Nine new temporary installations selected for the Portland Building Installation Space

Michael Endo’s Et in Arcadia Ego installation from the 2011/2012 season.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) has announced a line-up of nine new installations by local artists scheduled to appear in the Portland Building over the next twelve months.

For 18 years, RACC has managed the Installation Space in the Portland Building (located downtown at 1120 SW 5th Avenue) as a way to present some of the region’s best interactive and experimental media installations. At 13’wide by 8′ deep, this modestly sized venue is devoted exclusively to installation art presented in month-long exhibitions. The space has developed a devout following over the years, and every fall when RACC issues a “call for proposals,” competition for a spot on the roster is spirited.

This year, 33 artists submitted proposals in the “Professional Artist” category, and 31 artists applied in the “Student” category. An independent selection panel reviewed all of the proposals, and ultimately selected nine site-specific works that are challenging, topical and diverse. The RACC Board approved the final recommendations earlier this month. 

Portland Building Installation Space—2012/2013 Season Calendar and Project Descriptions:
Jodie Alexi Cavalier (student) March 26 – April 20, 2012
Kendra Larson April 30 – May 25, 2012
Jules Nemish (student) June 4 – June 29, 2012
Christy Hawkins (student) July 9 – Aug 3, 2012
Leslie Vigeant August 13 – September 7, 2012
Stephen Kurowski & Marina Tait September 17 – October 12, 2012
Linda Hutchins October 22 – November 16, 2012
Margot Myers January 14– February 8, 2013
Nathan Sandberg February 18 – March 15, 2013

Jodie Alexi Cavalier (Student) March 26 – April 20, 2012
Untitled – A minimalist installation focusing on selected architectural details of the Portland Building: The artist brings her uncanny ability to translate the essence of an experience into evocative, minimalist sculptural form (a folded sheet of corrugated metal for a waterfall, a loosely tied sheet of rolled foam for a hug) to focus on the architecture of the Portland Building. Love it or hate it, the Portland Building is clearly distinct from other buildings, with easily identifiable color, construction and ornamentation details that set it apart; the artist proposes to distill the essence of this well-known Michael Graves monument by isolating a select set of architectural details (such as the signature small-format windows, the frequently repeated triangular shapes, the distinct use of line and color) and presenting minimalist sculptural representations of them inside the Installation Space.

Kendra Larson April 30 – May 25, 2012
Aviary – A Northwest forest diorama complete with three-dimensional birds perched and flying in the space: Using her slightly spooky wall paintings that present a mix of conifer trees, mountain vistas and clouds, along with an aviary of three-dimensional bird sculptures, the artist will create an installation based on Northwest flora and fauna that will function on a number of levels—beyond being a regionally specific exploration of wilderness, the intentionally clumsy application of paint, in combination with the use of industrial materials to form the sculptures, will both support and contrast with our traditional image of the forests around us. The result will be a work that will not only spark conversation about the ownership of nature, but will suggest a deeper, more complicated vision of what “being in the wild” means.

Jules Nemish (Student) June 4 – June 29, 2012
Van Gogh in Three Dimensions – A 9 foot high paper maché sculpture modeled on Van Gogh’s Tournesols painting: Drawing on the long tradition of copying or imitating Van Gogh famous “Sunflowers” painting, the artist proposes to stretch things into the 3rd dimension and build a sculpture that recreates Van Gogh’s uber famous painting of 1888. The vase will be scaled up to a height of 3 or 4 feet and will be constructed in paper maché; the flower arrangement will top out at 9 feet high. The colors and textures used originally by Van Gogh will be matched on the sculpture, and the floor and walls of the gallery will be treated using various media to echo the background in the original still life.

Christy Hawkins (Student) July 9 – Aug 3, 2012
Outdoors In – A 3-D quilted campfire scene complete with quilted scenic backdrops: The artist will bring a soft and colorful camp scene made of quilted fabrics, rugs and a “plushy campfire of pillows” to the Installation Space. The scene, which will include both 3-D sculptural creations and 2-D quilted backdrops, will feature real tree stumps (topped with pads quilted in tree ring patterns), and a central tent with bamboo frame and quilted fabric sides. All the quilts and sculptures will be made with a combination of new and “up-cycled” material. The project is principally aimed at families and children and seeks to help counteract “nature deficit disorder” by inspiring visitors to leave their electronic devices at home and “get out there on a real camping trip!”

Leslie Vigeant August 13 – September 7, 2012
Material Rescue League – A modern boutique style presentation of salvaged/re-configured/re-packaged/re-marketed raw materials: The Material Rescue League, created by the artist in 2010, is dedicated to illustrating the absurdity of the retail industry by branding and re-packaging post-consumer materials and presenting them in an up-scale fashion. The degree to which we, as consumers, can be influenced by packaging and marketing becomes clear when the viewer realizes that the objects on display are actually items of trash—old floor tiles, lead tire weights, discarded bits of string and wire. The attention to detail present here, (lead weights re-cast into new shapes, marmoleum tiles ground into powder and bottled, etc.), not only takes the “purchaser” by surprise, but also generates a discussion about the challenges of re-purposing in a sustainable way.

Stephen Kurowski & Marina Tait September 17 – October 12, 2012
Project Everyone – An open interview station set up in the space with playback available in off-hours: Project Everyone is an ongoing video interview series with the lofty goal of interviewing every person on earth. Each interview session lasts ten minutes or less and the video is edited to less than five minutes. Volunteer participants (who all sign waivers) are prompted by a list of eight questions which range from the mundane to the esoteric. The interviews, which champion the significance of the everyday and provide a glimpse of the rich life-path variety surrounding us, have proven to be oddly addictive. Without a hint of Hollywood or Reality T.V., the earnestness of the “average” person is both captivating and refreshing.

Linda Hutchins October 22 – November 16, 2012
Apart Along, Together – A set of silverpoint drawings created on-site and in full view of passers-by: Wearing silver thimbles on all fingers the artist will draw directly on the walls with both hands simultaneously to accumulate marks that echo and record her drawing gestures. The drawings will be created with intention (they will be abstract, but not arbitrary) and will present a set of three separate silverpoint “constellations”, each made by repeating a particular gesture over and over. The end result will not only fix the marks in relation to the surrounding architecture, but will vividly indicate the presence of the artist even when she is not present.

Margot Myers January 14– February 8, 2013
Radiate – A complex set of stencils cut from x-ray film that project light from the overhead track fixtures onto the walls: Inspired by images of the skeletal structures left behind by microscopic organisms fossilized in ocean floor sediment (radiolaria) the artist will expand the scope of her recent work with small, intricate stencils to present forms on a more monumental scale. The stencils, cut from large sheets of x-ray film and strategically laid out on Lexan hung above the main wall, will translate light from the track lights into shadowy, quivering images that will read dramatically both from the lobby and from inches away.

Nathan Sandberg February 18 – March 15, 2013
Tally – A wall of steel rings with cast glass and concrete stakes that resemble jailers keys serve as physical records to track, and provide significance to, everyday mundane tasks: Perplexed by the repetitive nature of life, Nathan Sandberg records the number of times we find ourselves reaching for our keys, taking exactly the same path to and from our jobs, or checking the mailbox. To both curse and pay homage to the amount of time we spend on these tasks the artist proposes to document such repeated activity in permanent and dramatic fashion. A wall of 25, five inch dia. steel rings with varying quantities of kiln cast glass and concrete, “marking” stakes will be mounted to the back wall of the Installation Space to serve as a reminder to all those who trivialize the mundane.