(Above: A ghostly human figure — which she did not see but which appeared in a single frame during a photo shoot — led photographer Sandy Brown Jensen to title this picture, Doubt Not the Angels Walk Among Us.)

By Randi Bjornstad

Almost exactly five years ago, Eugene Scene first did a story about Eugene dentist Donald Dexter and an unusual aspect of his practice that he has carried out now for 25 years. Here’s how that article began:

“Admittedly, it’s not what you expect when you head for the dentist, but for the past 20 years, Don Dexter’s dental practice has doubled as a photo gallery that offers area camera enthusiasts a place to show their work.”

As he said back then, his gallery in the waiting room of his dental clinic “is probably the best-kept secret in town.” Now, revived post-pandemic, it’s open once again to the public during the same hours that patients are sequestered in in dental chairs, getting their teeth cleaned or undergoing fixes for whatever other dental-related issues they may be experiencing.

The exhibit on display through mid-September 2022 is a photography show by veteran Eugene photographer Sandy Brown Jensen, also known for her arts commentary as host of Viz City on public radio station KLCC-89.7FM.

Her show at the Dr. Dexter Gallery, titled Summer Gold: Gilded Photography, features landscapes and birds as well as mystical, and mythical themes, one-of-a-kind images that she creates using computer art applications and then renders on sheets of transparent film, gilded on the back in gold, silver, or copper.

Fascinated by ravens, photographer Sandy Brown Jensen created this verre églomisé rendition of the intelligent bird she calls Raven Master of Heceta Head.

Brown Jensen’s technique is based on an ancient Roman art form that was revived in the 18th-century by French artist Jean-Baptiste Glomy, hence its modern name, verre églomisé, which can be translated loosely as glass à la Glomy. The art form involves painting on the back of a piece of glass — backward so as to appear “right” from the front — and then applying gilt over the back painted surface to create a mirrored effect.

“My work is like the old work, except that instead of glass I use transparent film, and instead of painting on backwards I use photography, but I do my own gilding,” she said.

Once she got interested in the idea, it took her two years to develop her own technique.

“I started out using vellum, but in the weather here it just seemed to wrinkle too much,” she said. “Then I tried canvas and metal — like every other art form, you just have to experiment — but it still wasn’t what I was looking for.”

Eventually, Eugene photographer Walt O’Brien, proprietor of O’Brien Photo Imaging, “suggested that I use transparency,” she recalled. “I thought ‘Really, are you sure?’ “

But in trying it, she finally found the medium she had been searching for. In art as everything else, “There’s something to learn constantly,” she said.

This show features everything from birds — ravens are her favorite because of their intelligence and personality — to a scene of one of the Circles in the Sand labyrinths at Face Rock Wayside on the beach at Bandon, as well as large coastal landscapes, and one single, mystical frame that she titled Doubt Not the Angels Walk Among Us that did not contain a real human figure but  evoked to her the spirit of her father.

Another piece is a study of a raven that flew down just as she was arriving once at the Heceta Head lighthouse north of Florence. “He came down and stayed there — he wasn’t a bit afraid — and I got dozens of photographs of him,” Brown Jensen said. “I call this one Raven Master of Heceta Head.”

Jensen’s work can be seen on Facebook at Sandy Brown Jensen, and on Instagram.

Summer Gold at Dr. Dexter’s Gallery

What: A show of photography by Sandy Brown Jensen, titled Summer Gold:Gilded Photography

When: Through Sept. 19, 2022

Where: Inside the dental office of Dr. Donald Dexter, in Building B at 2233 Willamette St. in Eugene

Regular Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and on alternating Mondays and Fridays; call to verify a specific Monday or Friday

Information: 541-485-6644 or drdexter.com


At the Edge of the Oregon World; by Sandy Brown Jensen