Discussions about Central Oregon's reptiles don't typically turn philosophical, but Bend artist Abney Wallace has just managed to negotiate that rather sharp curve.
"It's easy to see a snake or lizard and think snake or lizard," says Wallace. "Really though, they are all so different. When we begin to notice the subtleties of the world that surrounds us, we broaden the scope of our experience and thus, begin to live a richer, more fulfilled life."
Wallace's latest exhibit, playfully titled "Cold-Blooded Neighbors," opens at A6 Studio and Gallery this week. His work features exquisitely detailed woodcut prints of, yes, native snakes and lizards. If ever our local reptiles wanted to generate some much-needed positive press, they've found their savior.
"My interest in the snakes and lizards for this project has been primarily their visual characteristics," he says. "I'm playing with shapes, patterns, and lines that also have a place in my subconscious. Finding those same marks on actual critters is another way of exploring myself as much as them."
In fact, Wallace didn't exactly set out with a specific project in mind. "This came about first as stream of consciousness sketchbook drawings," he says. "My sketchbook is a place where I work out visual puzzles and allow for my busy mind to empty. Over time I see patterns and themes emerging from my marks. Snake drawings are one such theme.
"This was initially inspired by my desire to further investigate these snakes."
So the next time we see a few slithering about, let's all remember each one has its own unique beauty. "I hope that visitors to the show will get a sense of the individuality of the reptiles that they see," Wallace says.
The exhibit runs throughout May and June.
Opening Reception: Friday, May 5
A6 Studio & Gallery
550 SW Industrial Way, #180, Bend