Arts Writing

Patterns of Protest: Pat Boas and the Making of “Sentinels”

by Prudence Roberts

The five paintings in Pat Boas’s recent installation at the Sun Valley Museum of Art are testament to her brilliance as an artist. Dazzling in their sheer abundance of color, pattern, and rhythm, generous in their beauty and rewarding in their complexity, they were further enriched on the occasion by being installed against a wallpaper Boas designed. Together, wallpaper and paintings, along with quotations from a speech given by Oregon suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway (more on that later), form a body of work that is unique in Boas’s oeuvre: the equivalent of an abstract history painting, as it were.


This essay was edited by Sue Taylor, Professor Emerita of Art History, Portland State University, and appeared in CONDITIONS, a publication of The Ford Family Foundation. The annual arts journal (shifting title as it progresses) is part of the program element CRITICAL CONVERSATIONS, led by the University of Oregon with partners Portland State University, The Cooley Gallery, Reed College; and PNCA at Willamette University.

The title and concept for CONDITIONS came into focus as the editorial team launched its first issue, FIGURING. Here, we shift from FIGURING’s multiple perspectives on the body and the psyche to examine the cultural and biological mysteries and actualities of life at this tenuous environmental and socio-political moment. As our need for breath and sustenance are foregrounded across an accounting of our shared lives, we hope that CONDITIONS offers a space to meditate on the ways in which works of art (including writing) support us in making meaning from our state of, and provisions for, being. 

Featured Contributors: Amelia Rina, Laura Butler Hughes, Luiza Lukova, Sara Krajewski, Malia Jensen, Lumi Tan, Steph Littlebird, Ido Radon, Alejandro Espinoza Galindo, Stephanie Gervais, Stephanie Snyder, K. Silem Mohammad, Prudence Roberts, Sara Jaffe.