Currently On Exhibit

Dana Lynn Louis

Dana Lynn Louis

Artist Statement

D A N A  L Y N N  L O U I S
 
I have been in conversation with the immense and magical Pacific Northwest for 27 years. It is through my intimate engagement with the natural world that I extract the imagery that forms the basis of my drawings, sculptures, photographs, projections, and encompassing installations. 
 
My work is inspired by the timeless and fascinating systems of the body, the natural and constructed world, and their interconnections. I am interested in the liminal spaces we inhabit as we live and breathe. I work to engender a feeling of connection to external landscapes and our own internal environments. I encourage viewers to travel to new landscapes within themselves that evoke memories and stimulate hope. 
 
While helping to create the Ko-Falen Cultural Center in Mali, West Africa the Malian people taught me ways of appreciating humanity around the edges of life. I experienced the practices, rituals, and ceremonies that created a bordered and collaborative world in which the people and their natural environment were interconnected. As sensual beings moving through this life we cultivate relationships and forge intersections with each other and nature. I am motivated to visually express these intersections and relationships. 
 
The longer I live, the more I understand that life is precious and ephemeral. By looking at spaces in between, we touch the delicate and fragile places in our lives. However, with the recent war in Mali and continued violence and suffering in our world, my ability to catch my breath and have faith on a cellular level has been challenged. 
 
In 2014 I had the privilege of collaborating with patients at The Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital to create large permanent installations. My installations are created using the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of both breathing and drawing. The process of living, breathing, writing and drawing alongside the patient-artists was profound. This experience contributed to a fundamental shift in my understanding of humanity’s delicate and interwoven relationships. My experience at the State Hospital and my study and practice of yoga has given me the language and fortitude to use my breath and my whole self to build relationships and works that stimulate levity and encourage humane actions that allow us to live together. 
 
The envelope project in 2014, part of the show “Clearing” at The Hoffman Gallery at Lewis and Clark College, was inspired by my experience with the patients at the State Hospital. People are longing to actively engage in work that connects them to themselves and each other. When asked the simple question, “Is there something you would like to clear personally or globally?” the response was a resounding "yes." People wrote down the things they wanted cleared in sealed envelopes knowing they would be burned in a ceremony at Lewis and Clark College. The project took on a life of its own: over 3,000 envelopes were collected from more 25 countries. I received batches of envelopes from far-flung places without return addresses. I had no idea that this seemingly small gesture would take on such significance. At the burning on December 9, the event was streamed all over the world after having gotten emails, texts and phone calls from people asking to witness the burn. I was humbled and inspired to continue to draw breath in order to keep connecting myself, and my work to the world we share.
 
I have long understood how communing with nature and people influences and forms my works. Recent projects have contributed to my global sense of connectedness. I feel that the interconnections and netting that surrounds us empowers us. I imagine that my works are small but significant renderings of netting that like a spider web appears delicate but gets strength from tension. Like all natural forces I cannot predict where this will take me but I am attempting to make a record of the journey.

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Biography

D A N A  L Y N N  L O U I S
 
EDUCATION
1989  MFA Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio
1985  BS Studio art and education, University of Wisconsin, Madison Wisconsin
 
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2017  s t r e a m | Friesen Gallery | Ketchum, ID
2016  As Above, So Below | Museum of the San Juan Islands | Friday Harbor, WA
2015  Thread | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2014  Clearing | Hoffman Gallery at Lewis and Clark College | Portland, OR
2013  Draw | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2012  Container of Essence | Pioneer Courthouse Square Festival of Flowers | Portland, OR
2010  Surfacing | Kuhl Gallery | Oakland, CA
          Whisper | Gallery 111 | Sausalito, CA
2008  Reflection | Nine Gallery | Portland, OR
2007  Faith: Suspended | The Art Gym at Marylhurst University | Marylhurst, OR
2001  Drawing Breath | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
1998  Glass Sculpture and Drawing | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
1995  Casting | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
1993  New Work | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
1991  At the Core | Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
1988  4am | Hopkins Gallery | Columbus, OH
 
AWARDS, RESIDENCIES
2016  Thread, Artist Residency in Senegal, West Africa | Sponsored by The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
          Contemporary Northwest Artist Award | Portland Art Museum
2015  Ford Family Foundation Career Opportunity Grant
          Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant
2014  Franz Mayer Glass Studio Residency Munich, Germany
          Oregon State Hospital | Salem Oregon
          Ford Family Foundation Career Opportunity Grant
          Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant
          Regional Arts and Culture Council Project Grant
2013  Museum Of Glass Artist-in-Residence | Tacoma, WA
          Camp Caldera Golden Spot Residency | Sponsored by the Ford Family Foundation
          Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Award Residency | Sitka Center for Art and Ecology
2008  Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant Award
2007  Nocturnal Notation: Artist-in-Residence at South Waterfront | Portland, OR
          Individual Artist Project Grant | Regional Arts & Culture Council | Portland, OR
1997  Artist-in-Residence, Bullseye Glass Factory | Portland, OR
1996  Artist-in-Residence, City of Portland Waterfront Park renovation | Portland, OR 
          Design Team and Project Artist, Replacement Headworks | Portland, OR 
1995  Artist-in-Residence | Columbia Blvd. Wastewater Treatment Facility for the Bureau of Environmental Services | Portland, OR
1990  Artist-in-Residence | Ohio State University | Columbus, OH
1988-89 Artist-in-Residence | Oregon College of Art & Craft | Portland, OR
1988  Graduate Teaching Associate Award | Ohio State University | Columbus, OH
 
