Bob Hicks has a great piece in The Oregonian today about John Yeon that serves as a good reminder of the "In the Land of Influence" exhibit continuing through tomorrow evening at the new AIA/Portland Center for Architecture.
Hicks recently retired from full-time editorial duties at the paper after a decades-long tenure there, but as he proved countless times over the years, he can write insightfully about anything arts related. About a decade ago, at my first daytime critics screening to review a movie for Willamette Week, Bob was there reviewing it on pinch-hit duty for Shawn Levy's Oregonian review team. It's great to see him still contributing to the paper, writing about Yeon:
"Drive around particular parts of the Pacific Northwest — Ecola State Park on Oregon's north coast, say, or the Columbia River Gorge, or even the platoons of lockstep McMansions that march like conquering soldiers over the fallen body of the region's exurban land — and you can hear the whisper of John Yeon: a whisper of what is, what is not, what shouldn't be and what might have been in his corner of the Earth..."
"A modernist, he created structures that in certain ways were the antithesis of the International Style — buildings that took their very being from the landscape they sat upon, striving not to subdue it but to become part of it. The hallmark of a Yeon house was its beguiling combination of serene majesty and humility, an essence derived from simplicity of line and an unswerving sense of place."
In an unusual twist, tomorrow's First Thursday gallery walk will serve as the closing-night party for the Yeon exhibit at the CFA. (Incidentally, that's the Swann House pictured above.) The facility was a little late in finishing construction, which happens and is understandable. But unfortunately it has made this a shorter exhibit than it deserved. So if you're perusing the Pearl on Thursday night (I also recommend Hap Tivey's light sculptures at the nearby Elizabeth Leach Gallery), be sure and stop in.