Congrats to gallery artist, Carson Ellis on her E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for her children's book, Du Iz Tak? ! This charming tale has received much well-deserved recognition and we're thrilled to add this most recent honor to the list.
Please join us on Wednesday, May 17 (6–7:30 p.m.) for the print release party and closing reception for Annie McLaughlin's solo exhibition, Brushing Out the Brood Mare's Tale. Annie collaborated with Nationale's offshoot project, Le Oui to create a unique, limited edition silkscreen print.
For this piece, we wanted to keep some of the elements from the current series of paintings and also play around with the more abstract images & ideas found in Textures of Paradise, the artist book accompanying the exhibition. As with our other Le Oui releases, 10% of the proceeds from this print will benefit a non-profit organization. Annie has chosen to support the Center for Reproductive Rights. If you can't join us on May 17, you can now pre-order this limited edition print HERE.
Annie McLaughlin shares some insights into her second solo show at Nationale, Brushing Out the Brood Mare's Tale.
Gabi Lewton-Leopold: When I look at these paintings, both as separate pieces and as a series, I think of storytelling and folklore. This comes through both in the subject matter that hints at folktales—coyote, rocking chair, smoky chimney—but also in how you use the paintings to tell stories. Often you give the viewer a closely cropped (Fire, Place; Wild Country Chimney in Yellow) or partially concealed view (50% Visibility, 100% Shangri-La), as if to just show one sliver of the larger story. Can you share your thoughts on storytelling and narrative within this series?
Annie McLaughlin: This work is very much about stories and storytelling as subject matter—the way that objects, symbols, spaces, conjure images and meaning within the larger complex narrative of culture and histories. Perhaps there are falsities in the stories, or perhaps the falsities just contribute to our larger understanding of things. This work was specifically about the idea of paradise in America, lots of perspectives and storytellers and folklore come into play within that narrative, some of them problematic, but nevertheless an important piece of context and meaning.
GLL: You took a long solo road trip through the American SW not so long ago. How did that adventure impact your work? Do you see those experiences as shaping this current series?
AM: Yes—that was the larger narrative myth I pulled from here. The folk, the rural, the artist moving to the countryside, the romanticization of rural space or country dwelling that one expects to find. I did a lot of "sifting" to find those tropes. Which is to say they're present, but they aren't the only pieces of the pie. I kind of set out to look at the American West and the craft tradition but ended up relating all of the imagery to "paradise thinking," the oasis, the pastoral haven, and all of the aspects good and bad that come with that.
GLL: I'm curious about your use of texture and patterning, which you explore in all of the paintings. The book that you produced in conjunction with the series also plays with texture and the different references that can emerge within a single painted surface. For example you write in the book, "shaggy carpet or moss or a curly haired canine" followed by a drawing that could be the surface of any of these things.
AM: The texture speaks to different things to me. I think in one way I see it as the texture of the mind's eye, the fuzziness of romantic memory, something that lacks clarity. I also see it as a celebration of paint, or the painter and the painter's role in contributing to the myth of paradise: Arcadian bathers, the exotic, the simple life utopia, and so forth. There's a long tradition in painting with that.
GLL: There's also a lot of play and humor alive in this work. Especially in the rocking horse sculpture, which appears to be all together usable until you get closer and see that it is just one slab of wood, and would be oh-so-painful to ride. I also love the title of that piece: Thank You So Much for the Rocking Horse It Really Means a Lot to Us. What are your thoughts on humor and play within your work? Do you see it as a welcoming entrance point?
AM: Yes! Humor is my favorite tool, I suppose. Especially in discussing history, complex myths, and cultural narratives. The subject matter for those things (especially in America) can be really heavy—humor for me can be a really great entry point in sparking a narrative.
GLL: There's a small painting in the show of a rock that looks a bit like a potato with a little family of smaller rocks nearby. The title, The Brief Moment in the Long Life of a Rock When It Lived in a Garden Belonging to Someone, got me thinking about the absurdity of human ownership over nature. It also conjured the simple fact that the natural world came before us and will outlive us. This painting feels like a comment on the serene domesticity of the majority of work in the show—perhaps a comment on the idea that these worlds we build for ourselves to feel safe and have purpose are actually so fragile and insignificant. What are thoughts on this piece and the title?
AM: I'd say that's pretty solid insight into that painting! I have this amazing favorite rock. It's this kind of pink toned aggregate stone that I found at a river in Southwestern Colorado. I picked it up and brought it into my life then, and as a possession it feels so important to me. But the thing that always comes to mind is how that rock, which I love so much and tend to think of as "mine," is probably the oldest thing in my house (along with my other rocks), and will likely outlive everything I see and know of. To me that painting grounds the work. It serves to remind us that the narrative and cultural meaning is constructed, much like the rock garden, and that in time when everyone and thing is gone, the rock will remain, and however inanimate, will inevitably be the wisest of them all regardless of whether or not there's someone to acknowledge it as such.
