Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Early September Links
Labor Day Weekend Picks
Museumy Links
Wendy Given at Vernissage
Mid August Links
Grace Kook-Anderson in Conversation
Portland Art Adventures
Early August Art News
August must see picks
End of July News
Alia Ali's Borderland at Bluesky
Mid Summer Reads

recent comments



Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Openings & Events
About PORT

regular contributors


Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman



Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us


Contact us






powered by


Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a


Creative Commons License

Monday 10.24.05

« Collecting stories on collecting | Main | Mutatis Mutandis: New Work by Pat Boas »

Ellen George at the Archer Gallery


The artists' signature is a contentious thing - it's the mark of authenticity and the mark of ego. It's also the thing that will irk not only your second generation postmodernist teachers at art school, but those of your classmates who know better, when you hand in your first crappy undergrad painting assignment with your own big red signature scrawled across the bottom.

The last line of the artist's statement accompanying the exhibition at the Archer Gallery at Clark College in Vancouver reads, "I sign everything with an e*." We've seen Jacqueline Ehlis do a signature piece, a riff off of the slick paintings of customized cars. And at her latest exhibition, entitled *, Ellen George makes a signature piece with a sprawling, room-sized, cartoonish asterisk form, formed by several thousand polymer clay pieces shaped by hand.

Teardrops, many-pronged stars and cloud-like blobs were carefully arranged, a gradation of rainbow colors radiating from the cool blue center to the striking red edges. The arrangement threatened to coalesce into a rigid pattern, but George retained vibrance in the piece by creating a loose and slightly irregular mosaic of shapes.


The individual pieces are the most abstract I've seen from George, who typically creates shapes that resemble spores, pods, tiny mushrooms or enlarged hair. I must admit I did miss the feeling of life forms that imbues her other work, lending it a disconcerting tension between naturalism and the artificiality of her material. The work in * were clearly dead, geometric entities. George eschewed the normal dialog present in her work between living/static, nature/artifice, high/low in favor of pure visual delight. The individual shapes were flat, cookie-cutter forms with clean edges, acting as very graphic two-dimensional objects, not unlike Polly Apfelbaum's complex floor pieces. And this time, George's use of polymer clay only accentuated the superficial nature of her materials.

George's thorough attention to detail is what allows her to pull off this kind of work successfully. She carefully controlled the gallery space, creating temporary walls that allowed the installation to exist with minimal visual interruptions. She also paid very close attention to the lighting, creating a slightly darkened space, walls warmed with dim yellow and orange lights. The large asterisk was well-lit with bright white lighting, creating another layer of tension that made her installation work so beautifully. Attention to lighting also accentuated the ambiguity of this piece acting as a two-dimensional drawing and a three-dimensional sculpture, a key aspect of George's work that was carried over into this exhibition.

Sunday marked the last day of the exhibition, but let's hope we don't have to wait too long before we get to see more or George's work at PDX's beautiful new space, which her work will look fantastic in.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 24, 2005 at 8:46 | Comments (0)


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee