Light purple text, reading "A Talk with artists Tabitha Nikolai, Pace Taylor, Maya Vivas, and Ebenezer Galluzzo" against a white background.

T + Projects Presents: A Talk with Pace Taylor, Tabitha Nikolai, Maya Vivas, and Ebenezer Galluzzo

T+ Projects is pleased to announce our first artist talk! This Friday, May 7th at 5:30PM, please join us for an hour-long discussion with four Portland artists whose work was recently featured in Partial Permutation, an exhibition at Upfor Gallery that took place earlier this year. Pace Taylor, Tabitha Nikolai, Maya Vivas, and Ebenezer Galluzzo approach the topic of identity from outside the scope of cis-normativity, expanding the visual lexicon of transgender art. Each artist invites the viewer to engage with their works without implicit comparison, thus reflecting on the multi-layered nature of being.

T+ Projects was founded in 2021 to provide a platform for transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, and gender diverse artists to showcase their artwork. Our mission is to uplift and amplify the voices of transgender artists through contemporary art, with emphasis on community organization and mutual aid.

T+ Projects was created by M Prull, an artist and curator based in Portland, OR. His creative practice revolves around the question: How do we celebrate transgender experiences?

Ceramic sculpture of plants in a vase, some cartoonish, some metallic and modernist, others vibrant and colorful, delicately detailed, disproportionate, impressionistic, playful—all in an earthy clay vase.

Emily Counts: Souvenir

Objects tell stories. Objects are memory triggers. They have the power to transport us to a specific place or moment in time. In her new solo exhibition at Nationale, Souvenir, Emily Counts unlatches her childhood visual memories and remembrances of loved ones she has lost. The result is a generous, dynamic, and tender collection of new sculptures, in which the past and future coalesce into a visual language that is both familiar and utterly new.

Connectivity, networks, and relationships between objects and people has long been important to Counts’ work. In Souvenir Counts creates many individual elements that link together: pairs of vessels interlocked via their handles, or oversized “beads” strung across the wall. Mushrooms, which in the natural world, are part of vast underground networks, appear throughout Souvenir. They pop up, as mushrooms do, everywhere. A yellow mushroom lamp (one of four sculptures utilizing electricity); a pair of blue mushrooms connected by their stems, hanging off of a wall piece; a series of small, mustard yellow mushrooms in raised relief on a vessel, and more. Counts’ ceramic mushrooms symbolize connection in the universal sense, and also have a very personal meaning for the artist, anchoring her to a close friend who has passed.

This practice of remembrance or tribute through objects continues with Counts’ carefully detailed ceramic flowers held in earthen vases, and the three vibrantly painted female bust sculptures that glow from the inside. When Counts hints at human forms in her work, she always brings us something we’ve never seen before. The faces of these busts, tributes to women in her creative lineage, have features that defy our expectations. Our brain scrambles to return the mouth to where it’s supposed to be, the eyes to their proper spaces, before settling into these new visages born from Counts’ distinctive imagination.

Childhood memories and associations are hidden throughout Souvenir. Never heavy-handed in her delivery, Counts only hints at her past: the receiver of a dial up phone made from ceramic; moments of fiery red-orange stained glass; and numerous graphic details like spider webs and abstract shapes; forms that recall building blocks and playgrounds, all connect back to Counts’ childhood. By creating new objects that loosely hold her past, Counts offers us the opportunity to not only make our own associations and connections, but also for these pieces to become embedded into our own visual memory. Through the act of really looking, and to take that even further to the act of collecting, these pieces will continue to tell stories, creating memories for decades to come as heirlooms, as souvenirs, as objects passed down generation to generation.

Emily Counts was born in Seattle, WA, where she currently lives and works. She studied at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin and the California College of the Arts, where she received her BFA. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design (New York), Cooler Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Eitoeiko (Tokyo), the Bellevue Arts Museum (Bellevue, WA), Linfield Gallery (McMinnville, OR), studio e (Seattle, WA), in Portland, OR, at Nationale, Carl & Sloan, and Disjecta, and in California at the Torrance Art Museum, Garboushian Gallery, Mark Moore Gallery, and Durden & Ray. Counts was an artist in residence at Varda Artist Residency (Sausalito, CA), Raid Projects in Los Angeles, and Plane Space in New York. She has received grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Artist Trust, and The Ford Family Foundation. Counts is a member of SOIL Gallery in Seattle, WA. She is represented by Nationale in Oregon and studio e in Washington.

Two figures lean against a bed together, the one behind with their arms and legs wrapped behind the other. A figure stands in the doorway behind them and has their hand on the lightswitch. Only the three figures' hands and faces are detailed; the rest of their bodies are outlines and filled with pastel colors.

Pace Taylor: I hear voices from the other room, but I can’t make out the words

“They come in bursts, almost like a heartbeat. I feel the shape of a word rolling forward and back between teeth and tonsils, stuck on the tongue.”