Join us this Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. for Annie McLaughlin's reception. Brushing Out the Broad Mare’s Tale is our third time showing the young Portland painter. The exhibition is on view April 20–May 19, 2017.
We are thrilled with the collection of works under $1000 we have put together in honor of Art Passport PDX. Nationale will be on a short break April 10–19, 2017 but we hope you'll have a chance to look through our COLLECTING page & become familiar with some of the artists we represent. We will reopen our doors on April 20, 2017 with a solo exhibition by Annie McLaughlin.
The Goddess / The Mother, our special pop-up with designer Jess Beebe of Linea & Rosette is on view April 7–9 & April 15–16 with an opening reception Friday, April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.
For her series Form Factor (currently on view at Nationale), Emily Counts found inspiration in the carved wood panels of Portland artist, Leroy Setziol (1915–2005) and the monochrome wooden assemblages of New York artist, Louise Nevelson (1899–1988).
Nationale is pleased to announce a special pop-up with Portland artist and clothing designer, Jess Beebe of Linea and Rosette. Nearly every ancient culture worshipped goddesses. These female figures of strength and reliance represented the creators of life, but the power of the divine feminine in modern culture has been subsumed by patriarchal norms. For The Goddess / The Mother, Beebe created each garment as an homage to a specific goddess, bringing these often forgotten ancient figures into contemporary life. Her dresses, made from a mix of new and vintage fabrics and often dyed with natural pigments from plants and vegetables, connect each wearer to the natural world and their own inner power. The Goddess / The Mother also includes garments for children—under her new label, Rosette—bringing our attention to the notion of family, legacy, and connection through the wearables we pass down from generation to generation. Join us Friday, April 7 (6–8 p.m.) for the reception. The pop-up is on view April 7–9, 2017. More information HERE.
What better way to celebrate the last week of gallery artist Emily Counts' solo exhibition, Form Factor, than with a recommended pick from Jennifer Rabin in the Willamette Week. The show runs through April 6, 2017.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Malaska for her inclusion in The Goddess Show, organized by Rachel Brown-Smith and Veronica Reeves at the Rainmaker Artist Residency. This exhibition of West Coast artists highlights feminine divinity and spirituality that is independent of patriarchal ideology. Malaska is in good company, showing here with Hayley Barker, Jason Berlin, Eryn Boone, Rachel Brown-Smith, Anna Fider, and Veronica Reeves. The two paintings she is presenting have never been exhibited before. Can't wait for this!
On view April 7—29, 2017
Opening reception Friday, April 7 (6—9 p.m.)
Rainmaker Gallery at Rainmaker Artist Residency
2337 NW York St. #201
Portland, OR 97210
There are many spaces to enter into Emily Counts’ current series Form Factor on view at Nationale. An abundance and diversity of patterning, vibrant color choices, textures, and unusual forms, make this work an ever-unfolding visual playground.
Remastered, composed of multiple stacked ceramic forms, reveals Counts’ ability to manipulate her materials in such a way that elements made from the same stuff appear completely different from one another in weight, shape, and texture. At the very top of the work sits a rectangular cube that, because it is only attached to the form below on one side, appears to be flying off of the sculpture. Its placement, as well as the soft pale green hue and uneven lined texture, gives it a nearly weightless quality. It appears as light and delicious as a marshmallow.
Remastered, as with many of Counts’ sculptures, feels like a life force. With each element making up the entirety of the organism, it holds the presence of a living thing. At its base are an array of small ceramic objects, each one different in shape, texture, and color. They peek out from beneath the large blue and red perforated rounded form, which sits under a shiny brown thick pancake shaped piece. Nearly at the top of the sculpture rests a rock shaped object painted to resemble the patterning of Counts’ childhood living room rug.
Initially, the work appears to be precarious, as if the bottom pieces which seem so small and fragile are being crushed by the weighted stack above them, but it is actually these small works that together have the strength to hold up the heavier parts. Similar to the piece at the top of Remastered, the bottom elements, which are surrounded by negative space, give the work an unexpected levity. It is this confluence of solidity and lightness that circles back to the idea of a living form. As with the human body, gravity equals presence, and lightness implies the ability to move freely. We can imagine Remastered continuing to grow and evolve, and with Counts behind the curtain making the magic happen, who knows what is possible.
Nationale is thrilled to be part of Art Passport PDX, a new initiative by Portland artist/writer, Jennifer Rabin to get people into galleries and demystify the art buying process. We have put together a collection of work all under $1000 on our website (under COLLECTING). See you tomorrow night for the launch party at Blue Sky Gallery (6–8p.m.)!
