Editioned December 4 to December 27, 2008
Platform Gallery presented Editioned, an exhibition of prints and multiples by gallery artists including Patte Loper, William Powhida, Michael Schall, and Ross Sawyers. Platform also debuted a new suite of prints by Scott Fife printed by Sheila Coppola of Sidereal Press. A link to the suite is here. This exhibition introduced Platform Portfolio 2, a boxed set of seven 11" x 14" prints in an edition of 25 featuring photographs by Kelly Mark, Stephen Hilyard, Carlee Fernandez, Adam Satushek, Ariana Page Russell, Ross Sawyers, and Jesse Burke. A link to the Portfolio is here.
Matt Sellars The Empty Quarter October 16 to November 29, 2008
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The Empty Quarter was a meditation on the loss of resources and natural diversity that results from both unbridled industrialization and consumption, inspired by the myth of American plentitude. Through sculptural installation, Matt Sellars invoked the link between an abundance of goods and products and industrial effects on the planet in the form of massive clear cuts, open pit mines, and oceans depleted of life. At a moment in time when parts of the American population chanted “Drill, baby, drill,” Sellars’ work reflected on what has already been lost.
William Powhida Sell Out! September 4 to October 11, 2008
REVIEW Seattle P.I. (September 11, 2008—not available online)
He's back! Deftly continuing his devilishly satiric look at celebrity status and the world of contemporary art, William Powhida (the fictional character) returned to Platform Gallery in his new role as rock 'n' roll superstar. Album covers, set lists, commentaries on musicians, and record reviews were all subjects of William Powhida's (the artist) drawings and paintings which explore the power, seduction, and sexuality of stardom and creativity. Desperate for his genius to be recognized, Powhida dared to take on the world of rock 'n' roll. Will it ever be the same?
Patte Loper A Peculiar Brightness in the Sky June 19–July 31, 2008
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Drawing from John Ruskin’s notions of the “Pathetic Fallacy” in which the outward manifestation of the landscape mirrors inner emotional states, Patte Loper's new body of work employs Antarctica—hostile, empty, beautiful—as a fictional site of historical, scientific and emotional speculation. The images are inspired by accounts of early 20th century explorers and their attempts to map uncharted lands with woefully inadequate knowledge and equipment in order to fulfill a sense of manifest destiny—all the while maintaining impeccable manners and civility in the face of hopeless brutality.
The exhibition’s drawings focused on these structures in their relationship to the geological and atmospheric phenomena found on the Antarctic continent—vast ice fields, bottomless chasms, and Aurora Polaris. While leading an early scientific expedition, explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, was moved to write: “Powerless, one was in the spell of an all-enfolding wonder…we had come to probe its mystery, we had hoped to reduce it in terms of science, but there was always the ‘indefinable’ which held aloof, yet riveted out souls.”
The show’s title, A Peculiar Brightness in the Sky is a phrase lifted from Douglas Mawson’s account of his 1912–1913 Antarctic expedition. He uses the phrase to describe what is commonly known in the polar regions as “Ice Blink,” the glare of the ice reflected on the undersides of clouds.
In the Project Space: Marc Dombrosky I Love You to Death Platform (An Installation)
The title of this installation came from one of the included works: I Love You To Death or, A Georges Marciano for Guess? denim jacket, probably autographed by River Phoenix in Tacoma, Washington, circa 1988, during the filming of the movie ‘I Love You to Death,’ signed JENNA. E. on inside front panel and J.E. on label, hung on a metal hanger, possibly belonging to Robert Smithson, recovered from Spiral Jetty, Rozel Point, Great Salt Lake, Utah, in March, 2007.
The collection of objects assembled for this installation ask questions about our relationship with celebrity and our proximity to it and extends Marc Dombrosky’s exploration into the often overlooked and typically underfoot. Every handmade mark on any scrap of paper he finds (whether names, phone numbers, drawings of eagles’ heads, directions to someone's home, a prescription, a plea for the purchase of used flooring, or a phrenology diagram) is salvaged and embroidered over with thread that most closely approximates the mark underneath it, in both line weight and color. Each successive found scrap expands (and complicates) the project. What may be a quiet walk from the bus stop to the convenience store is abruptly charged by a chance encounter with an emphatically scrawled rough draft for a first novel, wet and pockmarked from the asphalt. This installation developed to suggest dialogue; groupings shift, with older works returning and newer pieces appearing. Found objects are arranged and juxtaposed with embroidered found language. The fluid configuration then becomes a loose, partial conversation with our surroundings, our neighbors, our losses, and our memories.
This exhibition coincided with the Portland Art Museum’s Sixth Apex Exhibition focusing on Marc’s unique investigations into place and memory, which ran June 28 to October 26, 2008.
Eden's on Fire! May 8 to June 14, 2008
In a period of time where arguments are made about the existence of global warming, studies are mounted to measure the impact on the environment and on society of urban sprawl, and the effects of the rapid industrialization of developing countries are felt, the gallery presented Eden's On Fire!, a landscape group show featuring stunning paintings and masterful drawings made by artists Saul Becker, Joy Garnett, and Michael Schall.
