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About Vernonia's voice. (Vernonia, OR) 2007-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 2008)
Vernonia Artist Dave Anderson: Freezing Moments In Time
By Evangeline Doyle
Dave Anderson is fascinated with how we humans attempt to freeze time. His fas-
cination began at an early age while observing his mother who pressed flowers in
As an artist Dave has always looked for ways to capture moments in time through
art; telling both his stories and other’s. An accomplished artist, Dave has worked
in an amazing array of mediums, doing both commissioned and noncommissioned
work, giving him great depth as an artist. He’s worked for national corporations as
ad director, and has had his own graphics art business.
Dave’s most recent one-man-exihibit, titled “To Break a Butterfly,” has been running
since January 3, at the Kathryn Cawein Gallery of Art at Pacific University, and ends
February 7. A reception will be held this Friday, February 1 from noon to 1 p.m.
Gallery hours are 1-5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Dave’s exhibit is a tribute to the children of the Terezin Concentration Camp.
Through collage and assemblages, Dave has created a reflection of their art, writing,
and emotions; from 1942 to 1944, some 15,000 children were imprisoned at Terezin,
Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust, less than 100 survived.
After viewing the exhibit I was moved to believe this was Dave’s tribute to ancestors
or religion, but this is not the case. Dave’s heart was touched by a twenty-five-cent
book that his business partner found at a garage sale and gave to him. The title of
the book “I never saw another butterfly,” was compiled poetry from the children of
While imprisoned, the children of Terezin were allowed to express their emotions
through art. Their work was then tucked away, hidden in walls and cases so that
someday it might be found and their story told. Capturing the moment in time.
To say that Dave was moved by the children’s work is an understatement. He began
this particular journey by creating ten metal bound books as commissioned work
for the Ziedell family. When the flood of ’96 hit Vernonia, Dave lost everything,
including his portfolio and list of contacts. “It wasn’t until 2007, when a friend of
mine sent me a copy of Pacific University’s alumni magazine, that I saw the pieces
again,” Dave said. The magazine’s article was about the recent donation made by
the Ziedell family; all ten books.
From 1999 to 2007, Dave went on to create much larger pieces on the subject, twen-
ty-two in total, many of which are on display at the Kathryn Cawein Gallery through
February 7. “It is not an easy subject matter – each piece takes a lot out of me,”
explains Dave. “I’m not sure if I have more on the subject in me…only time will
Dave will be spending much of the near term putting his home and studio back to-
gether, as they were hit hard by the flood in December; water rose over a foot higher
than the flood of ‘96. We fortunately live in a two-story house; we focused on sav-
ing the Terezin exhibit first he said, moving these pieces to the second story, but we
weren’t able to save everything, and the studio was a complete loss.
Although Dave takes his art seriously, he said, “I don’t take myself seriously.” Dave
and his wife Cleone try to see humor through it all, as that is what gets you through,
“laugher is the key.”
Dave also explained, “while the flood destroys some things, it creates others. In ’96
I was moved by what I now call flood-paper.” He had a folder full of colored tissue
paper that he was able to salvage from the flood; sheets melded into another creating
an amazing blend of colors. Since ’96 he has used this to his advantage in his art.
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One of the children, Franta Bass, ends a poem by saying,
“I will always come back to life.”
Franta Bass was imprisoned at age 11 and died at age 14.
I highly recommend taking a trip to Forest Grove to see this amaz-
ing, and truly moving exhibit by Dave Anderson. By doing so, you
honor the lives of these children as well as that of the artist who
brought their stories to you.
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