Portland lost one of its most respected and versatile artists and educators when alumnus and faculty emeritus William James “Jack” McLarty ‘40 passed away on July 10.
McLarty, who graduated in 1940 from PNCA, then the Museum Art School, was an avid supporter of the Portland art scene. Many of his relationships with other young artists around the city were formed during his 35 years of teaching at PNCA. He influenced and mentored generations of students including such local artistic giants as George Johanson. In 1961, he and his wife Barbara opened the first artist’s cooperative gallery in Portland, the Image Gallery, which was dedicated to showcasing young and local talent.
During his career, McLarty explored themes and motifs specific to Portland, invoking the city’s people and places including the Willamette and its many bridges. A diversely talented artist, McLarty incorporated different media and materials into his work from found architectural pillars to different papers for woodcuts and prints. His largest public work, a woodcut mural, is on display in Portland City Hall.
A memorial for Jack McLarty will be held in the PNCA Swigert Commons at 2 pm on Friday, August 12. A retrospective of his artwork entitled, Jack McLarty: Prints and curated by Tad Leflar has been mounted for the month of August in the Corner Gallery and will include woodcuts and engravings spanning over forty years of McLarty’s career. One of McLarty’s personal proof presses, now a much-used staple of the printmaking department at PNCA, will also be included in the exhibition.