out of line
Kane, a Boston native, has moved from east to west and from scientist
to artist. Shes taught a variety of classes both
science and art at grade school, college and graduate levels.
Eileen now works part-time, teaching art at the Art Institute
of Portland and in the Arts in Education Program run by the Regional
Arts and Culture Council. Her husband is a physician and photographer;
both their children have artistic interests and talent
though neither has committed to a career in art.
of Lament," charcoal and graphite.
Lines are the basis of Eileen Kane's art lines weaving
in and out, creating vectors of movement and the three dimensions
"Line is obvious in all my figure work," she said,
"including my recent series of dancing figures.
Whether depicting single or multiple forms, I use line to develop
the sense of volume and motion in my drawings, paintings and wire
sculptures of moving figures. The process is most obvious in my
of Protest series."
In watercolor and mixed-media paintings, Eileen uses strong,
intense color as a foundation for her lines of moving figures.
Capers ," watercolor.
"I try to weave lines in and through the intense washes
of transparent color, building up layers of each to develop a
sense of depth," she said.
"My wire sculptures are also built from interweaving lines
that can use color and reflection in the wires to strengthen the
Another important factor in Eileen's art is her constant experimentation
with new materials, along with approaches that mirror her past
work as a research scientist.
Oceans of inspiration
The beauty of the natural world inspired Eileen's dancers and
moving figures, whereas the ugliness of hate, deprivation and
war inspired other works.
"The ocean any ocean with strong tides
inspires me," she said. "I grew up on Cape Cod and work
well near salt air. I'm also inspired by music, including classical,
jazz and some popular rock."
Some of Eileen's favorite artists include: Kathe Kollwitz ("strength
of line and subject"), Egon Schiele ("elegant line and
composition"), John Singer Sargent ("the most
beautiful watercolors ever!"), Anselm Kiefer ("incredibly
powerful imagery and important content") and Magdalena Abakanowicz
("strong imagery, scale").
"Kollwitz, Sargent and Schiele certainly influence my work,"
she said, "as does Matisse's use of color."
Eileen's work has appeared in many shows in the Pacific Northwest
and throughout the country. Her art is part of private, public
and corporate collections in Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Illinois,
Oregon, New York and New Jersey.
In Portland, see her work at In Her Image Gallery and the Portland
Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery.
Eileen has also been a speaker and panelist for several public
forums, as well as a juror for art exhibits in the Northwest.
Hook and ladder
"I cannot remember not enjoying drawing," she said.
"I was probably about six when I became aware that I drew
well. I drew pictures for myself, my friends and my family.
"A couple of years later, my dad showed me some watercolor
paintings and allowed me to use his paints. I was hooked!"
During junior high, Eileen took classes at the Massachusetts
College of Fine Art. In high school she took every art class offered,
and attended classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Colors of White," oil.
"I continued studying art at Smith College in Northampton,
Mass.," she said. "However, I was also intrigued by
sciences so I majored in zoology. That interest led me to graduate
school in medical sciences at Harvard, where I earned a Ph.D.
"I had a full research and teaching career in neuro-anatomy
specifically, the microscopic structure of the central
auditory system in Worcester, Mass., Boston and
Chicago before coming to Portland.
"This entire time I continued taking art classes,"
she said. "Eventually, I left science and went to the Pacific
Northwest College of Art in Portland, where I received a bachelor
of fine arts equivalent in painting and drawing."
Field of dreams
Eileen tries to convey her love of art to family and students,
and makes a point to see as much art as possible, locally and
in her travels.
"As a younger person, I had misunderstood the difficulties
intellectual, physical and emotional
and the vast rewards of creating art," she said. "Art
had seemed 'easy' and a less respectable career than science.
"While I enjoyed science and was successful in my field,
it never provided the excitement and the challenge of drawing,
painting or sculpting. I needed to mature into the field of art.
I learned to be a good artist through my experiences as a scientist;
the approaches are not that different. The unending images and
ideas that happen daily are both exciting and frustrating.
"I'm especially happy as an artist," she said. "My
goal is simply to continue making good art that communicates to
others in an emotional way. I hope to respond honestly and forthrightly
to the world without and within me
with my art.