Littoral Patterns: Lee Ann Garrison and Jay Noller

September 4 - October 4


Lee Ann Garrison, Observing Systems: Yaquina River Estuary (detail) 2018

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Fairbanks Gallery at Oregon State University presents the exhibition “Littoral Patterns,” September 4 through October 4, featuring paintings by Lee Ann Garrison and Jay Noller.
The gallery is located in Fairbanks Hall, 220 S.W. 26th Street, on the OSU main campus. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., with hours extended until 8 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month for the Corvallis Art Walk.
A reception will take place in the gallery from 4 – 6 p.m. on Wed. Sept. 26. It is free and open to the public.
The title, “Littoral Patterns” is inspired by the adjective “littoral”, relating to or situated on the shore of the sea or a lake, and the noun,”littoral,” which is a region lying along a shore; as well as from the term “littoral zone,” which refers to the part of a body of water that is closest to the shore. 
Fascinated by pattern in art, the built environment and the natural world Garrison’s past work, “Observing Systems,” examined spiral and dendritic systems. The work began years ago, inspired by a quote from the physicist Richard Feynman: "Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry."
Garrison’s new work marks another chapter in that series. The dendritic chapter focused on rivers, which manifest natural branching systems also found in the neurons in the brain, in the smallest capillaries in our bodies, in the roots and branches of trees and most grandly in the distribution of matter in the universe. Her work for this show looks at estuaries from drone view to the very smallest details.
“When I moved to Oregon I became entranced with estuaries, where the dendritic systems of rivers and creeks meet the ocean system, where the current meets the tide. These paintings range from Aerial views of the shapes of the estuary to detailed observations of the patterns occurring when riverine fresh water meets saltwater current,” Garrison said.
Noller’s work shows the cliffs and soil strata along the coast, exploring the colors and patterns of colors in soils momentarily exposed in the rapidly eroding seacliffs of Oregon shores during winter storm activity. He categorizes the work as “Neo-Land Art,” whereby the artist authentically represents ecosystems. Noller focuses on soil as nexus for evocative imagery and scientific exploration meant to inspire the imagination of others and to make the complex more easily understood. He creates artwork based on his field studies as well as on his scientific practice in the laboratory. 
“I have a passion to dig beneath the surface,” Noller said, “revealing flow, energy and color from the dark. I create large artworks that weave scientific research and mixed-media 2D art to guide, inspire and foster dialog between nature and culture. The relationship of humans to soils is what I seek to explore through an art-science collaboration of shape, form, process and function – what I call morphologistics.”
Lee Ann Garrison is director of the School of Arts and Communication, one of six schools in Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts, where she oversees the academic disciplines of art, graphic design, music, new media communications, speech communication, and theatre. A painter, art and design professor and seasoned administrator, Garrison is a bridge-builder adept at working across many disciplines in a university setting, and works to elevate the arts on the OSU campus and throughout the community. Prior to her appointment at OSU in fall 2014, she taught art and held administrative positions in the Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).  She is a former chair of the department of art and design, and the founding director of the Design Research Institute. Currently, Garrison serves on the City of Corvallis’ Arts and Culture Advisory Board and the Imagine Corvallis Action Network. Her professional organizations are National Council of Arts Administrators, College Art Association, and the newest, a2ru, Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities.
As head of Crop and Soil Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Jay Noller provides leadership to a large area of Oregon State University that serves the citizens of Oregon and beyond with diverse activities in education, research, extension, and public service relevant to seed production, soils and ecosystem services, small farms and community food systems, pest management, and various approaches to natural resource management. He is professor of landscape pedology, with research involving the disciplines of soil science, geomorphology, art and archaeology. His research focuses on morphologistics (the artscience of shape and form) and human interactions with soils in modern and ancient agricultural and forest landscapes of the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Noller’s experience includes more than 35 large projects, spanning much of North and South America, southern Europe, southwest Asia, and Africa. He has published more than 180 papers and maps, six books and has made contributions to many more works. He is also an internationally known soil artist creating large ecoartwork installations and fineart paintings on display and in collections around the world.