Commissioned essay by Corey Mansfield

 Ty Ennis’  The Marble Fountain  is on view through December 30, 2018

Ty Ennis’ The Marble Fountain is on view through December 30, 2018

When we are young, the world appears full of magic. We are the center of our universe- we know of little beyond our guided travels. Time equals now. The past is a vague sentiment alluded to in passing by patronizing adults. Of course, how could we fully grasp our place within history having only been a part of it for such a small time? As we age though, this credulity towards the significance of our present yellows and fades. The once glorified landmarks of our hometown no longer hold the same power. Knowledge broadens our scope and awakens our anxieties, ultimately rousing nostalgia for the innocence and the simplicity of what once appeared to be. 

The paintings of Portland-based artist Ty Ennis on view for his solo exhibition The Marble Fountain at Nationale exist within this reflective tendency. Scenes culled from his recent memory are presented alongside a medley of melancholic dreams, holiday lore, and subtle references to aesthetic predecessors. In this manner, the various facts of Ennis’ biography unravel into a loose interpretation of what once was. 

 Ty Ennis,  Mardi Gras , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

Ty Ennis, Mardi Gras, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

Unable to replicate the naive enchantment of his youth, Ennis’ work instead focuses on the indeterminacy of aging—the space between then and now, them and us, here and there. There is a pervasive feeling of looking in. We are rarely situated within the canvas but remain slightly disconnected by borders like a window or even a faint green frame. In Cinéma (Paris) and Cinéma No. 2, for example, Ennis recreates a simple scene that he encountered during a recent trip to France. Instead of freezing the moment’s objective particulars through a photograph, Ennis attempts to capture its aura, its subjective allure, through two paintings based solely on his now-faded recollection of the encounter. Perhaps mirroring this distance between the time of the scene’s occurrence and his painting of it, the work exudes a feeling of haziness. From across a pathway of hoary brushstrokes and through the outlines of a building’s façade, we glimpse the fuzzy silhouettes of two women at a local cinema. This physical remove, however, allows us little else in terms of interpretation. From such a distance, we remain lost in the unknown—do the two figures recognize one another’s presence? Are they friends conversing or separate individuals lost within their own quotidian reveries? We, as outsiders, can only speculate. 

 Ty Ennis,  Cinéma No. 2 , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches

Ty Ennis, Cinéma No. 2, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches

Analogous to this specific utilization of space, Ennis’ scenes often depict only the aftereffects of an action. In And so It Goes, he depicts two large, white pills left next to a half-empty glass of water and an overstuffed pink ashtray on a small table. A chair pushed away from the table suggests someone having recently gotten up. Outside of these minute indicators, there is nothing else within the frame for us to decipher. A window, for example, looks out only onto an opaque mass of white paint and the surrounding walls appear, meanwhile, like a void of a shadowy grey brushstrokes. Yet, despite this minimalism, the scene effectively evokes a familiar, forlorn impression of departure. Ennis seems to suggest that, like memories, the particulars matter less than the overall sensation. 

 Ty Ennis,  And so It goes , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

Ty Ennis, And so It goes, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

In Yur’s, a man stands with one hand resting on a jukebox. His pose suggests that of someone waiting for their photo to be taken, thereby echoing the painted portrait that hangs by his head on a nearby wall. Through this visual parallel, Ennis evokes a larger conception of lineage—of the shift in time from ancestor to predecessor, from painting to photography, from fact to fiction.

 Ty Ennis,  Yur’s , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

Ty Ennis, Yur’s, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

Ennis further encourages this historicizing process throughout the exhibition by both his frequent use of a black and white palette and his loose painterly style. Viewed together in this manner, Ennis’ work, like adulthood, lacks a fixed center. It is nothing but an entropic, yet, deep down, still unbelievably magical force. 
—Corey Mansfield, Los Angeles, CA

This commissioned essay is made possible by Career Opportunity Grants from both the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation.

