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Saturday 12.22.07

« Barnett Newman and the Totem Poles of the Northwest Coast Indians | Main | Holiday reading »

Gordon Barnes & Shelby Davis at Jace Gace

Yes, a tank in a waffle house...

Recently Jace Gace (a hybrid waffle house/gallery on Belmont) has become the newest place to see challenging art in Southeast Portland and openings have been packed despite the extensive condo construction next door. This installation art/waffle development would be more surprising if it hadn't been started by a bunch of MFA's from CCA and located in the Portland Art Center's smaller but wonderful old space when they were dedicated to installation art (2005).


Jace Gace's current show, titled "The Closest It Gets From A Safe Distance" features a large scale model tank made of cardboard. At nighttime it features an electric lightshow, fog and music by Megadeth, Metallica etc. turning the installation into a kind of testosterone driven entertainment battlefield. It is a purposely faux, arms length version of war in a sanitized home front civilian context. The artists; Gordon Barnes and Shelby Davis, two recent MFA grads from PSU generally achieved their conceptual objectives but the tank itself also opens the door for a few important questions like:

What does cardboard add to this installation other than bringing a nifty craft or super sized museum-store knickknack element?

Is this just wartime art, exploiting the gee wiz factor of, "it's a tank in a civilian context?"

The craft/material element is important because over the years Ive seen tanks made of paper mache, rice crispies, sand, plastic skulls… etc. and each have been successful to varying degrees but mostly because any tank is a spectacle in a civilian context. Here it looks like cardboard was just a convenient material, not a particular poetic one.

Still, it's an eye catching effort with an inspired siting as the gallery space is dominated by the menacing tank. In general it is solid and everything seems well executed but they are going to have to take it to another level or two before they can join the elite ranks of Portland's best installation artists like; Chandra Bocci, Sean Healy, MK Guth, Jenene Nagy, Vanessa Renwick, Laura Fritz and Bruce Conkle all of whom are showing outside of Portland.

This show put Barnes and Davis on the, map and I'm curious to see what is next. Show runs through Dec 26th

also check out the Oregonian's really nice human interest story on the project

Posted by Jeff Jahn on December 22, 2007 at 14:45 | Comments (4)


jeff, please. it's MEGADETH and METALLICA.
(i thought you were a metal child?!!!)

Posted by: matt_mc [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2007 05:51 PM

Ugh, I cant wait till PORT is on MT 4 so I can spellcheck within the posting environs (not certain if it will catcj band names).... and yes yes I can tell the sonic difference beween a JCM 800 and a Mesa Boogie dual rectifier...or a PL20 vs a Sm 57 mic... or the creamy dreamer vs. Sovtek Big Muff distortion pedals but can't everyone? Unforunately I learned to spell from Quiet Riot.

Cum on feel the noize!

... and for the record I was/am really into Zappa, Alan Holdsworth and Mahavishnu Orchestra... Im a prog rock fan.. .and ok Ill admit to Ministry for something a lil chunkier, that live album ith 7 guitarists and 2 drummers rocked!

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 22, 2007 06:35 PM

The Quiet Riot version of "Cum on Feel The Noize" was a cover of the Slade original.(1973?)
See Slade perform this piece on Youtube.Great stuff.

Posted by: Chris Brown [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 23, 2007 12:08 AM

I almost mentioned that, I'm a big Slade fan and in highschool "Slade" is what some underclassmen called me (for reasons I cannot recall.. I think the viola section I lead would play impromptu Slade songs to annoy the highschool orchestra teacher). Randy Rhoads (who was the orginal guitarist for Quiet Riot) had that great british sound and took it somehere new too.

OK Im outed... and please forgive the indulgence, Im a huge HUGE guitar geek.

How this relates to the installation?

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 23, 2007 02:57 PM

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