Art at the Library
The Exchange—by Deborah DeWit—2007
Oil on Wood
Location: On rust wall behind check-out counter
Donor: Grace Tigard Houghton Bequest
This oil on wood triptych depicts the cycles of nature and human knowledge with three panels showing books, readers and words amid lush vegetation. Each panel is topped by a quotation about knowledge or reading. DeWit is a Tigard artist who has used reading and books as subject matter for many of her works. All the vegetation in "The Exchange" is native plants, many of which exist on or near the library property.
A painter and photographer, DeWit has been showing her work since 1976. As a painter she has worked both in pastels and oils. Her pastels focused on reading and writing themes, while her oils have largely focused on the relationship between the human experience and nature. In "The Exchange" she has combined these two themes.
As photographer DeWit is fascinated by everyday scenes and how the light transforms them. After
twenty years of photographing around the world, DeWit wrote a book about her experiences called
Traveling Light: Chasing an Illuminated Life
on her website at
Books for All Seasons—by Judith Poxson Fawkes—2007
Location: On south wall near Best Sellers and Audio-Visual Materials
Donor: Grace Tigard Houghton Bequest
"Books for All Seasons" conveys reading for all reasons on a 4' x 9'10" linen weaving that illustrates a variety of locations and seasons. In the artist's words, the piece welcomes "library users by illustrating fictional and non-fictional subjects as reminders of seasons and places that are capable of transporting the reader into other realms. Beginning on the left, the tapestry is divided into five intermingling sections, each containing images of books. A spring domestic interior with blowing curtain, a summer city at dusk and the sea, with moon path at night, autumn turning to winter on a mountain, and a winter landscape."
In the colorful tapestry the sky is divided symmetrically by two hemispheres of the world with the moon in the middle. Poxson Fawkes said, "With the eastern and western hemispheres in the sky, the viewer quite possibly is not on earth, transported into other realms via books."
A graduate of Michigan State University and Cranbrook Academy of Art, Poxson Fawkes has created numerous pieces of commissioned art, including those that hang in the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, the Public Employees Retirement System and Chapman School in Portland.
She has also woven pieces for the Splendour of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, the Department of
Forestry in Salem, Oregon and Florida State University in Tallahassee. Poxson Fawkes has taught at Lewis
and Clark College, Mount Hood Community College, Wisconsin State University in Oshkosh and Southern
Oregon State University in Ashland.
The Alphabet Chair—by Sarah Peters—2006
Location: Children's Room
Donors: Friends of the Tigard Library and Neva Root Bequest
The Alphabet Chair features every letter of the alphabet cast in bronze. Each letter on the chair is decorated with a textured object beginning with that letter. For example, the letter E is textured by the imprint of a real elephant's forearm.
Adding a touch of whimsy to the Children's Room, the playful Alphabet Chair will appeal to children and adults alike. It will seat more than one child comfortably and is designed to encourage literacy and curiosity.
The chair reminds us that whimsy nurtures creativity and imagination, as well as the importance of exposing children to art.
As the artist said "The more I watch people interact with 'The Alphabet Chair',
the more satisfied I am with it. From a distance, its shape and shadows are intriguing.
As you get closer, you realize there's more going on, that there are textures to explore.
Then, before you know it, you're absorbed in the puzzle of trying to identify the textures.
People really linger over the chair. I find that very gratifying."
"Systems, 2004"—Installation by Rae Mahaffey—2004
Fused Glass Art
Location: Library Lobby
Donors: Friends of the Tigard Library and the Tigard Library Foundation
Portland artist Rae Mahaffey and her husband Mark created the beautiful fused glass panels hanging from the ceiling in the Library's lobby.
"The fused-glass process is done in Portland more than in any other place," Mahaffey said. The panels are fired at Bathos Studios in large kilns.
Born and raised in Denver, Rae Mahaffey attended college in Bellingham, Washington. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in art then spent some time in Los Angeles where she met her husband, Mark. The couple moved to Portland in 1992 where they own and operate Mahaffey Fine Art, a printmaking business that also offers classes.
The fused panels will be lit by the natural light from the windows, changing colors as the light changes through the course of the day. Mahaffey's mother was a librarian so she is delighted to have her work installed in the Tigard Library. The process is a long one, creating the design, cutting the glass and scheduling the kiln. Mahaffey uses geometry and number systems to ensure that all of the pieces will work together.
"It's nice to be a part of something that is a focal point of the community," she said.
"Quest for Knowledge Columns"—by Mary Josephson—2004
Location: Children's Room
Donor: Neva Root Bequest
Paintings in colorful lush oils adorn the four main columns in the Children's Room. The imagery on each column depicts what an exciting adventure learning can be. As you explore each column, your imagination will take you into the forest on one column, up into the sky on another, into the desert on a third and under the sea on the fourth column in the search for knowledge.
The images of children reading, exploring, searching amid animals and flowers will truly inspire readers of all ages. Experience the rich fun-filled mysteries and wonders to be found within books in the library. Josephson also painted a companion piece that hangs behind the Children's Desk. It incorporates plants and animals that inhabit the Fanno Creek area near the Library.
In the artist's words, "As part of a military family that made frequent moves, constant change of scenery was very much a part of growing up. I learned to read people below the surface and make friends quickly.
"My childhood was spent in the desert communities of the American Southwest at a time when Western movies and television shows were at the peak of popularity so the bridge between what is real and imaginary was built for me at an early age.
"Exploration of the desert terrain revealed an adventure land teeming with life rather than the vast emptiness apparent upon first glance. The revelation that people and things may not be how they seem has been a life-long metaphor for me.
"My experience as a woman artist led me to focus on what it means to be a human who happens to be a woman now, especially in a society where lasting physical beauty is paramount. The love of color and form has permeated every aspect of my life from earliest memory. It is a very powerful weapon and tool.
"Painting has allowed me to express how I feel about the world more clearly than any other mode of
communication. Through it I am able to express what is constant about the cycle of life and what
continuously rings true although metamorphosing and changing."