Michele Collier & Michael Vos, Andy Kennedy & Penda Diakite

Artist Talk: September 15, @ 2 pm

MAIN GALLERY (August 30-September 25)

Michele Collier "Tempest" cerami

Michele Collier “Tempest” ceramic

Michele Collier is a ceramic artist that stretches, compresses twists and tears the clay to match the image in her imagination. She works to preserve the fluidity of the slab while manipulating it to express the figure in motion. The clay remembers every touch and each piece faithfully preserves the evidence of its birthing process. “I look for the edge where consciousness leaves judgment behind. I want to cultivate that moment in the creative process when I trust my inner self completely. I draw upon my own feelings and memories to create art that connects with the viewer in a way that is uniquely intimate. I plan each piece with a series of sketches before ever touching the clay. Only once I can feel what I want, do I dig in and set about creating it. I start by rolling the clay into a slab. I tear away large swaths and add them back again as I keep working. When the slab has taken on the right energy, I begin my unique construction process. As I stretch and compress the clay, I feel as though it comes to life. The surface of the slab becomes the very human-like surface of the sculpture.

 

 

 

 

Michael Vos "Dead cities series"

Michael Vos “Dead cities series”

Michael Vos has developed an ongoing body of work entitled Dead Cities, which is a documentation of abandoned and forgotten places across the world. Dead Cities is predicated on the idea that if humans collectively disappeared suddenly and mysteriously, what would the world look like without us? My answer to this question is a visual narrative that uses literary inspirations such as magical realism, subtle horror and alternate history. My work documents houses, schools, factories, towns, zoos and everything that has been cast aside and forgotten. When I photograph an area I’m very careful not to tamper with the already existing atmosphere; I leave whatever I find exactly as it had been for both ethical and artistic reasons. The intention is to immerse the viewer into an alternate history of the world, one that exists without direct human influence, and one that is difficult to place in the timeline of human history as we know it. This body of work stands as an abnegation to the idea that desolation is inherently distressing. As nature reclaims these forgotten places we slip further away from the fog of the past and our civilization is fully enveloped in the wild embrace of chaos.

 

 

 

 

FEATURE AREA (August 30-September 23)

Andy Kennedy "Listen" ceramic

Andy Kennedy “Listen” ceramic

Andy Kennedy crafts portraits in clay. His busts look different at different times, expressions change with parallax perspective. This comes from working in a style of cartoonish, primal  impressionism, but also from the clay body itself. “Clay has a dynamic structure that flows and settles and flows. The observer can be directly involved with their own energy, biography and sensitivity. This dance becomes solid and the layers of glaze become a play of light. When I give myself space and permission, there’s endless possibility. Clay becomes a vessel for everything ugly and beautiful in my world resolving into objects that I can share. I’m worrying less about my place in the world, as my artwork is flourishing. The more complicated things are getting, I am letting go of control and presumption, becoming a clearer witness. The clay figures seem at times to be the work of a madman, and I think this is a good thing. The glazing process has become a practice of multiple perspectives converging in the studio and then totally surrendering to the unknown, and somehow this means my glazing is better than ever.

 

 

 

 

Penda Diakite "Ivy" collage

Penda Diakite “Ivy” collage

Penda Diakité is a collage/mixed media artist. She grew up between Mali, West Africa & Portland, OR.  As a result, she meshes the vibrant colors and patterns of her Malian side with influences of her urban upbringing. Her artwork is a reflection of these blended cultures, as her pieces often illustrate a visual commentary on historical West African tradition and how it co-exists among popular media’s portrayal of people of color. Her mixed media work is usually comprised of a mixture of spray paint, acrylic and collage (a blend of modern and classic mediums which reflect the traditional and contemporary theme of her work). She literally cuts and pieces together old and new aspects of her cultures, each art piece telling a story about identity & humankind. She often adds her experiences as a bi-cultural woman of color into her word.

 

 

 

 

 

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