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May 04 2023


8:00 am - 5:00 pm

William Gary Harvey Paintings, Drawings & Sculptures

The Dalles Arts Center Hosts First Ever Show William Gary Harvey’s Work
Unbeknownst to the world, a Wasco County fence builder who lived alone created more than 60abstract paintings and drawings and 4 miniature sculptures from found objects. A selection will be on display to the outside world for the first time at The Dalles Art Center in May.
Dates: Opening Reception, Thursday, May 4th; show runs through Saturday, May27th
Tim McClure & J. Scott Stephenson, co-curators; Lee & Melinda Weinstein, sponsors
The Dalles, Oregon (April 10, 2023) –William Gary Harvey, known to family and friends as Gary Harvey was born in The Dalles, Ore. in 1942, lived alone and built fences here in Wasco County, Wyoming and points in-between. Unbeknownst to but a few, he created abstract paintings, drawings and found object sculptures. Luckily, Gary’s friends and neighbors Tim McClure and Lee Weinstein discovered the artist’s work and made a commitment to share his art with the world after his passing in 2021.
“I imagine that one day in the future, alongside artists such as Hershfield Morris or James Castle, William Gary Harvey will be known as an important, self-taught American artist who worked in obscurity until neighbors discovered his work,” noted Sally Johnson, Interim Executive Director for The Dalles Art Center.
The show will include works on paper and canvas as well as small sculptures made of found objects. Harvey’s works range from abstract expressionism, influenced by the themes and artists (e.g., Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan and Mark Tobey) of the Northwest School modernist movement to more figurative self-portraits and whimsical sculptures.
Harvey’s family arrived in Wasco County, Oregon around 1860. He attended grade school in Wamic and South Wasco County High School in Maupin. After his parents divorced, he moved to Tacoma, Washington where he attended community college. He enrolled at the University of Hawaii, pursuing a degree in biology, until a motorcycle accident necessitated his return home.
Harvey began painting watercolors and created figurative works in addition to abstract paintings. He had keen insight for beauty and creativity, and seeing the abstract in things, for instance finding forgotten objects like antique nails, with which he would create sculptures.
“It never would have dawned on me that I would ever do something like this. To make art. But I just didn’t think like that. But here I am…. All I could think about was art. It was a wonderful time. But it also was totally human consuming,” said William Gary Harvey in 2021.
Said Wasco County rancher Tim McClure, Gary’s friend, and curator of the show:
“Gary lived his life as an artist. Everything he created, from the fences he built to the paintings and sculptures was considered and done with an eye for beauty. While he saw the world through the eyes of an artist, he did not call himself an artist. When I first saw his work…the depth and variety of mediums – I was in awe”.
Harvey relished living in nature in Wasco County, building fences, and accompanied by his dogs, including Sophie, his beloved last dog. A prolific gardener, he grew heirloom tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini. He was a keen observer of birds and other animals, including the human animal. A voracious reader, his books ranged from history to art, literature, and criticism. He readThe New York Times, The Economist, The New Yorker, and theNew York Review of Bookscover to cover daily.
William Gary Harvey died on June 26, 2021, at Mid-Columbia Medical Center. His spirit remains in Wasco County and in these works of art.
In addition to the exhibit, an event, “Gary Harvey A Life” a talk with Tim McClure and Lee Weinstein is scheduled for Friday, May 12that 7 pm. Sally Johnson will interview Tim and Lee, who will share personal stories, anecdotes and insights into Gary’s work and life. This will be a special event and not to be missed and attendees will receive a special gift.Tickets for the event are available

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