June 22 – August 5, 2018
Opening reception, Friday, June 22, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
News Release from Oregon Arts Commission
Posted on FlashAlert: May 24th, 2018 10:40 AM
Salem, Oregon – Eugene artist Terri Warpinski will exhibit “From Here to There” in the Governor’s Office of the Capitol Building in Salem from June 4 to July 31.
Warpinski’s artistic work reflects her longstanding interest in the traces of human activity embedded in landscape. Oregon’s abundance of natural open spaces—whether oceans, rivers, plains (sage or grass), lakes or desert (dunes, scrub lands, or playas)—have been the source of contemplation and inspiration for her photography for more than 30 years.
After 32 years of teaching and administrative service at the University of Oregon, Warpinski is now a Professor Emerita of Art and dedicating her full attention to her studio practice. Her creative and scholarly career is distinguished by a Fulbright Fellowship (Israel 2000-2001) and most recently with a DAAD Research Grant (2016) to work in Berlin with the Stiftung Berliner Mauer as host institution. She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship (2014) and two Career Opportunity Grants (2015, 2013) from The Ford Family Foundation and the Oregon Art Commission. She has been awarded numerous artist residencies, including at Ucross (2000), Playa (2011, 2014) and Caldera (2016).
Recently completed projects include “Surface Tension: three landscapes of division and Liminal Matter: Fences,” in collaboration with Portland poet Laura Winter. Her work has been shown in more than 125 exhibitions including the Pingyao International Festival of Photography in China; the US Embassy in Jerusalem; Houston International Fotofest; Center for Photography at Woodstock; the University of the Arts Philadelphia; and San Francisco’s Camerawork.
The Art in the Governor’s Office Program honors selected artists in Oregon with exhibitions in the reception area of the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol. Artists are nominated by a statewide committee of arts professionals who consider artists representing the breadth and diversity of artistic practice across Oregon, and are then selected by the Arts Commission with the participation of the Governor’s Office. Only professional, living Oregon artists are considered and an exhibit in the Governor’s office is considered a “once in a lifetime” honor. Artists whose work has previously been shown in the Governor’s office include Henk Pander, Michele Russo, Manuel Izquierdo, James Lavadour, Margot Thompson, Gordon Gilkey and Yuji Hiratsuka.
* * * * * * * * * * *
The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development.
The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at: www.oregonartscommission.org.
March 5-23, 2018 UO + PSU EXCHANGE
RECEPTION: March 9 / 6-8PM
Littman + White Galleries
Portland State University
1825 SW Broadway St. #250
Portland, OR 97201
Marylhurst Art Gym
October 1, 2017 – December 13, 2017
For the exhibition “Broken Symmetry,” Jovencio de la Paz has included three new weavings representing forthcoming bodies of work. Woven on a TC2 Digital Jacquard Loom, “Harmony of the Spheres” is the first of a series of textiles derived from Science-Fiction novels, essays, and fabulations. Looking to the works of Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, and Frank Herbert, these realized, imaginary textiles are future ancients, specters of speculative events. “The girl told the story cried,” is an analysis of human/machine miscommunication. Perfect circles drawn in the space of the digital become irregular, contorted, and stretched ellipses: material distortions of ideal forms captured in thread on the digital loom. The sentence, “The girl told the story cried” is a classic example of a Garden Path sentence: a grammatically correct sentence that is difficult to parse because of syntactical aberrations speckled throughout the English language. Such sentences are Victorian brain teasers, whose meanings are often poetic reflections on the human condition. However, they are also used in Turning tests to evaluate the competence of Artificial Intelligence.
For the exhibition “MoreLand,” organized by Sarah Turner and Iris Eichenberg, Jovencio de la Paz has produced an edition of blankets responding to the exhibition’s theme, focused on hardware stores. Modeled after repeating stacks and organized piles of materials like dry-wall, plywood, and other flat-goods, the overshot patterns in these blankets are designs generated by simple mathematical accretion and jostling.
Evoking notions of Colorfield painting, Op Art, Colonial textiles, and DIY culture, “Brand New Rug” is comprised of two large scale weaving installations. While two brightly colored rag rugs span the entire gallery floor, an accumulation of overshot textiles precariously leans against the wall. The works consider the uncertain status of cloth, often occupying a contested and fluid space between utility, artifact, image, structure, crafted thing, and carrier of history.
Organized by artist Rick Silva, Eclipsecore, an evening of video art and animation made in response to the total solar eclipse, will debut in LA on August 17.
Next Monday, a total solar eclipse will cast a dark shadow over a thin strip of land from coast to coast, the first time that phenomenon has been visible throughout the contiguous US in almost a century. Inspired by this event, artist Rick Silva, in conjunction with experimental video platform Ghosting TV and creative agency WOAH, has organized Eclipsecore, an evening of video art and animation produced in response to the eclipse.
The screening features work by 24 artists, from Andrew Benson‘s trippy, digital abstractions, to Light Hits‘s low-fi, new-age talk show. Preceding the films, there will be a panel discussion with Silva, Benson, WOAH curator Sharsten Plenge, and Sasha Samochina and Marike Jorritsma of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; the group will talk about the connections between science and art. Following the LA event, which takes place on August 17, Eclipsecore will travel to Salem, Oregon, where it will be screened in the eclipse path on August 20, and then will be available online after August 21. The LA event is free, but donations are requested.
When: Thursday, August 17, 7pm–midnight (RSVP here)
Where: Navel.la (1611 S. Hope St., Downtown, Los Angeles)
As an artist and photographer, Farhad Bahram is interested in challenges: What does it mean to be from a particular place, from a particular background? What do labels mean, and what happens if we ignore them, or tear them down? What does it mean to be a performer, and a member of an audience or an observer? What if the line between them is blurred?
This approach to his work was shaped by a number of factors: Bahram’s childhood in Iran, his move to the United States, and his experiences as an immigrant, and before that, as a photojournalist.
“After my camera equipment was confiscated by the cops in the street, I started to realize that my camera is not only a professional device for the documentation of people’s life,” he says of this evolution. Suddenly, he says, he saw that a camera “could be a simple tool for initiating an active dialogue among people.” In 2009, Bahram covered the unrest following the disputed presidential election. It led him to set up the collaborative group the Global Mission of Art (GMOA) later the same year. Promoting “a free platform for creative communication and cultural activities,” more than 30 artists around the world ran exhibitions, published books, and organized conferences and training workshops. “Most importantly, we decided to allocate all the funds raised through these events to non-profit organizations and humanitarian movements such as the society for supporting children suffering from cancer (Mahak) and UNICEF. For our most recent project, we worked with The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).”
Before coming to the US at the age of 29, Bahram worked as a photojournalist for two magazines and Hamshahri Newspaper. He traveled around Iran, including to the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan in the southeast, Khuzestan in the southwest and Mazandaran near the Caspian Sea in the north, among others, documenting diversity and the lives of people around the country. This experience led him to think about tools of communication, and how people respond when they are limited or threatened. “As we know, a totalitarian state always tries to subjugate its people by controlling various aspects of their life including social communication. However, this limitation showed me how I could go beyond the traditional ways of communication such as language.” In Iran, he recognized, anybody with what he calls a “fluid social identity” can be at risk because they do not conform to the fixed rules of that society. So it was natural at this time that he began to see the value of looking at his creative practice through a social lens, and to consider how public interaction and participation can feed into art. Some of his public performances, such as One Minute Engagement with an Iranian (2015-2016) and Re-identification (2014), are the products of those revelations and considerations.Pushing back on these norms and trying to carve out a space for individuality and creativity is, Bahram says, “the story of any active artist in Iran.”
