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Marylhurst Opens Two New Exhibitions at The Art Gym


Wood Anniversary: Five Years of Signal Fire


Todd Johnson—The Misadventures of Ansel Adams:
Garage Sales, Geo Tracking, and General Tomfoolery

Preview Reception: Sunday, Feb. 24 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Exhibition continues through April 3, 2013
Closed Easter Weekend, March 29–31
Gallery talk: 12:30 p.m., Thursday, March 7

Marylhurst University opens two new exhibitions—Wood Anniversary: Five Years of Signal Fire and Todd Johnson—The Misadventures of Ansel Adams: Garage Sales, Geo Tracking, and General Tomfoolery—with a preview reception for all the artists in The Art Gym from 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday, February 24.

Signal Fire was co-founded by artist Ryan Pierce and forest conservation and public lands advocate Amy Harwood. It provides opportunities for artists and activists to engage in the natural world. The Art Gym exhibition presents the work of 13 artists including Miguel Arzabe, Zachary Davis, Dan Gilsdorf, April Marie Hale, Ellie Irons, Kendra Larson, Guillaume Légaré, Sarah Meadows, Rebecca Najdowski, Jennifer O'Keeffe, Julie Perini, Kyle Riedel and Jillian Vento.

Todd Johnson's exhibition The Misadventures of Ansel Adams: Garage Sales, Geo Tracking, and General Tomfoolery includes phototographs and video in a lighthearted examination of the influence of the inescapable legendary photographer Ansel Adams, combined with thoughts about provenance, portraiture, imposters, and fakes.

A gallery talk with the artists is on Thursday, March 7, at 12:30 p.m. The exhibitions continue through April 3. The Art Gym is closed Friday through Sunday, March 29–31, for Easter weekend. The Art Gym is open noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

More about Signal Fire

Signal Fire has now hosted nearly 100 artists, musicians, writers and activists on camping, backpacking and most recently river trips. Participants have explored Oregon's wealth of public lands, from the old growth forests of Opal Creek to the subalpine lakes of the Wallowa Mountains. Last year Pierce and Harwood added a float trip on the Green River in Utah and this year Signal Fire trips range across the Western United States, from the California mountains and deserts to New Mexico, Montana, and home to Mt. Hood.

Wood Anniversary: Five Years of Signal Firepresents the work of 13 of the visual artists who have participated in Signal Fire and gives an overview of some of the ways artists have taken advantage of this opportunity to work and think outdoors.

Some of the art The Art Gym is exhibiting was created or initiated during the residencies. Canadian artist Guillaume Légaré created pairs of photographs to examine the often-humorous visual interface between the eastern Oregon town of La Grande and its surrounding public and private lands. Kyle Riedel made photographs that underscore the innate grandeur of the old growth stumps found along the Upper Clackamas River. Jennifer O'Keeffe's images document the shifting scale of sights and experiences from the Signal Fire canoe expedition through Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

Other artworks relate in various ways to the experience of the residencies, but were realized later—Sarah Meadows's diptychs that sought to capture the ethereal effects of light, smoke and water; Julie Perini's video of the 306 steps that mark the climb from downtown Guanajuato up El Pipila, one of the mountains on which the Mexican city was built; Kendra Larson's paintings of woods near Sisters and trails in Portland's Forest Park; Ellie Irons's illustrations and maps of invasive plant species made from pigments derived from those same species collected in and near her home in Brooklyn, New York; and Montana-based April Marie Hale's sculptures made with animal skulls, antlers, felted wool and seeds.

Some artists responded to the residencies with technology—Miguel Arzabe's videos instigating and documenting playful interventions in the Eastern Oregon landscape; Rebecca Najdowski's augmented reality projects using QR codes and the Internet (she has created a new piece for Marylhurst University); and Zachary Davis's inventive, technological alterations and explorations of landscape imagery.

In contrast, others anticipated lack of access to technology or commented on its unexpected ubiquity. Dan Gilsdorf brought a manual typewriter and used it to create texts that one might create if one had nothing to do but think about art making and type on 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets of white paper for days at a time; Jillian Vento paired wildlife drawings with sketches of the related text messages on her cell phone.

More about Todd Johnson—The Misadventures of Ansel Adams: Garage Sales, Geo Tracking and General Tomfoolery

Todd Johnson's exhibition reflects his interests in the history of West Coast landscape photography, celebrity, collecting and, as he puts it, "myth and legend, identity and fraud, historical and contemporary, amateur and professional, junk and treasure." The artist is presenting a selection of photographs and one video that play with these ideas, using the work and celebrity of legendary photographer Ansel Adams as his touchstone. Johnson has his master of fine arts in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. Ansel Adams and Minor White founded the fine arts photography department at the school in 1946. Their work along with other seminal 20th-century American photographers who taught at SFAI constituted a critical point/counterpoint in the SFAI curriculum for many years.

About The Art Gym

The Art Gym is a program of the Department of Art & Interior Design at Marylhurst University.

It is located on the third floor of the B.P. John Administration Building on the Marylhurst University campus, 10 miles south of Portland, Ore., on Highway 43. The Art Gym is open from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free. The Art Gym programs are supported in part through grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Clackamas County Cultural Coalition, National Endowment for the Arts and Oregon Cultural Trust, foundations, businesses and individuals.

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