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

John Yeon’s Quest for Beauty

John Yeon State Natural Area, photo courtesy Portland Art Museum

I’ve always been fascinated by architecture, as it is both a large scale form of sculpture, and a form of three-dimensional art that is mostly inaccessible to artists that can easily work in other mediums. But even among architects, there are those that take their work to a scale even larger, and begin to shape the landscape, as well as the interior spaces that humans like to inhabit. Continue reading

Fitting the Human Within Nature

Umbel Series, by Jenni Ward. Photo by Bill Bishoff, courtesy of UCSC Arboretum.

Nature is inspiration to many artists. But while natural form has inspired generations of artists, today many are finding source material not purely within the plants and animals, the leaves and seeds, flowers and rocks that we think of immediately when we consider the definition of “nature.” More and more commonly, artists are drawn to the juxtaposition between the natural world and the human world. Continue reading

Nested Transmuter Cycle: A Boulder into the Pond

Installation view, Nested Trasmuter Cycle, by MSHR. Courtesy of Interstitial.

I often feel that time is an unspoken quality of sculptural work. Of course, time is inescapable, and so any sculpture that we view must occur over time. The time we spend looking at the work, the time it takes to walk around the sculpture to see it from all angles, the time to sculpt it, which is inscribed in its surface and structure. Time does not stop affecting a work of sculpture, either. Eventually, any material crumbles to dust. Every solid substance is secretly in motion, whether changing form, decomposing away, or slowly moving through space, even as it adheres to the surface of our spinning planet. Continue reading

Rodin’s Human Experience, and Our Own

Rodin Sculpture

Three Shades, by Rodin. Photo courtesy of the Portland Art Museum.

I tend to prefer abstract sculpture— however, even in more representative work, there is plenty of abstractness to find and appreciate. Take the Rodin exhibition currently at the Portland Art Museum. Subtitled “The Human Experience,” the exhibition certainly showcases the representational aspects of Auguste Rodin’s masterful bronze works. The 52 bronzes in the show are almost entirely of human forms, and are curated so that the viewer learns about the process by which the sculptor produced the works both in detail and at scale. In re-using aspects of previous works, Rodin allowed particular characteristics of the human form to span across his oeuvre, and the viewer can immediately sense these pieces of humanity— hands, torsos, heads, limbs— extending throughout the gallery, like memories or ghosts of the many models that the artist employed to create these testaments to the human form. Continue reading

Tying the Knots of the World

Françoise Grossen Sculpture

Installation view of ‘Françoise Grossen Selects’, 2016. Photo by Butcher Walsh.
Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

The more I think about fiber arts, the more enamored I become with it as a form of sculpture. Visiting the Françoise Grossen Selects show at the Museum of Art and Design put this motion into overdrive, as I explored the variety of things that might be done using solely rope. Continue reading