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Creative writing on Ty Ennis' solo exhibition, "The Marble Fountain"

Fountain of Time by Jess Mcfadden

  Summer Candle (Méaudre) , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Summer Candle (Méaudre), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

A painter sits at his desk, quietly gazing into a candle's flame. Between working full-time and raising a daughter, it's rare to arrive at such a moment of solitude. Memories come back, from his younger days in a small town. He remembers mischievous schoolboys, pressuring him to be more masculine. He remembers a monologue in someone's living room. A face... an expression... The memories are not formatted; some of them are missing pieces. Faces fade into one another. Occasionally the straight vertical line of a nose will almost return the artist to his seat at the desk, in front of that long, straight candle. Time continues to pass.

  Shadow People , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

Shadow People, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 inches

With his current show at Nationale, The Marble Fountain, Ty Ennis invites viewers into formative memories and dreams. Many of his paintings contain a quiet sense of horror, amplified by a lack of color.

  Netta Fornario , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

Netta Fornario, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 12 inches

Above any one narrative, they express something specific to paint: the way textures communicate on a flat canvas. From aggressive and thick to diluted and watery, Ennis explores the possibilities of combination freely. A fuzzy quality unites the medium with its content. In Orlando, the largest painting on display, an androgynous bride gazes out, far into the distance.

  Orlando , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Orlando, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Around the back corner of the gallery, one scene is repeated in two paintings: a mysterious observation of two doorways. Depending where you stand, both of these grayscale paintings are visible at the same time. Cinema No. 2 hangs on a wall directly behind Cinema (Paris) with slightly less contrast, feeling like a ghost of the original memory. 

Although this body of work is extremely personal, it isn't narcissistic. Instead, Ennis encourages viewers to enter into his memories, as themselves, to form their own interpretations, and remember their own stories. With these works, he seems to have relinquished personal ego in favor of a common experience.

FRANCESCA CAPONE'S NIGHT FOG // CAPSULE REVIEW BY LUIZA LUKOVA

 Francesca Capone  Night Fog (As the object grows, it curves around the forms of its surrounding shapes)  2018, Lostine long wool, poly netting line, and cotton on oak board, 24 x 22 inches

Francesca Capone
Night Fog (As the object grows, it curves around the forms of its surrounding shapes)
2018, Lostine long wool, poly netting line, and cotton on oak board, 24 x 22 inches

Nestled in the backroom between an Amy Bernstein painting and an Emily Counts sculpture is Francesca Capone’s Night Fog, part of her solo exhibition at Nationale entitled Think of Seashells.

As a weaver and a poet, Capone approaches her work from a visual as well as a literary mindset. The prose attributed to this particular work by the artist reads as follows: As the object grows, it curves around the forms of its surrounding shapes, and it feels as if this is precisely how Night Fog operates in the context of the show as a whole. Although it may be the final work a visitor may see tucked away as it is, its bold resonance does indeed curve to the viewing experience and serve to form a lasting impression. As a gallery-goer moves through the space, they are gathering growing memories of the body of work in total. Culminating with Night Fog, this particular piece stands somewhat solitary, both due to its location but also to its composition. Mounted on oak board, this is only one of two weavings that is presented in this manner. Yet, this doesn’t detract from its overall relation to the remaining pieces -- the oak nicely completes oceanic visions of seashells and driftwood that Capone brings into the space. The poly netting line similarly compliments other found materials such as the flotsam rope, plastic bags, and beach refuse that are embedded into the fiber of the hangings.

The dark colors of this particular weaving are slightly more drastic than the inviting pastels of the other works, yet they correspond nicely with its placement. If Night Fog were the last work to be seen, it would leave viewers with a cool imagery of things closing, things coming to a rest. Invoking a kind of serenity that can only be found with the setting of the sun on a calm evening, Night Fog creates a comfortable sensory shroud for viewers to come in contact with. The day has come and gone and grown into night, which silently and cooly forms to this nightly ritual. Take a deep breath, let the fog ebb over you, and think of seashells.

PARTY STORE/SUPER MODE [EMILY COUNTS] 

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Nationale proudly presents a flash exhibition of Emily Counts’s newest work, as well as a special musical event: Party Store performs with Super Mode!

