Sculptor Mel Katz creates works of bold and contrasting color, exuberant shapes and subtle humor. Since 1963, he has been integral in the Portland art scene bringing to life abstract art the likes of which Portland had not been familiar with in his early years in Portland. Chronicling Katz’ decades worth of continuous work in Portland, the Laura Russo Gallery will present a retrospective of Katz’ career, from paintings and wall sculptures to his most recent machine cut, anodized aluminum wall mounted sculptures. A continuing theme for Katz is his career-long fascination with shape and contour and a playfulness with positive and negative shapes. Always evolving, Katz’s work is fresh, clean and modern, refined by years of technical expertise and aesthetic consideration. Exhibiting concurrently with the gallery exhibition, at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art is Mel Katz: On and Off the Wall: A Retrospective which runs from June 6 – August 23, 2015
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Mel Katz graduated from the Cooper Union Art School in 1953. He moved to Portland in 1963 and became well known in the early 1970s as one of the founders of the nationally reputed, Portland Center for the Visual Arts. Katz taught art at Portland State University until retiring in 1998. He has been exhibiting his work since 1956, which includes a solo show at the Hallie Ford Museum, in Salem, OR in 2006, a retrospective at the Portland Art Museum in 1988 and the highly acclaimed traveling exhibition “Still Working,” in 1994. Selected collections include; the Portland Art Museum, OR; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Tacoma Art Museum, WA; City of Seattle; Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland; Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, OR; and Safeco Insurance, Seattle, WA. In 2013, he completed a commission for Jefferson Elementary, Everett, WA, through the Washington State Arts Commission.