Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What I Know Is

Erin Mallea, Particularly Adapted, 2015, vinyl.
Nine artists participated in Prequel and "What I Know Is" served as the culminating exhibition for their six-month artist incubator program. Prequel is structured to provide a space for local emerging artists to critique and create new work. During the six-month program each artists was set with the task to define and revise what it is that they know. The exhibition was up for one week at S1, an artist run project space and gallery. Visiting this exhibition was my first introduction to Prequel as well as the S1 art space. I enjoyed the diversity in art practices among the participating artists included in the exhibition. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these artists work and seeing how it develops throughout their career.  I also look forward to seeing the artists involved in the Prequel's programming in the years to come.

The exhibition included new work from: Travis Beardsley, Brittney Connelly, Dakota Gearhart, Kello Goeller, Genevieve Goffman, Lara Kim, Erin Mallea, John Whitten, and Emily Wobb.

Travis Beardsley/TravB./yahtrav, SunnyD2k15, 2015, performance and textiles.

Travis Beardsley's piece for the exhibition included a performance/fashion show that took place during the exhibition opening. Beardsley's fashion show took on the persona of the amateur fashion designer and model. The garments he designed were displayed on a garment rack as evidence of the performance throughout the exhibition. Beardsley's work examines of the duality between the digital and the real experience. He combines elements of textile, craft, and digital technology in his practice.

Erin Mallea, Mise en Scène, 2015.
Erin Mallea's practice involves a personalized research and field study regarding the absurdity of invasive species. This piece in particular examines the unexpected presence of the palm tree amongst the expected evergreen landscape of Portland, OR. From Mallea's perspective, the palm tree embodies an element of desire and escapism. Her installation creates a tropical environment complete with an Airwick air freshener, plastic coconuts, and Hawaiian print shirts. I was sure to take a postcard that she printed to remember my visit.

Lara Kim, Untitled (Body), 2015, memory foam, human hair, chili pepper flakes, dust. 

Lara Kim ‘s sculpture was an attempt to make an identity by filling a void with materials including memory foam, her flesh, hair, and blood (red chili flakes). Her work analyzes themes including gender, mixed identities, race, and binaries. Kim sculpts from everyday objects and often uses materials purchased with food stamps from local Asian markets. I especially enjoyed the delicate mounds of red chili flakes that curved through the memory foam and hair. Kim recently completed her BFA in sculpture at the University of Oregon.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Polina Tereshina at Soltesz Fine Art Gallery

Polina Tereshina, Safety orange with white and pink,
Acrylic on paper and vellum, 2015, courtesy of Soltesz Fine Art Gallery

This post is mostly a recommendation of Soltesz Fine Art Gallery in general as I look forward to each of their upcoming exhibitions. Melissa Soltesz is always inviting and conversational which is refreshing in comparison to most gallerists. Melissa is also very passionate about offering accessible prices for the art on view. If you’re an introductory art collector, I highly recommend stopping by Soltesz. This gallery opened in the past year and focuses on contemporary art from emerging artists. They usually specialize in paintings and works on paper, but their warehouse like space has provided opportunities for large installations in past exhibitions. Soltesz Fine Art Gallery is slightly off the beaten path of Pearl District gallery hopping, but is definitely worth checking out.

At their most recent opening I had the opportunity to meet the artists included in the exhibition who were eager to talk to viewers and answer questions. Polina Tereshina is a Seattle based artist and one of the most recent additions to Soltesz Fine Art Gallery. I was instantly drawn to the saturated colors and heavy paint application in Tereshina’s paintings. Tereshina is inspired by passing feelings and fleeting moments of human interactions. She attempts to preserve moments of obscure awkwardness.
Polina Tereshina, Black Out,
Acrylic on paper and vellum, 2015, courtesy of Soltesz Fine Art Gallery

Polina Tereshina, Skin Monster,
Acrylic on paper and vellum, 2015, courtesy of Soltesz Fine Art Gallery

Her figures are removed from their environment and placed within a gray shallow void to confine the brief moment. The figures are painted on paper and covered with a layer of vellum. This material brings a hazy and mysterious quality to the paintings. Tereshina further obscures the figure by spreading thick and tactile layers of paint over the vellum. Tereshina admits that she will still paint faces on her characters even though layers of paint will eventually obscure their faces. She states that for specific interactions that she recreates, the character’s faces are equally important. When I saw her paintings I was initially mesmerized by the physicality of her heavy paint application, but Tereshina’s humorous characters and stories have left a lasting impact. I look forward to her eventual solo-exhibition at Soltesz Fine Art Gallery.

My Pick:
Polina Tereshina, Shit Show,
Acrylic on paper and vellum, 2015, courtesy of Soltesz Fine Art Gallery

Related Posts: Danielle Wyckoff: Emerging Dissolving

Monday, November 2, 2015

In a Rhythmic Fashion- Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen

Images: Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen, P11, 2015, Plexiglas and stainless steel, Courtesy of Hap Gallery, photography by Mario Gallucci.

Upon stepping into Hap Gallery, the viewer’s perception is immediately distorted by a reflective curtain of Plexiglas that indistinguishably blurs physical space from reflections. After allowing a moment for one’s eyes to adjust, the viewer can observe the optical reflective installation, P11, by artist duo Carla Arocha and Stéphane Schraenen.

“In a Rhythmic Fashion” is the artists’ first solo exhibition at Hap Gallery in Portland, OR. The exhibition features the eleventh evolution of their P-series installation. The reflective Plexiglas curtain diagonally bisects the gallery space. Paintings hang on the gallery walls to create a fragmentary pastiche of wall, light, viewer, color, and reflection.

The installation itself is activated by the viewer’s presence. One becomes the creator by building a new visual experience with each step and turn of the head. The immersive installation distorts positive and negative space and reflects the environment as well as its viewer. Colors mix from the paintings along the walls, but even more interesting are the reflections cast from the street environment visible through the gallery windows.

I was also deeply interested in the mystery of a disposable camera placed on a pedestal and tucked behind a corner of the gallery. Upon closer investigation, I was informed that the camera, Hap edition 20, In a Rhythmic Fashion 1-24, was a series of cameras. Each of the 24 cameras has one image taken on the roll of film. Arocha and Schraenen took photographs of architecture and the city of Portland with the disposable cameras. The image each camera holds remains unknown until the camera is purchased and developed. Once again the viewer or owner (in this case) holds the potential to activate the piece through their choice to develop the image or leave the camera intact. The disposable camera also has a whimsical and nostalgic quality, being a product that has been rendered obsolete during a time of the standard issue camera/smart phone. Each camera is accessibly priced for the introductory art collector. The artists also ask that a copy of the image be sent to them for their archive.

The exhibition will only be up for another few weeks so make sure to see it quickly. I highly recommend that you experience one of the most captivating installations I’ve seen in Portland so far.

Hap Gallery
"In a Rhythmic Fashion"
October 8-November 14
916 NW Flanders Street, Portland, Oregon
Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6pm