Two faces, crudely sketched and superimposed over each other, stare blankly. Splashes of color, ink, charcoal, sprayed paint all converge to create a chaotic backdrop, which is also seems to swallow the faces.

Daniel Crews-Chubb

Daniel Crews-Chubb makes compelling works that employ a traditional expressionistic, painterly language amid a conceptual framework investigating the potency of the iconic image and the dramatic dynamism of historic and contemporary visual repetition. Contending with his primary influences of ethnographic art, ancient rituals, social media and Modernism’s artistic legacies, he creates organically progressive quasi-figurative paintings in series which rely on a group of constructed historic or mythic characters for the work’s narrative, but are primarily conduits for abstract mark making, in what Matthew Collings has called “a musical abstraction of textures and contrasting positive and negative space.”

Portrait of a Black woman wearing gold earrings, her hair pulled behind her head and tucked into a cow-print cowboy hat. She wears a yellow western fringe shirt and stands before a field, abutted by a treeline.

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

Otis Quaicoe’s figuration is built upon a palette where color becomes its own language of transformation, be it social, political or personal. These are images of empowerment and redemption, sophistication and humility, curiosity and quietude. Each figure becomes a symbol of the reclamation of cultural dignity, embracing the idea of origin and personal narrative as it relates to gender and race dynamics. Otis Quaicoe was born in Accra, Ghana and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

Two, side-by-side paintings, featuring multiple objects hovering mid-air, including doves, a pocket watch, a raven holding a rose, multi-colored clouds — on the left, a boy suspended by a balloon, his arms resting in his lap; on the right, a boy rising in the air alongside a balloon.

Ameh Egwuh: Life After Life

Rele Gallery, Los Angeles is pleased to present Life After Life, the debut solo exhibition by emerging contemporary Nigerian artist Ameh Egwuh, running from April 10 to May 8, 2021. Drawing its title from psychiatrist Raymond Moody’s 1975 book Life After Life, the exhibition explores the idea of human mortality and the afterlife, presenting death as a liminal and transmutative process of movement between worlds, a performative threshold between disparate but closely connected ways of being.

As a series, the nine paintings in Life After Life share similar monochromatic, geometric backgrounds. The works are brightly colored, dream-like spaces populated with balloons, birds, and clocks, almost dancing around the human body as its primary subject. As composite images with different arrangements of symbols that suggest ascension, rebirth, and the passage of time, the exhibition investigates the complex entanglement of life, death, and the indeterminate chasm that separates them. Perhaps most striking in Life After Life are the varying arrangements of the human figures, demonstrating the impossibility of trapping the experience of the afterlife into a singular moment or process.

Presented as a two-part meditation on death and the afterlife over the course of two exhibitions across different cultures, the works featured in this exhibition explore the inevitable and transcultural reality of an ‘end’ to the passage of life. Challenging images of death as cold, skeletal, frightening forms often met with foreboding, the artist offers a different reality through his paintings. The abyssal unknown, here, becomes generative, meditative, and calm. In Life After Life, Egwuh invites the viewer into intimate dialogue on mortality and transcendence as a way to understand and to improve current realities faced by humans throughout the world.

About Rele Gallery

Rele Gallery is one of Africa’s leading contemporary art galleries with two locations in Lagos, Nigeria and one space in Los Angeles, CA. The gallery represents and exhibits prominent emerging and established visual artists from Nigeria, with a strong emphasis on facilitating appreciation, followership, accessibility and engagement of the region’s art to both a local and global audience. Represented artists have been featured in art fairs, exhibitions and biennials at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Miami Beach, Florida; Art Dubai, Dubai, UAE; Carnegie Gallery, Columbus, Ohio; FNB Art Joburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria, in addition to completing a variety of notable international residency programs.

About Ameh Egwuh

Ameh Egwuh (b. 1996, Nigeria) is a visual artist whose practice is characterized by his fascination with lines. Drawing inspiration from the scarification techniques of ancient Ife art, Adinkra and Nsibidi art signs and symbols, Egwu’s paintings invite the viewer into an expansive, multi- layered world populated with dynamic figures in intimate and casual scenes of family and everyday life.

Exploring concepts of home and familial responsibilities, solitude, and identity, Egwu utilizes multiple modes of representation from expressionistic painting techniques to his use of lines and geometric patterns–drawn from textile designs from his hometown, Idoma in Benue state–in representing skin and backgrounds. His eclectic visual vocabulary conveys varying textures of lives lived and spaces occupied.

