?  Welcome to the world of Steampunk.

What originally began as a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that included social and technological aspects of the 19th century (the steam) usually with some deconstruction of, re-imagining of, or rebellion against parts of it (the punk) has grown and expanded.  Steampunk contraptions in the stories caught the imagination of artists and cosplayers and Steampunk gadgets came into the real world. Everything from clothing, computers, furniture, and vehicles have been “Steampunked” by a growing legion of people who enjoy both the whimsy and challenge of adapting present world needs to antique/fantastical tech, and who rebel against the cookie cutter, machine-made sameness of our surroundings.

Steampunk lovers and people who have never been exposed to the genre are in for a treat as Red Raven Gallery  welcomes  Steampunk artists in all media for the September juried show.  Artists from as far away as Washington state and Idaho have submitted entries, and the First Wednesday reception  will include costumes, awards, and a short presentation by Josh Kinsey the special guest juror.

Kinsey, an award-winning artist from Silverton, is a contestant on the new TV show, Steampunk’d. He will present awards at 6:30 pm, along with a short presentation on his art.  Kinsey’s background is in fine art, with a degree in Computer Graphic Imaging.  He worked as a digital artist, owned a custom cabinet shop, and now owns J.W. Kinsey’s Artifice, a small artisan shop specializing in the creation of unique, design-driven projects focusing on timeless beauty and craftsmanship.

In his work Kinsey stresses construction integrity and cohesive design, with the goal of producing heirloom quality pieces. His pieces feature parts which are handmade for specific applications within the overall design and he avoids using adhesives in the assembly of the various parts. Every part is attached mechanically,  resulting in sculptures which can be disassembled  with a screwdriver,  Allen wrench, and socket set. Construction materials include the royal metals, high-grade hardwoods, mica, industrial-grade resin, and glass.  His work can be seen on his website at: http://www.jwkinseysartifice.com/

Red Raven’s featured member for September is Deborah Reid Denno whose whimsical abstract drawings and paintings range from highly detailed, fine- lined images which reveal more facets every time they are viewed, to bright colored abstracts with graceful, flowing lines.  Denno who has a degree in Art from Western Oregon University, infuses her images with humor and an overarching spirituality.

Red Raven hours are Tues-Sat. 10am-6pm.  An artists reception for “Steampunk” will be held on First Wednesday Sept. 2, from 5-8pm, and the show will remain up through September. www.redravengallery.com

Red Raven Gallery

155 Liberty Street NE

Suite #140

503 798 9973