COMMISSIONS
2015  The Breathe Building | Portland, OR
          Drawing Breath a full building tattoo, glass doors and windows
2014  Oregon State Hospital Junction City Oregon Mixed media suspended sculptures and glass entry doors
2011-15 Tri-Met Light Rail, Portland Oregon commission award: Install-2015
2009  Clackamas Community College “A Delicate Wandering” Mixed media suspended installation 
2007  City of Portland outdoor mural project at Yoga Union Portland Oregon
          Ann Sacks: suspended installation | New York, NY 
2006  Northgate Library: glass wall | Seattle, WA
2005 Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital: glass curtain wall | Tacoma, WA
          North Atrium of City Hall – Portland, OR – four-story mixed media suspended installation
2003  Firehouse #9: mixed media sculptural wall | Portland, OR
          Oregon Convention Center: glass sculptures and paintings | Portland, OR
2002  The Street Car Lofts: cast glass and steel sculptural wall | Portland, OR
1999  College Housing NW: fountain, stairway and sculptural garden | Portland, OR
          Goosehollow Apartments: exterior installation | Portland, OR
1998  Doernbecher Children's Hospital: ceramic tile installations | Portland, OR
1997  Multnomah County Central Library: bronze sculpture | Portland, OR
 
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2017  Contemplative Practice | Sun Valley Center for the Arts | Ketchum, ID
2016  Residents in Resonance | Thread Residency | Sinthian, Senegal, West Africa
          Northwest Artist Awards Exhibition | Portland Art Museum | Portland, OR
          Light Festival PDX: interactive temporary light installation | Portland, OR
2015  Recent Acquisitions of Prints and Drawings Spanning 500 Years | Portland Art Museum | Portland, OR
2014  Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2013  Encircled | Dunedin Fine Art Center | Dunedin, FL
          New York Art Fair | Beaux Arts Contemporary Gallery | New York, NY
          Group Show Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2010  San Francisco International Art Fair | Donna Seager Gallery | San Rafael, CA
2007  The Carton Service Project | Portland, OR
2005  25th Anniversary Exhibition | The Art Gym at Marylhurst University | Marylhurst, OR
2003  Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2002  Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2001  Wonder Women | The Art Gym at Marylhurst University
          Air | ORLO | Portland, OR
          Laura Russo Gallery | Portland, OR
2000  Beyond Public: Works from the Studio | Elizabeth Leach Gallery | Portland, OR
1999  Sensual Nature | Western Oregon University | Monmouth, OR
          Artist’s Games | Bellevue Art Museum | Bellevue, WA
1998  Common Ground: Exhibition of Artists-in-Residence | Bullseye Glass Factory | Portland, OR
          The Garden | Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery | Portland, OR
          Pure Form: The Intensity of Process | curated by Beth Sellars for PICA at The Art Gym
 
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS
Clearing: Dana Lynn Louis book published in conjunction with exhibition Dec 2014
Essays by curator Linda Tesner, Author David James Duncan, Poet Jennifer Boyden
Allyn Cantor, Preview: Draw at Laura Russo Gallery, July 2013
Daniel Duford, Dana Lynn Louis at the Nine Gallery, Artweek, September 2008
Lois Alan, Dana Lynn Louis at The Art Gym, Marylhurst University Sculpture Magazine, December 2007
Kate Bonansinga, “The Lightness of Balance,” exhibition catalogue essay, May 2007
Daniel Duford, “Dana Lynn Louis at The Art Gym, Marylhurst University,” Artweek, May 2007
TJ Norris, “Riding The Wire,” tjnorris.net, March 2007
Rachel Neugarten, “Small-Scale Graces,” The Oregonian, March 2007
Wendy Miller, “Installationen von Dana Lynn Louis,” Glashaus, January 2006
Beth Olsen, “Suspended Sculpture,” Oregon Home, September/October 2005
Matthew Kangas, “Dana Lynn Louis,” Sculpture, March 2002
D.K. Row, “Sliding at the Top of the Heap,” The Oregonian, July 1998
Kate Bonansinga, “Fear and Wonder,” Willamette Week, July 1998
Randy Gragg, “Tip Sheet,” The Oregonian, July 1998
Barry Finnemore, “Central Library Takes Root,” Daily Journal of Commerce, January 1997
Mairi Hennessy, “Bronze Tree of Knowledge Installed at Central Library,” Ourtown, January 1997
D.K. Row, “Serious Fun,” Willamette Week, January 1997
Terri Hopkins, Traversing Territory, exhibition catalogue, January 1997
Jim Demetre, “Reviews,” AORTA, April/May 1997
Randy Gragg, “PICA Throws a Process Potluck,” The Oregonian, January 1997
Lois Allan, “Forms and Fabrications at The Art Gym,” Reflex, April 1995
“Dana Lynn Louis at Laura Russo Gallery,” Reflex, March 1993
Randy Gragg, “The Next Wave,” The Oregonian, February 1993
Joel Weinstein, “Sculpture Shows: Bodies of Art,” The Oregonian, February 1993
 
