We are pleased to present the paintings of Portland artist, Jay Backstrand. His paintings are full of historical innuendo juxtaposing unassuming combinations that in turn express a contemporary commentary. With an amazing eye for the eccentric, his scale range and use of disparate elements add to his poignant sensibility, which is sometimes humorous, sometimes macabre, sometimes both. Never sure what will provoke his interest, he collects images that run the gamut from art historical to the odd and unlikely, such as plastic Japanese toys and rubber hose. Backstrand astutely uses juxtaposition to reveal irony and profound meaning within this plethora of cultural imagery. He creates intrigue by activating the context and pulls the viewer into a one-of-a-kind narrative.

Oregon artist, Jay Backstrand studied at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and at the Slade School, London as a Fulbright fellow. In 1987 he was honored with a 10-year retrospective exhibition at Marylhurst College, Portland. He has exhibited his work since the 1960s and is included in the collections of the Bellevue Art Museum, WA; Denver Art Museum, CO; Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University, Salem, OR; the Henry Gallery at University of Washington, Seattle; the National Gallery, Washington, DC; Portland Art Museum, OR; Seattle Art Museum, WA; and the Tacoma Art Museum, WA.