Bahram left Iran in 2011 to pursue a graduate degree in art at San Francisco Art Institute. Prior to this, he received a Bachelor’s degree in mining and rock engineering from the Azad University of Southern Tehran in 2007 and served his mandatory army service. After completing a graduate degree in Fine Arts at the University of Oregon, he completed a Graduate Certificate in New Media and Culture, also at the University Oregon. He was awarded the OUS-Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) graduate fellowship for International Research in 2013, which recognizes individuals from a range of disciplines whose work focuses on overcoming “cultural boundaries to address global issues.” He was also given the Carlene Ho Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2013. Since 2015 has been teaching at the University of Oregon’s College of Art and Design. He lives in Eugene with his wife Pooyesh, a therapist.
His work has been exhibited internationally in more than 30 shows and exhibitions, including at galleries in Brooklyn, Paris, San Francisco and other cities in California, across Oregon, and in Finland and India. He has had two exhibitions in Tehran, at Fravahr Art Gallery and the Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art.
Like many Iranian-Americans who have emigrated to the US over the last two decades, Bahram’s childhood memories are shaped by the horrors of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). But he has fond memories of family life, especially of his grandfather, a professor of theology and philosophy of religion. “His charismatic character was always the source of inspiration for the whole family,” he says. His family still live in Tehran, where his mother is a housewife and his father, a traditional businessman with a good education, works alongside Behram’s younger brother at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar.
Bahram hasn’t been back to Iran since he left, but his work continues to be shaped by Iran, and by what he calls its deep-rooted “social mistrust.” Culturally, he says, Iranians tend to conceal “their daily life, including their wealth or possessions — and even their thoughts and emotions — from the political state.” And it’s not only about the current regime. It goes back to a history of “authoritarian crowns and turbans,” and is undoubtedly embedded in the Persian language.
But this doesn’t mean that people are silent. Iranian citizens — and artists and journalists in particular — have to find ways to say what they want to say without getting into trouble. And Bahram believes the Persian language, which is “full of idioms and metaphors that serve as an envelope to wrap the intentions and implications of our daily interactions,” has evolved to deal with this balancing act of concealment and expression.
And even as these restrictions seem to dominate Iranian expression, they have also done something quite unexpected: They have preserved a set of “unique social interactions,” a set of characteristics that set Iranian people apart. This, he says, is of enormous value to journalists and anyone trying to document the lives of Iranians. “If you want to make a genuine story about people, you must learn how to engage them in a context that give you access to the preserved stories of their life.”
So, for him, what’s it like to be an Iranian-American today? Bahram says his Looking Glass installation, part of Eugene’s Platform Festival, is a partial attempt to answer this.
He and artist Tom Lundberg asked 15 Iranians living in Eugene to send them a list of words in Persian that represent their individual identity. They then printed the words on black vinyl and pasted them on the ground at the entrance of the exhibition space. During the two-hour show, the 15 participants (including Bahram) positioned themselves inside the displayed text and didn’t move. People attending the exhibition were immediately confronted with a series of questions and considerations about national, ethnic, sexual, and religious identities and what it means to belong. “The audience who wanted to enter the space had to find their way in by passing through this space/text populated by the Iranians,” Bahram says.
“To me, an artist is not only a creative creator but also a facilitator or curator that invites the audience into the process of constructing the art piece,” he says. “In this context, the viewer and their interactions may actually become the artwork itself. This is the most exciting part of art practice for me.”
I would like to share with you some information about upcoming solo and group exhibitions. If you find yourself in these cities listed below I hope you can stop in and see the work. As always, thanks for your ongoing interest in my work!
Artworks NW 2017
A juried exhibition at the Umpqua Arts Association’s Hallie Ford Gallery
Opening May 5 from 5-7pm
Exhibition will run May 5 – June 25
1624 W. Harvard Avenue, Roseburg
A juried exhibition at the Umpqua Arts Association’s Corridor Gallery
Opening May 5th from 5-7pm
Exhibition will run May 5 – June 25
1624 W. Harvard Avenue, Roseburg
Around Oregon Annual
The Art Center
Exhibition dates June 2 – July 8
Opening reception June 2, 5:30 – 7:30
Solo Exhibition – Oregon State University
Gallery 440 – Strand Agricultural Hall
June 28 – September 6
Solo Exhibition – Art at the Governor’s Office
State Capital Building, 900 Court Street NE, 160
October and November 2017
Amanda Wojick, Small Black Painting , 2017, acrylic and cotton on linen, 10 x 8.5″
May 3, 6 – 8 pm
First Thursday Reception:
May 4, 6 – 8 pm
Next week is Lindfield’s spring break. The gallery will be open Monday March 27-Friday March 31 by appointment (please email firstname.lastname@example.org). We will have regular Saturday hours April 1, 12-5PM
Linfield Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of newly created work by Eugene-based artist Tannaz Farsi. The exhibition is on view from March 22 to April 29. An artist talk will be held at Delkin Hall in the Vivian Bull Music Center on March 22 at 5PM followed directly by a reception. Drinks and light refreshments will be served.
ABOUT THE EXHBITION
In an ambitious new solo exhibition, Tannaz Farsi weaves together three works that articulate different moments within the history of Iranian visual culture. Exploring the semiotic richness of specific traditional iconographies, the artist sets their interpretation as a reflection upon the present.
The Points of Departure features a series of large scale works, including an expansive linear structure drafted from a 15thcentury drawing of a polygonal and star pattern found in The Topkapi Scroll, an architectural booklet attributed to the central or western region of Iran. While some examples of the scroll patterns can be found in existing buildings, the scroll was most likely a booklet of potential forms due to a lack of direct examples found in remaining architecture of the time. The artist became interested in the specific lineage of these patterns as a historical code and as a means of entering a speculative relationship around scientific, political and aesthetic means of power specific to time and place within the region.
In the second work, the artist has collected the names of Iranian women, historical and contemporary, to create a visible and accountable document of women’s public intellectual labor in Iran and abroad. The font that she created for the alphabet is influenced by a stacking square form that was introduced in the 10th century as a system of measurement in Arabic calligraphy. This means of creating a “proportioned script” was used to create consistency and repeatability of text. This work is counterposed with the image of the artist’s hand with a remnant of a column collected at Persepolis, the dynastic center of the Achaemenid kings and a site that lacks physical representation of women within its monuments and relief sculptures.
Finally, the exhibition includes an arrangement of 1,000 live tulips. The tulip is a potent and complex symbol in Iranian culture, having been used to represent martyrdom, renewal and opposition. Planted specifically for The Points of Departure at the turn of spring equinox, the tulips move through their cycle of regeneration, to grow, bloom and change throughout the exhibition.
For over a decade, the artist has been working in a variety of media to create powerful installations and projects that address the politics of nationhood and diasporic identity. Linfield Gallery is commemorating Farsi’s work by publishing a significant catalog that brings together documentation of her previous work alongside images from The Points of Departure and includes two newly-commissioned essays.
This exhibition is sponsored by the Lacroute Art Series and the Department of Art and Visual Culture. The Lacroute Arts Series at Linfield College is made possible by the generosity of Ronni Lacroute, Linfield College trustee and arts benefactor. The series, sponsored by the Lacroute Arts Fund at Linfield College, is dedicated to helping the college present art events and activities for the campus and community. It provides programs featuring artists in the areas of music, art and visual culture, and theatre and communication arts.
