Our 2017 Viewing Drawers and Library Exhibition

From now through May 19th, our Library is featuring Relief – ten thematically-intertwined prints by Nickolas Hurlbut, Rachel McLain, and Hazel Glass, curated by Claire Bassett. These three artists are also select participants in our 2017 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers. Hurlbut and Glass are based here in Portland, while McLain is based in Eugene, Oregon.

In keeping with our Library exhibition tradition, we wish to consider our current theme and convey its thread through our featured prints. Relief: reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety; alleviation of pain or discomfort; a temporary break from tension. Amidst tremendous political tension in the States, we wonder whether moments of relief soothe our spirit, and refocus our mind.

 Nickolas Hurlbut. Spell (left) and Cleanse (right). 8 x 8 inches each, cyanotypes on watercolor paper, 2016.

Take the prints of Nickolas Hurlbut, for example, whose Cleanse, Lush, Spell, and Willow showcase softness and beauty in men. His subjects offer gentle gestures, harmonious with natural landscapes or rooms inside one’s home. According to Hurlbut, “femininity and masculinity [are] in one form, in each human.” Gentle and powerful is not a dichotomy, but a truer understanding of what it means to be human, irrespective of gender. With emphasis on masculinity, though, Hurlbut’s cyanotypes on watercolor paper allow repressed qualities, namely vulnerability and sensitivity, to reemerge. His prints legitimize feeling.

Rachel McLain. Flutter (left) and Pointed (right). 16 x 20 inches each, photography on plates, 2016.

Similarly yet distinctly, Rachel McLain’s three Untitled photographs offer “relief” through acute sensitivity to nature’s detail and organic structure. McLain, like Hurlbut, finds beauty in what is natural, but also emphasizes transformation: “I use minimal post-processing because I want to show what really existed in that moment …. [dew]drops are tenuous, light is right for only a short time, flowers droop and die, or become seeds.” The inevitable is prefigured with grace and maturity. Moreover, there is comfort in remembering what is delicate is not fragile; what is subtle and often overlooked is strong.

Hazel Glass. Salted 1 (left) and Salted 4 (right). 11 x 14 inches each, fine art digital prints, 2016.

Turning to Hazel Glass’ Salted 1, Salted 4, and Salted 5, we see larger organic structures – salt pools in the middle of a Mexican desert – haunting with everyday grace and enchanting with otherworldly contrast. Glass’ “shining lens eye” is ready for magic: playful shadows and reflections; beauty in unexpected places; the full spectrum of ambient light. These moments sing to her and to us. We feel the possibility of wonder without escapism and attention without force. May we value the gentler parts of ourselves, reflected within nature and our bodies in continual abundance.

Please note: All prints on our Library wall – and in our Viewing Drawers – are for sale, purchasable at our Front Desk.

Written by Claire Elizabeth Bassett.

The intersection of photography and performance

Tracy Broyles dance with Lauren Semivan (photo by Stephen A. Miller)

There are many ways to explore photography and over the next few months, we will spend some time exploring our exhibitions through the performing arts. We kicked off this concept in March, when dancer/choreographer Catherine Egan responded to the work of Magda Biernat’s Adrift series.

This Saturday evening (April 1), Blue Sky hosts dancer Tracy Broyles and musician Adrian Hutapea in exploring Lauren Semivan’s series, Observatory. I will join Adrian with voice and sound (answering for some of you the question of what I do in my spare time).

Broyles will begin at 7pm, performing throughout the space for about 90 minutes, interacting with Semivan’s work, exploring wind, geometry, alternate viewpoints, and re-arrangement of linear and perceived time.

Audience is invited to come and go observing for as long as they choose.  Sip on a drink (thanks Pike Road Wines), wander, observe, and reflect. A suggested donation of $0 – $10+ will help pay for this and other collaborative programming.

Lauren Semivan’s and Tara Sellios’ exhibitions close on Sunday, April 2, so don’t miss this (almost) final opportunity to engage with this amazing work.

- Lisa DeGrace, Executive Director

Camp Blue Sky 2016



CAMP BLUE SKY at Camp Westwind
September 23 — 25, 2016 
Friends of Blue Sky,
We are getting VERY excited to join fellow photographers and photographer lovers for a two-night retreat at Camp Westwind on the beautiful Oregon coast— located just north of Lincoln City, OR. We’d love for you to join us! Enjoy your time on 500 acres of secluded prime coastland with two miles of unspoiled beach, tide pools, a saltwater estuary, mountain trails, meadows, hidden lakes, and a spectacular ocean view.Camp Blue Sky is a casual, relaxing “retreat from the real world” for photographers and photography lovers. In addition to having plenty of free time for beach activities, photographing, and hiking in the glorious natural setting, we will have ongoing projections in the main building both evenings (like they do in the square during the Arles photo festival in France), including 20 images of whatever work you’d like to share. There will also be informal workshops, discussions, professional networking and the making of lifelong friends.

