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Faculty artists exhibit recent works

January 18, 2011

  • Photo from the Robert Miller series “A New Narrative in Faces: Portland’s Ethnic Minority Artists and Activists” (“Marta Guembes,” 2009, toned gelatin silver print,16 x 20 inches)

Hoffman Gallery

The recent work of two Lewis & Clark faculty members will be on display at the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary art this spring. Opening January 20, the exhibition will feature work by Robert B. Miller, senior lecturer in art and studio head of photography, and Cara Tomlinson, assistant professor of art and studio head of painting.

“The faculty art exhibition is an invaluable opportunity for our students and faculty—both in and outside of the art department—to see the kind of creative scholarship our artists are pursuing,” said Ben David, department chair and associate professor of art history. “I expect that this show, which will coincide with the beginning of our spring term, will make a fascinating parallel with the Senior Art Exhibition at the end of the semester, allowing visitors to trace some of the ways in which the creative work of our faculty artists informs their teaching.”

The exhibition will debut with an opening reception on January 20, from 5 to 7 p.m., and it will run through March 13. Both artists will offer gallery talks in February: Robert B. Miller will speak on Thursday, February 17 at noon and Cara Tomlinson will speak on Tuesday, February 22 at noon.

Robert B. Miller, Leaving Home: An Homage and A New Narrative in Faces: Portland’s Ethnic Minority Artists and Activists

Two collections of Miller’s photography will be on display in this exhibition: a series of portraits of Portland activists and a project that chronicles a profound transition in the life of his mother-in-law, when family decided to remove her from the house where she had spent her entire adulthood and place her in a care facility.

As his wife, Joyce DeMonnin, and her siblings went about the sad and arduous task of preparing the house for the real estate market, Miller sought permission to document the house as his mother-in-law left it for the last time.

“Robert’s 20 photographs from this series document a middle class home as if someone had left it for just a moment, forming a composite portrait of his subject, Ethelyn DeMonin,” said Linda Tesner, director of the Hoffman Gallery. “Presented with narratives written by Joyce, the photographs pay tribute to an ordinary, but very rich life.”

A lifelong photographer, Miller has taught photography at Lewis & Clark for more than 27 years; he started the College’s photography department in 1984. He holds a B.F.A. from the University of Oregon and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The slideshow below features four photographs from the series Leaving Home: An Homage. One image from Miller’s other series on display, A New Narrative in Faces: Portland’s Ethnic Minority Artists and Activists, appears above.

Cara Tomlinson, Sums: New Work

In the last few years, the breadth of Tomlinson’s studio practice has expanded to include not just painting, but drawing, video installation, and sculpture—work she undertakes with a shared material and philosophical approach taken from painting.

“There is wonder in her imagery: the wonder of looking closely, of touching sensitively, of garnering the kind of nonverbal knowledge that can only come from paying close attention to the small things in the world,” writes artist Mark Alice Durant in the exhibition catalog. “It is in the small things that we can most clearly see the traces of larger forces beyond our control, whether that power is molecular, spiritual, or political.”

Tomlinson joined the Lewis & Clark faculty as program head of painting in 2006. She earned her undergraduate degree from Bennington College and her MFA from the University of Oregon.

“Seeing itself is a history built up of choices and environment,” Tomlinson said. “Painting is one way to reveal and make conscious our process of seeing. The work that results is a history of these momentary systems of decipherment.”

The slideshow below features five images of work from the collection Sums: New Work, on display in the Hoffman Gallery.

Exhibition details

The faculty art exhibition will be on display January 20 through March 13. The Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art is located on the Lewis & Clark College campus at 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road in Portland. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show is free and open to the public; parking is free on weekends. For more information, please visit

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