Writer Jennifer Rabin's take on Elizabeth Malaska's current exhibition, this week in the Willamette Week.
Our intern Lusi, who is currently studying Art History at Lewis & Clark, is back at it. Today she reviews Ben Lerner's The Hatred of Poetry (currently available in the shop).
"Ben Lerner’s most recent publication, The Hatred of Poetry, couldn’t have arrived at a more apt time. Language is intrinsic to everything -- our way of living, the way we communicate, how we express ourselves -- and the most fascinating thing language can provide us is growth. Language is never stagnant and often highly adaptable; the way we choose to interact with it is what determines its impact and whether or not its growth will continue. That is to say, language will always be changing; the question is, are we ready to change with it?
Something I have been grappling with recently is the accessibility of language, particularly within the art world, and Lerner hits on this tension in his book at length. It’s easy to ask what makes a good poem or what makes a bad poem, but the subjectivity of the answer can often skew that perception. In an interview with The Paris Review, Lerner is quoted, “I think some people I know hate what I consider really good poetry because they are really anxious about intelligibility.” It’s the same with most Modern art or Expressionist art and thinking -- “Well I could have done that/my kid could have done that!” Yet art, in all of its forms, has no definitive beginning or end, and “what does not change is the will to change.”
The tradition of poetry or poetic ambition is tricky, mostly out of fear of rejection (internal or external) and poetry is undoubtedly an experiment -- always has been and will always continue to be such. But poetry also contradicts itself; poets confront limits and explore dualities intrinsic to human nature. Ideally that should create an open dialogue between the author and the audience but it is most often that those cases are the least accessible because deriving understanding and catching implication is based on the experience of the individual. Whether garnering meaning and inclusivity is to be done through a matter of defeating language or propounding a new measure of value, where I come to question Lerner’s argument is that I fundamentally disagree that it can’t be done through poetry. In my experiences, It is too immersive of a craft to be so pigeonholed as constantly disappointing.
As powerful a medium as it is, Lerner maneuvers the intricate dualities of the poetic form with surprising ease and efficiency. The Hatred of Poetry is at once one of the strongest denunciations of poetry I have ever encountered, but also one of the greatest defenses capable of rivaling Sir Philip Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy. A highly recommended and insightful read, for those who have never read a page of poetry and for those who have devoted their lives to it alike.'
Stop by for a visit, we are open 12–6!
Two years in the making, Nationale artist, Elizabeth Malaksa's powerful new body of work proves that painting can be a catalyst for action in the struggle against our global culture of patriarchal aggression. As Sarah Sentilles writes in her essay for the exhibition catalog:
Malaska has taken on the fraught feminist challenge of painting women without objectifying women. It is as if Picasso's models have come to life (perhaps they are Malaska's awakened dead?), marching out of his canvases in protest and into hers.
Please join us this Sunday, September 4 (3–6PM) for the opening reception of When We Dead Awaken II.
They're performing for us at 7pm tonight! Rikki's new works on paper will be on view Monday 8/29 & Tuesday 8/30, 12—6 pm.
Please join us this Sunday, August 28 (3–5PM) for Amanda Leigh Evans & Anastasia Greer's closing reception, as well as a special pop up with LASSO (NYC). It's your last chance to see this lovely show, and meet Myranda Gillies of LASSO who will be sharing her new collection of bronze & silver rings and chignon pins.
It's not so often that we get to peek into private art collections, and it's a rare treat when we get access even to photographs. We currently are fascinated by THIS NYT article about Steven Korff's obsession with collecting ceramics!
We hope you will have a chance to stop by our current exhibition and view these pieces in person. If you are not in Portland, images are now online. This week, the exhibition received a Highly Recommended Pick by Jennifer Rabin in the Willamette Week.
We are excited to announce a special pop-up exhibition with Rikki Rothenberg from August 29-30, 2016. Please save the date for the reception & performance on August 29 (6-8pm). More info below!
Special pop-up exhibition August 29 & 30, 2016
Reception & performance Monday, August 29 (6-8 p.m.)
Nationale proudly presents a pop-up exhibition of new works by Rikki Rothenberg, an artist and therapist currently living in Los Angeles, CA. Between 2009 and 2012, Rothenberg had three solo exhibitions at Nationale and performed here numerous times, either solo or with her aesthetically-inclined, trans-pop-culture, dance-therapy performance group, Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner. We are thrilled to welcome back this old friend of the gallery!
The first I noticed it was four years ago while driving through Big Sur. From the coastal highway cliffs these majestic dusty blues and sage greens, vibrant colors set against chalky burnt sienna – were both death and aliveness. I could sit here and stare at these colors, I thought to myself. I could paint this for years. Although I have not focused on landscape or representational work, I felt as though I understood what it meant to be called to the landscape of a place.
Two years later while out walking near my home, I spotted the corpse of a seagull on the inside of the chain linked reservoir wall. I passed that corpse for months. The coyotes seemed to not have wanted this one. It decayed over time, drying out, losing its fur and turning to bone. I would walk by searching for something in this form and wondering.
That awareness of death amidst life, it was profound and humbling. My work as a therapist and artist ultimately intertwine: holding awareness for pain and potential, loss and inspiration. Noticing a breeze by the movement of the leaves, the branches, the flowers. How they dance for our attention. Aiming to replicate the experience—giving space to your lungs, back, neck, jaw, shoulder, legs, and feet. I feel it in my body, that strength and resilience, imperfectly beautiful, organized, repetitive, diverse, and specific.
Rikki Rothenberg is a visual and performance artist. She offers psychotherapy in private practice in Pasadena, CA. Rothenberg earned a BFA in Sculpture from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and a MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She most recently presented a series of new artwork and a performance in a show entitled Divinjnowshoe supported by a residency at PAM. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Gallery artist Delaney Allen's photography was casually referenced in Elle Malaysia recently. Nice!