Blue Sky Ahead: Founders


photographs by Ann Hughes, Christopher Rauschenberg, Craig Hickman, Robert DiFranco, and Terry Toedtemeier

October 3–November 3, 2019

Panel discussion: Saturday, October 5, 1:00 PM

Blue Sky turns 44 years old this month! To celebrate this considerable legacy, Blue Sky is launching Blue Sky Ahead, a two-part exhibition series. For the first half the series, Blue Sky has dedicated both galleries to current and past photographic work by founders Ann Hughes, Christopher Rauschenberg, Craig Hickman, Robert DiFranco, and Terry Toedtemeier. 

In keeping with the historical spirit of Blue Sky Ahead, founder Robert DiFranco has selected work from his personal archive to exhibit alongside new projects that span his forty-four-year relationship with photography. Ann Hughes’s photographs from the 1980s and 90s focus on domestic interiors that also demonstrate a deep connection to the natural world that was heavily influenced by her rural upbringing. Terry Toedtemeier, who passed away in 2008, experimented with various photographic methods and subject matter throughout his career, but his love of geology led him to focus on landscape and aerial photography, which makes up the bulk of his images in Blue Sky Ahead

As a bookend to these gems from the archives, Craig Hickman and Christopher Rauschenberg have created new photographic work for this exhibition. Hickman’s Public Art is an outgrowth of OXIDE, a series set in the whimsical, imaginary town of the same name. The artist merges his own photographs of signs and buildings with found imagery to create fictitious, often humorous, proposals for public art installations. Rauschenberg’s similarly playful panoramas consist of multiple images taken on his travels abroad and visits to other artists’ studios. When these seemingly disparate scenes are brought together, they take on new meanings, as the eye connects repeating shapes, colors, and symbols across the length of each new image.

Blue Sky Ahead is made possible by a generous grant from the Ford Family Foundation. Please join us in November for the second half of the series—Blue Sky Ahead: Futures—which will highlight the future of photography in Oregon as seen through the eyes of six emerging photographers chosen by Blue Sky’s founders.