Super Mode is an interactive sound sculpture by Emily Counts recently shown as part of Sonic Arcade at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. It consists of a walnut wood box topped with ceramic objects that trigger individual sound samples when pressed downward. Illuminated windows in Super Mode allow the user to view the interior mechanics and wiring of this piece. Programming and circuitry design by Andy Myers and sound samples by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. 

Emily Counts was born in Seattle, WA, where she currently lives and works. She studied at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin and the California College of the Arts, where she received her BFA. Her work has been exhibited in Portland, OR, at Nationale, Carl & Sloan, and Disject; in New York at the Museum of Arts and Design; in Tokyo at Eitoeiko and Gallery Lara; and in California at the Torrance Art Museum, Garboushian Gallery, and Mark Moore Gallery. Counts was an artist in residence creating work for associated solo exhibitions at Raid Projects in Los Angeles and Plane Space in New York. She has received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and The Ford Family Foundation. She is a member of SOIL Gallery in Seattle, WA, and is represented by Nationale in Portland, OR. / IG @emilyraecounts

Party Store is a lo-fi ambient project by Seattle musician Josh Machniak. 

On view: April 21–April 22, 2018
Opening reception: Saturday, April 21 (6–8 p.m.) with a 20 mins performance at 7 p.m.

PAUL MAZIAR INTERVIEWS JAKE MANNING

Jake Manning takes us into his creative world, for insight into his first solo show at Nationale, Guests of Space.

 Jake Manning's  Guests of Space  is on view through April 17, 2018

Jake Manning's Guests of Space is on view through April 17, 2018

Paul Maziar: In The Myth, the guy with boots seems to disappear/into the weight and powder of the birthday cake. Given the spacey background (nothingness) it's both hilarious and bleak, right? How might tragicomedy figure in your work?

Jake Manning: I’ve always had a dry sense of humor, even a little twisted. I think I’m dealing with serious subject-matter, but it’s kind of hard for me to fully express that sort of thing. Humor, using cartoon imagery, myths, fairytales — those things are a vehicle for me. For instance, it used to be that when a country had been invaded, they would save vital cultural information by storing it away in fairytales. Fairytales are also full of promise, the ugly can become beautiful, the frog can become a prince.

 JAKE MANNING,  The Myth , 2018, acrylic and collage on canvas, 24 x 20 in

JAKE MANNING, The Myth, 2018, acrylic and collage on canvas, 24 x 20 in

PM: I wonder about time-travel in your practice: going back to the earlier periods of your youth while you’re painting. 

JM: For these paintings, I’ve been going into a certain mode. I’m prone to periods of preoccupation — when I was young it was sports, playing basketball, spending hours on end at the gym. I’m slow to process whole periods of my life, like ten years behind or something. So I’ll begin to process that period of time, and search for meaning in my life. Like, “I do all that for nothing?” 

In my early-twenties I started watching films, kind of obsessively — multiple films a day, etc. When I started painting, I’d been absorbed in film this way for over ten years. I started asking myself “what am I really doing here?” Feeling like I needed to figure something out, I started painting. Almost immediately, I realized that I was processing all these films from that specific period of my life. I would go through all of my favorite movies, scene by scene and take photos of my favorite scenes. I didn’t think about why they stuck out to me, I just took them. I started doing all these paintings of particular scenes, and it was eery to me because these scenes were so telling the story of where I was in my life during those exact moments. For example, at that time I was feeling pretty isolated, and like I needed to be something that I wasn’t. Through that process, I was able to access things that I’m not able to in ordinary day-to-day life. Intuitively, I’d been selecting imagery that aligned with deeper things I’d been experiencing. Trusting intuition had become super important to me. 

PM: This makes me want to ask about the Butterfly Man — a leitmotif in your paintings, and also the gnome-like figure that recurs. You had said something in the studio about a figure that grants admission to the past, a kind of spirit of the past. Is painting those forms a way to summon these deep subjects and memories?

