Portland-based artist Lucinda Parker is one of Oregon’s finest painters and has established her reputation for vividly colored, highly abstract representations of nature and the biological diversity of this region. In 2011, Parker was selected for a major Percent for Art commission for the new Ford Alumni Center’s Giustina Ballroom. Her resulting 9 x 18 foot mural, A Glade of Many Ages, has been enjoyed by thousands of University faculty, staff, students, and visitors over the past five years. In Fall 2016 the JSMA is pleased to present Parker’s fifteen gouache exploratory studies for this important mural alongside her preparatory sketches and other source materials. Early plans for A Glade of Many Ages varied from snowy mountain imagery to rigidly geometric landscapes influenced by the artist’s long-held interest in Cubism.
Parker has described the distinctive importance of each of the six trees depicted in the final painting: “Reading from left to right, there are six very different trees. First, a lone white vertical snag with a long lighting scar; Second, a small vigorous solid green conifer; Third, a central ‘adolescent’ fir tree dancing in mid-space; Fourth, a companion trunk in grey, set back behind a diagonal sunbeam; Sixth, the dark green zig-zag foliage of a bisected conifer which frames the right edge of the painting. This structurally diverse range of tree sizes evokes mixed age forest ecology. Also, it activates the pictorial space of the painting. And, more importantly, it symbolizes the healthy variety of ages in a University community.”
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website