Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Portland (January 17 – March 1, 2015)
Curated by Rachel Adams
The wall is far from a neutral zone. -Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube
Constructs begins with the wall. Through the varied artistic processes of Nathan Green, Pablo Rasgado and Laura Vandenburgh, the wall becomes a forum for experimentation that highlights the architecture of gallery space. Neutrality within the gallery has long been a point of contention and exploration by artists throughout the last century. These artists include William Anastasi and his West Wall, Dwan Mail Gallery from 1967—an almost to scale painting of the gallery wall, complete with air vents and wall sockets. In his 2003 works Changing Space and Self Destructing Wall, Jeppe Hein altered the gallery space with movable, self-destructing walls. The artists included in Constructs further this tradition of engaging the wall as surface, object, and partner in the making of their work.
Constructs addresses the interactions between scale, architecture, and the body specifically within the Disjecta exhibition space. Laura Vandenburgh’s netlike constructions reference each other in pattern and color, exploring the specific relationship between wall and floor. They expand, contract, and breathe—allowing abstracted visual fields to materialize through the reflection and refraction of color. Nathan Green adopts the wall as his canvas, employing blurred roller technique to explore pattern and geometry on an expanded scale. Green’s painting technique is affecting—it instigates tension between the wall and the remainder of the space, and challenges the very intent of the architecture. His wall paintings cross the influences of Modernist painters such as Sol LeWitt and Frank Stella with patterns found in Op-Art, labyrinths and textiles. Pablo Rasgado mines the historical significance of structures by collecting various wall fragments on his international travels. Each artifact carries its own history that is then adapted through the artist’s own interaction with the site. His new work for Constructs is a collaged mural of the substrates he has excavated from walls throughout the world.
The examination and deconstruction of the wall and the creation of new work are intimately tied in this exhibition. The empty gallery is an elastic space, one that is in a continual state of flux. Constructs examines and adds to this flux through each artist’s site-specific work. The artists come together to build a “new” space that is the unification of painting, sculpture and architecture.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Nathan Green lives and works in Dallas and received his BFA in 2004 from the University of Texas at Austin. Recent exhibitions include Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas; the Goss Michael Foundation, Dallas; Art Palace Gallery, Houston; and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. As a founding member of the Okay Mountain Collective, he has recently presented new works at Freight & Volume, New York; Prospect 1.5, New Orleans; University of Houston’s Blaffer Museum; and the McNay Museum, San Antonio. He is currently the Assistant Curator of Education at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Pablo Rasgado lives and works in Mexico City. He earned his BFA from the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, Mexico. Recent exhibitions include Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles; Arratia Beer, Berlin; Zona Maco, Mexico City; Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; Ex Magazzini di San Cassian, Venice; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Los Irrespetuosos, Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He is a recipient of the Bancomer MACG Fellowship.
Laura Vandenburgh lives and works in Springfield, Oregon. She holds an MFA from Hunter College and a DVM and BS in Zoology from the University of California, Davis. Recent exhibitions include Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto; Portland Art Museum; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art; Everson Museum, New York; James Harris Gallery, Seattle; the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Hunter College, New York; Lawrence University, Wisconsin; and Syracuse University. Her studio practice has been supported by awards from the Ucross Foundation, Ragdale Foundation, the Saltonstall Foundation and the University of Oregon. She is currently Associate Professor in the Art Department at the University of Oregon.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Rachel Adams is an independent curator and writer based in Austin. From 2010 to 2013, she was the Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at The Contemporary Austin, curating a number of exhibitions and video projects, including exhibitions with Seher Shah, Amie Siegel and Ragnar Kjartansson. Prior to moving to Texas, Adams lived in San Francisco and Chicago, curating at Queens Nails Projects and David Cunningham Projects in San Francisco and co-directing Lloyd Dobler Gallery in Chicago from 2006-2008. Her writing has been included in Artforum.com, Arts + Culture Texas, Art Practical, Modern Painters, and Texas Architect. Adams holds an MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. More on the CiR program can be found here.