Artur Silva, Calvin Ross Carl, Grant Hottle, John Berry, Laura Mackin, Lisa Berry, Lisa Kowalski
FOG starts off the spring season at Half/Dozen with a diverse group of artists from around the country who comprise the H/D artist roster.
A fog-laden photo by Lisa Berry (the show’s namesake), the repurposed home videos of Laura Mackin and the playful use of interior/exterior spaces by Grant Hottle all welcome the new season with hesitant, but open arms. Whether it is the vaguely familiar mountains mirrored in new work by Calvin Ross Carl, the scribbled paint strokes by Lisa Kowalski, or the playful assemblage by Artur Silva, this show will make you want to go outside and breath a chest full of fresh air. John Berry’s subtly crafted linocut may be the quiet kid in the corner not yet ready to venture out and greet the season.
I’m interested in the way people experience capitalism within different classes and groups in America, now and at other periods in history. My work is the result of my pursuit to understand, as an artist, these experiences as well as my own capitalist experience in America. I grew up in Brazil, but have lived my entire adult life in the United States. My curiosity about this subject, viewed through my cultural background, is the primary drive of this exploration.
I appropriate and modify images and sounds from mass media, and combine them with my own footage and photography to create videos and installations. These works explore advertising as a capitalistic tool to fuel consumerism. I’m interested in the way products are packaged, advertised and sold. The role that iconography plays in the oversimplified representation of cultures through images is also an area of interest. Through my work I explore my own struggle in a commodity-driven culture and how I negotiate my existence in this system.
Calvin Ross Carl
Calvin Ross Carl was born the son of a woodworker in the industrial wasteland of Spokane, WA. Carl now lives and works in Portland, OR, and he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Intermedia in 2008 from Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). His work has been exhibited at Gallery Homeland, Portland, OR; New American Art Union, Portland, OR; Blackfish Gallery, Portland, OR; Milepost 5, Portland, OR; Tractor Gallery, Portland, OR; Half/Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR.
My work seeks the beautiful and phenomenal in the mundaneness of the American working-class experience. I reinterpret common materials of the American work environment through the lens of formal aesthetics, in order to assess and transcend the material’s original cultural purpose and worth.
Grant Hottle was born in Oklahoma City. He studied at Utrecht School of the Arts in the Netherlands and at the University of Oklahoma, where he received his BFA in 2003. In 2007 he earned his MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Oregon. Hottle currently teaches drawing and painting as a member of adjunct faculty at Clark College in Vancouver, WA and at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. He lives and works in Portland.
I hope to build believable spaces that reshuffle our expectations in a way akin to dreaming or being hypnotized. Gravity can be denied. Straight lines wobble and threaten to bend. I think about the psychology of space, memory, and perception as it relates to a viewer’s reality. The studio acts as a site for experimentation and a point of departure, where perspectival interiors merge with unexpected leaps into remembered or observed phenomena and conventional space mashes with flattened abstraction and stylistic fancy. Feeling more kinship with a stagehand than a storyteller, I leave the final pivotal role of narration to the viewer.
These are stages for unseen painted events.
I paint spaces of opposition. They often appear as vacant puzzles or forgotten video game levels. The painting’s superficial struggle is simply how to navigate the forms. Dead ends and red herrings, such as scraped paint, flat shapes, or drawn marks provide an elastic return to the surface of the painting. The work is a battleground for pictorial unity. It is a world of reduced information, an incomplete space in continual movement. They come from a childhood of make believe, forts, Nintendo and folklore.
There is an inescapable tension between the viewer and the paint. Paint is a chameleon antagonist, a stand in for many possible forces of opposition: Man versus Man, nature, self, or God.
Laura Mackin was born in Wisconsin and raised in Maryland. Mackin received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003, and an MFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. Mackin’s curatorial experience includes directing Giftshop Project Space in Chicago, IL, and co-directing the H. Lewis Gallery in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including recent shows at Contemporary Arts Workshop in Chicago, IL; Old Gold Exhibitions and Events in Chicago, IL; Harper College in Palatine, IL; Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN.
Many of my books and composite photographs are drawn from my collection of found images and videos gathered from Internet auction sites and forums, thrift stores, and relatives.
For example, since 2003, I have downloaded thousands of pictures of mirrors photographed by US eBay sellers. A mirror is a tricky object to document; it forms an image of anything placed in front of it. These photographs offer a way to look at how people approach the problem of the faithfully reflecting mirror, and how they frame things within the mirror.
Another collection of nightstand pictures offers a study of accidental still lifes. Accumulations of objects, books, phones, photos, lotion, water, dust show evidence of various human needs and obsessions.
My personal photographs, drawings and diagrams underscore my focus on intimate, domestic content. Working with either found or personal imagery, I consider the activity a form of gathering evidence. By paying attention and tinkering, I try to bring overlooked, everyday aspects of living into visibility.
Lisa Berry was born in Indiana in 1982. She received a BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI in 2004. She moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 2008 where she continues to make pictures. She is currently the curator of photography at Pictura Gallery.
In a portrait, we are able to examine a person, to know them, and they become the main subject of our gaze. However, when we are kept at a slight distance, shown only a back, or a small figure, we take the person in as part of a whole. We cannot dwell on their particularities or details. Rather, they act as silent ushers, inviting us to dwell briefly in their mysterious world.
Figures tell us how to think about the space; they are dreamlike narrators with unsearchable identities. We’re not able to examine them closely, but we are able to stand beside them and take in the landscape from their point of view.
Guiding us through unfamiliar territory, figures give us permission to experience emotions. They tell us it’s okay to feel lonely here, or you can go ahead and resurrect that memory, because I’m there too. Once we begin looking at subjects this way, even animals or objects can become our guides. We may only come this close to them, but they will take us further in.
Everything in life inspires me, not quite with direct interpretation, but as I see and experience faces, words, gestures, colors and shapes – all of it – I am always looking and reacting to the energy around me. It can become a self centered reflection of whatever is around that interests me rather than great issues that have to be answered objectively. All of this gets channeled and flows from brain to arm, hitting white board with that first wonderful stroke of vibrant color, and continues with adding and subtracting, stripping down to the most essential. I am in love with the eloquence of sparseness and everything to do with the act of painting: the smell, the lushness of oil paint, color.
There is unmitigated spontaneity driven by emotive forces, reacting intuitively, chance and choice. The works are not meant to be narrative, but visual explorations. These explorations evoke sensation in the viewer that are not bounded by the literal, but can be broadly identified as physical, spiritual or psychological. The titles are personal associations. I try to work with a straightforward painter’s vocabulary without pretension. I’m not interested in postmodern irony or intellectualizing about painting.
My methods of line and stroke are deliberate, intuitively unidentified. I don’t labor over works. If they start to trouble me, they need to be set aside, while I move on to the next piece. This keeps several pieces in process and the momentum keeps ideas clear. Logic and intuition are always shifting and struggling between what will be viewed and holding onto my pure intention.