Gallery Opening A family affair.
Northern Wilds Sleuth flees the flames.
Walking the Walk: Sustainable development means smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
A family affair.
BY LOIS WADSWORTH
A new fine arts gallery opening in the heart of the downtown art district provides an occasion to celebrate. Karin Clarke Gallery opens its doors at 760 Willamette to the public on Friday, Sept. 6 and will be open that night for the art walk The first exhibition is New Landscapes by Margaret Coe and Mark Clarke, parents of the gallery owner and long-established regional painters who live in Eugene.
|SPRING VALLEY ROAD, OIL BY MARGARET COE.|
Although Clarke's degree is in graphic design, she seems surprised that she's actually sitting in the office of her gallery as we talk. Opening a gallery is a family idea that's been brewing a long time, she said. "It's something we've talked about all my life," she said. "It's been a continual dialogue in my life. My dad would say, 'If anyone in our family could run a gallery, it would be Karin.'"
The idea may have been percolating awhile, but Clarke didn't really imagine herself running a gallery, she said. Then the idea came up on a recent mother-daughter painting trip to Italy. "We cooked together and painted together," said Clarke. "I learned so much about painting from her. We got to know each other better, became better friends. It deepened my connection with my family."
And both were strongly influenced by the closeness they saw in the lives of Italian families who run businesses, in which everyone from child to grandparent participates. "They are together for life," Clarke said. "I could breathe there. People were really themselves." She said she and her mother talked about how to have more of this closeness in their lives. It was a defining moment for Karin. "I'm going to have a gallery, a family gallery," she said. But swept up in the excitement of traveling, she forgot.
Weeks later, they returned home to learn that both Susan Due and Robert Canaga had closed their Eugene galleries downtown. One day over lunch, Karin talked about not knowing what her next move should be, and Peg reminded her what she had said about having a gallery. They walked over to see that Criterion Gallery had moved into Due's, but Canaga's space was still empty.
|UNTITLED SEASCAPE WITH FIGURE, ACRYLIC BY MIKE CLARKE.|
"I didn't actually envision this for my life," Karin said, "but it feels natural to me. It's not a short-term thing. I want the gallery to be a blossoming of my parents' careers. I want it to be an anchor for good art in a comfortable, respectful setting. I like the idea that people might come to see 'that family gallery.'"
Clarke said her whole family has been really supportive in helping get the 988 sq. ft. space ready for Friday's opening. Her brother has set up business programs on the computer. Her dad made one short gallery wall smoother and longer to accommodate larger paintings. There's new molding on the standing walls, which have been painted a lovely color Karin calls "gray yellow ocher," and there's additional storage for large works. She's moved her desk into the office, so the gallery floor space is less cluttered. She wants a spare, elegant look for the gallery.
"Art is very personal," Clarke said. "People take it seriously, but they are uncertain about what that means. And they are confused about galleries. I want the gallery to look more like a museum, so you can really see the art, but I also want it to be a place where people are comfortable. I want it to feel that solid."
I talked about the contrast between American uncertainty about how to regard art and artists and the European attitude, as related to me by local painters such as Kevin Kadar and Jerry Ross, both of whom have had shows at European galleries. Karin recalled a day she and her mother were painting near a busy city street. "People going by in cars could see our paintings on the easels," she said. "At first I didn't know what it meant when they honked their horns and yelled 'Bravo!' But my mom got it. Italians are so respectful and encouraging of artists."
Later on, the gallery will exhibit the work of other artists, Karin said, but the opening show is all in the family. And as you can see from the represented work shown here of Mark Clarke and Margaret Coe (called Peg by friends and family), accomplishment and talent is a family affair.
Sleuth flees the flames.
