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Stev Ominski
Ice Age discovered on the Mountain posted on 04/01/2019

For Mountain residents the discovery of Stev Ominski’s art could be contributed to his Siamese cats, Lewis and Clark. Except the true discovery of Ominski’s work has gone far beyond.

The Rhododendron resident’s recent work titled “Age’s End” depicts the classic view up the Columbia River Gorge during a Missoula Ice Age flood which occurred some 20,000 years ago. This work – 24 inches high, 48 inches wide, rendered by acrylic on canvas – attracted the attention of the Oregon Historical Society (OHS).

“The collections manager (from OHS), Nicole Yasuhara, contacted me out of the blue and asked if they might use “Age’s End” to represent the Ice Age floods in Oregon for their new permanent exhibit Experience Oregon (which is) now open,” Ominski told The Mountain Times. “Of course, I was both pleased and honored to have been selected by OHS. They purchased a digital file and some limited use rights.”

The recent discovery element didn’t end there. Shortly after that recognition Ominski was contacted by a graphic designer (Steve Johnston) who was working with a group at the State Capitol installing an exhibit on the roof of the dome and they thought Ominski’s depiction of the Ice Age floodwaters slamming into Beacon Rock would fit in nicely with the exhibit.

“The Inundation of Beacon Rock” in the Columbia River Gorge is now a part of the east-facing interpretive panel on the capitol’s dome roof.

“I’ve been working on this suite of Ice Age floods imagery for over 25 years with the help and input from my friends and colleagues in the geologic community,” he said.

The result has been that these works have been exhibited in selected natural history museums and venues as well as used in lectures by educators and newspapers and magazines and field guides, before the recent local discoveries.

“It’s been an ongoing career commitment,” Ominski added.

Also appearing on Page 1 – “The Rowena Incident” – features Ominski feigning a pending mammoth trampling. The mammoth size is in stride with the subject matter, as the piece is 9.5 feet by 10 feet and is part of a permanent collection at The Discovery Center in The Dalles. The “Incident” is an acrylic on canvas with the selfie photo shot on a tripod with timer.

“I’m 12 years older now,” Ominski said of the enormous canvas. “But I look much the same … with a bit longer, grayer hair in my beard – the shaggy badger look.”

Ominski, 67, is primarily self-taught, and began his professional career in the fine arts in 1970 working initially on landscapes and subjects from the natural world.

His studio is open to free tours in Timberline Rim. Make your own discovery of Ominski’s art by contacting him at stev@stevominski.com.

By Larry Berteau/MT

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