If you’re a regular reader of GO! Magazine, you may recall our December 2018 article about changes afoot at Red Chair Gallery. The downtown Bend shop, which is run by its member artists, was undergoing changes to its artist roster and, therefore, the way things ran behind the scenes.
At the time, Rita Dunlavy, co-founder and managing partner of Red Chair, which opened in August 2010, called 2019 a “reset.” Along with touches such as a redesigned website, the reset included the appointment of new “team” leaders to handle certain aspects of running the shop, leaving Dunlavy more time to manage financial and business matters.
Though much of the changes would be imperceptible to shop patrons, Red Chair was taking pains to maintain the careful balance of artists and respective mediums.
“None of our artists compete with one another. There are only so many pastel artists, and so many potters,” Dunlavy said at the time. “Nobody has the same pottery. Everything is different.”
True to her word, Dunlavy and the other artist members recently welcomed five new artists to Red Chair. Two painters, a potter, a wood artist and a metal artist bring the tally to more than 30 at the shop.
They are talented and accomplished artists that fit well in our overall plan to keep individualism in the gallery without sacrificing the complimentary flow from one art form to another,” Dunlavy said Tuesday.
“Without exception, each of the artists also brings an understanding of customer relations and knows instinctively how to promote their own art and the art of their fellow members. The community feeling is this gallery was already strong, and the five of them fit in perfectly. Great art and great people.”
Ceramics was part of Bend native Kite’s Bend High art class in 1969, and she honed her technique during her college years at Eastern Oregon University, where she earned a degree in art.
Adult life took her away from ceramics over the next three decades, but after her son graduated from high school, Kite returned to art — and discovered that the clays, glazes and firing options had expanded in her absence. She set up a home studio, using an electric kiln to fire her work. After several years of experimentation, she found her preferred glazes and techniques for decorating the surfaces. Though functional work dominates her offerings at Red Chair, Kite also makes decorative pieces, and may display more in the future.
Via email, Kite told GO! “What I like about being a member of Red Chair is having my work in the heart of my hometown downtown. (Many memories there.) I am also very happy to be part of a gallery group of incredibly talented and personable people. The cooperative nature of the gallery gets me out of the studio and participating in the display and sales of my work and that of others. This is a welcome part of my process, since I spend most of my time working alone.”
Painter Baldwin takes inspiration from travels and outdoor activities including hiking, backpacking and skiing in her expressionistic works. “My hope is that my paintings will spark a connection with the viewer that reminds them of the beauty of nature and brings them joy,” she says in her online bio. Baldwin first sold art at the Portland Saturday Market, which led to a variety of design jobs; showing in local art fairs led to Northwest and national art shows. These days she paints at her home near the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon.
“I think it is an honor being a member of a gallery that is so well loved in Bend,” Baldwin told GO! “I like being included in a larger group of artists, and having that sense of community. It is a very supportive environment, and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Sculptor Looney can trace the arc of her art career back to when she was 4, drawing and building with sand and clay along Spokane River bank in North Idaho. She went on to receive a BFA in Design from Boise State University in 1983, and started welding in 1998. Today, her work can be found in collections private and public, including Maryhill Museum of Art in Washington. In 2010, she studied with enamel master John Killmaster. The techniques she learned (and teaches in workshops) allow her to combine sculpture design and narrative enamels.
“My metal sculpture explores our deep connection to nature and to each other, with my most recent works incorporating fused images in enamel (glass) on steel,” she said. “I am interested in how we as humans find meaningful moments amidst the challenges we are facing. With my imagery I am reaching for joy, connection and calm, reminders of what we love, with the intention of bringing peace and strength to our daily lives.”
Raised in Colorado, Central Oregon painter Runnels spent summers in the Spanish Peaks of southwestern Colorado. He minored in art history in college, and went on to be an Air Force designer. A class years later with Idaho impressionist Robert Moore led Runnels to rediscover a love of impressionism and painting. He prefers oils and large canvases for his paintings of quaking aspens as well as abstract designs.
“I want to thank all the artists at Red Chair Gallery for the warm reception,” Runnels said. “Especially (Dunlavy), she has made me feel very welcome.”
Joe Von Heideken
Von Heideken’s path to woodworking began years ago on a cold, rainy Northern California beach, “Scouting an out of the way beach that was littered with cool shells, rocks and of course driftwood,” according to his bio.
“It’s humbling to be part of the gallery with so many talented local artists,” he said. “All contribute to what makes Bend such a great to live and visit.”