Dear readers of the Wine Sleuth's monthly column, I regret to inform that the good Dr. Sparks has absconded, apparently into the deeper reaches of British Columbia, ostensibly to investigate whispers that very good white wines — particularly pinots blanc and gris — are being produced even in those northern wilds, especially in the Okanogan Valley and environs. It's quite possible that certain ulterior purposes might also be served, to wit a brief vacation, partly spent prying into rumors that some of the finest Asian dining outside Hong Kong can be found in and around Vancouver and Victoria. According to our files, this will mark the first time in years that Sleuth has managed to escape the local arena, and we in the office are happy that he and the lovely Kat have chosen to investigate these matters. Speaking frankly, I must say that Sleuth had lately become somewhat testy, given to muttering venomously about "election wars," "budget blundering," other such.
Ipso facto, responsibility for this month's wine report has devolved to me, erstwhile aka "Mouse," a pseudonym invented by our agency to preserve my ability to operate anonymously in developing wine intelligence in our clients' service. Hence, we proceed under this aegis, though I must admit looking forward to someday coming in from the cold, perhaps penning memoirs of my years in this extraordinary employment. Let me just note, for publishers who might peruse these lines, that my undercover delving in what we might well call Mondo Vino has forged experiences to rival the feasts of Caligula or the palatial peccadilloes of the Borgias. One hopes a word will suffice.
These summer months have been delightfully productive, engendering extensive notes in Sleuth's own hand. Too, I am honored to have the able assistance of the inimitable Mole. Without further ado, let us into the breach:
Last month, Dr. Sparks expounded the enological charms of that region of France called Languedoc, noting that while prices for wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy have lofted into the ethereal, approaching the criminal, some of the lesser known viticultural regions have both elevated their quality and maintained price-point accessibility. Continuing his focus circa the southern Rhone Valley, we have found the barely noticed appellation of Vaucluse, an area on the east side of the river among the foothills of the Alps. An utter surprise: Domaine la Milliere 2000 Merlot, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse ($8.50). To find here a merlot — from this locale, at these prices and of such quality — simply amazes. The wine is dark, rich, unfiltered, delivering juicy flavors of black fruit (raspberries, cherries, currants), woodsmoke; nicely balanced, firm, with medium tannins. The wine is fast disappearing from shelves, so act quickly. Back across the Rhone, from the little-known region of Herault, we've found Les Hérétiques (The Heretics) 2000 Vin de Pays de l'Herault ($7.29), deep purple, deep-flavored, evoking plums, black cherries, hints of licorice, lush and quaffable.
Spain, Mole reminds us, has been a source of fine wines for "t'ree t'ousand years. Dey almos' got it right. Good juice at people prices." Eloquently put: Of course, prices have soared for the best tempranillos and the lovely whites of Rias Baixas, but crafty importers still manage to discover obscure denominations with wines marked by the combination of good quality and fair price that results in superb value. Case in point: Borsao 2001 ($7), from the Campo de Borja region in the dazzlingly beautiful hills of Catalonia, southwest of Barcelona. Borsao blends garnacha (grenache) and tempranillo, ripe and soft, with forward fruit flavors reminding one of blackberries and spice, quite delish and drinkable now.
Traditionally, the volcanic hillsides of Sicily have produced great volumes of wine, most of it (except for marsala) consumed locally. Recently, Sicilian winemakers have taken their vinos "up a notch." Look for Colosi 2000 Sicilia ($6), a dry, rustic red generous in flavors of plum and cherries, soft, easy to drink, pleading for pasta or pizza.
