Collecting Evanescence at Lane Community College

Leah Wilson: Collecting Evanescence

Lane Community College, Eugene, Oregon

Building 11

Dates: January 10 – February 6, 2019 

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 10, 2019, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Artist Talk: Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 3:00 PM

Address: 4000 E. 30th Ave, Eugene, OR 97405, Building 11

Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.

Contact: Ellen Osterkamp  Art_Gallery@LaneCC.Edu


Leah Wilson’s solo exhibition of work from the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest titled, Leah Wilson: Collecting Evanescence  will be seen at Lane Community College Main Campus Art Gallery in Eugene, OR.  The exhibition opens January 10 and runs through February, 6 2019, with a reception for the artist Thursday, January 10, from 4:30pm to 6pm, and an artist’s talk January 23 at 3:00pm. 

The HJ Andrews Experimental Forest near Blue River, Oregon, is one of 26 long-term ecological research sites throughout the world. This makes it an ideal choice for Leah Wilson to create long term art projects informed by changes in the forest over an extended span of time. Through her presence in the forest, and afterward during the creative process and reflection in her studio, Wilson observes her own path to knowing and connecting with this specific place that is known primarily by scientists and through science. Here, as in other places, a connection is likely found within the ephemeral. Often the process of coming to know and building a relationship to this place, as with to any place, can feel like attempting to collect the evanescence.

Wilson’s approach to creating artwork mirrors the mission of long term research at the Andrews. Both require the commitment of extended time with the place. As an outsider to the established community, a fundamental underlying objective to continue to create artwork from the Andrews is to develop a sense of belonging and a personal connection to the forest that evolves over time. Over the past six years some of the questions Wilson continues to ask are:

By increasing understanding of the primary purpose and use of this place of science, can I also simultaneously see, use and know the place in a different way, in a way that my presence and process as an artist can initiate and eventually establish connection, knowing, and belonging? Can my development of a visual language, methods of discovery, and creative process fit alongside the language and methods of science in a meaningful way? What is the personal effect of consciously setting out to develop a deep connection and relationship with this place, and can it inspire others to ameliorate the disconnection they may feel from their own places? How would that, in turn, affect the places that have come to be known?


Leah Wilson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Institute of Southern California. A 2012 artist residency at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades introduced her to ecologists working on long-term studies in the forest. Wilson’s interaction with the forest and its associated ecologists led her to realize that science in general, and ecology in particular, seeks to identify patterns (and changes in patterns) over time. Often, in terms of process and product, the most evident element of her work is repetition, rhythm, and pattern related to water in general, and rivers and streams in particular.

Leah Wilson is a founding member of Gray Space, a group of Oregon artists based in the Corvallis, Eugene and Roseburg areas who came together in 2016 to claim agency and circumvent institutional structures that require artists to ask permission. Gray Space explores how art influences place and place influences art. Wilson’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the West Coast including the Hult Center Plaza in Eugene, Oregon, the Roger W. Rogers Gallery at Willamette University, Cascade Gallery at Portland Community College and Guardino Gallery in Portland, Oregon, the Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon, and Julie Baker Fine Art in Nevada City, California. Her work is in the collections of Umpqua Community College, Oregon State University’s HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, Adobe Systems Inc., eBay, Inc., and other corporate and private collections.

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