TY ENNIS // the marble fountain
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 mixture of melancholic dreams, holiday lore, and references to some of his predecessors. In this manner, the various facts of Ennis’ biography unravel into a loose interpretation of what once was. Unable, however, to replicate the naive enchantment of his youth, his 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’ frame but remain slightly separated by borders like a window or a street. Similarly, Ennis’ scenes oſten depict only the aſtereffects of an action. Two white pills on a deserted table, for example, or men conversing secretively under a canopy of leaves hint at but never define a sentiment. Like discovering snippets from a lost narrative, we are leſt to fill in the blanks ourselves. Ennis further encourages this historicizing process through both his frequent use of a black and white palette and his loose brushwork, whereby figures dissolve into the canvas like crumbling old newspaper photos. The exhibition, like adulthood, lacks a fixed center. It is nothing but an entropic, yet, deep down, still unbelievably magical force.
The Marble Fountain marks Ennis’ third solo exhibition at Nationale and is supported in part by Career Opportunity Grants from both the Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation. It will include a commissioned accompanying essay by Corey Mansfield.
Born in Spokane, WA, Ty Ennis received his BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. His work has been exhibited at New American Art Union, the Art Gym at Marylhurst University, the Portland Art Museum, and Pulliam Deffenbaugh in Portland, OR; Pole Driſt, Seattle, WA; and Marshall Arts, Memphis, TN. It can be found within the permanent collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem, OR. Ennis is the past recipient of grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and the Oregon Arts Commission. He is represented by Nationale in Portland, OR.
On view November 17–December 30, 2018
Artist reception Sunday, November 18 (3–5 p.m.)
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