The Yaquina Exhibition – A Painted Voice for a Sacred Landscape

Thirty-five years of oil paintings by Michael Gibbons

Exhibition Run Dates: October 7 – January 15, 2022
Opening Reception: October 14, 4-7 PM (JOINT RECEPTION with Tidewater Exhibit)
Panel Discussion: October 25, 2-4 PM

Location: Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
333 E Bay Blvd. Newport, OR 97365
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11am-4pm

Exhibition Summary
On view for the first time in years is a traveling exhibition created by the Yaquina River Museum of Art, is an exhibition that includes 35 plein air paintings from locations in the Yaquina River Watershed of Oregon by Michael Gibbons. Supportive artifacts from the Lincoln County Historical Society collections will also be featured as part of this exhibition. A book on Gibbon’s work and Giclee prints will be available for sale in the museum store. Exhibition venue: The Mezzanine Gallery inside the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, located on Newport, Oregon’s historic Bayfront. The October 14 opening reception and October 25 panel discussion are free and open to the public. Admission fees apply to daily visitation to the PMHC; LCHS members and active-duty military get in free.

Exhibition Statement
The purpose of this exhibit is to offer a visual documentation of the beauty, history, health and viability of the Yaquina Watershed. Through experiencing these poetic landscape interpretations, a benchmark is offered for sustaining this significant environment for forests, fish and wildlife. This artist’s vision emphasizes the benefits of the watershed which provides employment, a water source, healthy air quality, and recreational venues for the region.

This stunning exhibit will inform current and future generations about the effects of our changing climate and the human impact on the environment. Its viewing will encourage
others to visit the Yaquina region and seek out the many experiences it has to offer.

Artist Statement
Born in Portland in 1943 and a fifth generation Oregonian, Michael Gibbons was actively painting the Oregon landscape for 55 years. He continued working in his signature style to create intimate views of the ever-changing Northwest landscape until his death in 2020.

Preferring to work alone, Michael isolated himself among the trees and waterways where he could listen to the “voice of the land.” The artist used the painter’s tools to give substance to that voice and spirit by communicating space, color, form and light through his innate talent and refined execution. “What is painted is of secondary importance; how it is painted is the critical aspect. It is in the execution of the painting that the possibility of interaction with it takes place,” he said.

Michael Gibbons’ paintings communicate nature’s sacred voices onto a painted surface for the viewer to experience and to become part of and respond to. “All of the world we experience, every human being, every bush, every tree, and every rock is a gift to us for this part of our earthly experience,” he said.

When en plein air (in the landscape) he would come to a place that felt right to him, then pause, find a bush he could hang on to and grab a branch. “‘How would you like to be seen?’” he would ask. “You can almost hear the chorus of the different trees. It’s a sense. You don’t hear words, but the language is right there. It’s a living being.”

I paint whatever moves me,” Michael Gibbons said, “When I’m painting in nature,
it is the divine experience of the land that feeds my inspiration

Gibbons exhibit of oil paintings…is the perfect encapsulation of the understated magnificence of this gorgeous estuary.” Nancy Steinberg – Oregon Coast Today

This man has painted a land we all know and love, giving it back to us in a form we can understand.” Mark O. Hatfield – Oregon U.S. Senator

News-Times article: Tidewaters: Looking Back on Oregon’s Coast Range Rivers