HOT TAKE ON HOOPS by Jess Mcfadden

Curiosity lives in the artist, who walks through life asking questions. The artist cultivates sensitivity and patience, turning curiosity into projects. A gallery presents the projects of artists, for anyone who is willing to come spend some time with the art. What happens next? The art lives in those who have considered it, and enriches their curiosity as they walk through life.

Kate Towers brings curiosity full circle in her current show Hoops, a pop-up at Nationale. What used to be basketball hoops are now explosive woven sculptures. Wild combinations of fabric, cords, synthetic plants, yarn, and natural materials transform a commonly overlooked public fixture into something new.

Glucose , 2018, mixed media, 23.5 (h) x 12 x 1 15 inches

Glucose, 2018, mixed media, 23.5 (h) x 12 x 1 15 inches

Each hoop puts a unique spin on Towers' concept and materials. Glucose, with its fluorescent yellow and pink knit body, entices viewers' playful inner child. It appears next to Paleo, whose aesthetic is more somber: a single black cord tangled up in itself. Both are deliberate yet expressive. Glucose has a looser body, while Paleo's stiffness resists gravity.

Paleo , 2018, mixed media, 26 (h) x 9 x 12 inches

Paleo, 2018, mixed media, 26 (h) x 9 x 12 inches

Collagen Peptide, with a refined color palette and seductive textural details, speaks to Towers' background as a fashion designer. Her clothing sometimes incorporates elements of sportswear into modern, flowy garments. In her fashion design as well as hoop design, traditionally feminine aesthetics play with rougher athletic vibes. She seems to question the expectations of three worlds: fashion, sport and art.

Collagen Peptide , 2018, mixed media, 25 (h) x 12 x 15 inches

Collagen Peptide, 2018, mixed media, 25 (h) x 12 x 15 inches

Two hoops, Plant Based and Gluten Free weave plant shapes for a more organic vibe. Speaking of organic, did Towers use food and diet-related titles to fortify the corporeal connection between art, sport and fashion? Either way, this body of work is inspiring. It feeds our imagination and invites us to see new possibilities in everyday fixtures. Towers reconsiders something we may normally pass without seeing: the iconic metal rim. She honors creativity in its purest form. She explores a wide variety of materials, abstractly and conceptually, while carefully honoring the desires of each material.

Plant Based , 2018, mixed media, 22 (h) x 17 x 19 inches

Plant Based, 2018, mixed media, 22 (h) x 17 x 19 inches

Hoops has been extended to January 29, so if you haven't made it in yet, now's your chance! The work photographs well, but it's a slam dunk IRL.


KT 1000. Hoops 1.jpg

Nationale welcomes 2019 with HOOPS, a pop up from designer & artist Kate Towers. With her series of sculptural (and lightly functional) indoor basketball hoops, Towers uniquely merges sport, art, and fashion. Woven and sewn from myriad materials including ropes, textile scraps, paper, and dried reeds, these hoops have an intentionally haphazard and eclectic vibe. They are an extension of Towers’ clothing designs; indeed, she has been experimenting with sport and fashion for years, often sewing athletic stripes down the sides of her garments, and gleaning inspiration from the aesthetics of sports culture.

Come by Nationale on Sunday, January 13 (3–5 p.m.) to toast to the New Year and shoot some hoops—but please, no dunking! :-)

Kate Towers is a Portland-based clothing designer. Self-taught through experimentation, an artist vision, and hands-on execution, her non-seasonal, one-of-a-kind pieces often borrow inspiration from nature, team sports, motherhood, and various themes of life. From 2000 to 2008, Towers was co-founder and co-owner of Seaplane, a renowned specialty shop in Portland featuring local designers and an innovative collection of hand-made clothing. It is there that Towers developed her own line and helped inspire the fashion scene that is now Portland.

On view January 10–January 22, 2019
Opening reception Sunday, January 13 (3–5 p.m.)

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.


Photo by Giovanna Parolari

Photo by Giovanna Parolari

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.