ECA and Public Process on Hiatus

ECA Was Here

As of the end of our Public Process 5 reception for William Ruller this past winter, ECA and our residency program will be on hiatus.

We’ve given up our Whiteaker neighborhood space in order to give ourselves time to consider new strategies and funding for our mission and goals.


Tough Town for Contemporary Art

As anyone involved with contemporary art in Eugene knows, it is very difficult to operate an artist space/gallery in our city. We have maintained a mission of serving emerging artists, along with offering the public an opportunity to engage our artists as they build their work during Open Studio nights. This has largely been a D.I.Y. operation run by Wes, Kari, and myself, and some amazing volunteers.  We consider our project successful, in that we have had consistent, high quality art production happening in our space every month since August of 2012. Events have been less successful, and attendance has ranged from a packed house to no one coming out for weeks on end, regardless of our marketing efforts.

To make a project like ours successful every month takes a lot of time and energy. Our idea came from a passion for contemporary art and a desire to add something valuable to our city. We still want this. But what started as a side project now requires more than what evenings and weekends will allow. Rather than let it barely exist, we’d rather put things on hold for the time being. Our artists are talented and hard working people, and they don’t require much — a quiet space to work and a place to show off what they do. Our space was perfect for them. But our mission has been about sharing their work, and exposing our city to emerging creative thought and practice. This alone requires financial support, people hours, and steady marketing. Building an audience for the kind of work we want to show requires a kind of planetary alignment we’ve not been able to tap into fast enough. Perhaps Eugene isn’t quite big enough yet. We certainly aren’t the first art organization in town to struggle. We believe these kinds of hurdles can be overcome, just not at the moment.

Wave Gallery History timeline

We are open to the right opportunities. If anyone is interested in a partnership to keep contemporary art access, practice, and production happening in our city please contact me at the email below, or through our contact page. If you are interested in our former space, I can put you in touch with the landlord.

We appreciate our friends, family, volunteers, financial supporters and the folks at The Eugene Weekly for all the support so far. We couldn’t have done any of this without you. For the time being we will not be accepting, or scheduling, any new shows or residencies. Please hang on to your submissions if you’ve been preparing one.

Exit tag on Gallery back door

We want to stay in touch with all our patrons, supporters and artists! If you are not on our email list, please sign up for our email newsletter to find out what the next stage of ECA and Public Process will look like.

Courtney Stubbert

ECA Director, Curator, Co-Founder



Public Process 5 // William Ruller


William Ruller is ECA’s resident artist for Public Process 5.

Born in Gloversville NY, 1981 Ruller received a B.A. in painting and ceramics from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 2007. Following his undergraduate degree, Ruller moved to Oregon where he worked as a production potter and ceramics instructor. He now currently resides in Savannah G.A. where he is working on his Masters in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Ruller has officially moved into our space as of November 4th and will be kicking off his Open Studios starting Thursday, November 7th.


Rullers’ statement:

“The abandoned mills and tanneries of my youth in the Northeast, with their rust grey tones, and the majestic splendor of the Pacific Northwest inform the visual and aesthetic language present in my work. These residual sites serve as the foundation for my work, which allows for a reinterpretation of the space into abstracted images. The evidence of of physical and experiential textures of crumbled brick and concrete juxtaposed with lush natural beauty serve to represent the frailties of humanity and the erosion of lives that once existed.”


Animula,” the body of work made as ECA’s resident, will have its Opening Reception at The Wave Gallery, 547 Blair Ave., on December 6th, 7pm. 

Other Public Process 5 Events:

Open Studios: Nov. 7th, 14th & 21st at 7pm

Artist Lecture: Dec. 5th, 7pm


Visit Rullers’ website to see more of his work.


Interview with Josh Sands

Josh Sands was ECA’s resident artist for Public Process 4, and was interviewed by artist, writer and ECA volunteer Rosie Lockie. He discusses his Public Process 4 experience, his work and ideas from his final show. 


Can you describe your process for the pieces in “Street Artchaeology”?

