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Ambiguous Incarnations Of The Other Worldly Kind: Anne Goodrich

11 Aug

I love it when an artist’s work causes me to do a double take.  When I spotted the ceramic sculptures of Anne Goodrich amongst the work at Guardino Gallery in Portland, I almost passed them by.  From afar, they just seemed like botanical ceramics, which would likely just have elicited a “nice” from me.  But upon closer inspection, I saw that these were something more.

Wall 10

These beautifully formed ceramics, in their soft pastels and rich earth tones play a delightful little trick on the mind.  At first glance, you may think you know what you’re seeing– Oh, pretty seashell, no wait, flower, no wait, gourd.. snail?  alien?  What is it?!

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It is in the ambiguity that Goodrich’s work finds its simple, sweet power.  We aren’t sure exactly what these forms are, but even still, they speak to us.  They are achingly familiar, like the face of a stranger who reminds us of a long lost friend.

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They may remind us of forms that exist inside our own bodies.  Or of organisms surrounding us, both seen and unseen.

Nest 1 by Anne Goodrich

Whatever they are, I want to bring one home, give it a name, let it speak to me and discover its mysteries.

To see more of Anne Goodrich’s work, please visit her website.  If you’re lucky enough to be in or near Portland, OR, you can see her work in person at Guardino Gallery in the Alberta Arts District.

Soulful Accoutrements: Gabriel Fernandez

8 Aug

I’m a sucker for furniture.  I love the mixture of function and design.  And paintings of furniture?  Well, those hold a special place for me as I went through my own “chair” phase while I was studying painting in college.  So when I spotted the work of Gabriel Fernandez at Guardino Gallery in Portland this weekend, he had me at hello.

Eichler Book on Table, oil on canvas, 24x36

Fernandez creates scenes using furniture as another artist might use human models.  He sets the stage to tell a story, of a moment that just happened or is about to occur.  His compositions focus on the beauty of the objects themselves, the lives that they have led.. maybe an interesting life in a public place or a spiritless existence in a warehouse.

Orange Chair In Front of Radiator, oil on canvas, 25x21

The artist seems to be exploring the relationship of the objects to their environment, as an important player in a larger scene.  His use of light and shadow create a sense of emotion and mood, keeping the images from becoming mere still lifes, but instead imbuing them with a sense of story.

Coos Bay Laundromat, oil on wood, 14x19.25Green Chair With Three Suitcases, oil on canvas, 20x22 Green Chair With Three Suitcases, oil on canvas, 20x22

These are objects with soul, with personality, experience.  A past, a present and a future.

Green Chair With Three Suitcases, oil on canvas, 20x22

To see more of Gabriel Fernandez’s work, visit his website.  Or, if you’re lucky enough to be in or near Portland, OR, drop by the Guardino Gallery in the Alberta Arts District.

All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.

These Bucks Are BUCK: Rachel Denny

28 Jul

Is the adjective buck actually used in the common vernacular?  Or do only So You Think You Can Dance geeks like myself know what it means, thanks to Lil’ C?  He uses it as slang for something that is crazy good and cool.  Which is exactly how I would describe the sculptures of Portland artist, Rachel Denny.

Red Buck, polyurethane foam, wool and wood

On my morning walk with George today, we came upon a deer munching on flowers in a neighbor’s yard ( one of the things we love about the Northwest ).  So when I came across Rachel’s work this morning, I connected with it instantly.  Her work explores that surprise of the unexpected wildness of nature in urban settings and every day life.

Young Buck, merino wool, polyurethane foam, thread and wood

Young Buck and Red Buck, both above, are part of her Domestic Trophies series, which while appearing at first to be whimsical and playful, actually seem to be making a commentary on how we try to justify our own violence or antipathy against nature.  The head of an animal that was once a living, breathing creature, killed for sport and mounted as a trophy gets “domesticated” and rendered impotent by blanketing it in a warm and colorful wrap of fuzzy wool.  It is now rendered to be merely a decorative object instead of a wild beast.

The Lion and The Lamb, polyurethane foam, wood and wool

Or perhaps the artist is comforting these poor creatures.  Covering their eyes and shielding them from a future of staring down at the same scene day after day.  Or maybe she’s just having a little fun by creating something beautiful out of something so symbolically grotesque.

Teal Doe, polyurethane foam, wood, wool, paint and thread

Whatever Rachel Denny is doing, I am on the bandwagon.  These pieces are fanciful and fun and if there is a deeper message behind them, so much the better.

Go to Rachel Denny’s website for more of her sculptural work– the ceramics are great, make sure you check them out!

All images via http://www.racheldenny.com.

Gallery Hopping PDX-style

30 Jun

PDX is slang for Portland, apparently.  I kept seeing it everywhere in Portland this weekend and being from Florida, of course had no idea what it meant.  Was it some sort of secret code?  Some inside joke only super-hip Portlandians knew about?  Nope, just Portland’s airport code, which has become short for Portland, just like JAX is short for my hometown of Jacksonville.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t some sort of subversive meaning to PDX, at least not one I could find on Google.

