Natalie Serber, English faculty, published a review of Eliza Robertson's Wallflowers in The New York Times' Book Review section in October 2014.
February 27 - April 4, 2012
Portland2012: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, produced by Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center and curated by Prudence F. Roberts.
Portland2012 is a major survey of work by visual artists who are defining and advancing the contemporary arts landscape. Twenty-four artists and teams are being presented at five venues throughout the metropolitan area February 26 through May 19. In addition to Disjecta and The Art Gym, participating venues are the Helzer Art Gallery, PCC Rock Creek; PDX Across the Hall and the White Box of the University of Oregon in Portland.
The curator's vision is a key component of Disjecta's biennial. For Portland2012, guest curator Prudence Roberts reviewed 280 applications and made roughly 50 studio visits in her selection process. She ultimately selected 24 artists and artist teams.
The Art Gym is presenting eight of the chosen artists:
Future Death Toll
Ben Killen Rosenberg
Artists exhibiting at Disjecta and other venues are Ben Buswell, Vanessa Calvert, Sang-ah Choi, Daniel Duford, Erik Geschke, Brian Gillis, Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen, Hand2Mouth Theater, Ariana Jacob, Arnold Kemp, Matt McCormick, Mack McFarland, Akihiko Miyoshi, Wendy Red Star, Vanessa Renwick and Susan Seubert.
From the Curator
As the guest curator for this year's Disjecta Biennial, I did not set out to organize a thematic exhibition. Rather, I wanted to present a sample of work from a Portland that has changed almost beyond recognition in the 20-plus years since I first arrived. Yet, perhaps inevitably, given that I am one person with a particular view of the world, I found, after the fact, that connections existed between the artists I selected.
The artists showing at The Art Gym part of Portland2012 are at various points in their careers. Some, like Cynthia Lahti and Christopher Knight, are natives of the Northwest, while most (Dustin Zemel, Future Death Toll, and Jack Ryan) have arrived more recently—part of the influx of artists who have transformed and broadened Oregon's art scene in recent years.
But despite the wide range of styles and materials they deploy—Ben Rosenberg, for instance, began his career as an illustrator and Marie Sivak is a master stone carver—the artists represented in The Art Gym's portion of Portland2012 are linked by their interest in what might be termed a meta-narrative. Their works investigate the inherent flaws in any system of communication, either spoken or visual, that make a single interpretation of that narrative all but impossible to convey.
From paintings in which familiar figural elements defy and often leapfrog over linear interpretation, to sculpture and drawings that map and explore both the science and poetics of perception, the varied works in this exhibition examine the disjuncture between representation and meaning, undercutting the ultimate validity of any document or object, be it text, film, sculpture or time-based imagery.
All these artists evince an interest both in aesthetics and in making sense of an increasingly incomprehensible world—often using the elements that make it incomprehensible as a mirror of its chaos.
About the Curator
Prudence Roberts is an instructor of art history at Portland Community College. She has curated, consulted and contributed essays for exhibitions at the Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, The Art Gym at Marylhurst University and The Portland Art Museum, where she served as curator of American Art from 1987 to 2000.
Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center is a nonprofit organization in Portland, Ore., that provides essential resources for artists to create and exhibit new work. Disjecta houses an expansive exhibition space for the presentation of vital visual and performing arts at the local, regional, national and international level that speaks to the region's diverse interests, talents and identities. Disjecta is located in north Portland at 8371 N. Interstate Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97217.
Portland2012 is sponsored by the Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Willamette Week, Hotel Modera, TriMet, Plazm Design, Sign Wizards, Framing Resource and partner venues.