 Jake Manning,  The Shining , 2018, acrylic and oil on canvas, 16 x 12 in

Jake Manning, The Shining, 2018, acrylic and oil on canvas, 16 x 12 in

JM: Kind of. I tell little stories in my paintings. I’ll start intuitively, and imagery will spring up that I don’t really care all that much about, so I’ll paint or scrape over it, repaint, etc. Here’s the interesting thing. Say I start a painting and I’ll want it to be a certain thing — the Butterfly Man is a good example. I’ll begin, and come to a point where it’s just not working for whatever reason. So I’ll get rid of it, painting and repainting… but eventually, I’ll come back to that initial imagery, but in a totally different form that’s more in line with what I’m trying to do aesthetically, in the language of painting. It’s interesting to me that that happens. I’ll also sometimes feel guilty about staying in the past so much. 

 Very close-up detail of  The Birthday Party , 2018

Very close-up detail of The Birthday Party, 2018

PM: Why guilt?

JM: I think it’s because of all those sayings, you know: “don’t look back,” or “get over it,” etc. But I think there are things to be worked through from the past. Sometimes, I’m just trying to figure out why I’m so pissed off. 

PM: So is that one reason you might invoke happy things from childhood, like the boots that you loved wearing as a kid?

JM: Yeah, I’m always trying to keep a balance. If I start to go too dark, I’ll lean on what’s funny. Or cutesy. 

PM: What about your huge pink painting with the pony, Trojan Horse?

 Jake Manning,  Trojan Horse , 2018, acrylic and marble dust on canvas, 60 x 50 in

Jake Manning, Trojan Horse, 2018, acrylic and marble dust on canvas, 60 x 50 in

JM: The paint in that one is applied very gently, with dry brush, and I used marble dust, which is this powdery substance. It’s like I was applying makeup. It created a haze, a kind of softness to it. It’s the same sort of haze as going back in time, and also learning to trust intuition. It’s a hazy process, especially at the beginning. I sort of equate that with digging around in the past, to try and figure things out. It really is when the body comes into the process: learning to trust if something resonates with you, by creating a dialogue with your body. 

PM: Sometimes people will call for representational art, something that’s more obviously from life. But sometimes, I can see life in certain pieces of abstract art, just as readily as a human form or a face. The super abstract element of that painting — there’s so much life in that. In such a way that it’s almost an experience unto itself. 

JM: That’s what I want to. During my BFA, I was painting pretty abstract. It was the first time I was able to work out of a studio, with a lot of space. I knew that I was just going to use a LOT of paint, and I was going to use my body. I wanted to depict space, without the illusion of veils of paint.
It’s embarrassing to say, for some reason, but going to see the Rothko paintings at the museum was one of the most moving experiences. I wanted to hate Rothko — there was that huge exhibit in town and everyone was like “oh, yeah, I went and cried…” But my friend and I went to see the show, and ended up staring at one of his all-black paintings. I locked into the surface of the painting, and all of a sudden it started to move. I was seeing purple and white emerging out of the back of it — it was so trippy. I realized later that it was probably just because it’s a huge black painting and my eyes were adjusting to the darkness. But I felt tricked by that a little bit. At the time, I wanted it to be something else…

 One of Mark Rothko's  Black Form Paintings (  No. 8 ), 1964. 

One of Mark Rothko's Black Form Paintings (No. 8), 1964. 

PM: Did you cry? [laughter]

JM: I didn’t cry, but we stood there for half an hour just staring at that one painting. During my BFA, I wanted to make these space paintings. I was telling myself that I didn’t want to create an illusion — I wanted the paint to be thick and loose and messy. 

PM: It’s funny then, that this show is called Guests of Space. Because it’s that space you were working with before — or at least similar — but now with all these figures and forms, landscapes: your “guests.”

JM: Yep. But I think there’s still a part of me that wants to do these large paintings that are more like an experience. Washes of pink light and stuff like that. But I’m also not quite there yet, and I feel like there’s too much imagery floating around in my head. I was a TV kid. My sister says that I would just often be found just sitting, staring at the TV. My mom says that she walked in once to find me kissing the TV. I was really into it. I feel like I have to work through all that imagery.

PM: I think it’s a great idea to obey your mind in that way. Your body, too. It seems like you’re really in touch with yourself and psychic needs.

JM: Painting helps with that. 

PM: I gotta get painting then. To get back, why do you like to go rooting around in the past?

