OCTOBER 7 - 28, 2017
Unseen Works offers a chance to see works by esteemed local artist, Orr Marshall, the earliest of which were painted in the mid-60s while Orr was teaching design, drawing and color at the California College of Arts and Craft (CCAC) in Oakland. Colors and their interaction play an important role in his work and was a subject of his studies at Yale, as well as his instruction at CCAC and College of the Redwoods. Orr has also leaned toward figurative work, even when it wasn’t fashionable at the time. “While looking over the works to be exhibited at the Black Faun Gallery, I was surprised to notice for the first time that over the years they seemed to have taken on certain historical connotations. Although the paintings are figurative, my brushwork showed traits of abstract expressionism, the art movement that flourished then. I liked to smear, splatter, drag and drip (which is fun to do with oil paint), as in the portrait of Stravinsky. Acrylic didn't come into wide use until around the mid-60s when I went to Japan to attend the National University of Fine Arts in Tokyo with a Japanese government scholarship. Oil was still the rule in Japan, so I continued in that medium.”
Fukiko Oguchi Marshall is better known as a local restaurateur with Cafe Tomo, Sushi Spot and Hana on her list of entrepreneurial successes. However Fukiko’s paintings at the Black Faun Gallery, which are on exhibition for the first time in almost 50 years, firmly claim her space as an artist in her own right. Fukiko’s paintings also emphasize the interplay of color with organic patterns precisely constructed with vibrant exchanges of color and shape on canvases as large as 16 feet long.
Orr Marshall and Fukiko Oguchi met while Orr was teaching at CCAC in the 60s. Fukiko was a student in Orr’s design class and that is where the romance, exhibited in Orr’s loving portraits of Fukiko, began. Orr describes moments of inspiration at the time, “I was interested in learning Japanese, so Fukiko sometimes invited me to visit her where she lived in East Oakland with her host family. I would ride the bus there, and my painting Black Dog was probably something I saw out the bus window on the way to visit her.”
Since those days in Oakland, Orr and Fukiko married and moved to Japan and eventually to Eureka when Orr took a teaching job at College of the Redwoods. Fukiko opened several restaurants and they raised their children in Humboldt County. After half a century in storage, the couple is sharing their Unseen Works with the public. Orr spoke about the idea for the joint exhibition, “I wanted to have a joint show and I thought that if I could exhibit my early work, which hasn’t been seen, I could do it with someone else and then it hit me to show Fukiko’s work,” Orr explains. “No one has seen this work, so it makes it brand new in a way.”