by Patrick Collier
Any time at all spent in an area away from buildings and overt signs of a human presence/influence in that setting, often referred to as Nature, one will readily be familiar with the environments Devon Oder photographs: dense areas of deciduous woods, hillsides of scrub brush, barren and/or dead and uprooted trees.
As if cross-eyed, slightly out of focus. (“If there were an ice age right this minute, your eyes would stay that way forever. How would you like that?”) That’s the way I’d always seen work by Bruce Conkle and his partner in crime, Marne Lucas.
In spite of the best efforts of the artists, curators, critics, and artist/writer Ryan Pierce (who wrote the essay for the duo’s Sun King exhibition at Marylhurst Art Gym) to elucidate these artists’ “eco-baroque” aesthetic, I have had a hard time wrapping my brain around both the concept and their eccentric work. …
I was initially interested in the title Soluble for this months show at Nationale. Now, the title seems like a superficial attempt to unify the four artists that are featured. However, soluble, as an adjective, brings to mind process, change, dissolution, and for me in the context of a group show, the potential for an examination of the identity of each individual artist when faced with exhibiting in a group environment. The unity of this show derives from the use of textiles while some of the concepts presented seemed to struggle against one another rather than melding or even participating in the same conversation.
On the back wall, there is a grid of photographs of derelict commercial signs, signs whose letters have been painted over or removed, some with their faces completely missing. The shapes are there though, stolid rectangles or hopeful space age angles against the sky. As photos of breadlines and Dust Bowl refugees were for the Great Depression, these are signs of our times. Below them, rounded white letters (think oversized alphabet soup type) litter the floor, appearing to have spilled metaphorically from the blank signs above. And on the floor there is a single open book painted white.
Tim Mahan’s “Big Field” at Little Field references the artists, past installations, and physical elements that have made up the Little Field space. Tim is proprietor/curator of the consistently good Half/Dozen Gallery.
And here comes…Israel Lund’s “Trubl(e).” Here’s a preview image lifted from flickr. We like how Mr. Lund thinks and so are looking forward to this.