Josh Sands, Photo by Trask Bedortha for Eugene Weekly

Josh Sands, Photo by Trask Bedortha for Eugene Weekly

The project started when I found several large deposits of paint layers underground. The paint fascinated me and so I carefully dug it out and brought it back to my studio. After experimenting with the material for awhile I realized that it was durable paint, and would hold up to a lot of punishment. This prompted me to find a suitable working method for using the found paint chips. First I found large wood surfaces that I primed like regular paintings. Then I used several gallons of recycled latex paint to make a thick surface to essentially glue the paint chips into, by sinking them into the wet latex surface. After it dried I painted over them again, making the paintings monochromatic: white, gray, or black. After all of the paint dried I sanded down the entire surface in order to reveal the paint layers hidden underneath. Finally I put finishing touches on them and let them become paintings.

How did being ECA’s Public Process 4 resident change the way you normally work?

I normally work at home in the barn, or in my quiet glass studio in Eugene. Considering that both of those studios are out in the country, and relatively isolated, it was nice to absorb a lot of the sites and sounds of city life. Whether I controlled it or not, I’m sure that the effects of urban living crept its way into the work, and considering that the paint and my referencing graffiti and street artists, completely fits the project, it seems to be intertwined.

Tell us about the two separate parts to the show and how they are connected.

As I worked more with the found paint chips, I began to see my process similar to that of an archaeologist focusing his study on the physical remains of a culture. Somewhere along the line I had the idea to create a second part of this project that reflected more of a cultural anthropologists working method, focusing more on the current cultural practices, rituals, and languages, instead of fossilized remains. To achieve this I installed large, weathered, plywood boards onto the fence next to the gallery on the street. My goal was to get the local graffiti writers to interact with the pieces, showing us parts of their culture, and teaching the public about it by displaying some of their work. I see both parts of the project being linked together in an overall effort to display a more complete visual understanding of the graffiti culture. 

When did your interest/training in archaeological methods start to inform your work as an artist? Read more…

ECA featured in EW ArtsHound issue

Josh Sands and EW photographer Trask Bedortha, image by Courtney Stubbert

Josh Sands and EW photographer Trask Bedortha, image by Courtney Stubbert

The Eugene Weekly put out their first annual ArtsHound issue focusing on Visual Arts in Eugene. Thanks to EW Arts Editor Alex Notman, who first interviewed ECA last summer, we got some coverage again, this time by Silas Valentino and photographer Trask Bedortha (pictured above with Public Process 4 artist Josh Sands). We’ve posted an excerpt of the piece below, and the rest of the article is available on the EW’s site along with the photographs taken by Mr. Bedortha.

Notman seems to have observed something we at ECA have witnessed for quite some time:

in the past year as arts editor, I have encountered a widespread epidemic in Eugene: artphobia. “I just don’t get art,” people tell me, avoiding galleries, museums, art walks like the plague for fear of being, or being seen as, out of their element.

She goes on to say:

There’s nothing to “get.” Art is life, culture, politics, religion, history, the future. It’s a reflection of society. It’s a reflection of you. There are no wrong answers here. Saying that you don’t “get” art is like saying you don’t “get” life. It may be true, but that does not mean you opt out of the experience all together.

Kudos to Alex for her work in getting this issue out, and the push to the community to go out and experience art. We’ve felt for a while now that Eugene is at the front edge of a wave of change. We here at ECA are doing our best to contribute, and continue to hope this is true.


EW’s First Visual Arts Issue features ECA and Public Process #4

Creating a Culture of Critique

by Silas Valentino, photos by Trask Bedortha

Down by the railroad tracks that carve through the Whiteaker, graffiti art colors the walls of buildings. A large piece spray painted in white advises its audience to “Read up!” but it’s the paint drippings below that inspired local artist Josh Sands. “I saw the paint under the graffiti and thought, ‘Can I take graffiti paint and make something out of it?” he says.

Sands has collected “found paint” not only in Eugene, but also in L.A., San Francisco and Berlin, and with it he sets to work on his latest project. The artist secures the old paint, which he “excavated like an archeologist,” to a plywood board by applying another layer of paint. After multiple rounds of sanding away the excess layers of paint, beautiful shades of color begin to appear.

These are the kind of pieces that will be featured in Sands’ residency, which began Aug. 19, at Eugene Contemporary Art (ECA). He is meticulously crafting his unconventional brand of art — sometimes under the gaze of the community, which can come meet the artist during open studio. His work is in a state of flux, changing with Sands’ inspirations and ideas.

