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January 18, 2007

Thru May 31: Photographer Gary Tepfer’s all-Oregon exhibit now showing at the law school

I am drawn by light,reflected and radiant light
in interaction with moisture, stone and vegetationGary Tepfer
Love of the Land

Photographer Gary Tepfer puts together an all-Oregon show for the first time in 20 years 

For the first time in 20 years, Eugene artist Gary Tepfer has put together an all-Oregon exhibit of his landscape photographs.

The exhibit opened at the University of Oregon School of Law on January 10 and will run through May 31.


Detail of Fossil ImpressionsThirty-two photographs taken between 1985 and 2006 are on display at the Knight Law Center’s second floor gallery, 1515 Agate Street in Eugene.
The exhibit area is open every day
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Law professor Dominick Vetri, who chairs the art committee at the law school, said, “The exhibit tempts us to get outside and see the Oregon that lies beyond the urban core and comfort of a Starbucks shop.”

Well known in the Northwest and internationally for his photographs of landscapes and the people who are part of them, Tepfer’s work appears in a number of public and private collections, among them the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the State Museum of History in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Bibliothéque National in Paris.
Several of his photos – including one of southeastern Oregon’s Owyhee River now on exhibit – are in the Dean’s Collection at the law school.

“After more than 30 years of photographing the Oregon landscape, I still find it challenging to work here,” Tepfer said. “I am drawn to two primary aspects of landscape. I seek to capture the thin traces of human existence from a time when people lived lightly on the land.

“On the other hand, I want to express that aspect of the natural world which stands apart from our existence.”

Two exhibit photos illustrate that tension – both show the lush, brilliantly green undergrowth of Oregon’s Coast Range.  And both feature man-made objects – an old stake truck in one, an abandoned farmhouse in the other – that have nearly been transformed into natural features in the landscape.

The exhibit includes photos from most regions of the state, but it concentrates on photos taken in the Pacific rain forest of western Oregon.

“The preciousness of water in the Southwest and its delightful abundance in the Northwest make me acutely aware of moisture as the lifeblood of the land,” Tepfer said.
Tepfer says he likes to return again and again to some of the same places, and the exhibit shows the low elevation forest near Eugene in every season – towering firs with a dusting of snow, brilliant red vine maple in fall, quiet summer creeks. 
A powerful portrait of a steely Fall Creek in full torrent makes him wistful. It was taken in 1989, before the disastrous forest fire in July 2003 that destroyed old growth forest, trails, and campgrounds in a popular recreation area 25 miles from Eugene.

“I thought about taking some new photos for the exhibit but that spot is just too ugly now. I couldn’t do it, ” Tepfer said.

The photographs were taken on Ektachrome film using medium and large format cameras. The transparencies are printed directly on cibachrome photographic paper.
They are available for purchase through White Lotus Gallery , 767 Willamette Street in Eugene, or directly from the artist  at (541) 344-3497.
-Eliza Schmidkunz 


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