Throughout Michele Russo’s life, he centered his attention on the human condition and consequently the ideals of man. In his art, he considered humanity in both its whimsy and its foibles. Stylistically, he developed an interest in the figure and a distinctive simplicity of form and line early on. He is best known for his paintings of the female nude in a variety of poses and settings. His figures, removed from specific meaning, go beyond the confines of the canvas to evoke universal qualities. This exhibition presents a series of paintings that focus on paired female figures in a variety of meditative and exuberant poses.
Michele Russo made significant contributions to the Northwest throughout his life. After graduating from Yale in 1934 and marrying fellow artist, Sally Haley he arrived in Portland in 1947. He taught at the Pacific Northwest College of Art for over 25 years and became an active advocate for the arts during the politically charged 1950s. He was a founder of the Portland Center for the Visual Arts and was the first artist appointed to the Metropolitan Arts Commission in the 1970s. Throughout his career, Michele Russo’s work has been in major exhibitions nationally and is in many public and private collections. Russo was honored with a fifty-year retrospective at the Portland Art Museum in 1988.