Additional support comes from the Ford Family Foundation as well as the Yamhill County Cultural Coalition, which includes funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust and the Oregon Community Foundation.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Using the language and history of sculpture, installation, and conceptual art practices, Tannaz Farsi’s work highlights and re-presents objects and images that contextually start from a collective experience found in the current news or within the milieu of our cultural archive. Central to the work is the notion of fragmentation, structural blindness and individual agency. She works with materials and forms that are easily recognizable, using our familiarity to tease out a common language that is at once analytical and physical and allows for a complexity of meaning to develop through arrangement, organization and form. The work is project based and her studio practice crosses a range of mediums such as sculpture, photography, printmaking, and digital media. As an artist, she is interested in the friction that is instigated within the mixing of these conventions – whether it is an aesthetic structure that informs a political commentary or an attempt to bring an irrational idea or an idea that does not have definitive form into a physical structure.
Her work has been exhibited at venues including Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland; Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Portland; Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, CA; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, MI; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington; and The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH. She has been granted residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Ucross Foundation, the McDowell Colony and the Santa Fe Art Institute. Her work has been supported through grants and awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, University of Oregon and the Ford Family Foundation where she was named a Hallie Ford Fellow in 2014. Born in Iran, Farsi lives and works in Eugene, where she is on the faculty at the University of Oregon.
ABOUT LINFIELD GALLERY
Exhibitions of regional, national and international stature are on view throughout the academic year in the 1,500 square foot space at Linfield College. Patrons can expect challenging shows that exemplify diverse approaches to the practice of contemporary visual art. All exhibits are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in the James F. Miller Fine Arts Center on the Linfield College campus. To reach the gallery from 99W, turn east on Keck Drive at the McMinnville Market Center in south McMinnville. Turn right at the first street onto Library Court. The art gallery is located in the second building on the left, Building B. Parking is available on the street and in the lot west of Nicholson Library. For more information, call 503.883.2804
Professor Emerita Terri Warpinski awarded a grant through the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for funding to continue a fine art documentary project titled “Death|s|trip” in Berlin, Germany.
The project is based material in the archive of Stiftung Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Foundation). More can be learned about the project here: http://lenscratch.com/2016/11/teri-warpinski/
Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media is on view December 20, 2016-April 30, 2017 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, and is curated by Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition features the work of Department of Art faculty member Ron Jude, John Baldessari, Dara Birnbaum and Dan Graham, Donald Blumberg, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Sarah Charlesworth, Omer Fast, Robert Heinecken, Alfredo Jaar, David Lamelas and Hildegarde Duane, Masao Mochizuki, Antoni Muntadas, Catherine Opie, and Martha Rosler.
LOS ANGELES – Photographs have helped shape people’s perceptions of current events since the late-nineteenth century. The ubiquity of newspapers, magazines, and televised news during the mid-twentieth century gave rise to the modern mass media culture, eventually spawning critical discourse from a variety of perspectives. The philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s writings during the 1960s, including the now-famous concept that “the medium is the message,” assert that the form in which information is as significant as the content, an insight that has influenced a generation of artists and critics. Featuring photographs and video made over the last forty years, Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media, on view December 20, 2016-April 30, 2017 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center explores how artists have responded to the media’s coverage of topics ranging from local stories to international politics and military conflict.
“The timeliness of this exhibition could not be greater. With the recent election still at the forefront of national and international news, it is timely to showcase how contemporary artists have, over recent decades, focused on mass media as a rich source of provocative subject matter that reveals its agendas even as it insists on its objectivity,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “In their need both to represent and to give meaning to their subjects, art and journalism have much in common, and can even feed off each other, as this exhibition demonstrates.”
Participating artists include:
Le Brothers, Ignacio Evangelista, David Molina Gadea, Dario Mitidieri, Matej
Povše, Chat Travieso, Terri Warpinski, and Matic Zorman.
This group exhibition juxtaposes artistic and journalistic approaches
discussing the notion of the border. The exhibition also explores issues
related to the recent migration crisis in Europe.
Related news/event url or personal website:
The link to the press release:
Thank you for all of you who made our campaign a success!
There are still some incredible artworks available, and this is your last chance to get them! Consider giving to Ditch Projects before our Kickstarter ends Thursday night @ 11pm (PT) !
Help us celebrate the end of our fundraiser!
This Thursday 11am to midnight, Falling Sky Deli will donate 25% of all sales of anyone that shows or mentions the coupon included to Ditch Projects.
Falling Sky Pour House & Delicatessen
790 Blair Blvd
Eugene, OR 97402
S.C.O.L.D. – Species Calling Out Liars and Deniers
INTERVENTION WORKSHOP / 3–4:30 PM / C3:INITIATIVE
INTERVENTION/PERFORMANCE / 4:30 PM / CATHEDRAL PARK
3Carla Bengtson has situated her arts practice alongside a broader initiative of sociopolitical engagement and environmental science. Through close collaboration with biologist Peter Wetherwax and artist Jessie Vala, Bengtson has produced a thoughtful and humorous criticism of the Trump campaign’s denial of climate change.
S.C.O.L.D. (Species Calling Out Liars and Deniers) is a performative work that plays on crows’ ability to recognize human individuals and share group opinions. In conjunction with the start of crows’ gathering season, the artist is partnering with local murders of crows to scold candidate Trump for his dangerous and negligent political views. Dressed in an elaborate rubber Trump mask and suit, the team is holding pop-up interventions throughout Portland in an attempt to negatively imprint crows with Donald Trump’s likeness, in hopes of a real life “scolding by crow” upon the campaign’s west coast visit.
The public is invited to join the S.C.O.L.D. team to construct their own pre-printed Trump masks at an intervention workshop from 3:00-4:30 pm on Saturday, September 10th, at c3:initiative in St. Johns. A S.C.O.L.D. performance at Cathedral Park under the St. Johns bridge will follow at approximately 4:30 (meet at c3 at 4:15 and we will walk as a group to the performance site).
Additional pre-printed, cut-and-fold S.C.O.L.D masks are available at c3:initiative and in Disjecta’s main gallery.
S.C.O.L.D. is part of Disjecta’s Portland2016 Biennial curated by Michelle Grabner,
c3 is a partner venue for Disjecta’s Portland2016 Biennial curated by Michelle Grabner, July 9– September 18, 2016. On view Wednesday–Saturday, 12-6pm until September 18.
Ron Jude, Boy Floating in Water.
August 12, 2016 through December 31, 2016
Organized by Calvin Marcus and Donald Morgan
Exhibition: August 11-27, 2016
Reception: August 11, 2016 6-8pm
If you’re in Portland, OR April 2 – April 30th, swing by PDX Contemporary Art to see Jovencio de la Paz’s (Visiting Assistant Professor, Fibers) project “Boy who stared at the Sun.”
“Returning to print production after several years, Jovencio de la Paz’s new screen-printed works continue his pursuit of color, form, and materiality as vessels for narrative. Moving away from the rectilinear dimensions and limitations of cloth in his previous work, de la Paz emphasizes the physicality and objecthood of the images he produces on foam, rubber, and plastics. Having recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest, de la Paz describes this work as driven by a renewed interest in landscape, meteorology, and isolation. The cut-out surfaces of these works occupy the wall as subjects themselves, and their interiors refer to inner landscapes of frenzied pattern, symbol, and secret language.” – PDX Contemporary Art
925 NW Flanders
Portland, Oregon 97209
BB: You often work with collage of printed items you personally produce. Can you talk about where the patterns from the screen printed source material comes from?