After a month in the Northwest, George & I finally made the 2 1/2 hour drive from Aberdeen, WA to Portland last Saturday.  We’ve already hit a couple of smaller artsy destinations nearby ( Olympia, WA & Astoria, OR ), but finally worked our way up to the mac-daddy of them all, Portland.  The home of hip.  We were only in Portland for the day, so decided it would be best to limit ourselves to one section of the city.  So we chose The Pearl District, for its galleries for me and its proximity to Powell’s Books, Stumptown Coffee & Rogue Brewery for George.  I try to make sure that when I drag him gallery-hopping, there is always the promise of beer.  This makes for a much happier husband.

Work by David Slader at Gallery 903

Gallery 903 was filled with contemporary painting, sculpture and mixed-media work.  I can usually tell the minute I walk into a gallery whether or not I’m going to enjoy my visit and find artists to blog about.  As soon as I saw wonderfully textured abstracts and thoughtfully placed sculpture, I knew Gallery 903 was a good stop.  The work of the artist above, David Slader, got George’s attention before than mine.  Slader is a former high-powered attorney turned artist and after reading his tongue-in-cheek artist statement, I had a better appreciation for him.  His work has deep texture , a powerful palette and expression.  Here’s an even better shot of “You Want to Dance”, that gallerist Herschel was nice enough to email me..

You Want to Dance, Oil on canvas, 24x24

This was just the first of the delights to be found at 903.  While George continued to admire the Sladers, I rounded the corner and happily came across a little niche and what was to be found there?  Some thrilling little Salvador Dali prints!

Salvador Dali prints at Gallery 903

Complimenting the Dalis in the same little space were two epoxy-resing pieces by Alan Fulle.  One of my favorite things about working in a gallery was designing & creating tableaus of artwork that coordinate together in unexpected ways.  Virtual congrats to whomever hung the work in this gallery.

Artist: Alan Fulle, Gallery 903

Here are some more treats from 903:

Artist: Chuck Gumpert, Gallery 903

Artist: Natalia Petrova, Gallery 903

Artist: Georgia Gerber, Gallery 903

I absolutely loved this bronze geese sculpture!  George wasn’t quite as enamored.  What’s not to love about lovey-dovey, fat bronze geese?  I mean, really, how could you not love them?!  Oh well, moving on..

Augen Gallery had two interesting exhibitions showing, the first, work by Wendy Franklund Miller– I am a sucker for encaustics.  There is just something about that waxy texture that I adore.

Artist: Wendy Franklund Miller, Augen Gallery

The kind-of cosmic feel to Franklund Miller’s work was a great complement to their other exhibition, Light Drawings by James Minden.

Artist: James Minden, Augen Gallery

These “light drawings” are scratched/etched PETG ( plastic ) reflecting light.  They are totally trippy in the best sense.  We had so much fun looking at these from all different angles.  Check out this slide show to see better photos than I could have taken:  James Minden on Vimeo.

Continuing the equestrian kick I seem to be on lately, Froelick Gallery happened to be showing Equine, a juried group exhibition showcasing the horse.  A diverse showing of work centered around our four-legged friends, it was fun to see the variety of interpretations, including a plate from the famous Muybridge Animal Locomotion series.  George was drawn to the work of Miles Cleveland Goodwin, which while beautifully rendered, was a bit on the dark side for my tastes.  I love how the differences in our tastes spark lively discussion!

Artist: Miles Cleveland Goodwin, Froelick Gallery

I, on the other hand, fell in love with the giant below. White Shadow by Rick Barstow is pastel on paper, 74″ long and it is fabulous.  I’m not sure what I love more, the lovely layering of the pastel, the unfinished, sketchy-quality or the scribbled “HORSES” at the bottom.  It’s all workin’ for me.  Or maybe it is that the straight-on gaze of the horse reminds me of an illustration of a story my grandmother used to read me as a little girl, The Goose Girl.

Artist: Rick Barstow, Froelick Gallery

Our next stop, Bullseye Gallery has a kick-a$$ space.  Two levels, full of exposed brick and metal work, rustic wood and these amazing little installation rooms.  I got so caught up in admiring my surroundings that I failed to take many pictures.  I know, bad little blogger.  The gallery is part of Bullseye Glass Company, maker of colored glass for art & architecture.  Oh, that explains why there was so much incredible art glass!

Artist: Dante Marioni, Bullseye Gallery

Artist: Silvia Levenson, Bullseye Gallery

Our final destination was Butters Gallery.  Are ya’ll tired yet?  Because I sure was by this point in the day. ( We’d also hit the Saturday Market, Stumptown Coffee, Powell’s Books and Rogue, in addition to all the galleries. )  Butters reminded me of some of the Chelsea galleries in NYC, as it was kind of hidden away, on the 2nd floor of a walk-up building.

Butters Gallery

Artist: Susan Hall, Butters Gallery

Butters had some really interesting work on display, I hope to bring you more on those artists very soon, especially the one whose work is pictured above, Susan Hall.  I fell head over heads for her work– my crappy picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice.  I’ll feature her more in depth in a separate post in the next few weeks.

So ends our little jaunt through Portland’s Pearl District galleries.  I can’t wait to go back to PDX and explore the other art districts.  This weekend we’re headed North!