Mike E. Walsh
The descendant of a pioneer family and son of a log-truck driver, Mike E. Walsh lived in Boulder logging camp as a kid. He graduated from Newport High, majored in history at Western Oregon, and served two tours on destroyers off the coast of Viet Nam. "They shot at us," he says. "We picked up pilots." Walsh studied art on the GI Bill at the UO, where he constructed his first site-specific installation as a BFA project in 1972. An working studio artist ever since, he counts some 20 installations among 80 solo shows and 300 group exhibits. Installations feature photos and tiny assemblages inside plexiglass boxes, providing commentary on social issues such as war and environmental degradation. Commemoration of the AIDS epidemic has been a recurring theme since the 1985 installation, Preparing for War, at the New Zone Gallery. "A lot of my friends have died," he says. A retrospective exhibition of Walsh's work, including one brand-new installation and partial recreations of several older ones, fills all the galleries at the Maude Kerns Art Center through March 30.