Loved re-reading Emily Counts' artist notes for her current exhibition Form Factor. Throughout the month, we will share some of her influences and inspirations for this new series, starting with Isamu Noguchi and his playgrounds. Enjoy!
Join NXT LVL (pronounced NEXT LEVEL) for the after party for Stand With Native Nations - National Solidarity Gathering *OREGON* on Friday, March 10th (9 p.m.–2 a.m.) at Jade Club (315 SE 3rd Ave.)! This rad event features: DJ Kathy Foster of the Thermals, Gila River Monster, DJ Dirty Red, with Live Performance by Burial Ground Sound, Fish Martinez & Kunu Dittmer.
Proceeds benefit the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Water Protector Legal Collective & Portland Menstrual Society. $5-$20 sliding scale (cash only at the door).
Over the years we’ve had many friends and visitors to Nationale tell us that they are interested in starting an art collection but are unsure of how to start, what to buy, and if they have enough funds to be an art collector. These conversations and THIS insightful article by Jennifer Rabin on collecting local artists (gotta love the headline: "skip the second latte (or fourth beer) and buy a fucking painting"), led us to our inaugural Young Collector Event last week.
Current collectors, budding collectors, and artists, gathered for a lively evening in the gallery featuring work by over 20 artists. This one night salon style installation was meant to provide a survey of the breadth and depth of the work we show at Nationale, and to set the stage for the evenings' conversation.
May (Nationale Owner/Director) started the conversation off by sharing her art collecting journey. She also brought the first piece she ever purchased and the most recent work she collected. Coincidentally, both pieces were purchased from coffee shops, which is a great tip for those collecting on a budget, as many coffee shops show wonderful emerging artists with work available at an affordable price point. Perhaps the main takeaway from May’s story was that art collecting is deeply personal for her. She buys from a very intuitive place; when she has an emotional or even physical reaction to a piece, she knows she must take it home.
Writer, artist, and visual arts enthusiast, Jennifer Rabin, was our guest speaker for the evening. She continued the conversation with Gabi (Nationale’s Assistant Director), sharing her childhood memories of her grandfather’s collection. Jennifer also spoke about her own strategy for collecting, which is to set aside $100 a month towards buying art. Sometimes she spends it on one $100 piece, other times she saves over months to collect something at higher price point. She can do this because many galleries, including Nationale, offer payment plans, easing the financial burden of collecting. Jennifer reminded us of the importance of collecting local artists because it keeps our visual arts community vibrant. With nine galleries closing in Portland last year, it is vitally important that we work together to support our artists and the galleries that show them. Who wants to live in a city with no artists and no galleries?!
The conversation with Jennifer blossomed into a great dialogue with the audience. Among the many thoughtful contributors were: Kirk James, art collector and owner of a local design and branding agency, who spoke about his experience collecting and the importance of visual art in his life; Libby Werbel, curator/founder of Portland Museum of Modern Art, who reflected on how we can bring more people to galleries, especially recent Portland transplants; and Stephanie Chefas, who shared her experience as a fellow gallery owner in Portland.
Thank you to all the artists and friends who attended this inspiring evening! We hope to continue the conversation with more projects and events in the near future. If you are interested in being involved please email us at email@example.com. Also, we encourage any budding collectors to sign up for Jennifer Rabin’s innovative new program, Art Passport PDX, which gives you a great excuse to visit eight galleries in Portland (including Nationale) and enter to win $1600 to spend on art. Sign up on their website HERE. Pick up your passport at the launch party on Thursday, March 16 (6–8 p.m.) at Blue Sky Gallery (122 NW 8th Avenue). If you can’t make it to the launch, come by Nationale any day after the 16th to pick up a passport!
Taking a moment to acknowledge our incredible team of women on International Women's Day.
This year's campaign is Be Bold For Change, and well, we've got you covered!
Thank you to Amy Bernstein, Emily Counts, Carson Ellis, Lou Ennis, Gabi Lewton-Leopold, Elizabeth Malaska, Corey Mansfield, and Emma Weber. It is such an honor to work everyday with such beautiful brains! ♥ May
Nationale was proud to be part of Alter Space's Mind Control, an alternative art fair which took place in San Francisco this January. Featuring Elizabeth Malaska's No Man's Land and a bold statement from the artist.
This collaboration was part of the Manifesto Wall—a wall featuring paper statements on the state of the US right now, created by participating galleries and artists from across the country. Shout-out to Quality Gallery in Oakland for their manifesto: Quality is a gallery in a living room because there aren't enough spaces and places to support the visual arts without pressure or money incentive to succeed. Quality loves you.