CM: I grew up in a very small ski-bum town in Alaska. The local school was very modern and staffed with forward thinking teachers, but there was no high school, which posed a problem for my family in the fall of 1990. Moving to a more populated area wasn’t really a consideration, so I was sent to boarding school along with a going away gift – a 20 pound Macintosh SE in a padded burgundy carrying case. It was a luxury item at the time. My rich uncle bought it for me. It was as though I was being sent to space. I spent a lot of time on that computer – not because I liked or like computers – I hate them actually – but I fell in love with writing and drawing as parallel creative activities using Mac Write, and Mac Paint, which was a companion program. Mac Paint was very unique at the time because it was the only program of its kind that allowed for cutting and pasting between programs, and synthesizing images and text became a very natural way of writing/making/thinking for me. Mac Paint allowed for infinite cutting, pasting, layering, filling, which I think conditioned me to later pursue collage as a ceaseless, primarily iterative activity.
The graphic patterns I use in the current work are vectorized versions of Mac Paint’s stock fill patterns, although I didn’t begin using them with any nostalgia for my early Macintosh experience. I rediscovered the patterns through learning about Susan Kare’s important and influential design work for Macintosh in the 1980s which until very recently was relatively under-acknowledged – notable that a female designer is singularly responsible for the visualization of interaction design as we know it today – her visual lexicon is ubiquitous. The patterns themselves are lodged in the zeitgeist of mediated experience for me, not to mention they are highly legible, scalable, and transferrable from a media point of view. Incorporating the patterns signified several things for me – exported relationship to media, connection to history or as I think of it “time-travel”, re-appropriation of the idea of cut-and-paste as a tactile, analog activity, and a kind of sabotage of the futurism of the digital through the clumsy level of craft in my silkscreen process. Essentially the patterns for me signal cut-copy-paste-fill as a process, an activity that doesn’t index a definitive beginning or end.
The silkscreen process itself involves the use of high-gloss fluorescent enamel ink on polyester coated poster paper. I’ve been using poly-coated poster paper since 2006, initially as a found material as I was scavenging and reusing Colby posters from the streets of Los Angeles as a collage material, and currently with total control over the process as I am printing the material myself. As it turns out, my too-thick collage material is a perfect paper-relief sculpture material.
BB: You’re transforming simple line drawings into sculptures, and paper cut outs into drawings. What is the conversation between 2-D and 3-D in these works?
CM: I ask my self that question a lot! Print media is at the heart of everything I do, and allows for a kind of synthesis of ideas and processes that gives me the elasticity I need to move projects forward in the studio. The act of printing, specifically silkscreen and RISO requires a breakdown, or deconstruction, of ideas in a way that maybe mirrors my way of thinking. Recently I have taken the position that certain 2D problems are best solved with 3D solutions and vice-versa, which is to say that the interplay between 2D and 3D in my current paper relief works is continually overlapping. I really have an aversion to fixed definitions of media, and Ex-Pictures is a good example of a group of works that attempts an open discourse with regard to process and outcome – the beginning and end are intentionally cross-referenced in the works – sharpie drawings, collages, RISO prints, and relief sculptures, all juggling the same motifs back and forth, sometimes parallel in their content, sometimes intersecting in their process, etc. Interestingly I think that relief or “bas relief”/“low relief”/“high-relief”” occupies a productive spatial middle ground for me – and additionally references an essential connection to architecture in my work, as well as a purposeful skewing of spatial rendering and perception. The paper relief sculptures are intentionally scaled to imitate architectural models, not to mention their paper-ness references the provisional quality of many architectural models – which is to say they are very apparently hand assembled. Additionally, and this is important to me, “relief” is historically situated as at once a part of and also in addition to architecture, decorative but also integral. From the front, relief is legible, but from the side makes no sense at all, but is still visible as something, at least traditionally – this collapsibility of space is useful for me and it is exactly where I want to set up camp with my paper relief pieces.
BB: How did you decide on where these sculptures live?
CM: I’m currently the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Art at the University of Oregon, and as a result I have become very attuned as to how my students are experiencing art, especially as we are in a very isolated environment culturally speaking. FISK’s presence in Portland has been an extremely vibrant and surprising one in its prolific programming, its presentation of work by non-regional artists, and its project-ness, which has to do with its value as a neither a purely-commercial enterprise, nor an institutionally supported initiative. I guess I’m a FISK anomaly as a transplanted regional artist, although having lived in Los Angeles for 15 years prior I still consider it to be my creative home. Ex-Pictures occurring at FISK is ideal for me for several reasons – for one thing it is exactly the kind of ecstatic, ambitious, temporary project I feel compelled to support. Secondly, FISK is constellating a new collaborative community of artists and designers as a result of a highly socially engaged approach to exhibition programming – and that is important.
BB: What is your relationship with 3-D?
CM: I think of sculpture in a very basic way. In a 1961 BBC documentary Barbara Hepworth talks at length about three essential scales of sculpture – handheld, human-sized “you can wrap your arms around it” and anything beyond human-scale – and I would include architecture in the last category. For one thing, I think there is always a correlation between 2D space and desired physical space, in that art in general presents ideas that are critical or at least reflective of culture – projective – and aspire to effect our experience “in the world”, directly or indirectly. I’m old fashioned in that I feel that art should promise resistance to social repression through symbolic representation, which is to say it should be pleasurable. For Ex-Pictures the relationship to 3D space is a combative one, each piece consisting of a framework being acted upon by a disruptive element. Simultaneous to this are more apparent, purely visual formal qualities – color, scale, pattern, composition – all of which have to work first and foremost. I remember Mike Kelley standing in my studio in grad school telling me that every time he stands in front of a work he asks himself, “Is it visually pleasing?” That is a first and last consideration for me – everything else is embedded in the formal and material and spatial relationships.
BB: Now that we’ve discussed the influence behind the patterns of the base collage materials, what is the influence in the structure of the sculptures in this series of works?
CM: The initial plan was to create a series of framework structures that reference picture space through very basic geometric articulation. Some structures are fragments, some are extrusions, some are more oblique or abstracted, but the common thread between them is that they are frameworks, and primarily open for support of or interaction by secondary elements. Two immediate influences are Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de la Villette, and Sol Lewitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes. In a way both have parallel analytic approaches to form and variation. For Ex-Pictures I began and finished all 12 of the relief works as a group, each framework unique and each intended to support a specific, idiosyncratic interruptive element. I am interested in the way a framework structure can index scalability, and that openness suggests a programmatic potential or capacity. I would say on the whole that the pieces acknowledge post-modern design and architectural influence through a deconstruction of traditional relationships between inside and outside, presence and absence, etc. Prior to UO I was a Visual Studies instructor at SCI-Arc. I was constantly enthralled by the high turnover and school-wide emphasis on site models – especially the highly speculative and essentially, un-buildable ones. Models sustain possibility in an inimitable way.
BB: Do you still consider these works collages?
CM: I’m not sure what’s at stake in the difference – strictly speaking my collages may not even be collages as I don’t use glue – only tape – which is a process I arrived at through trying draw out the collage process and avoid making unchangeable decisions. I am afflicted by a fear of decisions – Jan Tumlir has accused me of suffering from Dialectical Anxiety, and prescribed that I read more Bergson, less Hegel. I guess my collages are “bande”-ages, to be French about it. The relief works are somewhat similar in that they consist of a fixed frame and somewhat interchangeable “parts”, and they have an elasticity of process that is similar to the collages. I’m very confident starting pieces, but the process evolves haltingly as I finish pieces. It all feels the same to me, especially now as I’m using the exact same materials for the collages and the sculptures – that has been a liberating evolution in the studio.
