In the aftermath of last winter’s howling ice storm, which leveled trees and plants across the county, Eugene artist Tallmadge Doyle was out in her yard collecting branches.
Doyle, a career printmaker, brought a handful of sticks and leaves into her home studio and was pinning them up to a wall so she could draw them when she caught the captivating shadow they made on the wall’s white surface.
“I just started hauling all this stuff in. I really, really liked the contrast of the silhouettes — and then that delicate line with the strong silhouette over it,” she said during a visit to her studio last week, pointing to a fine line in one image that swirls gracefully through the composition. “The line is a real loose interpretation of the same forms I use in the silhouette.”
The prints — and other images — she’s made from that experience are the basis of a new show of her work — the first in some years — that opens next week at the Schrager & Clarke Gallery downtown.
Called “Tally” by friends and family, Doyle has been known for her strong scientific bent as an artist. She’s combined imagery from animals and plants with symbols from ancient scientific texts in her work, which is often finely crafted to the point of obsession.
You can see some of her previous work at the University of Oregon’s Ford Alumni Center, whose ground-floor fireplace lounge sports not prints by Doyle but original copper plates from a series of images she did of Northwest animals.
You can see a small print from her current series of silhouettes in the Mayor’s Art Show, which runs through Oct. 4 at the Jacobs Gallery downtown.
As we talked last week, Doyle pointed out an engaging image she recently made of a Eurasian eagle owl that’s in captivity at Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene; she created the image from life drawings and photographs of the bird.
“That was an extremely labor-intensive project,” she laughed. “I worked on that piece off and on for a year.”
But the new work is different. The strong, graphic silhouettes give it a slightly archaic feel, like a 19th century portrait silhouette in a cameo. Doyle is exploiting this aspect further in a series of mixed media images she’s made — not prints, but painted directly on wood panels — that are cut in an elliptical shape.
But the prints themselves are the strongest, combining the stark shadows with Doyle’s finely intriguing line work.
The new show opens Wednesday at Schrager & Clarke and will have a reception during the First Friday ArtWalk. It’s the first solo exhibition of Doyle’s work locally in years. Her last gallery show was two years ago at the Davidson Gallery in Seattle.
The exhibit will also include small oil on panel paintings she did at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast.
After the Storm
Prints and drawings by Eugene artist Tallmadge Doyle
Schrager & Clarke Gallery, 760 Willamette St., Eugene
October 1 through November 8, 2014
Reception during the First Friday ArtWalk, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. October 3
Artist Talk at 4 p.m. Saturday, October 25
More information: 541-731-8815