PDX Contemporary Art is pleased to present Out of Salem: D.E May & Friends, an exhibition featuring work by D.E. May alongside many of his Salem friends — Brad Ford, Bonnie Hull, Craig Klyver, Natalie Laswell, Bryan Null, Dan Schmidt, Terry Schneider, Monte Shelton, and John Van Dreal.

D.E. May spent his entire life in Salem, Oregon, traveling beyond just a few times. May referred to his hometown as “Island Salem" and he lived and worked in a small space in the heart of downtown that he named “Regionaires.” Several creeks, rivers, and canals divide the city into sections so it could be considered a group of little urban islands. Several of May’s works include text and images of canals and waterways, as well as layouts and mapping of the buildings and industries of the city. May drew inspiration from nearby: timber mills, logs, workmen’s tools, rolls of paper, and the ever-collegial corner bar.

On the surface, May’s existence seemed hermetic but he had a close group of interesting friends— writers, readers, stitchers, painters, restaurant and bar owners, poets, vintners, nurses, and designers. He also communicated with several people outside of Salem and the state by sending mail art. His daily trips to the library to look at books and magazines gave him a surprisingly worldly view and bank of knowledge. This exhibition presents a look at some of what comes out of Salem in connection to D.E. May— his beloved Island Salem. May was known and admired not only in Salem but across the nation. His artwork resides in some of the most important collections in the country.