Portland-based artist Pace Taylor (they/them) visualizes their craſt in bursts, jolts of feeling and passion that arrive in intimate fragments sticking to the skin and leaving an imprint on the paper. For their upcoming exhibition at Nationale titled I hear voices from the other room, but I can’t make out the words, the previous statement serves as the backbone to the push & pull dichotomy of their drawings. This craving to understand the very basic human drive for connection and communion is inane, like a heartbeat, like a breath, to Taylor’s work. Yet, at the center is also the immutable truth that try hard as we may, we might never fully understand one another. Knowing this, how do we continue forging ahead?

Pulling from their own experience as a queer, non-binary, and neurodivergent artist, Taylor creates scenes of assumed repose in imagined settings. Oſten, their visuals are draſted from found imagery and recreated in weighty lead and soſt pastels, a contrast in itself. While the individuals in the photographs they source may look out of place, in Taylor’s perceptions, when doubled onto the surface the artist gives them a new life. A pop of pink, a figure in “sun sets, holding” walks into a room and flips the switch on two other figures, their faces and bodies depicted in red and orange, in bed. What’s the story here? The skewed perspective and the bold emphasis on color twist our understanding of the scene, yet, in its twisting the image becomes ever more fluid. In “the passenger’s side” we see a figure, lacking a finely detailed face apart from the eyes, leaning out of the passenger side of a vehicle while a nondescript couple with no facial features are embraced in a kiss. There is no driver behind the wheel. There is no clue as to whether the car is in motion or stagnant. Instantly, we are pulled to learn everything about these caricatured figures.

These drawings are paused moments, glimpses, portals into which the artist can write and rewrite an imagined narrative. In this instant of recontextualization, there is an attempt to decipher bigger questions of belonging. There is also an acceptance of the unknown—it is safety in the indefinite. Ultimately, we understand there is no need for words.

Pace Taylor lives in Portland, OR. They received their BFA in Digital Arts from the University of Oregon (2015), and have shown their work at Portland galleries, including: Disjecta, Stephanie Chefas Projects, Wieden + Kennedy, and Third Room Gallery.

An exhibition flyer for SPECTRUM at Third Room, featuring artists Francis Dot and Pace Taylor

Spectrum: Francis Dot & Pace Taylor

From the gallery press release:

Please join us in celebrating the works of Francis Dot and Pace Taylor in SPECTRUM, an exhibition that was set to open in May and has been postponed until now, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak. We are now fortunate to be able to offer a distanced opening on September 4th from 7-9pm (masks required, limited people in the gallery at one time), as well as by appointment and online thru Oct 3rd. Email Todd at tmolinari3277@gmail.com for a private viewing appointment.

About SPECTRUM:
SPECTRUM is the difference that matters. SPECTRUM is differentiated and covers myriad forms of expression and forms of thought that are ever-expanding. SPECTRUM is one way of figuring the syntax of what it means to be human in which all semantic forms of meaning that had clothed and enwrapped humanity have fallen away and have become history. SPECTRUM is one trajectory at taking a stab at what this implies.

Francis Dot and Pace Taylor are two artists who locate themselves as different instantiations of the SPECTRUM and were invited to present elements and particles of their practice, identity, history and consciousness of themselves as they are situated in relation to their relative experiences. If there is a logic to be teased out of this exhibition it is that of disparate elements combining, of two artisans fashioning their own garments of creation and factors of their own selves for all to see. The all-capitalization of SPECTRUM as word and as title points to the fact that whereas artists formerly made and presented their work within the context of the continuity of meanings, they now do so now without expectations, without any tethering, outside of any narrative that is not their own, and carrying contents poured out, contents that never empty. Curated by Third Room council member Todd Molinari.

Third Room was started as a DIY project space in 2017. Since then, it has become an accessible go-to for showing experimental and emerging projects by young artists both in the Portland arts scene and nationwide. Third Room aims to support artists in earnest endeavors, to do the most with the least, through an ethic of solidarity and appreciation. For more info or to see exhibits of our past shows, check out thirdroom.net.

A bright and colorful pastel and graphite drawing with one, neon pink person reclining horizontally next to a pale pink person with short green hair

Love Letter to Pace Taylor

A bright and colorful pastel and graphite drawing with one, neon pink person reclining horizontally next to a pale pink person with short green hair
Pace Taylor, Place, becoming Feeling. Feeling, becoming Place, 2020

Of all the effects of social distancing, the one I’m struggling with the most is the psychological exposure. Emotions feel particularly raw, and I find myself missing both solitude and community. Portland-based artist Pace Taylor captures these conflicting desires in expansive fields of soft pastel and leaden graphite details. In The mirror world seems a dangerous place (2020)—which I first encountered via Taylor’s Instagram takeover in Third Room’s online artist series “Inside”—a figure holds a hand to their face in a gesture of exhaustion, frustration, confusion, or sadness. Graphite adds details and contrast with astonishing specificity, despite loose, expressionist marks. Two thin, teal circles float in front of the face, forming a Venn diagram with no specified sets. Or, the things being compared are contrasting mental states within the subject. Further emphasizing a sense of conflict, Taylor’s color pallet is both electric and flat. In Place, becoming Feeling. Feeling, becoming Place (2020), a fuchsia reclining figure vibrates with chromatic intensity as another figure sits by their side. This act of untroubled intimacy feels like an impossibility these days, but Taylor offers a visual vocabulary for dreaming of better times.