By RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
The Art in the High Desert is preparing for the fifth season of the fine art festival on the banks of the Deschutes River. August 24–26 artists whose work has been chosen by a panel of four jurors will be shown in the Old Mill District. The popularity of the event brings artists, patrons and art lovers from all over the region to experience the picturesque setting, accessible prices and unique stories about the artists and their work.
Look for new influences in this year’s festival. Over 100 artists were selected to participate in the weekend’s events with 53 new artists coming from throughout the U.S. including Maryland, North Carolina, Missouri and New Mexico and all around the West.
This year 349 artists applied to be in the show. The jury had the daunting task of choosing between very talented artists both new to the festival and seasoned event participants. “We ask our jurors to pick artwork that goes beyond the expected, the usual, and we are fortunate to see the quality of our artists continue to improve. The jury criteria makes for an amazing selection of artwork not normally seen at shows,” said Carla Fox, Art in the High Desert director.
To fulfill their task of choosing festival exhibitors, the jurors rank each entry and the best applicants in each category are selected for the festival, giving the artwork a healthy mix. “We curate the festival and create what we feel is a really well-balanced show of the media that are represented,” Dave Fox said. “We don’t just take all the top scores. That gives it a really good balance.”
Matthew Bade enjoys playing with the boundaries of awareness. Of expression and introspection, of the space between self and the collective unconscious, and in doing so creates narratives in paint, drum beats, yoga and thought.
A student of the American Academy of Art in Chicago and the University of Illinois, Bade was immersed in art fundamentals as well as the more abstract side of conceptual art. Through studying art’s historical narrative, he came to the realization that every advancement in art history coincided with a shift in form. “Everything interested me,” he said. “Through my investigations via my own art making, I realized certain styles resonated more: abstract impressionism, early Picasso, minimalists and existential painters, people reaching for raising awareness beyond the physical.”
Pivotal in fueling Bade’s quest for connection to the world around him, mentor and professor at University of Illinois, Kerry James Marshall, left him with a sense of exploration that Bade continues to apply to his art and life. “And he [Marshall] contends that if we are to continue to keep doing this, to keep painting, we need to go about it in an unambiguous way. Meaning, looking consciously for gaps, for the places where there is unfinished business, and filling them,” said Bade. “But what shines through Kerry and his work the most is a sense of heart, supreme intelligence, passion and equality. He also has a way of making you believe that you can do anything if you really want to. The sign of a great mentor.”