Frye Art Museum

photo by Jill Berarducci

Seattle, Washington


Shelley Jordon: Revealing Beauty

Sept. 15-Nov. 5, 2000


Northwest artist Shelley Jordon (b. 1954) brings still-life painting back to center stage. With an eye for fresh color and brushwork, Jordon creates large-scale, lush canvas still-lifes that bring out unexpected beauty from humble objects: sliced cantaloupe, Perrier bottles, and spoons. A selection of her works will be displayed at the Frye Art Museum Sept. 15 - Nov. 5, 2000.

Currently a professor of art at Oregon State University, the artist is concerned with everyday objects and uses her painting to celebrate the power and beauty of interior domestic spaces. The still lifes are painted as if the viewer were looking out through a window, against a natural or industrial landscape, giving the compositions a monumental quality. Her most recent images reflect the diffused light of the Northwest, which illuminates her Portland studio. (left: Apples and Orchids, 1996, oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches)

In 1994, Jordon was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. There, she was inspired by the strong Mediterranean light and the juxtaposition of old and new, typical of Italian daily life. She found objects in the local markets, that provided her with a new range of subjects -- from antique cloths and figurines to purple artichokes and ribbed tomatoes.

During later visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum, the artist also discovered examples of an ancient Roman painting tradition called "humilia." These mural-sized paintings of domestic scenes and interiors were a significant influence on the subsequent development of her large-scale still lifes, many of which will be on view at the Frye in Seattle for the first time. An illustrated, color exhibition catalogue with an essay by Elizabeth P. McGowan, Associate Professor of Art at Williams College, will be available in the museum store.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Frye Art Museum.

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2000 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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