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
2017 Guest Speaker, Sun Valley Wellness Festival | "Healing Environments" | Sun Valley, ID
2013 to present: Mentor to Graduate Students | Pacific Northwest College of Art + Oregon College of Art and Craft
2012 to present: Teacher, Living Yoga | founded to bring yoga to populations that would not otherwise have the opportunity to practice
2000 to present: Board of Directors Member, Ko-Falen Cultural Center | Bamako, Mali, West Africa 
1992 to 1997: Founding Board Member, ORLO, a non-profit organization that explores environmental issues through the arts | Portland, OR

News and Press


EYE ON SUN VALLEY |  Friday 10 March 2017

'Stream' Created Through Patience and Meditation
By Karen Bossick

The art of meditation and the art of breathing infuse Dana Lynn Louis’ art with an indelible uniqueness.

Louis employed her reverence for breath into the glass she blew as she created dozens of glass prayer beads for her sculpture “Oscillation,” which hangs from the ceiling in Friesen Gallery at Sun Valley Road and First Avenue N. in Ketchum.

And she meditatively strung hundreds of crystal beads together to complete that and other sculptures.

 “As a yoga instructor I’ve always been in touch with my breathing as a way to move us through life,” said Louis, whose work is collected internationally. “But my breath became particularly significant 17 years ago when my sister was dying of lung cancer. That really propelled me into using art as healing work. I created an uplifting positive work for a place where kids got chemotherapy.”

Louis has spent this past week on a ladder at Friesen Gallery painting the wall behind her “Oscillation” sculpture. Using a small brush and acrylic paint to create the effect of gold leaf, she started with a small circle and meditatively worked outwards..

A round mirror imposed over that painting features tiny prayer beads drawn onto it.

Louis walked into the middle of her prayer beads.

“I think it’s important being able to be in the prayer beads given this difficult time on planet politically and environmentally,” she said.

The Portland artist will be present to discuss her exhibition, titled “Stream,” during tonight’s Gallery Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 10.

Louis has a few large fragile sculptures suspended from the ceiling in the exhibition.

“Constellation” is made of crystal beads and mica discs that resemble sand dollars. The suspension references Louis’ interest in Tibetan Buddhism and its concept of suspension, the intermediate step between life and rebirth after death.

“I have a lot of interest in layering. And my works are about spaces in between, as well.  Space is important both physically and symbolically—space can reference many things. And, as you can see, my sculptures are transparent, as well.”

In addition to her suspended work, Louis is exhibiting a new work that she just brought back with her from Senegal where she spent several weeks as an artist-in residence.

Louis took some fabric with her not knowing what she might do with it. The day following the presidential election she was so despondent that she dyed the fabric black, then wrapped herself in it, sitting in the studio for a day.

Finally, she told herself: “You can only cry so long before you turn this into a positive.”

She layered the fabric with gauze, then meditatively began painting cellular matter on it. The cells resemble a vase with an organism growing it.

”I had never made anything on fabric before,” said Louis. “But it pays homage to the village of Sinthian where she was living and the connectivity between the people of the village, their medical center, their agriculture and art.”

Louis is also showing a few examples from a daily diary she began that she called “Landscapes of the Inner Eye.”  She took photographs of clouds and other things in the natural world, then drew wispy lines on to it via computer to depict the energy she felt. Dana then printed the images on metal.

“It’s about collaborating with nature,” she said. “I haven’t Photoshopped any of these.”

Louis will invite viewers to write things they wish to clear from their lives or the world on a card during her exhibition at Friesen Gallery. She will do the same at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts where she is creating meditative art with videos she shot of moving clouds for The Center’s “Contemplative Practice,” visual arts exhibition, which opens March 31.

She will lead a ceremony to burn the envelopes, sending the collected prayers and wishes on their way during the Sun Valley Wellness Festival over Memorial Day Weekend.

“The Clearing” stemmed from a 2014 show she did at Lewis and Clark College in Portland.

“I offered envelopes, thinking people would want to clear themselves of their ex-husband or their cancer. They began asking for more. They’d say,’ I’m going to Afghanistan to help women to get their voice back. Maybe I take them there.’ Pretty soon we had 3,000 participants all over the world.”

Louis also plans to create light projections outside the Sun Valley Inn during the Wellness Festival and teach a workshop about the way she uses her artwork in hospitals. Recently, for instance, she did a public art project for the Oregon State Hospital--best known as the setting for Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”--to humanize the setting.

“We strung beads to create a waterfall. And we had a dialogue in which I encouraged them to write words they would want to share with others about their lives, their dreams, their potential,” she recounted. “Those words are now etched into the glass of the building, greeting people as they walk in.”