Join us at the JSMA for “Two-way Mirror: Photographing the Self and Others,” a conversation around “From the Heart: The Photographs of Brian Lanker”
Saturday March 5th, 2pm
Panelists include Thom Sempere, director, Photo Alliance, San Fransisco; Rupert Jenkins, freelance photography curator, editor, and non-profit arts manager; and Terri Warpinkski, University of Oregon Professor of Art and Photography. Moderated by JSMA executive director Jill Hartz.
Read this excellent review of Mike Bray’s (Career Instructor, Digital Arts) current exhibition ““Light Grammar/Grammar Light,” at Fourteen30 Contemporary in Portland, OR.
Mike’s exhibition runs until March 5, so you still have time to check it out.
“For his exhibition “Light Grammar/Grammar Light,” the Eugene-based artist Mike Bray pushes the generally out-of-frame mechanisms of image production into the spotlight, recasting camera optics, scrims, and cutter flags as sculptural materials and formal touchstones, rather than tools. Yet these functional objects aren’t used in the service of puncturing film and photography’s capacities for artifice. Instead, Bray’s sleek and minimal works produce mesmerizing illusions of their own.
The video Angles of Refraction (all works 2016) is based on an Eadweard Muybridge motion study in which a pair of hands alternate gripping a baseball. In Bray’s take, the ball is replaced by a sculptural replica of a pentaprism—a five-sided prism that directs the light path in a camera’s viewfinder. As hands enter the frame and slowly twist the object to reveal all sides, it glitters like a jewel in a depthless black expanse, bringing to mind both a magician’s sleight of hand and a product close-up on TV shopping channels. But our ability to see the object is continually thwarted, since it absorbs and reflects the hands’ skin tone, hot whites lights, and the studio’s rafters overhead.
In Day for Night, Bray arranges a quartet of light stands in a tight cluster, so that three circular mesh scrims and two partial ones collide, conjuring phases of the moon. Instead of filtering projected light, the shapes become subjects themselves. This plain display of equipment produces another unexpected effect: When a viewer circles the sculpture, the scrims overlap to create restlessly flexing moiré patterns. It suggests these functional devices aren’t merely illusory images but contain some magic themselves.
-John Motley, Artforum
Major congratulations to U of O Art Faculty included in the Portland2016 Biennial, curated by Michelle Grabner. Of over 400 artists reviewed, 34 were chosen by Grabner to show at DISJECTA July 9 through September 18, 2016.
Of those artists chosen, nearly 1 quarter are U of O Faculty or Alumni.
Carla Bengston (Associate Professor, Painting)
Mike Bray (Career Instructor, Digital Arts)
Tannaz Farsi (Associate Professor, Sculpture)
Anya Kivarkis (Associate Professor, Jewelry & Metalsmithing)
Charlene Liu (Associate Professor, Printmaking)
Donald Morgan (Assistant Professor, Core Studio)
Jack Ryan (Associate Professor, Intermedia Art, Core Studio)
Heidi Schwegler (MFA, 1998)
Rick Silva (Assistant Professor, Digital Arts)
Chi Wang (PhD Candidate, School of Music and Dance)
“A major survey of work by artists who are defining and advancing contemporary art practices, Portland2016 will include exhibitions, events and performances in multiple locations from July 9 through September 18, 2016. Disjecta’s 6,000-square-foot exhibition space in north Portland’s diverse Kenton neighborhood will be the central venue for Portland2016. And for the first time, Portland2016 will include venues across Oregon in addition to satellite locations in all five “quadrants” of Portland. A full list of partner locations and the artists exhibiting at each will be released in April.”
Join us for the opening of “stone, cloth, flushed cloud,” a new solo exhibition of paintings and prints by Charlene Liu (Associate Professor, Printmaking).
February 4 – April 2, 2016
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 N.W. 9th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
“Charlene Liu’s new body of work brings an evolution in her methods of collage and printmaking, creating a world of pattern and form that draws from objects of memory. Photographing patterns and textiles recovered from her mother’s restaurant, Liu’s digital processing and hand-printed CMYK translations contain rich pigments and playful forms. Larger panels use hand-marbled paper that mirrors the multiplicity and variability displayed within Liu’s masterful printmaking. These works embody a joyful side of acculturation— presenting the adaptation and merging of intergenerational heritage with the multitude of potentials contained in materiality and form.”
Join us in congratulating Tannaz Farsi (Faculty) and Natalie Ball (Alumni) for receiving 2016 Individual Artist Fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission!
The Oregon Arts Commission’s Individual Artist Fellowship Program honors Oregon’s professional artists and their artistic achievements and supports their efforts to advance their careers. In selecting artists to receive Fellowships, the Commission looks to Oregon artists of outstanding talent, demonstrated ability and commitment to the creation of new work(s). – See more at: http://www.oregonartscommission.org/grants/individual-artist-fellowship#sthash.AntwlhIP.dpuf
Opening January 23, 7pm
Runs January 23 — February 12
3636B N MISSISSIPPI AVE — PORTLAND, OREGON 97227
For Ex-Pictures, Christopher Michlig presents a group of paper wall sculptures enacting antagonistic interactions between picture planes and interruptive objects through loose historical references. A limited RISO printed edition derived from preparatory sketches, pattern and color studies will be available in conjunction with the exhibition.
During the opening reception, Michlig will present a short performance program related to central themes of the exhibition consisting of reenactments of short pieces by David Askevold, Mike Kelley, and Barry Macgregor Johnston as well as an original piece.
January 23 – April 3, 2016
Opening: January 23, 2016, 7 to 9 pm
The Williamson Gallery
1030 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, California 91711
“The Scripps College Ceramic Annual, the longest continuous exhibition of contemporary ceramics in the United States, will open for its 72nd year on Saturday, Jan. 23 and will continue through April 3. This exhibition compares the processes of “sight” for 2-D drawings and “touch” for 3-D ceramic forms. The Jan. 23 opening will begin with a special lecture from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Scripps College Humanities Auditorium, followed by an opening reception at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery from 7 to 9 p.m., which will include live music and light refreshments. These events are free and open to the public.”
Congratulations to Ditch Projects for being a recipient of a 2015 Precipice Fund Grant!
Ditch Projects, an artist-run space in Springfield, Oregon, is one of the sole venues devoted to experimental contemporary art in the Eugene/Springfield region. The Precipice Fund grant will assist with the costs of Ditch Project’s 2016 exhibition program and related, open-format artist talks in both Springfield and Portland.
Sylvan Lionni is often described as an artist who works with social geometry – the social patterns by which we tend to organize space. Truly, although he often uses bright colour scales and complex techniques, Lionni seem to subordinate both colour and method to the notion of spatiality – the effect of two contrasting colours or a printing method is merely perceived as an enhancement of the artworks’ geometrical functions. Overall, Lionni focuses on shape: figures, lines, edges and measurments.
Thinking of geometry, one easily thinks of mathematics and static form. The rules are clear – it is in no way possible to imagine a square circle or a triangle with four sides. Thus there is both a calming sense of certainty and a harshness or callousness to this calculative system, depending on a rationalistic logic which goes way beyond the human behaviour. Or at least, so it seems. Still, Lionni works with social geometry, a word that implies some kind of interaction. And thinking closer, one discovers that geometry is in fact inseparable from the notion of action or movement. A pattern, for example, is always dependent on repetition. Contemplating one of Lionni’s works, or even a piece of dotted wallpaper, the experience of pattern demands a thinking of possibility. Even if all we can see is a 30”x30” cut-out of a dotted pattern, to call it a “pattern” we need to be able to imagine that the dots could continue occurring by the same mathematic logic forever, were there only an infinite canvas.