ECA has made itself the spot for experimenting and developing contemporary art. “They’re more interested in coming from a place of ideas and concepts,” Sands says of ECA’s art perspective. “I don’t know if there are other spots in Eugene that would be open to such a loose interpretation.”

ECA is celebrating its one-year anniversary this fall, currently featuring its fourth artist in the residency program, Public Process, where an artist uses The WAVE gallery as a studio for six weeks. Every Thursday night the gallery is open to the public. “Their goal is to get the public involved,” Sands says.

“Real art-making comes out of a trial-and-error process,” says ECA Executive Director Courtney Stubbert. “We thought, what if we just gave someone a key and residency and gave the public the chance to see how the artist came to be?”

click here to read the full piece on EW’s site


Public Process 4: Josh Sands

Public Process 4


Josh Sands is ECA’s resident for Public Process 4.

Josh has already completed his first Open Studio last night and has more scheduled so don’t miss out on catching them! Visit our events page for upcoming dates and information.

Sands’ statement:

The inspiration for this project stems 
paint, its physicality
its presence. 
 the physicality of paint
 look closely 
street and graffiti 
painting, eventually discovering quantities of 
 of popular graffiti 

My process consists of excavating the material found at these spots and examining leftover paint artifacts, a practice closely related to that of an archaeologist, while subsequently using the artifacts in my own work by a method of pouring, covering, sanding and revealing.

Using the paint layers accumulated over time by other artists allowed me to come to conclusions about their dedication to the craft, their attempts to cultivate an enduring message and the way in which graffiti artists inadvertently leave behind aspects of their shadowy existence.

This process of discovery through collecting, conserving and manipulating materials is rooted in the desire to understand a culture dissimilar to my own.

A synthesis of graffiti, archaeology and painting, Sands’ “Street Artchaeology” closely examines his own art process and perspective as a way to more deeply understand that of others’.


“Street Artchaeology” will have its Opening Reception at The Wave Gallery, 547 Blair Ave., on September 27th, 7pm. 


Other Public Process 4 Events:

Open Studios: Aug. 29th, Sept. 5th, 12th, & 19th, at 7pm

Artist Lecture: Oct. 3rd, at 7pm


You can see more of Sands’ work on his website and follow his process on Instagram.


Public Process 3 – Damon Harris


ECA is proud to announce Damon Harris as our newest resident artist for Public Process 3! Harris has already begun work in ECA’s space at The Wave gallery and will be having upcoming Open Studios in the near future.

A Eugene-based artist, Harris received his MFA from University of Oregon in 2009 following a BFA at Murray State University in Kentucky in 2005. Harris has held positions as Co-Director of Ditch Projects Art Space in Springfield, OR, as well as Adjunct Professor of Art at University of Oregon.

Harris’ work explores intersection between the material of a structure, its conceptual framework, and the specific space in which it is built.

Taking inspiration from scientific discovery machines and milestones (Voyager Spacecraft, CERN Large Hadron Collider, Lunar Lander etc.), Harris is interested in the metaphorical connection between these highly advanced, complex-yet-vulnerable man-made objects, and the fragile, makeshift shelters built as a child using discarded materials found in the woods.

Harris states that “both feel like attempts to simultaneously engage in and be insulated from that which is physically and conceptually uncharted.”

Damon Harris at Clayspace

The artist frequently mixes construction materials with more complex objects. He has created 300 ceramic pyramid tiles to be used in the work being developed during Public Process 3. Come to our Open Studio nights to see it unfold.

Check out the upcoming dates as part of Public Process 3!

Thursday May 16, 7-8pm: Open Studio 1
Thursday May 23, 7-8pm: Open Studio 2
Thursday May 30, 7-8pm: Open Studio 3
Friday June 6, 7-9pm: Damon Harris OPENING @ The Wave

Robert Mertens Interview

Robert Mertens was ECA’s resident artist for Public Process 2 during March and April of 2013, and was interviewed by artist, writer and ECA volunteer Rosie Lockie. He discusses his Public Process 2 experience, the work on view and his ideas.

