The paintings and drawings of Joseph Yokum and Joan Nelson re-vision landscapes through memories collected both from place and feeling. Though the artists are 50 years apart in age, and live in different parts of the country, their work connects through their interests in representing memories of places as they saw them and felt them.

Joan Nelson
Joan Nelson Untitled, 2013 ink, spray enamel, beeswax on panel 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 inches photo courtesy of Adams and Ollman

During a road trip through Oregon, Joan Nelson was inspired by the scenic landscapes of the Gorge and the Three Sisters Mountain Range. The intimate, 12”x12” paintings in this series are depictions of memories and emotions she experienced on her journey. Nelson uses a square format, breaking her painting’s relationship to the male-centric history of landscape painting, as well as establishing the Objectness of her works. The surfaces are rich and varied and although highly illusionistic from afar, their imagery begins to break up on close inspection and the means of their making are revealed. Non-traditional art materials blend with traditional. Her panels are an amalgamation of oil paint, ink, glitter, glass beads, spray enamel and beeswax. This blending of materials heightens the dreamlike quality of the paintings.

Joseph Yoakum Imperial Valley, 1965 colored pencil, ink on paper 12 x 18 inches Photo courtesy of Adams and Ollman

Joseph Yokum creates drawings from his memories of travelling throughout his lifetime with the circus and as a soldier. He believes his drawings to be photorealistic representations of landscapes as he remembers them from his travels. They are imbued with a charismatic power through skewed perspective and stylized line and pattern. This charisma transforms the drawings subject matter from external landscapes into internal memoryscapes.


The paintings and drawings of Joan Nelson and Joseph Yoakum are part of a two person show at Adams and Ollman which will be open through July 11th, 2015.

Adams and Ollman
Works by Joan Nelson and Joseph Yoakum on display through July 11th, 2015
209 SW 9th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11AM–5PM and by appointment