JM: With painting, I think I always feel like I’m trying to get to a place where I connect with people. I’m always running that through. Dealing with emotion through painting has been really interesting to me — it has really anchored my life in a way. It definitely helped me process difficult things. When I went under hypnosis, it was such an interesting experience because I was lucid. The most profound experiences prior to that were more psychedelic. Those experiences were profound but also kind of scary, dealing with lots of primal imagery like serpents and stuff like that. To this day, snakes are a primal fear for me. I grew up close to a lake in Texas with snakes all around. So, I’d gone to get hypnotized to try and quit smoking, and it ended up being, basically, a trip through the past where I revisited certain unnerving events. In hypnosis I was able to enter these kinds of moments and calm my child self down. That’s where the butterfly comes in. It’s like a symbol, it represents a journey to a particular time in my life, like the ghost from christmas past.

 Jake Manning,  Waterfall , 2018, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 24 x 20 in

Jake Manning, Waterfall, 2018, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 24 x 20 in

PM: Why do you think that the snake has always been such a prominent symbol? 

JM: I think it’s a really primal thing that appears to be negative, but that needs to be confronted. It’s a transformative kind of thing. I think that’s what's supposed to happen, but doing that is a different story. 

PM: So you believe that fears should be faced, dealt with.

JM:  Yes, for me it is important to try and face my fears, but I always have to remind myself to be patient and gentle and use the tools that I have worked on with my therapist — otherwise it is easy for me to feel overwhelmed.

PM: I’ve been feeling like the times we’re living in really require us to be doing that. I mean, I’ve been feeling that pull in my creative practice. Do you feel that engagement in purely aesthetic exercises is sometimes being replaced by a concern… or work that engages with what’s happening to people, and making connections to that? 

JM: It’s a real cut-the-bullshit kind of time. During recent times of social upheavals, I’ve reflected in my studio, asking myself “what the hell am I doing?” I’ve been stern with myself about my work, kind of saying “in order to make art during this intense time, I’d better be honest and serious about what I’m doing.” There’s no posturing during this time. Brutal honesty, raw. That’s why I’ve been working this way, representationally. Get it all out. In a way, it’s what we have to do.

 Painter Jake Manning and co-curator Paul Maziar during the reception for  Guests of Space

Painter Jake Manning and co-curator Paul Maziar during the reception for Guests of Space

THE CREATIVE CHRONICLE INTERVIEWS EMILY COUNTS

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We were thrilled to see (and read!) this in-depth, The Creative Chronicle interview with gallery artist Emily Counts. Counts talks about her creative process, the crossover between her art practice and her jewelry line, St Eloy, and the importance of community. She also presents her latest piece, a sound & light sculpture which will be part of Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York this fall . 

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ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO: CAPSULE REVIEW!

 Arrington de Dionyso,  Untitled II , 2017, acrylic on panel, 31.75 x 48”

Arrington de Dionyso, Untitled II, 2017, acrylic on panel, 31.75 x 48”

With their bright and attention grabbing colors, Arrington de Dionyso’s paintings command the room and demand full attention. His largest, and most populated painting, Untitled II, depicts a Hieronymus Bosch like gathering of fantastical looking humans and animals.
Each of the elements in this painting have an extra-ordinary quality to it; a woman with wings sits casually on the shoulders of a tiger, snakes slither through the limbs of several sleeping humans and dragon-like winged reptiles fly through the jet black background. Though the clash of human and animal is often one depicted as one ending in violence, de Dionyso reverses this narrative to create something that is much more calm and serene. The figures in his scene are coexisting together; they have learned to create a community where, despite their obvious differences, man and creature can cohabitate within the same space.
This is emphasized further by the dark and barren background which forces the viewer to focus solely on the figures in the foreground, and thus brings out the vibrant secondary colors prominent throughout his paintings. De Dionyso’s works have no obvious center. Each figure is treated with a carefulness and an equality of detail such that no character becomes more prominent over the others. The equality of imagery ultimately presents itself to create a sense of an egalitarian utopia within the small world that de Dionyso creates. —Sarah Isenberg

