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July 4, 2009
Cover Story

Water is Life: Two artists, one new show

For Sorcha Meek and Lars Bergstrom, three simple words reflect an ocean of meaning in the stories of their lives.

Water is Life.

And in the spirit of that notion, the two Hood River residents are combining their very different styles of art for a summer show that will debut this Friday at Meek's 512 Cascade Ave. studio, Solo Gallery.

A selection of Meek's vibrant and deep oil-on-canvas paintings will be complemented by several of Bergstrom's striking handmade wood surf boards.

With summer here and local waters teeming with activity, the two view their show - aptly titled "Water is Life" - as a natural fit, at an ideal time, in a community of like-minded people who are very often connected to water on an intimate, if not spiritual, level.

"The show is unique in that it is a collaboration of two very different mediums of art, both celebrating the idea of connecting to water," Meek said from her gallery.

"Water is life...that's the story of my life," said Bergstrom, who builds his boards entirely out of locally harvested or recycled wood. His company, 42Surfboards, has a small shop behind Full Sail, where he can't work fast enough to keep up with the demand for his one-of-a-kind boards.

His desire to use natural, chemical-free and sustainable materials, paired with the unique and lasting quality of his boards, led Bergstrom to shift to working entirely with wood after shaping boards for more than 20 years.

"I've had a hard time understanding if what I do is art or not," he said. "But today we have boards in a lot more galleries than we do in surf shops." As attractive as they look on display, Bergstrom's boards are built for the water. Although a few times heavier than a foam or composite board of the size, 42Surfboards are made to be paddled out and used.

They are a tool to connect people to water. Bergstom's idyllic functional art will be juxtaposed in the show by several large, dramatic paintings by Meek; an internationally schooled artist who opened Solo Gallery downtown in 2006.

"The images are from my own experiences in the water," she said. "I think this is a show that will appeal to everyone, at every age level. The theme is universal; it is relevant to everyone."

The show will run through the end of August, with open studio hours Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 5pm, First Fridays from 5-8pm and by appointment by calling Meek at 541-490-7691. For more information on the two artists, visit their websites at www.sorchameek.com and www.42surfboards.com.

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