Sculptor Mel Katz continues his exploration of shape and contour using the drawn line. Katz is a 50 year veteran of his craft, yet his work is fresh, clean, and modern, refined by years of technical expertise and aesthetic consideration. Over the years his work has become more and more flattened, addressing the silhouette and positive and negative space. There is a stylistic nod to his father’s career in tailoring, linking the artist’s economy of line and allusion to the figure with the pattern cutouts for men’s suits. Katz develops his designs as large drawings. The designs are fabricated out of aluminum and then painted with a powder coat finish. In this latest series, he explores the color white and the way it allows the black line to mimic his drawn line. Seemingly biomorphic and referential, these whimsical forms are derived from playful shape making. The artist comes full circle revealing more than ever the initial concepts found in the drawing. This exhibition will include full-scale sculptures, models, wall pieces, and drawings.
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 retrospective at the Portland Art Museum in 1988 and the highly acclaimed traveling exhibition “Still Working,” in 1994. He has been a recipient of Artist’s Fellowships from both the Western States Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Selected collections include; the Portland Art Museum, OR; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Tacoma Art Museum, WA; City of Seattle; Washington County Justice Center, Hillsboro, OR; Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland; Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, OR; and Safeco Insurance, Seattle, WA. Mel’s work will be featured on Oregon ArtBeat on OPB, Thursday, February 26th at 8pm.