DISJECTA'S PORTLAND2016 READER NOW AVAILABLE IN THE SHOP

Nationale is pleased to now carry Disjecta's The Portland2016 Reader and Catalog, a beautiful publication which is presented in an etched case and features gallery artist Amy Bernstein (in conversation with Emily Bernstein and Julia Calabrese).
Established in 2010, the Portland Biennial is a major survey of Oregon artists who are defining and advancing the state’s contemporary arts landscape. Building upon the success of its predecessors, the Portland2016 Biennial was a two-month celebration of the here and now that showcased 34 artists at 25 partner venues in 13 communities across the state – the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of Oregon art ever. It was curated by Michelle Grabner
Artists included: Avantika Bawa, Carla Bengtson, David Bithell, Pat Boas, Mike Bray, Bruce Burris, Julia Calabrese & Emily Bernstein, Cherry & Lucic, David Eckard, Tannaz Farsi, Jack Featherly, Howard Fonda, Julie Green, Midori Hirose, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Colin Kippen, Anya Kivarkis, Michael Lazarus, Charlene Liu, Giles Lyon, Ellen Mcfadden, Whitney Minthorn, Donald Morgan, Brenna Murphy, Julia Oldham, Rebecca Peel, Lisa Radon, Jon Raymond, Jack Ryan & Chi Wang, Heidi Schwegler, Rick Silva, Storm Tharp, Weird Fiction, and Ryan Woodring.

Also available on our WEBSHOP!

EMILY COUNTS AT BULLSEYE PROJECTS

 Emily Counts,  Future Connect And Bind,  2016, cast and fabricated bronze, cast glass, 18 x 23 x 12"

Emily Counts, Future Connect And Bind, 2016, cast and fabricated bronze, cast glass, 18 x 23 x 12"

Emily Counts is exhibiting this summer alongside Ligia Bouton, Kate Clements, Emily Nachison, and Judy Tuwalestiwa in the exhibition Transformations at Bullseye Projects in NW Portland! 

From the press release: 

Bullseye Projects presents a group exhibition exploring themes of personal, natural, and metaphysical change.Transformations will be on view June 21 – September 30, 2017 and will open in conjunction with BECon 2017, Bullseye Glass Company’s biennial conference.

Mysterious in its creation, common in its application, and utopian in visions of the future, glass is rife with cultural, scientific, and metaphysical meaning. The glass we encounter is largely comprised of sand, soda ash, lime, and metallic oxides. These minerals are combined, melted and then cooled into a myriad of forms. The recipe is millennia old, but retains much of the magic that likely accompanied its first discovery. Sand is transformed into glass; it is a transformation that borders on the alchemical. A common material is made into something new with unique qualities that require a new category of matter: amorphous solid. Artists Ligia Bouton (New Mexico), Kate Clements (Pennsylvania), Emily Counts (Washington), Emily Nachison (Oregon), and Judy Tuwaletstiwa (New Mexico), approach glass from diverse perspectives, but it is transformation – be it through meditations on mortality, adolescence, fantasty, or the spiritual - that draws them to this material and connects their work.

Bullseye Projects
300 NW 13th Avenue
Portland, OR

ANIMAL LAUGHTER: WILLIAM MATHESON'S PAINTINGS & CAPSULE REVIEW

 Installation view of  Animal Laughter,  paintings by William Matheson & sculptures by Nick Norman

Installation view of Animal Laughter, paintings by William Matheson & sculptures by Nick Norman

  Young Demon , 2017, oil on canvas, 26 x 44"

Young Demon, 2017, oil on canvas, 26 x 44"

  Tamer , 2017, oil on canvas, 46 x 48"

Tamer, 2017, oil on canvas, 46 x 48"

  Toe , 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Toe, 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

  Secret Joke , 2016, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Secret Joke, 2016, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

  Night Lemon , 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Night Lemon, 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

  John , 2017, oil on panel, 24 x 12"

John, 2017, oil on panel, 24 x 12"

  Golden Crab , 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Golden Crab, 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

  After the Orgy , 2017, oil on canvas, 58 x 28"

After the Orgy, 2017, oil on canvas, 58 x 28"