How much will all this cost?

The all-in cost for this weekend is just $200 for Blue Sky Members, and includes transportation to Camp Westwind from Blue Sky and back, lodging, food, and drink.

*Visit to join today if you are not currently a member. Annual memberships start at just $25 for students, artists, and seniors.

What are Camp Westwind’s accommodations like?

Cabin lodging consists of cozy, but rustic shared cabins featuring single bunk beds (most sleep 9, and a couple sleep 16.) Dining is communal and delicious. Plan on sharing meals together; have a seat next to someone new and make a new friend. You can see lots of pictures at

*NEW THIS YEAR: Reserve an entire cabin for you and 8 friends! (Cabins sleep up to 9 people)- Guarantee to know your bunk-mates by reserving a cabin for you and eight friends.

[Individuals (and couples) will be assigned to cabins after registration is closed]

Register by August 24, 2016.



Blue Sky Gallery is pleased to announce that Lisa DeGrace has accepted the position of Executive Director, effective December 2, 2015. Lisa has spent her career working in nonprofits in Oregon and SW Washington in various leadership and fundraising positions. Over the past 20 years, she has gained a clear vision of what makes non-profits—particularly arts organizations—thrive. Lisa served as the Director of Foundation Relations at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and PNCA during the first years of their joint operating agreement in addition to working for the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and as the Managing Director of Profile Theater. Lisa is also a composer and a performing artist, and she brings a deep passion for the arts and photography to her new role at Blue Sky:

“I admire Blue Sky’s deep roots in the local and national arts scene, its collaborative tradition, and its commitment to the photographers who show their work at Blue Sky. As Portland’s art scene continues to grow and change, Blue Sky, with its 40-year history, has a unique voice in this landscape. I’m excited to work with our board, staff, artists, and arts community to help steer Blue Sky toward its next 40 years.”

Welcome, Lisa!


Connecting Boundaries in the work of Carol Yarrow and Terri Warpinski

The two Drawers photographers whose work is on display this week, Carol Yarrow and Terri Warpinski, both traveled away from home to photograph these wonderful series: Yarrow photographs the many different personalities of primates in the jungle of Cameroon, while Warpinski’s Surface Tension focuses on the Berlin Wall, the U.S.-Mexico Border, and the Israeli-Palestinian separation border and the “multiple and conflicted personalities that complicate these places.”

Terri Warpinski’s series “Surface Tension” focuses on border control and the chaos that often takes place in the areas where the borders are located. Some images focus on the physical land and the areas in which the borders have been made, whereas other images show groups of people anticipating their entrance onto the other side. Warpinski successfully uses diptychs and triptychs to heighten the viewer’s sense of place as well as emphasize the notion of a divide that is physically created on the paper by dividing the images.

Many of the diptychs and triptychs serve as a narrative, leading the viewer from one image into the next. By making these connections there is a better understanding of what takes place in these highly guarded and concentrated borders. Warpinski states, “Walls and fences, embodiments of social and political oppositions, mark and divide the physical landscapes. Surface Tension utilizes various methods for capturing photographic images and incorporates the juxtaposition of images arranged in diptychs, triptychs or single frames.”

Carol Yarrow’s portraits of chimpanzees remind us of our shared ancestry with these “animals” and we’re reminded where we, as humans, truly originated from. Although most people consider apes to be animals, recent studies and lawsuits show that some people and scientists continue to convince the public that chimpanzees are legally human. Yarrow’s photographs only further confirm those statements when you notice the many personalities and human-like traits these chimps exhibit in her photographs.

The studies of animal behavior has a lengthly history when it comes to apes. Although one may point out that most chimpanzee emotions are noticeable in their eyes; they are extremely smart and talented. They know compassion and they know fear – something many humans tend to forget. Yarrow successfully photographs the chimps in their natural environment where they are comfortable with her presence and welcome her by allowing these portraits to be photographed. Yarrow captures the moments where some chimps are in a state of trance and others are completely locked in eye contact with her. Yarrow explains the experience as “life changing and life affirming.”

- Kory Jean Kingsley