First, a quick bio:

Currently an adjunct professor at the U of O, Robert obtained his MFA in 2012 with a focus in Fiber Art from the University of Oregon. He received his BFA with a focus on Sound Art from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. His interests combine Post-Modernism, Post-Minimalism and the Post-Apocalypse. He owns and operates “The Weaving Room,” a textile and audio recording studio in Eugene, OR.

Mertens’ work centers on fiber arts and multimedia installation pieces. His interest in weaving lies with the possibility of regaining a sense of control over communication and the physical environment and the role of string in the technological advances of humankind. He seeks to examine contemporary attempts of constructing history and meaning through hybridizing technology and handcrafting.

ECA Resident Robert Mertens

ECA Resident Robert Mertens

How was your experience working in the ECA space?

It was fantastic, I had been working smaller for the past couple of months and it was great to create some larger works and installation again. I mostly worked during the day before heading to school. The Whiteaker has a very different energy during the day. As I worked in the gallery the natural light would shift and this changed how I hung the show.

I’m kind of curious as to what kind of research you might be doing. Is there anything in particular you can cite that has been a major driving force or inspiration?

Well, the Mad Max trilogy factors in heavily. One book called Apocalyptic Transformations by E. Rosen, which is about postmodern apocalyptic fiction. Another book called Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of E-waste, by Jennifer Gabrys. I’ve been influenced by images of Andean culture as well. Khipu, Peruvian textiles, and Nazca Lines. As far as sound goes, I listened to Disintegration Loops by William Basinski, a lot during the day while weaving. As far as weaving, I don’t study books for weaving, I just improvise. I’m not big on pattern books, though there is a good one called Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg.

Looking at your work, I could see how the weaving process could be an organic way of working, letting the form take shape by its own accord. However in some, I can’t imagine creating something like that without setting up a structure beforehand. How consciously do you plan a piece out before starting? What can you say about your work flow or process?

I sketch everything out at first, layout in the gallery, shape of the individual pieces, details, then I set out to make them. I let the material dictate how it forms, so if I pull a piece of flexible conduit together to make a loop, it bends in whatever way it bends. Much of the weaving is done kind of patchwork-like, I tend to work on several pieces at the same time, so I maybe weaving a section on a tabletop loom, and needle weaving another section of something else, and crocheting another piece. It’s kind of chaotic for someone to watch but I have a check list of each section on each piece that I cross off as I do it. A lot of it is just knowing how a process will turn out and letting the material challenge its form.

Read more…

Duchamp and Dada – Q & A with Dr. Wesley Hurd

On April 25th, 2013 ECA will present “Duchamp and Dada” by Wesley Hurd, MFA, Ph.D – the first of three lectures in a series titled “3 Artists”. The following lectures in the series will focus on Andy Warhol and Joesph Beuys, who along with Duchamp comprise pivotal figures in contemporary art history. This interview was conducted by ECA Director Courtney Stubbert.


Courtney Stubbert (ECA Director): In 2012 you did a four- part lecture series for ECA called “What is Art?” It touched on the broader context of the 20th century and the forces that shape contemporary art making today as we know it. What was the motivation for focusing on Duchamp, Warhol, and Beuys specifically?


Dr. Wesley Hurd: The “What is Art?” series was my attempt to present a brief, “user-friendly” art history narrative of images that surveyed the swiftly changing, and often enigmatic, images of 20th century art—from early modernism to  “high” modernism to post-modernism. But my interest in these talks was also to cover what I might call the “flow of logic” in the unfolding ideas and sensibilities of this “new” art.

MARCEL-DUCHAMP-PEGGY-GUGGENHEIMS-GALLERY-ART-OF-THIS-CENTURY-NEW-YORK-NY-NOVEMBER-1942-1-c31462I was doing my own version of answering the question, “How do we make sense of the strangeness of modern and postmodern art?” Since I am an artist, not an art historian, these talks were not “academic”, though by necessity they had to deal with some of the complex ideas behind 20th century imagery—from abstract to “conceptual” art forms and practices. My real purpose in these talks was to unpack for the non-specialist, but art-interested person, a way to understand how we got from traditional to modern to what is now most often called “contemporary” art.

In this next three talks I will go into more detail on how and why these three artists were arguably the most influential artists— Duchamp, Warhol, Joseph Beuys— in that flow of evolving 20th century art making.