The affable and enthusiastic Mole also insists that the price/quality/value equation may be applied "right heah in Ory-gone." Surely true. While hundreds of elite wine lovers gathered last month at the annual Oregon Pinot Noir Conference in McMinnville to celebrate our state's premier cool-climate wine, drawing global attention to our northern counties, the vineyards of our south counties, especially the Rogue Valley, continue to produce outstanding bottlings of warm-country varietals, e.g., cabernet sauvignon, merlot, zinfandel and others. Consider Valley View Vineyard 1998 Anna Maria Merlot ($10.50), a profound wine now though years from its maturity; delicious, deep and dark; after being open a few hours releases complex flavors of black cherries, currants, smoke, chocolate, coffee on a frame of sweet oak, structured by medium tannins. This wine, I vow, rivals others costing four times as much — a remarkable bargain. Another example is offered from the burning hills around remote Cave Junction: Foris 2000 Gewurztraminer ($10.50), a lovely white in the dry style of Alsace, opens with enticing honeysuckle aromas then fills the glass with lavish flavors of ripe, zesty grapefruit, finishing crisp and clean, charming accompaniment to a wide variety of spicy Asian dishes.
In closing, I hope you will join us in wishing Sleuth and Kat a joyful journey and safe return. And let's also wish our grape-growing neighbors a bounteous harvest and another pearl of a vintage to add to their string since 1998. A five-peat? Penta-peat? Best to all.
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Sustainable development means smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.
BY JIM MOTAVALLI
As I write this, the U.N.-sponsored World Summit for Sustainable Development is under way in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it's generating all kinds of unusual reactions. South African President Thabo Mbeki warns of a growing gap between rich and poor. Among other things, we in the industrialized world produce most of the global warming gas, with the effects mostly felt in the Third World. Tailpipe numbers alone tell the story: In 1995, the U.S. had 563 cars for every 1,000 people; India had just three.
|NICE BUSES LINE UP FOR THE DELEGATES IN JOHANNESBURG.|
Jerry Taylor of the libertarian Cato Institute, looking at the flood of anti-American rhetoric coming from Jo'burg, wants us to know that it's the Third World, not the West, that is unsustainable. "If the West didn't produce as much as it does, standards of living in countries like South Africa would be lower than they are today," he says.
The U.S. has 5 percent of the world's population and uses 30 percent of its resources, but Taylor has an answer for that. "The West doesn't simply consume natural resources," he opines. "It also creates them." Wow. I didn't know you could "create" natural resources!
That's what the right thinks. Another analysis, from the left, holds that the entire sustainable development argument has been taken over by big business, which pays for the privilege through special UN-sponsored "partnerships." In their new book earthsummit.biz (Food First), Kenny Bruno and Joshua Karliner argue that the U.N. "is calling on the polluters to be their partners." Prime offenders, they say, are auto companies that wrap themselves in green from their electric vehicle programs and U.N. connections, then turn around and make three-fourths of their profits from sport utility vehicles. Both Ford and Mitsubishi are profiled in the book.
The fact is that auto companies know the value of good public relations, and image counts more than real achievement. Business comes first. Some believe that Ford pulled the plug on its Excursion SUV because it was getting hammered by the greens (and that was a factor), but more important was the vehicle's declining sales. If a costly environmental mandate is proposed, they'll fight it to the death in the press and in the courts, but even if they lose they'll reap the PR rewards. Look at the green cars Ford and GM were ordered to produce!
A recent Zogby poll shows that 75 percent of Americans support the idea of cleaning up cars and SUVs to combat global warming (and, presumably, save the Third World). But that doesn't mean they're ready to hand over the keys to their Suburbans and Land Cruisers. Small car sales remain in the doldrums. And that's what's so interesting about new developments in California, which on its own would be the world's fifth-largest economy. The state has 22 million cars, and it just enacted legislation to link their emissions to global warming. Vehicles for that rich market (a bellwether for the rest of the nation) will have to get smaller and far more fuel-efficient. Since cars alone produce 40 percent of California's carbon dioxide, this should have more practical effect than all the hot air wafting over from Johannesburg.
To really address sustainable development, we'd have to put our consumption patterns on the table. Like California, we'd have to be willing to make sacrifices and curb our voracious appetites. We'd sell our gas guzzlers and start buying Toyota ECHOs, Ford Focuses, DaimlerChrysler Smart cars and the latest hybrids. Hell, we might even forgo some trips and walk. What a concept.
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