Cawein Gallery Hosts The Collective by Robyn Johnsen

The Kathrin Cawein Gallery of Art is pleased to invite students, faculty, staff and the Pacific community to a reception at 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11 to celebrate the opening of The Collective by Robyn Johnsen. The Collective is an exploration of relationships, desires, memories and human/animal characteristics. View the paintings and chat with the artist during the reception.

Painting of woman and birds“A Tiding is one of the paintings where I was taking pictures of women that were leaning or in a position that when the  background was removed would look awkward because the support (a chair...) had been removed,” said Johnsen. “There is much that could be read into this. The collective word for a group of magpies is a tiding. Whether the figure is a part of that collective, being tormented by it, or oblivious to it is open to interpretation.”

The gallery is located in Pacific Hall on Pacific’s Forest Grove Campus. Artwork will remain on display through Nov. 11 during the gallery’s open hours, 10-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Admission is free, and the gallery and reception are open to the public.

All guests at campus events are asked to be vaccinated and adhere to all campus requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please visit for Pacific’s COVID-19 protocols.

Artist's Bio:

Robyn Johnsen is a figurative painter living in Hood River, Ore. Originally from the Midwest, she studied art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota. She moved to the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in 2002 to escape the city life in Minneapolis.

A high school art teacher for the past 18 years, Johnsen loves sharing her creative process with young people.

Process, context, and subject are key aspects of Johnsen’s work. She either begins by simply moving paint around and letting something grow out of the fertile stew of paint, or by working from a reference photo of a figure, and changing the space it exists in to bring about a different meaning or emotional quality. Having a balance between these two planned and unplanned approaches to creating images has brought variety to her body of work. The subjects in these paintings are often a way of exploring the quirks, challenges, strengths and experiences of being female in an expressionistic manner.

Johnsen’s work is on display at galleries and venues in Portland and the Columbia River Gorge. She has received multiple awards, including “Best of Show” at the annual Best of the Gorge show, an annual juried exhibit.

Artist's Statement:

“I invite you to look before you read further. The story or emotional response that an image gives you will be based on your own set of experiences.

“This body of work is an exploration of experiences and observations of being female. It is not what I set out to do, but when reflecting on these images, I think that is the story they tell. The heavily patterned areas are a way to flatten space and camouflage the figure. Sometimes I want to blend into the wall paper, and other times I’ve had to fight to be seen or heard. Our personalities, voices and emotions are sometimes too curated, and sometimes misunderstood or ignored. These images touch on that for me.

“The paintings in this collection all have humans and animals existing or interacting in a heavily patterned background. The meaning of these fluctuates for me. Sometimes the figure(s) and animal exist as the same, sometimes in contrast to each other or exploring different personality characteristics, and sometimes beauty, torment, and dominance. The patterns are a way of showing my experiences of sometimes wanting to be unseen and also the feeling of not being seen when needing to.”

Kathrin Cawein Gallery of Art

The Kathrin Cawein Gallery of Art is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at the entrance of Pacific Hall on the Forest Grove Campus. The gallery is named in honor of the late Kathrin Cawein of New York, an accomplished printmaker and contributor to Pacific University who established an endowed scholarship for students of the arts at Pacific.

For more information, please contact Tyler Brumfield, art & design professor and gallery curator, at

Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021