Connecting Lines through History: Portland Art Museum’s Center for Contemporary Native Art

Sculpture Portland

Recurring Chapters in the Book of Inevitable Outcomes by Brenda Mallory. Image courtesy of the Portland Art Museum.

The Portland Art Museum’s Center for Contemporary Native Art is not a large space, but the curators always manage to squeeze a great deal of work into it, by working in multiple dimensions. This certainly holds true for the current Connecting Lines show, featuring Brenda Mallory (Cherokee Nation) and Luzene Hill (East Band Cherokee). Continue reading

Dark Matter and Missing Mass: Allyson Mitchell

Allyson Mitchell, Ladies Sasquatch

Okay, so I start, at the titular level, with a cosmological reference: the idea of the missing mass in the universe, that those all-important galaxies strewn throughout the cosmos (and within one of which we exist) don’t seem to contain enough mass to account for galactic rotation. Herein was born the idea of “dark matter.” Continue reading

The Octopus Eats its Own Leg

sculpture

Takashi Murakami, Photo: Maria Ponce Berre, © MCA Chicago

According to Japanese folklore, a distressed octopus can chew off an injured leg and a new one will grow in its place.  Regeneration and re-invention are certainly subtexts at Takashi Murakami’s mid-career retrospective at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, but this sprawling exhibition also shows that while his work has certainly changed in form and focus, Murakami’s body of work, for all its emphatically contemporary, anime-inspired appearance, is, perhaps surprisingly, conscientiously rooted in hundreds of years of traditional Japanese visual culture.   Continue reading

Starting a residency: looking for a central line through unsettling shapes

I see my shapes as eliciting unsettling emotions

I visited Mana for the first time a little over a year ago during an open studio event.  A friend of mine had suggested that I meet a sculptor working there, Max Pelzman, who was sculpting with materials and techniques that I was about to experiment with. I was grateful for his generosity, but was also impressed by the complex of buildings, including a foundry, that forms Mana. The energy, sense of community and works that I saw there made me decide to visit regularly and maybe find a way to become a part of it. When I heard of the ISC’s residency program, I couldn’t help but apply. So, here I am, so thankful to the ISC and Mana Contemporary for their generosity and so honored to have been selected. Continue reading

Subterranean

It’s been about two weeks since moving into the studios here at Mana and I am loving it.  I’ve been enjoying getting to know Carole and seeing her practice.  I’m curious to see how our work develops during our time here as I’m already picking up on similarities in our ideas and use of materials.  It’s quite nice to be in a space where other artists are working alongside you.  Years have gone by since I’ve had that type of community and I’m feeling energized by it already.  The studios are located in the subterranean layer of Mana, aka the basement.  It is buzzing with young and emerging artists and is quite large, with high ceilings and an open layout.  It is motivating to glance up from my work bench across the basement and see half a dozen other studios with artists currently at work.  Being a part of this space challenges me to work well and push myself.  Continue reading

In the Studio: Huy Bui: Structures for Hope and Survival

Sculpture

Plant-in City, Moss, 2012, 48″ x 18″ x 24″, Installation, Huy Bui

The artist Huy Bui says it best:

We are living in precarious times where human greed, stupidity and ignorance threaten the existence of all life on Earth.  It is our moment as humans to reflect on ourselves and confront a destination once thought as fiction that is now our probable future. The sixth extinction is in progress but our potential to problem solve is remarkable.  Our actions and policies in the next generation will determine the fate of species for thousands of years to come, if not millions.   Continue reading