Opening Reception: September 1, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
For the month of September, Russo Lee Gallery presents Saints and Monsters, Monsters and Saints by Gregory Grenon (1948-2022) and Mary Josephson. Aside from a literal translation, the exhibition title is an apt description of the ricocheting emotional world from which inspiration is born.
Gregory and Mary's artwork was paramount from their first meeting and throughout their lives together. They interpreted the world through paint, with color a powerful tool and weapon. Painting the human form, particularly images of women, was a shared passion.
Gregory Grenon’s body of work for this exhibition is a cross-section of his varied ways of working over the span of his career. Grenon was well known for his work as a colorist, exploring the dynamic and expressive qualities of the people he painted. He loved women and made the study of women his life’s work. He recorded the truth he saw in the world, not the pretty and the proper.
Gregory Grenon grew up in Detroit where he studied at the Center for Creative Studies. After a stint in Chicago, where he furthered his printmaking skills at Landfall Press, he moved to the Pacific Northwest in the late 1970s. He has had one-person exhibitions throughout the region as well as in New York, Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans. He received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission. His work is in numerous private and public collections including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art; Willamette University; the Portland Art Museum; the Seattle Art Museum; the Tacoma Art Museum; the Boise Art Museum; and the New York Public Library.
For this exhibition, Mary Josephson created a body of work influenced by living in Umbria, Italy with Gregory from early October 2021 to January 2022. While there, immersed in ancient history and culture, Josephson experienced a sense of wonder that permeated every aspect of daily life. Her paintings reflect a mix of mythological creatures, real monsters, Saints, and maidens. Many of the works also reflect Josephson’s recent thoughts about the nature of Home, both the sense one carries inside and the physical structure itself.
Mary Josephson studied in Paris, France, at the École National Superior des Beaux Arts before receiving a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She has exhibited her work since 1983 including shows at the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Health Sciences University, the University of Austin in Texas, and the Bellevue Art Museum, WA. Prominent collections include Safeco, Microsoft, Oregon State University, Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital, Tacoma Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum. Commissions include work for Southern Oregon University, the Tigard Public Library, OR, Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Portland Fire and Rescue in conjunction with RACC, OR, Oregon Food Bank, Multnomah County’s Juvenile Justice Center in Portland, OR, and the Arnold Rue Community Center, in Stockton, CA.