In his exhibition Chromosphere at Stene Projects, Lionni works with enhancing this sense of geometrical interaction and possibility. The show involves nine objects by which eight are depicting the same motive: unfolded boxes in what appears to be soft cardboard. The ninth object is a paper orb by the foldable sort. The works are simple and materialistically immediate, playing with the concept of two- and three-dimensionality. One cannot help but to imagine folding the orb together, compressing it into a solid, flat mass of paper. The unfolded boxes create an opposite effect – consisting in a symmetrical, flat surface, only in our heads taking shape as cubes. Ironically, they are not possible to fold or even crease; Lionni has produced them all in solid steel. Still, in spite of the certainty of symmetry and the harshness of unfoldable material, Lionni’s works thus introduces the possibility of action, interaction and sociality. Intentionally or not one visualizes the cubes, one takes part – by unfolding the folded and folding the unfoldable mentally. And so there it is: the breaking of static geometry and introduction of sociality. That is, a social geometry.
17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy. 43)
P.O. Box 261
Marylhurst, OR 97036-0261
The Art Gym at Marylhurst University will present and from this distance one might never imagine that it is alive from January 12 to March 5, 2016. This group exhibition will feature ten artists of the Pacific Northwest working with abstraction in painting. The artists included in the exhibition work in a broad range of formal and conceptual abstraction, and within a broad definition of painting.
and from this distance one might never imagine that it is alive, curated by Blake Shell, includes works by Amy Bernstein, Pat Boas, Calvin Ross Carl, Jack Featherly, Ron Graff, Robert Hardgrave, Grant Hottle, Michael Lazarus, Michelle Ross, and Amanda Wojick.
An opening reception will be held from 4-6 pm on January 10, 2016. The Art Gym will publish an accompanying catalogue, designed by Sibley House, that includes an introduction by Blake Shell and essays by art writers Graham W. Bell and Sue Taylor.
The Art Gym is supported by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, the Collins Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Art Gym’s publication fund is supported by the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation and Linda Hutchins and John Montague.
This exhibition and publication are made possible in great part through the generosity of The Ford Family Foundation. Other individuals and businesses provided additional support.
Dear Michael, Situations Unknown – what inspired that particular body of works? How did you come up with the title? What’s the make or break rule for selecting works to fit a title or a title to fit a series of works?
That series is like several that have been simply on-going for like 10 years. The motivation for that series is a story of an experience that happened many years ago. I was living in a B+ city typical of many American cities. There was not much activity at night or on weekends downtown. As I would drive home from my studio late at night I would look into these empty corporate office spaces. Inside these offices were these painfully still, clue-laden, brightly lit moments that always nagged my brain for a narrative. Not once did I see an actual human being, just these weird empty spaces that suggested something might happen or something just happened.
I am cursed with kind of an obsessive love to observe everything, all the time.
The subject matter of those empty office spaces then became empty parking lots, abandoned loading docks, banal strip malls, and early morning gas stations. All those scenarios can be super interesting.
I’m drawn to a narrative suggested but not made obvious. I adore the discontinuous in reality and so I like to capture and employ that idea in the Situations Unknown works. I get a perverse pleasure in not knowing exactly what is going on.
Titles, for me, are always developed at the end. The linear nature of a title can confuse a piece for me so I really need for the image or object to lead the way.
Your exhibition titled The Edge of Certainty was more about … than …
The Edge of Certainty relates quite specifically to those ideas about the Situations unknown from the previous question. It pinpoints this idea of being cognitively unsatisfied.
When given visual information that seems at first glance to makes sense, to be clear, rational and direct, but at second glance leaves me, and hopefully an audience, hovering logically before sense can be resolved.
I want my work to reverberate cognitively leaving the viewer wondering, a bit like an irrational mental after-taste. The Edge of Certainty is more about NOT knowing or ALMOST knowing than knowing.
What is some of the most exasperating feeling of unease or appeal that you want to highlight with selected elements in your works of the Visual Logistics exhibition…
Well your words are actually quite poignant. I love to create a feeling of both unease and appeal. That is pretty much my experience with reality, which generally I find entertaining.
In the Visual Logistics exhibition I was using extreme disparities of placement, scale, and media to fuel the experience of a fever-like, wobbly sense of the individual in the space, combined with my frequent use of irony and nonsense wrapped in well articulated images and objects.
What story comes to mind when you recall the installation of Research and Development?
Well, that show was the first time I ever made a Styrobot and exhibited it. Since that show the Styrobot has been recreated site-specifically in a variety of venues all over the world, from Pulse art fair in Miami to London to Berlin, Brussels, NYC, Houston, San Jose, Winston-Salem, Portland and published internationally as well. So that show is kind of special when I recall that it was the first Styrobot of many to come.
That show was also a very conscious attempt to make an installation that existed like a boutique with one of a kind objects that looked mass produced along side limited edition objects. I liked the idea of a show that could be mistaken for a store. Also, that show was at Lump Gallery in Raleigh North Carolina and I will have a solo show there this March to help celebrate their 20th and final year.
What’s the agenda of the giant sculptures that seem to be the focal point of many of your exhibitions but not really to instill fear or pose a threat. Is it more like a warning sign of all the obsessions that rule our lives or something else?
I have had to unwrap ideas about the robots made from reclaimed polystyrene scraps many times over the years. The Giant Styrobots that are often seen in my installations are born from my love of Frankenstein, the 1931 film, who is the giant misunderstood ‘monster’, combined with my adoration for science fiction and my love/distaste for consumerism.
I have a confusing relationship with consumerism. I adore objects, stuff and things despite the fact I am fully aware of their place in a capitalist system I do not adore. I have often said my relationship to consumerism is like one’s reaction to witnessing a trainwreck: I don’t want to look or participate but I can’t help myself. I’m a minimalist with a sneaker collection.
The Giant Styrobots are made of reclaimed packing pieces of Styrofoam. Every time a piece of electronics, an appliance, furniture, or home goods is boxed, it is packed with these Styrofoam pieces. I can’t think of a better comment on the devastating American addiction of buying things than a giant beast made from the evidence of the act of buying. Yet these beasts are not scary or threatening, but they are docile, fatigued, resigned or misunderstood.
too much could be interpreted as capturing what most feel after overindulging in the unnecessary. Is it more about our e-obsessions and technology ruling daily lives?
It’s about the onslaught of messages and media we’re subject to, and the relentless nagging of the machine for me to part with my money for better insurance, natural ingredients, 30 minutes-or-less, fresh baked, weight loss, only 99 cents, organic, faster, more cushioning than ever before, self-lubricating, 5 foods to avoid, sexual enhancement, anti-anxiety, and more absorbent everything.
When you exhibit in a particular venue/city/country, do you focus on presenting works that speak more to the local sensitivities and current trends or do you follow other trajectories?
For better, or worse, I am always following the same general trajectories. What does the world look like? Why does it look that way? What does it make me think? Why do I think the way I do? What is the connection between what I see and what I think? My work is an attempt to answer these questions over and over again.
Everything Is As It Seems or Nothing Is As It Seems or both? Why?
You are referring to a pair of drawings I did not long ago. These drawings describe a palpable, tangible, existential moment I’ve had many times. Reality is slippery. At any given time without particular motivation I get an overpowering sense. This ‘sense’ stops me in my tracks.