CS: We are almost 100 years from the appearance of Duchamp’s infamous “Fountain” (1917). Considering he quit making art at a certain point in favor of playing chess, what is it about Duchamp that is relevant to art making and artists today? 


WH: Duchamp is now recognized as the artist who turned accepted ideas about what art is, inside out and upside down. Among his peers he stands nearly alone in creating new ideas and making art that was strange, subversive and very elusive. His art work and the ideas behind it have resulted in creating a new paradigm for thinking about art. His more famously known works—the “ready-mades” and “The Large Glass”—represent the outworking of his redefining of art. Duchamp created a new conceptual map and vocabulary leading to the new art forms and practices of the late 20th century.fountain

All of today’s new visual art forms and strategies—performance art, installation art, multi/mixed media, site-specific, land art, and video art—all place as much, or more emphasis on “the conceptual” as on the visual. Or what Duchamp called “retinal art”. You can thank or criticize Duchamp for the often heard remark “That can’t be art!”


CS: Dada and Duchamp are usually synonymous, but Duchamp seems to exist above and beyond the reach of Dada. What’s the difference between them?


WH: For a while, Duchamp was a significant participant in the Dada art movement. Dada’s members, from Europe to New York City, displayed very diverse art but recognizable unity in their shared desire to disrupt and counter the ideals of high culture embedded in the foundations of the western civilized world. Duchamp lived and worked happily in this mode for several years.

But his distinction is found in the ideas about art that he alone generated. Put differently, he shared much with Dada’s agenda, but his work, ideas and concepts proved more radical and potent than the principles of Dada.  Duchamp’s subversion of accepted ideas of art continued throughout his life, whereas the Dada movement had died out by 1923 giving much of its energy to Surrealism.


Duchamp_chessCS: Why do you think he ended up favoring Chess over art making?


WH: Duchamp is famous for “giving up” or “resigning” from being an artist. Quite early in his career he stopped painting because he felt he had exhausted its possibilities for himself. When he gave up being an artist to play chess, he was quite serious. His father and family had been enthusiastic chess players. Duchamp played exceptionally well, displaying his talent in professional and amateur chess tournaments – one or two of which he won.

However, his move (pun intended) to playing chess indicated more than a simple love of the game. It was also, and simultaneously, 1) a sort of nihilistic, playful, “life-performance” that displayed his rejection of the category and importance of art, and, 2) a clear personal statement that living life with all of its complexities, simplicities and games was just as valid as what most cultured folks think of as the “high” pursuit of being an artist. His abandonment of art making—until much later in his life—for playing chess was strangely coherent with his ideas about life and art.


CS: Warhol and Duchamp famously crossed paths in the 60′s, and there is a clear connection between Warhols appropriations and Duchamp’s readymades. What about Beuys and Duchamp? What did Beuys get from him, if anything at all?


WH: Though Beuys employed art making strategies that reflected much of what Duchamp invented, he believed that art could change the world socially and spiritually. Duchamp could not have been more opposed to such perspective. Duchamp, both in personality and philosophical preference, kept himself from “using” his art in a socially or politically relevant way. He did not believe the aesthetic production of art should or could be counted on to move people toward “causes”. He lived and worked philosophically in a “zone of personal / social indifference”. In many ways Duchamp was a nihilist. Beuys, by deep contrast, was a seriously spiritual and politically driven artist, and didn’t buy into Duchamp’s aesthetic indifference.


Join us for ”3 Artists – Duchamp and Dada on April, 25th, 2013, at 7pm. Hosted at our Wave Gallery space at 547 Blair Blvd, Eugene, Oregon, 97402. Cost: $5 donation.

3 Artists - Duchamp and Dada

Art is Life Prints Coming Soon


For everyone who donated to our Kickstarter campaign at the $50 level and higher, these bad boys are coming soon via @ThreadbareShop. Really excited about getting one ourselves. We may have some extras for sale afterwards so stay tuned!

Public Process 2 – Robert Mertens

Sacra 7

We are really excited to have Robert Mertens join us for Public Process 2. Beginning on February 4th, Robert began moving into the space to begin work on his installation that will culminate with a show titled “A Tale of conductance: New works of found electronics” Opening March 16th.  Read more…