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New Exhibit at the Shaw Historical Library Explores American West

Mar 04, 2011
The Great American West! These powerful words conjure up visions of a familiar yet exotic region that symbolizes the essential American spirit and character.

The Great American West! These powerful words conjure up visions of a familiar yet exotic region that symbolizes the essential American spirit and character. The idea of the American West is explored in a new exhibit at the Shaw Historical Library titled: Three Migrations, Visual Imaginings of the American West. The exhibit explores three migrations that have crossed the American Western landscape through the passion of collector Laurence L. Shaw (founder of the Shaw Historical Library).

Three Migrations, Visual Imaginings of the American West runs through April 15, 2011 at the Shaw Historical Library on second floor of the Oregon Institute of Technology Center for Learning on the Klamath Falls Campus.  The Shaw Library is open Monday through Friday from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. An online exhibit preview is available at: http://www.library.oit.edu/shaw/media/three_migrations.html. Admission to the Shaw Library exhibit is free.

A special open house for Three Migrations, Visual Imaginings of the American West takes place on Tuesday, March 15th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. An exhibit lecture will occur on Sunday, April 3rd, at the Klamath County Library at 126 South Third Street in Klamath Falls. For more information about the exhibit lecture, please contact Heidi Nowak at hnowak@klamathlibrary.org. Both events are free and open to the public.

Shaw collected artwork and books over the course of his life that reflected the development of the West both by people and animals. He was interested in the early history of Oregon and had a keen interest in Native American and European women heroines. He had a great love of action packed stories crammed into a single frame. His interest in color dominated the spirit of his collection. He was drawn to artists who started out as commercial illustrators and mid-career moved into Western narrative art. As a result, these artists were excellent storytellers. The results are works of art that visually imagine both large and small moments in Western History.

The three migrations referred to in the exhibit's title include three major North American migrations of animals, Indians and Europeans. The first section of the exhibit explores beautiful depictions of animals and birds. Anne Goetzman’s Great Horned Owl perches above the viewer ready to hunt. John Audubon’s Grosbeaks are ready to burst into song. A drawing by Larry Toschik,titled Run Down, shows the life and death struggle of a moose being attacked by a pack of wolves.

In the second migration of Native American Indians, the works highlight the skill and bravery of both men and women. Howard Terpnings’ The Long Shot shows a group of Plains’ Hunters preparing to shoot a buffalo. John Clymer’s Sacajawea walks along the Oregon coast after crossing the country with the Lewis and Clark survey expedition. Clifford Beck’s Fourth of July gives us a feel for the Navajo both as warriors and Americans.

The final migration consists of Europeans to the West. Stan Eckman’s Pony Express shows a horse and rider floating above the ground in their haste to deliver the mail. N.C.Wyeth’s Ore Wagon makes you want to leap out of the way of a rushing wagon. John Clymer’s Night Visions introduces us to the danger of men and animals coming into contact in the Wild Western landscape.


Artists in the Exhibit

It was Laurence Shaw’s love of allegory that guided him toward a collection of Western Art by a very talented group of artists. Many of the exhibit’s artists started out as commercial illustrators studying on the GI Bill after World War I and World War II. Their work collectively graced commercial projects such as Hollywood movie posters, covers of The Saturday Evening Post, automobile and appliance ads, and Doc Savage pulp novels. As a result, these artists were translated tremendous skill, craftsmanship and storytelling to the exhibit's sketches, prints and paintings.

Some of the artists are well known: John J. Audubon, John Clymer and William R. Leigh. Others artists are famous in the world of illustration: Mortimer Wilson, Howard Terpning and Duane Bryers. Together, the artists create a visually satisfying story of the West.

About the Show’s Curator

Marge d’Wylde received her M.F.A. in Conceptual Design from San Francisco State University. She studied Native American and Asian Art History at Sacramento State University and at the Teacher’s University in Taipei, Taiwan. She has spoken at conferences around the world on technology and the arts.

Her work has been shown in North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe. d'Wylde is dedicated to the concept of merging technology and fine art, making hidden collections accessible online to the public.

About the Shaw Historical Librarian

Anne Hiller Clark is the Librarian of the Shaw Historical Library. She holds an MS in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and a BS in History from the College of William and Mary.She both coordinates and contributes to the annual Journal of the Shaw Historical Library. She is an

associate professor at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Her research interests focus on local history, memory and effects on society.

About the Shaw Historical Library

The Shaw Historical Library was founded in 1983. The Shaw’s mission is to acquire, preserve and share the history of the Land of Lakes (southern Oregon, northern California and northwestern Nevada) and inspire discovery of the region's heritage. The library's collection includes 3,000 plus books, periodicals and newspapers, 2,000 plus maps, 7,000 plus photographic prints and negatives, more than 700 audio and visual materials and over 220 linear feet of archival materials. Specific areas of interest include the timber industry, native peoples, water use in the Klamath River Watershed, Crater Lake National Park and Lava Beds National Monument, Japanese American Internment during WWII and local history. The Shaw has published the scholarly Journal of the Shaw Historical Library about the region's history since 1987.

 Shaw Historical Library Contact:

• Anne Hiller Clark, Shaw Historical Librarian
• Phone: 541-885-1767 or 541-885-1686
• Email: shawlib@oit.edu,
• Exhibit Information on the Web: http://www.library.oit.edu/shaw/exhibits.html

• Exhibit images are available for print. Please contact Anne Hiller Clark at 541-885-1767 or 541-885-1686 or by email anne.hillerclark@oit.edu




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