Sometimes if feels that nothing is as it seems and that everything I think is actually obvious, true, real or authentic is, in fact, not those things at all. And that the world around me just a veil of what really is. I am required to ask deeper questions, inquire more critically and investigate more patiently. Other times I am smacked with the sense that everything is as it seems and my anxious will to impose some sort of meaning behind everything is just a chemical imbalance. That the nuances, intentions, innuendos and agendas are just smoke and that my cognitive noodling around is wrong, and I should just bathe in the obviousness of it all.
The biggest revelation from your recent trip to China as an artist whose motto on life and art is…?
By now you can see what my attraction is, to an unbridled, rapid developing country soaked in contemporary westernized visual culture with a 5000 year old cultural backdrop.
Perhaps one of my mottos could be that the world looks like it does for a variety of reasons and therefore my question to myself and others is always What role do you play in the way the world looks?
Your Instagram Account gives us so many reasons to smile and be happy? What are three top rules to follow to find the energy to smile and be happy despite the chaos and unrest?
1- It’s to keep my cynicism in check.
Jovencio de la Paz spent seven years in Chicago, where he earned his BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then joined the faculty there in the Fiber and Material Studies Department. Now living in Eugene, Oregon, he offers insight into the differences between the art scene in Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the inspiration he gleans from teaching art and his involvement with Craft Mystery Cult. Some of his works from “Monuments” are featured in our most recent issue, MAKE 16 Archive. He will have an upcoming solo show in May at 4th Ward Projects in Hyde Park in Chicago.
Alessandra Stamper: You recently taught in the Fiber and Material Studies Department at SAIC, where you also earned your BFA. Do you find that teaching can be an integral part of making art? Did your experience as a student in Chicago or teaching at SAIC influence your practice or inspire your process in any way?
Jovencio de la Paz: For me, teaching art is rooted in the ability to perceive and nurture the visions of others, even when those visions are in direct opposition to my own ideologies. To do this, I have found I must constantly suspend what I consider to be the limits of the possible, the acceptable, or the relevant in art making. I am in profound debt to my students for constantly placing me on this kind of volatile ground, and I do all I can to ensure that for my students, this feeling is mutual. I think many non-teaching artists I know work very hard to seek out situations where their preconceptions are challenged. But as a teacher, I have a wonderful, daily, community of challengers in my life. In the end, I don’t think teaching is integral to my art-making, but it is an incredible boon for which I am grateful.
As a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I was lucky to have a variety of mentors, each of whom had very different kinds of practices. Over time I have realized that they were each unique examples of the ways in which an artist might exist in the world, none more valid than the other. I was also lucky because these mentors were excited about the meaningful lesson encapsulated in the eventual moment when a student has to reject their mentors and find their own way. It has instilled in my thinking a desire to be unsatisfied with models of practice that are known variables, especially the ones I have created for myself. It has made my practice somewhat nomadic, and I find I am most happy in the studio when I am mobile both in my thinking and my material output.
AS: I’m interested in the focus on time and human interaction in your work. Could you talk about your exploration of these topics and the works in which they are most present?
JDLP: The social and historical metaphors in cloth are key to all my activities, and the core of my formal training as an artist is in the production of textiles. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago my focus was on weaving, sewing, and textile-printing, and in each of these ways of making there is a heightened sensitivity to time, process, repetition, and materiality. But when I began my graduate work at the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s Department of Fiber, I arrived upon this moment where I was compelled to give all this up. I went through an unplanned period of rejection, where I found myself cleansing my practice of the materiality I had, up to that point, found integral to my identity. I put away the loom, and packed up all my yarn and sewing needles, and I began exploring performance, video, sound, and writing. I don’t think this was an absolute rejection of materiality though. I think it was an endeavor to let go of processes I had become very comfortable with in order to try and have a clearer focus on something vital inside the making of cloth that might not be exclusively contained in the physicality of cloth. What I was left with then was time as a material, interaction as process, and language as a way of documenting the flux of these activities.
I was exploring durational performances that often lasted from dawn until dusk, where I and others would focus on the repetition of simple tasks like playing a single note on a piano, or tying tiny lengths of thread together to make a longer length. For me, touch became more urgent in these gestures than it ever was in the haptic making of textile, or at the very least, I was able to arrive at the sense of touch in a way that had been long obscured by my dedication and obsession with making cloth itself. I was deeply inspired by choreographer Pina Bausch, and the idea of working collaboratively to generate dance and movement around the idea of repetition. I think this was a profoundly productive period of time for me, and though I have come back to working with materiality, the process of giving up the skills I felt I understood has left a lasting impression on me. In having allowed myself to step away from the ways of making I had imagined were absolutely necessary to my reality in the studio, I found a limitlessness and an energy that has become the atmosphere I hope surrounds whatever it is I choose to make now.
There is one performance in particular called “Sewing the Surface of the Water,” which I think encompasses so much of this period of my life. It is a performance I made with my collaborative enterprise Craft Mystery Cult. It is a performance that happened spontaneously, with almost no planning, and with almost no pre-conceptions of content. In the days and moments before we made this performance, we allowed ourselves to focus on generating an environment for ourselves, an environment in which the urgent language of productivity was replaced by a more fluid process of being together, spending time working in and exploring the landscape, and speaking to each other with the careful suspension of judgement. I believe this spirit of interaction and temporality are both very much in this particular work.
AS: Having lived and worked in Chicago, what is your perspective on the art world here, as opposed to say, the Pacific Northwest, where you live now, and its openness to emerging artists?
JDLP: More than any other place I have lived, I believe I have felt a kind of authentic camaraderie amongst the artists I have met in Chicago – one based in humility, criticality, and a desire to work above all else. Yet it is also in this city I have become very aware of the complexities and shortcomings of “community” as a notion. To speak singularly of “an art world” in Chicago is akin to saying that Chicago is a single neighborhood. In fact there are many vibrant art worlds in Chicago, as in every city, and we often don’t do that great of a job at interacting with our neighbors, or even recognizing that they’re there at all. I have known many artists in the city who, after being ignored or placeless, have invented their own spaces and own worlds. With that density of microcosms, there is absolutely an ongoing struggle for space, for resources, and recognition, and there are oppositional apparatuses that work to quell or support new growth. But in Chicago, despite sometimes overwhelming adversity, I have always felt a sense that what is possible is not yet fixed.
Now I no longer live in the density of Chicago. Now that I live in Eugene, Oregon I have kind of traded my CTA pass for hiking boots and my back-porch hangouts for hills and trails. I don’t really think I am in a position yet, after being a working artist here for only a few months, to make a fair appraisal of the communities of artists around me. I will say that the artists I have met here so far have a kind of access to life and livability I have not seen everywhere. Many seem to maintain both their careers and domestic lives with equal mindfulness and satisfaction. Yes there are many fewer galleries here compared to many urban centers, and there are fewer institutions to support the very young and savvy artists that are being drawn to this part of the United States. But I am finding more and more artists who choose to live and work in the Pacific Northwest and are able to sustain really vibrant practices all across the country and beyond. It is exciting to see and believe in a place that might be able to support and nurture a balance between work, life, and career.
To speak for myself though, my work has changed dramatically by the landscape and the sense of space here. I spend quite a bit of time hiking and camping on my own, and I feel as though I am re-learning how to see the dark, and to remember how dark the dark can actually be. Being in the Pacific Northwest, I am focusing again on issues most formal, and I am remembering that in the ideas of color, form, and abstraction, there have always been issues most social, political, and urgent.
AS: You cofounded the Craft Mystery Cult. I’m fascinated by the idea that craft-making based on the sense of touch can create a perfect imagined world (if I am understanding the concept correctly). Can you talk more about this idea?