Egwuh studied Fine and Applied Art at the Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State and has been part of different exhibitions, competitions and trainings such as the ACOEDE International School competition, Afriuture Painting Competition by Ramati Art Africa in 2018 and Generation Y exhibition organized by Retro Africa. In 2019 he participated in the inaugural edition of Rele Arts Foundation’s Young Contemporaries Bootcamp and was selected in 2020 as part of Rele Arts Foundation Young Contemporaries. Egwu lives and works in Lagos.

Colorful collage made of cut paper, using curved lines and circular, two-dimensional, geometric shapes to invigorate a stripped, layered, cacophonous sense of motion and sound. Bright yellows, cool blacks, and subtle accents of red and blue enwrap this piece in boldness and warmth.

Along These Lines

The Alberta Abbey is pleased to present Along These Lines, a group exhibit, featuring a diverse collection of multidisciplinary creatives whose work investigates the common theme of line. Curated by the Pacific Northwest College of Arts (PNCA) Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies (HFSGS) Curatorial Fellow, Ilsa Payne, and Creative Writing Fellow, Justin Duyao, this exhibit will run from April 8 to May 27, 2021.

Artists participating in the show include Alexa Grambush, Ashley Couch, Clara Collins, Diana Oropeza, Elizabeth Arzani, Erin Bodfish, Jen Bacon, Kara Cassidy Hall, Krista Gregory, Lara Higgins, ocean, Perry Chandler, Sandra Rubin, Sarah Abbott, Sarah Rakin, Sarah Rushford, Sky Wilson, Tanner Lind and Tyler Goodwin.

The lines that traditionally delineate the creative genres of the art world are challenged as both visual artists and creative writers come together to explore the notion of the “line” as both expression and concept, within individual and collaborative works of art. 

Among the works featured in the show, some trouble the lines that divide ecological realms, while others capture the essence of fragmented lines of communication, historical and personal timelines that converge, and guidelines that unlock enlightened states of being. Through a broad range of media including poetry, painting, drawing, photography, sculptural and video installation, each artist and writer brings forward their unique interpretations of the concept of line — how they can divide, connect, separate and harmonize.

About the Venue

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates the Abbey was created in 2015 to sustainably address the need for affordable arts space in the city of Portland. We utilize the building’s 23,000 sqft by offering below-market workspace to artists and arts organizations, affordable event rental spaces, and signature programming that is responsive to the desires of our neighbors and the city’s arts community.

MISSION:

To nurture the arts in NE Portland by providing affordable education, gallery, studio, and performance space to community members of all ages.

VISION:

We envision a local arts ecosystem where community members of all demographics can thrive.

A painting of a "Chase" bank on fire, the storefront pristine and seemingly untouched with flames roaring out from the roof with gushes smoke just behind it.

Love Letter to Alex Schaefer

A painting of a Chase bank on fire, the storefront pristine and seemingly untouched with flames roaring out from the roof with gushes smoke just behind it.
Alex Schaefer, Chase Burning, 2011. Painting. 28 x 22 inches. Courtesy of Alex Schaefer.

Over the past year, I have felt increasingly nostalgic for the times I was able to aimlessly browse museums and galleries for hours. I grew up in Las Vegas, so I didn’t experience large halls filled with art until I moved. Because of the pandemic, I turned to internet browsing and discovered brilliant creators in the process.

Los Angeles-based artist Alex Schaefer encapsulates the multiple sides to society in his work — beautiful views and uncontrollable capitalism. As a painter, he portrays an anger toward corporate entities. Yet his portfolio has the range to highlight the city’s beautiful sides, from Echo Park to different skyline views. These are places I have never visited in Los Angeles, but someday hope to.

Schaefer’s standout piece, Chase Burning (2011), is one of many in his series of prominent banks on fire. I enjoy his cheeky daring  side as an artist—Schaefer made the painting en plein air in front of an actual Chase bank, alarming both the LAPD and the Chase company spokesperson. His series of burning buildings showcases Schaefer’s flexibility, painting both scenes of everyday life and commentary on consumerism. 

In a 2011 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Schaefer described Chase Burning as a “visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy.” A decade later, this piece still rings true to me.

Collage of various posters, clippings, images—jumbled together and divided into three distinct side-by-side panels, each saturated a different color: red, green and blue, from left to right.