Saul Becker’s drawings and paintings are made up of fragments and pieces from different places and sources forming dreamy landscapes that are powerful metaphors of utopias lost. Joy Garnett appropriates newsworthy and documentary photographs from the Internet and re-invents them as sumptuous paintings. Her subject is both the content of these found images and the photograph itself as cultural artifact. Michael Schall imagines landscapes where “instruments of human industry attempt to somehow alter the surface of the earth.” His large graphite drawings celebrate both the futility and the potentiality of society's grand constructions by exploring the way cities sprawl with both power plants and landfills.
Kelly Mark stupid love March 27 to May 3, 2008
REVIEW Seattle P.I. (April 4, 2008—not available online)
Toronto artist Kelly Mark's video, drawings, installations and sculptures have centered on her awareness of time, its passing, wasting, marking, keeping, through the recording of repetitive tasks and ordinary unnoticed moments. Of her interest in the mundane and everyday, the artist says, “I have always had an intense preoccupation with the differing shades of pathos and humour found in the repetitive mundane tasks, routines and rituals of everyday life. Hidden within these spans of time can be found startling moments of poetic individuation, and an imprint of the individual within the commonplace rituals of society. Individuation, especially within this uniformity, although subtle and frequently paradoxical, is something I find myself returning to again and again. Through my will to order and my frequently inane sense of humour my objective is the investigation, documentation and validation of these singular marked and unmarked moments of our lives...” In addition to sculptures and photographs, Mark exhibited “REM” an installation featuring a video mashup consisting of 170 different sources taken from television.
Kelly’s work has been exhibited widely across Canada (Contemporary Art Gallery, Tracey Lawrence Gallery, Vancouver; The Power Plant, Art Gallery of Ontario, Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto) and internationally including the US, Australia, and Europe. She represented Canada at the Sydney Biennale (1998) and the Liverpool Biennale (2006). A retrospective exhibition of her work titled "Stupid Heaven," organized by the JM Barnicke and Blackwood Galleries of the University of Toronto, traveled to other Canadian museums throughout 2008. The exhibition was reviewed in the December 2007 issue of Artforum.
Melissa Pokorny Fall Together / Fall Apart February 14 to March 22, 2008
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Melissa Pokorny is fascinated with the thing-ness of things and the improbable relationships they can have to each other. Resin dogs, songbirds, and ersatz rocaille décor gathered from hobby stores, internet collectible sites, and estate sales are arranged with digitally rendered, photo-collaged architectural elements eliciting memories of spaces. The artist has culled, collected, repurposed these found objects and images of remembered spaces putting them into a close conversation to suggest kitschy symbolism and whimsically mythic associations. Using the strategies of still life composition and tableau vivant painting, Pokorny's work explores the arbitrary, the inappropriate, and the accidental while evoking a wry sense of melancholy.
Melissa Pokorny is a sculptor and Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work was last seen in Seattle as a part of the group show Unnatural Presence at Platform Gallery in 2006. Pokorny has been shown at Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, Southern Exposure, New Langton Arts and Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco; Food House in Los Angeles; Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis; Gallery 400 and Bodybuilder and Sportsman in Chicago; and Front Room Gallery in Brooklyn. She was the recipient of a llinois Arts Council Grant in 2005. Her work is in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Orange County Art Museum.
Eric Eley Prospect Fields January 10 to February 9, 2008
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One of the dictionary definitions of the word prospect is a “broad view or a place affording such a view.” For his first solo show at Platform Gallery, Eric Eley created a living drawing that becomes a field for a view. Seeing an opportunity to go beyond simply placing discrete objects in the white box of the gallery, Eley created an environment that put the viewer literally inside the sculptural object by delineating the space within the entire gallery. With no way to see the work in profile or from afar, one is instead given the opportunity to powerfully experience space as a three dimensional drawing.
Eric’s resin drawings, works on paper, and sculptures are informed by his fascination with the rational language used in physics and higher mathematics. His analytical use of lines and points allows him to arrange elements in space in order to provide a unique way of seeing. His materials are deceptively simple—string, wire, wood, dry pigment, graphite, resin. With these materials, the artist confronts the limitations of time, space, and physical effort while incorporating or discarding the benefits and drawbacks of those limitations. In his practice, Eley balances physical labor and intellectual work. He is truly an “analog” artist, one who physically moves in space, up and down a ladder, back and forth from wall to wall, rather than plotting elements on a computer screen. He is a thinker, delighting in the usually unseen connections that exist in any given atmosphere. His work is both landscape and architecture. Not a natural landscape but a landscape of articulated space. Not static architecture, but an exploded view of perspective and scale.
Eric holds an MFA from the University of Washington. His work has been included in group shows in the Kunsthaus Hamburg and the Outdoor Sculpture Projects at Volta03 in Basel, Switzerland. He has also had solo shows at Gallery4Culture, the Hedreen Gallery at the Lee Center for the Arts, both in Seattle, and the Kolva/Sullivan Gallery in Spokane. He mounted a solo show at Art Agents Gallery in Hamburg, Germany in 2008.