JDLP: Sonja Dahl, Stacy Jo Scott, and I established the Craft Mystery Cult in 2010, when we were studying at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and on residency at the Ox Bow School of Art in Saugatuck, Michigan. Sonja and I were studying Fiber, and Stacy Jo was studying ceramics. Looking back on it, the precision of our intent feels fuzzier, and when I look over our notes and writing from that time, it is harder for me to describe an absolute goal. But in fact, that the project might reject fixity feels closer to the heart of what I was after, then and now. I think we were each looking for an alternative space within the history of Modern Art and Design so strongly established at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, something that spoke to our interest in the mystic and highly spiritualized origins of Modernism.
I think there is something quieting about looking at inches of linen woven in Egypt 6,000 years ago, or at a fragment of a clay pot made in China 20,000 years ago, because the touch, and therefore the humanity of that maker, is transmitted across time in the surface of these things. As a crafts person, I have found there is a perfect, imagined world in the moment between thought and action. The challenge of being a physical entity though, having an imperfect and fallible body, means this perfection remains kind of unreachable beyond deep inside each of us. One of the joys of being able to make things with our hands is the lifelong endeavor of reconciling the inner world and the outer, what we hope to do and what is actually possible.
AS: Work from your Monuments series, feature
JDLP: As an immigrant to the United States, I have often thought about issues of movement, transition, wandering, and notions of home. I became interested in Batik and Indigo because of their deep ties to Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and because of their highly fraught history of colonization, globalization, and forced labor. Batik is a process in which molten wax is painted or drawn onto un-dyed fabric. Because wax resists water, when the fabric is dyed, a resist image emerges. In every case, the image appears like a hole, or an absence in the cloth. For me, this technicality is heavy with meaning. Many of my batiks are attempts at framing an absence, whether a longing for distant loved ones, or the larger disappearing of oppressed people throughout history. The “Monuments” refer to headstones and memorial architecture, and they were made during yet another period in American history when young people of color seem slaughtered with inexplicable ease.
MIKE BRAY LECTURE
The Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies program of the
Pacific Northwest College of Art presents a lecture by
Mike Bray, in conjunction with his exhibition at
Thursday, January 14
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for
Art and Design | Mediatheque
511 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97209
More information HERE
For inquiries, please contact: email@example.com
1501 SW Market Street
Portland, Oregon 97201
Becoming Colorful Becoming Warm
GRIDSPACE is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Carla Bengtson, in which the artist turns the mid-winter urban gallery into a human-scaled vivarium.
December 20 through January 24, with an opening reception on Sunday, December 20 from 4 – 6 pm.
Standing Out Blending In
When to show and when not to show? What is the power of display versus the power of blending in? I remember a cartoon about immigration that was shown to me in the 1970s. The metaphor of assimilation was still evident, but was shifting rapidly under the scrutiny of new identity-based movements finding their voice. In the animated show an older immigrant man is passing through Ellis Island and the immigration officer screws up his name; can’t pronounce it, and so gives him an Anglicized version. His young son protests, but the older man says, he likes it, “a new name for a new world.” For new arrivals in America in the 19th century and through the first half of the 21st century the message about assimilation and “melting in” was clear, if not completely followed. The implication was that one should lose older forms of culture to America, and join a new culture. The rise of multiculturalism in the late 20th century encouraged people to display their culture and stand out. Life in modern cities would be unthinkable without these routine cultural displays, arranged at strategic and important times of year, when cultural colors may fly before the group in question returns to the drab camouflage of everyday life in the urban melee. The city now asks that we display our festivals and food and in return we will be recognized as both other and same.
Put a chameleon in New York and surround it with the stuff of a human world, an urban ecosystem, reflecting human processes and aesthetic choices. What are the options? How does it know what to display? What is danger or safety in this radical context? How is the biosemiotic system of the lizard disrupted by such contextual shifts and alien encounters? And after all the color shifts, which one is the real chameleon? Would other chameleons react the same way?
– Philip Scher, December 2015
Carla Bengtson is an artist whose site- and species-specific interventions query the possibility/impossibility of interspecies communication. Bengston is an Associate Professor of Painting at the University of Oregon, and is the Head of the Art Department, Swundells Chair.
Phil Scher is an anthropologist, culture scholar, and a contributing editor and writer for Cabinet Magazine.
Part 2 of the 20th ANNUAL Jewelry Sale will be held at MODERN (207 E. 5th Ave in Eugene) from 6-8pm on Friday, December 4th!
As part of the First Friday ArtWalk, students and alumni of the Jewelry & Metalsmithing program in the Department of Art will present jewelry that is inventive and thoughtful. Each student is responsible for the design and fabrication of 3-5 pieces of jewelry including rings, pendants, brooches, earrings, etc. All pieces will be priced between $20 – $100 in order to raise funding for guest lectures, seminars and studio equipment. The sale has enjoyed immense success in past years. Be sure to mark your calendar!
Congratulations to Mike Bray, Terri Warpinski, Samantha Cohen, and Morgan Rosskopf, who were selected to recieve Career Opportunity Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation!
More info on the artists and awards can be found here.
Dan Devening, proprietor of the eponymous ‘projects + editions,’ painter, curator and faculty at SAIC, has a good eye for pairing artists. While his Garfield Park gallery typically runs concurrent solo shows in separate rooms within the same space, the aesthetic frisson generated by the works’ proximity is almost always palpable and the dialogue between them inescapable. Case in point: Christopher Michlig’s “To Everyone” and Amy Yoes’ “Structurals and Sightlines.” In Yoes’ multi-paneled installation, an initial feeling of cool intellectualism (possibly provoked by the works’ lack of color) gives way to something more primitive, more vigorously physical. As hard-edged geometric shapes collide head-on with snippets of casual brush strokes and glued-down half-tone dots, the vertiginous spaces they create exact a tidal pull upon the body forcing the viewer to move in close and then take several large steps back in order to reckon with the arrangement. In contrast, her stop-motion animation “Sightlines” literally brings the paintings’ forms to life, but at the cost of our kinesis; we cease moving and instead merely watch.
While Yoes’ “Structurals and Sightlines” rapidly shift from passive to aggressive, the collages in Michlig’s “To Everyone” move in the opposing direction. What begins as an assertive display of hyper-saturated, West Coast color yields a more deliberate exploration of duplication, theme and variation. Based on screen-printed reproductions from a 1961 André Bloc exhibition catalogue, Michlig’s pieces reverse engineer objects that have been reduced to code back into objects again. This process is most apparent in the nine paper constructions whose simple geometry—embellished with stylized drips—resembles a kind of 3D clip art. Immediately appealing, over time the works in “To Everyone” become more ambivalent. Michlig’s luminous collages and constructions hit fast then slow down, while Yoes’ achromatic modular panels seem reserved but then get bossy. On the face of it, these works seem designed to accentuate their differences. But both shows underscore a shared sense of art’s history, an appreciation of the visual language of reproduced imagery and the fusion of different forms of “touch” through collage as a quintessentially contemporary medium.
Through December 12 at Devening Projects + Editions, 3039 West Carroll. – See more at: http://art.newcity.com/2015/11/18/review-christopher-michlig-amy-yoesdevening-projects-editions/#sthash.kg4k3U2y.dpuf
Sylvan Lionni’s exhibition “Half Life” at Kansas Gallery, New York
Craig Hickman’s “Oxide” reviewed on Hypallergic
Craig Hickman, “The Outskirts” from “Oxide”