Gary Simmons: The Engine Room

The work of Gary Simmons (b. 1964, New York, NY) explores racial, social, and cultural politics, interrogating the ways in which we attempt to reconstruct the past via personal and collective memory. Simmons’s practice has evolved over the past three decades to incorporate painting, sculpture, installation, and interactive architectural environments. Music and music history has figured prominently, all refracted through the lens of racial identity and representation. His work is occupied by the unfixed nature of a past that remains open to the vagaries of memory, and its role in the construction of the character of contemporary America—in particular through pop cultural imagery: sports, music, film, cartoons.
For this commissioned exhibition at the Henry, the artist created a large-scale wall drawing, a suite of new paintings and sculptures, and a sculptural installation, drawing together disparate components to create space for new interaction and invention. The installation will function as an interactive space, riffing off traditional American suburban garage architecture and referencing the garage as a site for invention, creativity, and experimentation, particularly for music/bands. As both a private laboratory and a public stage, the garage sculpture will be activated by a series of musician residencies, drawing on unique areas of the Seattle music scene, both historical and present, and tapping into the lesser-known, yet equally influential, genres and practices.
A brochure with a curatorial essay, alongside installation images, will accompany the exhibition.
Stark, geometric painting using rich, earthy colors and lines that divide interrupt, follow and work alongside each other. With no concentric focal point, the eye wanders from one puzzle piece to the next, each color its own world, shape and feeling entirely.

New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee

Michelle Maguire is a visual artist, a gatherer of things, and an observer of how the shapes and textures of certain objects, bars of soap and chocolate, brushes and sandpapers, a mop, a dodgeball, complement one another within a space. Kelsey McClellan is a photographer whose images are made of bright, intentional light, stirring prisms capable of instantly clearing cob-webbed minds. When painter Kristin Texeira puts oil paint to canvas, all at once she warmly summons the abstract and oft-elusive shapes of nostalgia, music, feeling.

Color is the magnetic force that bonds this trio, asserting their collective vision. New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee is the result of the asynchronous exploration they shared in a year otherwise defined by insularity and isolation. As ordinary patterns and familiar ways of living continued to upend amid the onset of coronavirus, Kelsey, Kristin, and Michelle found themselves working together in a sort-of artists’ residence. Despite the suspension of traditional “work,” they chose to work together, a continuous exercise in inspiration. They found common studio space between lines of snail mail, text messages, video chats, and volleys of emails.

Kelsey, living and working in San Francisco, California, and Michelle in Columbus, Ohio, first offered a series of ten photographs inspired by the shapes and palettes of Kristin’s paintings. Under stay-at-home orders and reliant on using items already in their respective possessions, Michelle and Kelsey worked together to assemble props and materials to create sets that replicated Kristin’s paintings. From a cabin in upstate New York, Kristin answered each of the curated compositions with paintings that closely (but not exactly) resembled Kelsey and Michelle’s images.

Months blurred by, and Kristin developed five new works, flipping the challenge back to Kelsey and Michelle to manipulate and interpret. Using domestic and utilitarian objects, five similar-but-different, dimensional renditions emerged.

The way it all unfolded was slow, careful, precise. Loose but structured. A daydream with a deadline. This tempered pace, and separation of time and space, carried these three and their work through the year. Each artist’s respective medium blended to expose a colorfully cyclical conversation.

This work suggests a revelation: newness and slowness can truly exist in symbiosis. Unexpected combinations can be born and thrive when we pause to bask in creativity and connection. And that can be the prize.— Amanda Reed

New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee will be on view at Stephanie Chefas Projects from April 3 – May 1, 2021. Stephanie Chefas Projects is located in Portland, Oregon at 305 SE 3rd Avenue on the second floor of the Urban Row building.

In a flurry of motion and surrealist animation, this painting captures multiple dizzying happenings at once—potatoes tumbling out of a cardboard box, pink-colored wine spilling out of a broken bottle, a snake wrapping itself around a tree branch, a pitchfork impaling a cake, a wig, a shoe, balloons, so on.

Ryan Pierce: Awake Under Vines

Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Awake Under Vines, the latest series of large-scale paintings by Ryan Pierce, featuring artworks that combine an electrified palette with allusions to environmental activism and radical resistance. In these new works, Pierce continues to illuminate relationships between the human and natural world through dynamic dreamlike imagery infused with moral complexity and wonderment.

Amid overgrown foliage or desolate desert landscapes, Pierce includes swirling, floating, dripping clothing, tools anddetritus that form a surrealistic treasure map of discarded objects from celebratory aftermath. In the painting, The Ever-Parting Curtain, hints of figuration domestic life intertwine with wild animals, flowers, trees and twisted branches. The artist’s sharp societal critique synthesizes with his idiosyncratic imagination to invite viewers into evocative and joyful scenes that propose a collective reawakening.

