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Friday 01.23.09

« Looking Forward | Main | Sammy Stays »

Go Make Camp at PCC's Northview Gallery

Joseph Palazzo & Mark Smith The Painting as a Tent; the Tent as a Landscape; the Landscape as a Museum, 2002

Making Camp will be running January 8 through February 5 at the PCC Sylvania campus' North View Gallery (CT Building) and it definitely lives up to its name with a strong, coherent theme sustained throughout the show. Interestingly, the show's inspiration and title Making Camp came from the gallery's sylvan view and location, which holds a vague treetop Swiss Family Robinson air about it.

The gallery's installation is dominated by the large works of Maria T D Inocencio's Canopy, Paula Rebsom's View of Mt. Hood from the Gallery and Theresa Redinger's The American Dream in Under 100 Pounds. Sadly, this show about camping doesn't take full advantage of the windowed forest aspect of the gallery's giant bay windows, but - for a last-minute show - it is amazing how many pieces are included in the space.

Paula Rebsom's View of Mt. Hood from the Gallery, 2009

During the opening, I had the chance to speak with Rebsom about her piece, View of Mt. Hood from the Gallery, which is an installation composed of a building wall with flat stage set like wooden trees, coyote stand-ups and a painting of Mt. Hood as a backdrop. The more we talked about her piece, the more I liked it. Still, the thought process one goes through when engaging this piece can go any number of directions (such as tourist, property owner, naturalist).

Paula Rebsom's View of Mt. Hood from the Gallery view2

Pretty much no matter which way you go, you come back to the fetish of Mt. Hood views. This makes sense since most everyone feels fortunate that Portland has a large triangular mountain that we can gaze upon on sunny days. Therein lies the piece's success, it has icongraphic ubiquity. But it much a deeper implication than a mere installation of Mt. Hood with some obscure interior/exterior, instead it has a generous context-building stance that leaves the content up to the viewer to pitch their conceptual tent in.

Maria T D Inocencio's Canopy (background), Theresa Redinger's The American Dream in Under 100 Pounds (foreground)

Maria T D Inocencio's Canopy has basically the entire right wall of the gallery, even though there are two smaller photographs next to it by Marne Lucas. Canopy is an impressive photographic mural devoted to trees. It is installed slightly off the floor, almost reaching to the ceiling and comprised of hundreds of photographs, all of which appear to be different. The collage is fractured into a photographic-grid ebbing and flowing between pure foliage and a hint of tree limb architecture. It is a perfect homage to a tree that once lived in Inocencio's back yard, now loved and lost. Its memory is now meditative, without overstatement.

Theresa Redinger's The American Dream in Under 100 Pounds (TADiU1P), 2006

Theresa Redinger's The American Dream in Under 100 Pounds (TADiU1P) is a very large tent that looks like your basic 2 story American home. The level of craft that the TADiU1P (pronounced: tah-dee-up) has is impressive and I imagine that it might be perfect for a reality TV show named REI Cribs or Huches pour des Hobos (that's Cribs for Hobos). Still, I find it punctuates a large pause in the show's conversation, a rumination about weight (portability) and the American Dream. Portability is fine and dandy, but behind this simulacra portable housing unit is a real house full of real things. Knowing that, the tent becomes one more thing to place in the garage. The statement on America's gluttonous consumption on all levels is one worth stating, but the phrasing feels a bit hollow.

Elizabeth New's Birds on a Wire, 2008

Directly across from TADiU1P and in the entrance of the show was one smaller work that caught my eye before moving to the larger works. Elizabeth New's Birds on a Wire was a floating metal brush that seemed like some strange plant in nature upon where two shiny birds are preening and singing. It also has a strong contrast with the white wall, reminiscent of a snowy forest. Letting the imagination take a break I then saw it as the rusty metal brush used to clean a chimneys, bringing the viewer to an awkward moment. It isn't exactly a replication of nature so much as a double entendre; a thought provoking and meditative, like stroll through the woods while pondering fractal geometry's relation between nature and industry.

Bruce Conkle's Campfire Puppet, 2006

As much as anything the show repeatedly provokes the viewer to question the dialectic between man and nature via open-ended questions, fractal self replicating design and the creation of meditative environments. To reiterate, Making Camp is camping out in the North View Gallery at PCC Sylvania. The fact that this is a last-minute show thrown together by gallery director Vicki Wilson says a lot about her improvisational skills. Regardless of the hindered window, the full camp ambiance lights up the room. When you make it out there, bring your folding chair and sleeping bag for a good rest while you look at the birds, trees and mountains.

Posted by Alex Rauch on January 23, 2009 at 12:00 | Comments (0)


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