What goes on after an orgy is not something many of us have, or will ever experience. This mysterious scenario is the setting for William Matheson’s painting, After the Orgy. The long, vertical painting focuses the action at the top third of the canvas with two figures crouch together, hands meeting, perhaps in an act of exchange. Lying nearby are two animals, only halfway visible, a coyote or dog, and a ram, only identifiable by one curved horn. A leg also juts out into the frame with a flaccid penis resting on its thigh. An object, a painting palette rendered in various grey hues hovers directly below this scene. The bottom two thirds of the painting is occupied by a field of yellow, like a bleak and hot desert landscape. Towards the bottom of the frame another leg, this time from the calf down emerges. Both legs serve to remind us that more people, although not completely visible, are involved in this story.

After the Orgy is a work interested in framing, in revealing just enough information for a narrative to begin to unfold without telling the full account. The grey painting palette is an outlier in this narrative. Without it the work tells the story of another place and time, perhaps an ancient one in which animals and humans co-exist in a special way. The fantasy of a post-bacchanalia scene is complicated by the palette, which refers back to the very act of painting and the painter himself.
                                                                                                                                                                                        –Gabi Lewton-Leopold

ANIMAL LAUGHTER: NICK NORMAN'S SCULPTURES & CAPSULE REVIEW

  Face Vase (Fem.) , 2017, glaze on clay, 18 x 19 x 9"

Face Vase (Fem.), 2017, glaze on clay, 18 x 19 x 9"

  Face Vase   (Masc.) , 2017, glaze on clay, 14.5 x 10.5 x 8"

Face Vase (Masc.), 2017, glaze on clay, 14.5 x 10.5 x 8"

  Intimacy Vase , 2017, glaze on clay, 11 x 3.5 x 3.5"

Intimacy Vase, 2017, glaze on clay, 11 x 3.5 x 3.5"

  Penetration Vase (Mask) , 2017, glaze on clay, 4.5 x 4.5 x 5"

Penetration Vase (Mask), 2017, glaze on clay, 4.5 x 4.5 x 5"

  Rock Head Vase , 2017, glaze on clay, 6.5 x 6 x 6"

Rock Head Vase, 2017, glaze on clay, 6.5 x 6 x 6"

  Two Face Vase , 2017, glaze on clay, 7.5 x 6.5 x 5"

Two Face Vase, 2017, glaze on clay, 7.5 x 6.5 x 5"

  Humanoid Table , 2017, glaze on clay and acrylic on wood, 31.5 x 11.5 x 47"

Humanoid Table, 2017, glaze on clay and acrylic on wood, 31.5 x 11.5 x 47"

From the gallery desk, Nick Norman’s carved wood sculpture Humanoid Table appears to be just a thin, bright pink neck and bulbous head floating in space. The sculpture’s face emerges from the nothingness—red snakelike tongue slithering out, green ceramic eyes, and ears like chunks of molded shiny pink bubble gum. Each month this seat forces a frame around the work on view, obscuring the majority and focusing on only a fragment. Humanoid Table, like many pieces that have occupied this view in the past, has become that prized visitor who keeps the gallery sitters company. It offers a place for our eyes to wander and find respite from the computer screen, but it also only lets us in on part of the story. 

The sculpture takes on new life and meaning when seen in its entirety. No longer just a detached neck and head, Humanoid Table, is exactly that, a table. In fact the only human quality to the piece is the head and neck—the legs have no feet, and the table top is a flat slab. These attributes also make it a very functional object; for this exhibition it’s used to display two small ceramic sculptures also by Norman. Although Humanoid Table is far from human, it does illicit issues surrounding labor and oppression. This is in contrast to Norman's other humanoid sculptures which function as vessels—vases don't imply the same exertion of energy in the way tables do. What would it mean to use this table in your life, to bring it home and eat off of it, or place heavy objects on its back while the eyes stare out blankly? The human quality of Humanoid Table is perhaps most present when we see it as a piece of furniture working hard for its human owners.
                                                                                                                                                                                        –Gabi Lewton-Leopold

 Installation view of  Humanoid Table  in  Animal Laughter.  Paintings by William Matheson.

Installation view of Humanoid Table in Animal Laughter. Paintings by William Matheson.