Ryan Pierce received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2007 and a BFA from Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2003. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Elizabeth Leach Gallery (Portland, OR), Nine Gallery (Portland, OR) and at Lademoen Kunstnerverksteder (Trondheim, Norway). His work has also been shown in group exhibitions at the Schneider Museum of Art (Ashland, OR), STREAM Gallery (New York, NY), the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA) and at Irvine Contemporary (Washington, DC). Pierce’s work resides in the collections of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Hallie Ford Museum of Art (Salem, OR) and the Multnomah County Courthouse (Portland, OR). In 2019, Pierce was selected to participate in the inaugural exhibition of the Portland Art Museum’s regional triennial, the map is not the territory. 

Two paintings hanging side by side in a gallery space, above concrete flooring, below wood support beams. Both arrange two-dimensional human figures in geometric rows, all of which interact with each other, some lying on the ground, others seated at tables, leaning against each other, etc.

Andrea Joyce Heimer: Lonely Hunter

“The Heart is a lonely hunter with only one desire! To find some lasting comfort in the arms of another’s fire…driven by a desperate hunger to the arms of a neon light, the heart is a lonely hunter when there’s no sign of love in sight!”
― Carson McCullers, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

O never a green leaf whispers, where the
green-gold branches swing:
O never a song I hear now, where one was
wont to sing
Here in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to
me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on
a lonely hill

― William Sharp, The Lonely Hunter

Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Washington-based artist Andrea Joyce Heimer (b. 1981), opening March 26th and on view until May 1st in Los Angeles. A recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation award and a finalist for the Betty Bowen Award, Heimer makes narrative paintings from the panoramic memories of her small-town adolescence in the heart of Great Falls, Montana.

Heimer’s paintings evoke narrative friezes and tapestries, where outdoor landscape and interiors are organized into distinct rows or thresholds, each portraying a different stage in the lives of her characters. The paintings present a miniaturist’s detail, juxtaposing different patterns which, combined with the flattening of perspective, create something akin to a collage. Not unlike Hieronymus Bosch, in that most of her paintings depict human and moral failings, Heimer uses images of demons, humanoid animals to evoke fear and confusion to portray the evil of man.

Largely centered around the subject of loneliness, the artist’s current body of work explores the complex behaviors and psychological processes that occur within and around groups. As an adoptee whose records were sealed at birth, Heimer uses her paintings to create autobiographical mythologies that address otherness and separation as well as loneliness. The current paintings observe the artist’s struggle with these group dynamics during a church lock-in, at her high-school prom, as a witness to a cloudburst, and as an observer of the Montana firewalkers.

These deeply personal narratives coupled with the artist’s protracted and poetically rendered titles reveal a vulnerability within Andrea’s paintings. One such title reads, “I Have Always Wanted To Swim With Everyone Else, In Backyard Pools, Ponds With No Name, The Blackfoot River, The Bitterroot. I Took The Required Swimming Lessons In Elementary School But They Only Left Me Fatigued And Panicky, A State I Tried To Hide While Watching My Classmates Skitter Around The Pool Like Minnows. To This Day I Sink Like A Stone. It Doesn’t Matter How Much I Want To Revel In The Sort Of Weightlessness That Deep Deep Water Offers (I Assume). Yes, I Have Waded Into Montana Rivers Alongside A Slew Of Fish-People And Yes, I Have Smiled Extra Wide To Assure Them That Simply Standing In Waist-High Water Was All I Wanted To Do, All The While Knowing How Quickly I Would Sink If I Joined Them. But They Are Beautiful To Watch, Those Fish-People.” This open yearning towards inclusion is reflected in many of the artist’s titles and paintings and allows an intimacy that might otherwise not be possible. The magic of Andrea’s work is her ability to create the inclusivity for viewers that she seems to be seeking and as such the lonely hunter has found her prey.

Andrea Joyce Heimer (b. 1981, Great Falls, MT; lives and works in Ferndale, Washington) received her MFA from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. Her work has been exhibited at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York; Colombo Gallery, Milan; CG2 Gallery, Nashville; Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia; Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York and Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York.

Impressionistic painting of a Black man in a pinstripe suit reclines on a floral-patterned sofa to read a book. His legs are crossed.

The Meaning in Everything: Synchronicity at Roberts Projects

Impressionistic painting of a Black man in a pinstripe suit reclines on a floral-patterned sofa to read a book. His legs are crossed.
Wangari Mathenge, The Ascendants III (Assault At Mogadishu), 2020. Oil on canvas. 20 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photo: Alan Schaffer.

