Louise Bourgoise at Pendelton Center for the Arts
One of the best shows to see in the Pacific Northwest at the moment is the surprise appearance of Louise Bourgeois' work in the small western town Pendelton, mostly known for its rodeo
and woolens. The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation continues to do good things by making important work available to audiences
and places that wouldnt otherwise have access to it. I also found the Pendelton Center for the Arts with its excellent architecture, being a former Carnegie Library to be more than just another white box gallery space... it brings out an almost baroque aspect to Bourgeois' surreal imagery.
Bourgeois is incredibly topical right now with her focus on the the psychological positioning of women and judging from the very well attended opening last night its going down well in cowboy country where the crowd was more varied than anything I've ever seen considering the ages, backgrounds and ethnicities present. Pendelton itself has a long tradition with women breaking ground through its rodeo so I cant help but think the combo would have pleased her.
In particular the Crochet series of prints with their focus on knotwork, texture and routine... often evoking the lives of women, who are still continuously judged to different standards of appearance, behavior and ambitions. Women simply have more ties that bind yet they are the ones who are roped into situations. Perhaps the most special aspect of the show though are 2 prints of the same image titled "The Guilty Girl is Fragile." The print on the wall is a traditional lithograph on paper but the same image on one of Bourgeois' own slips brings it back to a more personal place. In 2000 (at the time of the work) Bourgeois was already one of the world's top artists and 80 years old yet she's still working through things that happened to her as a little girl. Children become adults but they carry these things and Ive noticed that the women in my life carry guilt in a completely different way than I do. Everyone should see this work but I think the trip to Pendelton will make it even better.
Let's put it this way... as I was walking to the show one of the ladies in the group busted a heel right around the corner from Oregon's top boot maker
. He fixed her heel but as the subject of the exhibition cvame up Mr. Stapleman showed a gentlemanly concern for Bourgeois' career when he heard that she took 20 year hiatus from the artist's life only to return at age 70. I assured him that before and after her death she was considered one of the preeminent artists of her time, an pioneer of the way an unsettled mind process things. Bourgeoise crushed it and I really like how another artist could empathize.
Louise Bourgeois | March 16 -May 5
Pendelton Center for the Arts
214 North Main, Pendelton Oregon
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