Tidewaters: Looking Back on Oregon’s Coast Range Rivers

Photographs by Richard Bergman & Objects from the LCHS Collection

Exhibition Run Dates: October 14 – January 29, 2023
Opening Reception: October 14, 4-7 PM
Panel Discussion: October 25, 2-4 PM

Location: Pacific Maritime Heritage Center
333 E Bay Blvd. Newport, OR 97365
541-265-7509 oregoncoasthistory.org
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11am-4pm

Exhibition Summary

           A series of vintage platinum/palladium prints depicting scenes along Oregon’s major estuaries by Corvallis photographer Rich Bergeman. Supportive artifacts from the Lincoln County Historical Society collections will also be featured as part of this exhibition. Exhibition venue: Galley Gallery inside the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, located on Newport, Oregon’s historic Bayfront. The October 14 opening reception and the 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 Description

           “Tidewaters” includes 25 prints, along with maps and text panels recalling the history of Native American life and early Euro-American settlement along the Columbia, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw and other navigable rivers along the Oregon Coast.  Using 8×0” and 5×7” cameras, Bergeman spent several years in the 1990s and early 2000s exploring the lower reaches of the rivers, looking for scenes that reflect the region’s early history.

           “I’ve always loved photographing in places where the past seems more palpable than the present,” the Corvallis photographer said, “and on these rivers time’s passage is plainly seen in the old docks, wooden fishing boats and gnarled pilings climbing out of the ebbing tide.”

           While researching the region’s history at local museums up and down the coast, from Astoria to Coos Bay, he discovered a complex, multi-layered story.

           Each of the river systems was home to its own distinct Native American population, and all were disrupted in the 1800s by encroachment of Euro-Americans in pursuit of the region’s resources.  For a time, beginning in 1855, the entire Central Coast–over one million acres from Cape Lookout to the Oregon Dunes–was a Congressionally designated Indian Reservation, but it was gradually chipped away until all that remained was the small present-day tract at Siletz.

           During that time new towns slowly began to take shape near the mouths of the rivers—some flourished while others disappeared altogether. Among the so-called “lost cities” were Bayocean, a Tillamook Bay resort once billed as the “Atlantic City of the West;” and Yaquina City, the ill-fated “San Francisco of the Oregon Territory.”

           In keeping with the historical nature of the images, Bergeman printed them in the traditional platinum process, which dates to the early years of photography in the late 19th century.  Known for their permanence, long tonal range, and soft contrast, platinum prints are made by placing hand-coated fine-art papers in contact with large negatives and exposing them to ultra-violet light.

           A book on the exhibit that expands upon the show will be available in the museum bookstore, along with digital reprints of images in the show.

Artist Summary

           A retired community college instructor, Bergeman is perhaps best known for his black-and-white photographic narratives of forgotten histories of the Pacific Northwest.  Since 1987, he has hung more than 50 solo shows at galleries, art centers and museums throughout the region.

           Besides “Tidewaters”, he has exhibited and published portfolios on several historical projects, including the lost homesteads of Oregon’s Fort Rock Basin, the early settlers on Washington’s Willapa Bay, and the Rogue River Indian Wars of 1851-56.

           Originally a large-format film photographer and darkroom printer in silver and platinum, he also has created portfolios with pinhole and Polaroid cameras, and currently works primarily with digital infrared cameras and archival pigment inkjet printers. You can see examples of his work at www.richbergeman.zenfolio.com, and his book projects at www.blurb.com.

Museum Statement

We are excited to be able to bring a dynamic series of art related exhibits to the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. By incorporating art with our ongoing history programming, we can educate and inform our visitors about relevant concepts and real-life stories in an interdisciplinary way. By expanding our program offerings, we will reach an even broader audience. Our challenge is to offer exhibits and events that can get our visitors thinking about concepts previously not on their radar.  Susan Tissot, Executive Director, LCHS


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

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
541-265-7509 oregoncoasthistory.org
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

Living with black bears on the coast, 1pm Sunday August 18, 2022. Free admission, children must be accompanied by an adult

In conjunction with, Animals in Nature/Art & Artifacts exhibit:

Skyler Gerrity, Assistant District Wildlife Biologist, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Skyler is the Assistant District Wildlife Biologist for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Newport. He covers the Newport district which extends from Cascade Head in the north to the Smith River in the south. Some of his duties include managing terrestrial mammal and bird populations, mitigating wildlife conflicts, restoring and protecting wildlife habitat, and providing wildlife education to members of the public.

Skyler has worked with a variety of wildlife species across the western United States. Now in Newport, black bears are one of the primary species he manages. A large component of this management includes resolving human-black bear conflicts across his district. Through the scope of this work, Skyler spends time discussing with the public how to coexist with these large and charismatic mammals.

Adding Native Plants to Your Sustainable Gardening Practices, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022 1PM

Save the Date! In conjunction with, The Sustainable Feast exhibit:

Ann Geyer, Native Plant Specialist, Lincoln County Master Gardener Association

Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with native wildlife over thousands of years, and therefore are foundation plantings for a sustainable habitat. If planted correctly, they play a strategic role in supporting local wildlife, conserving water, reducing erosion, maintaining healthy soil, and avoiding the need for chemical pesticides. Learn how to select and care for natives and enjoy the benefits of a healthier, wildlife friendly garden.  

Gardening Speaker Biography

Ann Geyer was introduced to gardening by her grandfather who was a landscaper at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  While in college she worked at the University of California Botanical Garden tending primarily to the local natives.  Ann joined the Master Gardener program in 1981 and has been educating gardeners about the benefits of natives since then. Ann maintains a native plant nursery to support her local Master Gardener program that provides hands-on opportunities to propagate and care for local natives.