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Royal Nebeker:
“Dreams of There, Memories of Then”

White Bird Gallery
Cannon Beach OR Aug 1-28, 2003

Royal Nebeker - Polaris
Royal Nebeker, Polaris (2003), waterccolour
and mixed media
[White Bird Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR
Aug 1-28, 2003]

Royal Nebeker, a long-term resident of Oregon’s North Coast, has gained an international reputation with paintings in museum collections overseas: in Norway at the Henie/Onstad Art Center and in Poland at the the National Gallery.

In his upcoming exhibition at the White Bird Gallery, Nebeker focuses on gestural renditions of flowers and vases. He expands on his past use of stamps and other acquired paper articles to represent a layering of time and location, reminiscent of dreams and memories. Antiquated pages from books form the beginnings of images before any paint is applied, and serve as grounds for his watercolour studies. The use of the pages seems like a natural evolution for this artist, who obviously has an affinity for collecting. Yet they introduce a new significance by provoking a sense of age and place. Inquisitive viewers might mistake the work as being from another time period or having been created in another country. Some pages are written in foreign text; on others, Nebeker has added his own English and Norwegian writing. In both cases, the text serves formally as a compositional texture, not one that necessarily is meant to be read.

Although the subjects of flowers and vases can be viewed symbolically, Nebeker’s words are obscure, and his found collage elements are random in relation to these floral studies. Nebeker’s personal stream of consciousness is distilled into each piece as a natural occurrence of the act of painting. The psychological content of these works is more about the fragility of a moment, and letting the works transcend beyond our limited “insufferable reality of here and now.”

© Allyn Cantor

 Sat, Jun 7, 2003