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William Dyas Garnett:
Paintings and Drawings 1939 - 2004

Blackfish Gallery
Portland OR Nov 2-27, 2004

William Dyas Garnett - Seal Spine
William Dyas Garnett, Seal Spine (1997), oil on canvas [Blackfish Gallery, Portland OR, Nov 2-27]


William Dyas Garnett was an exceptional artist and prominent educator in Portland, Oregon. He dissected the visual language of our past and distilled it into the vitality of present times.

Stylistically, Garnett’s paintings are grounded in the reconstructivist approach of Cubism. He was also strongly influenced by the “contrapuntal fugue-like character of Baroque.” He began his works by revealing what he called the “living geometry” of his subjects, and sought through abstraction, their truthful essence, beyond the literal or representational. Using water-based casein, he kept the initial layers of paint fluid and open, then made forms and shapes more definitive with final layers of oil paint. The resulting works are complex arrangements of organic and geometric forms composed in melodic patterns that create streams of movement within the picture plane.

Garnett also created numerous public murals throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as painted sets for the theatre. He was a respected educator at many of Portland’s higher institutions. Garnett believed that “behind every physical phenomenon lies a structural truth that goes beyond the individual to the universal.” His work continues to reach out to new audiences.

Allyn Cantor

 Tue, Nov 2, 2004