(Above: Gallery owner Karin Clarke stands in front of the new 300-square-foot space that will give her Karin Clarke Gallery an “annex” in a new housing-and-commercial development in downtown Eugene.)

By Randi Bjornstad

A few months ago, owner Karin Clarke hadn’t given so much as a thought to expanding her art Karin Clarke Gallery’s presence in the downtown Eugene area. But any day now, there will be a new sign — Karin Clarke at the Gordon — in a covered arcade called Market Alley that is part of a major commercial-and-residential expansion near the 5th Street Public Market.

“I wasn’t at all thinking this way, especially because we have been kind of shut for so long because of the coronovirus pandemic,” Clarke said. But the subject came up when she was contacted by Obie Companies, owner/developers of the project.

“They said they wanted to have an art gallery presence in the new development, but my gallery (on Willamette Street) is well-known there, and a change in location would have been super-expensive, so I said ‘No,’ ” she said. “But later they approached me about some much-smaller commercial spaces they were developing in their Market Alley, so I went to take a look.”

She was charmed, and she decided the addition of another storefront would fit her goals as a gallerist.

New location, new emphasis

“It’s only 300 square feet, but the Alley has a really European feel, and it looks really cool,” Clarke said. “And while my gallery has a good following among people who are familiar with it and the shows we offer, we don’t usually have a lot of everyday foot traffic. So it seemed to me that with three hotels as well as restaurants, residential lofts, and a lot of other commercial spaces around, it might be a good idea to have a second, smaller space more focused on art sales and less on art shows.”

She plans to show smaller pieces than are often on display at the parent Karin Clarke Gallery, as well as unframed artwork that can be offered at far lower prices than already framed works.

“I really hope the new space will stop people in their tracks and encourage them to start following artists whose work they like,” Clarke said. “And I hope it also will encourage them also to walk the three blocks between it and the original gallery to see what we show there.”

The projected opening date for Karin Clarke at the Gordon is early February. “Once the lighting and walls and painting are done, I can get the gallery ready to go pretty quickly,” she said. “We will be open seven days a week in the new space, compared with four days a week in the regular gallery. I already have bought things that I am just holding for the opening.”

This acrylic-on-panel painting by Erik Sandgren is part of a large show of his Northwest landscapes at the Karin Clarke Gallery in downtown Eugene

She’s looking forward to the variety of businesses that will share Market Alley with her, among them “Beaudet Jewelry next door, and a flower shop, Café Yumm, a Marché space, and an electric bike shop,” Clarke said, “There will be lots of interesting things — this space feels like a very secure opportunity to me.”

Hours at Karin Clarke at the Gordon at 590 Pearl St., Suite 105, will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Hours at the Willamette Street gallery will remain the same, noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

New show at the “old” gallery

In the meantime, she’s preparing for her next major exhibit at the parent Karin Clarke Gallery, which will be work by Erik Sandgren, one of the many artists regularly represented by the gallery.

The show, titled Observed, Imagined and Remembered: the Northwest Landscape, includes paintings and woodcut prints by the artist, who grew up in Corvallis and honed his early skills by painting plein air — on location — with his artist father and Oregon State University art professor, Nelson Sandgren.

The younger Sandgren grew up to earn art degrees from Yale and Cornell and later became a “one-person art faculty” at Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Wash., before relocating to Portland. His work is present in many collections, both public and private, throughout the United States and internationally.

Sandgren’s subject matter explores his views of the natural world — often scenes of his native Pacific Northwest — that vary in color and style as he explores his own evolution in painting and printmaking traditions, including European and Asian influences..

Erik Sandgren: Observed, Imagined and Remembered: the Northwest Landscape

When: Jan. 20, 2021 through Feb. 27, 2021

Where: Karin Clarke Gallery, 760 Willamette St., Eugene

Details: Because of the continuing requirements for social distancing, there will not be an artist’s reception for this show. There will be a virtual artist talk at 11 a.m. on Feb. 5 on Facebook Live.

Gallery hours: Noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday

Information: Telephone 541-684-7963, email kclarkegallery@mindspring.com, online at karinclarkegallery.com

Crooked River, painting by Erik Sandgren