Erik Sandgren b. 1952

​Erik Sandgren probes the Northwest landscape as a witness sensitive to myth and history.
Erik was born in Corvallis, Oregon in 1952 and grew up in the environs of Oregon State University. His father, Nelson Sandgren, was a noted painter and OSU art professor. Their household was saturated with the visual culture that fostered Erik's early interests and education as a painter/printmaker. He went east to study at Yale (BA '75) and Cornell (MFA '77) where he expanded his painting and printmaking skills as part of the broad path of Ivy League liberal arts. His primary mentors were Bernard Chaet, Gretna Campbell and Erwin Hauer.
Like a homing salmon, Sandgren returned to the headwaters of his art and early life in the Pacific Northwest, drawn by a vivid landscape where raw nature is close-at-hand and the history of industrialization is little more than a century old. In Aberdeen, Washington he served as a one-person art department at Grays Harbor College from 1989 through 2017. Several sabbaticals and the Fulbright program allowed him to pursue teaching and artist residencies in England and France where he explored that more settled landscape. He expanded his firsthand knowledge of history, Western art and architecture in ways that have contributed to his feeling for the mythos of the Pacific Northwest.
Erik exhibits broadly in solo, group and juried shows. His work is represented in numerous private and public collections including those of the Franklin Furnace Gallery of the Museum of Modern Art, Yale University Art Gallery and the China National Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou, Oregon State University, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Portland State University, University of Portland, Hallie Ford Museum and Maryhill Museum.
Large scale public art projects include significant elements of the 4,600 square feet mural of Oregon landscapes on which he assisted his father in the Eugene/Springfield Airport in 1989. Murals in Grays Harbor include Elusive Witnesses, Nirvana and Aberdeen, Chehalis at Tidewater and the Centennial Project for the Port of Grays Harbor's Commission Room commemorating a century of marine commerce in the context of the estuary's natural riches.