There are four main characters in Milan Kundera’s 1984 novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, all of whom are intertwined by synchronicities. Two are stuck in direct opposition. Tereza places heavy significance on coincidences, which color her life with beauty and meaning. Tomas, conversely, is burdened by the infinite choices and paths he could take. Kundera encapsulates that anxiety and writes, “we can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our years to come.”

The concept of synchronicity—the simultaneous occurrence of phenomena that seem related but aren’t—has its roots in astrology, mondalogy, correspondence, sympathetic magic, Tibetian Buddhism, and theI Ching. Synchronicity’s influence from ancient Chinese medical and scientific texts stem from how they question what likes to accompany what, rather than what causes what. The ten artists in Synchronicity, recently on view at Roberts Projects in Los Angeles, each embody this search for meaning in the infinite unknowability of life. Some explain the inexplicable with destiny, or God, while others embrace uncertainty. Ultimately, they all share their respective means of coping with a universe that is, at first glance, wholly chaotic. 

Painting of a Black woman lying on the ground, a pillow under her head, her limbs folded and settled. A book lies open on the ground, the cover reads "Imperial Reckoning." She is surrounded by patterns, some reminiscent of African dress (e.g. "HUG WENU UFISADI..." is written on her pant leg), others classic American print (e.g. argyle, checkers, floral).
Wangari Mathenge, The Ascendants VI (Imperial Reckoning), 2020. Oil on canvas, 68 x 90 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photo: Alan Schaffer.

Wangari Mathenge‘s work is rife with visual clues that hint at heavy personal significance. In The Ascendants III (Assault at Mogadishu) (2020), the Kenyan artist saturates the scene with 1970s cool. A man in a grey, three piece pin-stripe suit with a dotted tie sits on a creamy couch with orange and gold floral accents reading a copy of the 1977 book Assault at Mogadishu by German journalists Hermann Kai and Peter Koch, an inside account of a German special operation against international terrorism. The Ascendants VI (Imperial Reckoning) (2020) portrays a complementary scene to Ascendants III by introducing an exuberant color palette, a different subject, and different books. A woman lies on the ground with her eyes closed, dressed in beautiful, silky gold and brown pants, bare feet, a black dotted shirt, and a cheetah-print head scarf. The book laying on the black and white spotted rug below her is Caroline Elkins’s Imperial Reckoning, about the atrocities committed by the British against the Kenyan Kikuyu people. Among the books on the table, between the vibrant purple couches wrapped in red and white windowpane check blankets and an assortment of leaf-patterned brightly colored pillows, is The Anarchy, a chronology by William Dalrymple on how the British colonized India. 

Kundera writes that if Tereza had not heard Beethoven playing on the radio, if Tomas had not been seated in her section of the restaurant reading a book, or if he had come even five minutes earlier, they would not have met and their story would not exist. Each work in this exhibition seeks to show the viewer how they create order and composition with otherwise random objects and subjects. What’s more, they remind the viewer that the disorderliness of the universe, the seemingly meaningless events of the mundane and the day-to-day, can become treasure troves of signals and meaning if you pay attention.

Vivid portrait of a Black person with hands held together just below their face, eyes drifted just out of frame, painted with layered brushstrokes of earthy reds, blues, browns, greens.
Amoako Boafo, Nuerki, 2019. Oil on canvas. 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California; Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.
Mixed-media piece, including a painting of two black vases against rich, purple and red backgrounds, and what appears to be a photograph of shrubbery. Foregrounded, a sculpted piece of what seems to be a twig protruding from an apple-shaped orb, below which are scattered a pile of multi-colored, Lego- or perhaps candy-like objects, along the bottom of the frame.
Betye Saar, Green Vision at the Villa, 1994. Mixed media collage. 14 x 11 x 1 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer.

The synchronicities within this exhibition play out like “slice of life” works. Methenge’s duo, like Tereza, combine a series of symbols that are deeply significant to the artist; books, clothing, and furniture that point to a specific moment in time and result in the final outcome of the work. Betye Saar’s assemblage series Visions at the Villa (1994) does this as well, perhaps more abstractly; her assemblages combine a multitude of significant materials that culminate in living memory boxes. They appear as a string of non-causal coincidences that invite the viewer into these highly intimate scenes, as seen too with the expressionistic portraiture of Amoako Boafo in Nuerki (2019). Boafo brings the viewer face-to-face with their subjects. Each artist combines signifiers and symbols that relate heavily to who they are. Though the viewer may not know what influences them, they can still bask in these moments that contain a multitude of meanings. 

Synchronicity
Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, CA
September 19 – December 5, 2020