LAST DAY TO STAMP ART PASSPORTS!

 well-loved passports ready to be submitted for a chance to win $1600 to spend on ART!

well-loved passports ready to be submitted for a chance to win $1600 to spend on ART!

Today is the LAST DAY to get your Art Passport PDX stamped and turned in to one of the eight participating galleries for your chance to win $1600 to spend on art! We've had such a wonderful time being a part of this innovative program developed by the amazing Jennifer Rabin. Thank you to everyone who has come through our door and engaged in thoughtful and inspiring conversations about art! We look forward to congratulating the big winner! 

EMILY COUNTS SHOWING AT STROBEL & SANDS IN SEATTLE

 Emily Counts,  Answering Machine , 2012, stoneware with luster, glass, silver chain, 9 x 9 x 13"

Emily Counts, Answering Machine, 2012, stoneware with luster, glass, silver chain, 9 x 9 x 13"

Gallery artist Emily Counts is part of a summer group show at the new Seattle gallery, Strobel & Sands alongside Royce Allen Hobbs and Jessie Rose Vala opening on June 17! 

From the press release: 
Strobel & Sands’ second exhibition, Reinterpreting the Object, explores the dynamics of sculpture in relation to the viewer through varying degrees of abstraction, conceptualism and craftsmanship. Many of the works in the exhibition are recognizable or reminiscent of a functional object that has been rendered useless. Emily Counts, Royce Allen Hobbs, and Jessie Rose Vala each present a distinct path to examining the relational and aesthetic nature of sculpture.

Reinterpreting the Object
Emily Counts, Royce Allen Hobbs, and Jessie Rose Vala
June 17 – July 22
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 17, 5-8pm

Strobel & Sands
Emerson Garage
Corner of 35th Ave W and Emerson St.
Magnolia, Seattle, WA 98199

TY ENNIS & JAIK FAULK IN "THE COMMUNITY (2007–2017)"

 TY ENNIS,  L Elle , 2017, acrylic on on unstretched canvas, 40 x 30”

TY ENNIS, L Elle, 2017, acrylic on on unstretched canvas, 40 x 30”

In June 2007, I installed my first show for Stumptown Downtown.  More than 100 exhibitions later and having worked with almost as many artists, it is no understatement to say that this responsibility & privilege has had a strong impact on me. From inspiring me to open Nationale in 2008, to shaping some of the most important relationships in my personal and professional life, this has been quite a journey.  While thinking back on this ten year span, one during which the Portland arts ecology has changed so much, I invited ten painters who’ve all had solo exhibitions at the café during that period, including gallery artists Ty Ennis and Jaik Faulk.  With The Community—a title borrowed from Jon Raymond’s collection of art writings published last year by Publication Studio—I hope to present a survey of sorts.  A glimpse into what it has been like to meet these artists and experience the work they all make, after clocking out at their day job(s), and that they share with this ever changing community.  Given the simple assignment to render some kind of bouquet on a 40”x30” piece of unstretched canvas, they all went into their studios to do what they do best: paint.—May Barruel

  JAIK FAULK,   Sunday Evening to Friday Night , 2017, acrylic on on unstretched canvas, 40 x 30”

JAIK FAULK, Sunday Evening to Friday Night, 2017, acrylic on on unstretched canvas, 40 x 30”

The exhibition is on view through July 11, 2017 at 128 SW Third Avenue, Portland, OR.

DANIELLE ROSS PERFORMANCE AT NATIONALE

Join us at Nationale this Sunday, May 28 (doors at 5PM, performance at 5:30PM // FREE) for a special performance of Apparatus, the latest work by choreographer Danielle Ross in collaboration with Stephanie Lavon Trotter (voice), Chloe Alexandra Thompson (sound), DB Amorin (video), and performers Claire Barrera, keyon gaskin and Simeon Jacob. Beginning with an exploration into social feedback loops and identity construction, Apparatus is (currently) an attempt at performative mirroring, a vulnerability game, a rant, and a dance about the crossroads of self-through-self’s-eyes and self through the eye of the other.

Apparatus will be performed in its final phase in July 14-16, 2017 at Disjecta.