Artwork / 2009

2009 was the year that everyone I know got married—or so it seemed anyway. In reality, it was just four of my dearest friends, but that was enough to have kept me guessing and re-guessing about depicting couplehood.

a couple with their painted portrait by Gwenn Seemel
photo by Gwenn Seemel

Outside of capturing nuptial bliss and doing commission work, I was involved in the minor political scandal of a sitting Portland City Commissioner using campaign funds to buy a portrait of himself. In 2009, I also painted most of my half of the collaborative series Subjective.

Also that year, I ended up in the hospital for an emergency surgery to treat my endometriosis, a disease that I didn’t even know I had. Change Inc and Artists’ Fellowship Inc awarded me emergency relief grants following my operation, and Haven Foundation did so in 2010. I am grateful for the contribution that these organizations made to my recovery process.

Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard with Gwenn Seemel’s portrait of him
clipping of The Oregonian

“No lover of art, surely, could begrudge [City Commissioner Randy] Leonard’s boost to rising star Gwenn Seemel’s career.”

- Editor, The Oregonian, March 2009

Apple Pie by Oregon artist Gwenn Seemel at the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts in Eugene
photo by David Vanadia

In the spring of 2009, I took my 2008 series Apple Pie to the Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts in Eugene, Oregon. This was the first time I had shown a body of work at more than one venue. This mini-tour was part of the inspiration for taking Subjective all over the Pacific Northwest in 2010 and 2011.

“Few artists are as gifted at self-promotion as Gwenn Seemel.”

- DK Row, The Oregonian, May 2009

Dr. John Roberts of Hillsboro, Oregon
photo by JoAnn Boatwright with The Hillsboro Argus

“Theirs is a mutual admiration society and both talk about their work in artist terms—color, hue, darkness and light, color value—all appropriate for modern dentistry as well as for artists. [Seemel is] talking paint; [Dr. Roberts is] talking implants and crowns.”

- JoAnn Boatwright, The Hillsboro Argus, July 2009

Apple Pie, the book
Apple Pie, the digital book

In 2009, the Oregon Arts Commission awarded me a career opportunity grant to publish a new edition of the Apple Pie exhibition catalog. The book includes images of all the portraits from the series along with statements by each of the subjects.

The print version of this catalog is sold out, but a downloadable digital version is available.

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