Away from the classroom and into the gallery space! Xylor Jane proves that artists get A’s in math, too.
Xylor Jane’s oil paintings are regiments of colorful dots, laid out in psychedelic grids and spirals. Working with systems of counting, such as palindromic prime numbers or Julian Day numbers, she develops a visual cadence on the panel. The rhythms she creates with the dots hide the figures with which she is working; buried in the negative space are sevens, threes, and eights. Standing too far away, the viewer loses sight of the numbers, too close and it’s all bits of color.
Jane blends the approaches of Pointillism, Op art, and Conceptualism, arriving at works which spike the synapses in our visual cortex and dazzle the mind. I had the pleasure of catching up with Jane at the close of her two-person exhibition Xylor Jane and B. Wurtz (curated by Arnold J. Kemp) and with a solo exhibition just around the corner, opening in New York this May at CANADA.
Appendix Project Space embraces change, progress, and unpredictability, breaking the traditional archetypes of the white-wall gallery space.
In cities from Boston to Bangalore, Philadelphia to Paris, Troy to Tehran, there exists a continuing culture of galleries and venues within non-traditional walls, exhibiting and featuring the projects that rarely, if ever, make it to commercial spaces. Appendix Project Space is part of a bumper crop of such art spaces that have popped up around Portland, Oregon in trucks, porches, and boats. Appendix is an artist-run venue located in the clean white-walled garage of Zachary Davis and Travis Fitzgerald’s home, (co-founder Joshua Pavlacky recently moved to Philadelphia). Nestled within the alley between Northeast 26th and Northeast 27th Avenues, the space sits in the heart of Portland’s Alberta neighborhood. Every month Alberta hosts Last Thursday, a street fair featuring fire-dancers, DJ drum-circle dance parties, old-timey bands, a couple of hundred venders selling folk art, glass pipes, kimchi pizza, and some 10,000 attendees to gawk at. Within this mayhem there are several bars shaking great cocktails, a few interesting galleries and two fantastic bookstores. Appendix’s thoughtfully considered and well-presented endeavors make it the not-to-be-missed spot of the evening. I spoke with the gentlemen of Appendix a few weeks ago as they were wrapping up the year.
Mack McFarland You’re about to end your third season of Appendix programming, how many exhibitions and performances did you mount this season?
Travis Fitzgerald Including Hay Batch! and Target Language @ 937, we put on a total of 16 shows this season. At Appendix itself there were 10 shows.
Artists Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson make art a family matter.
Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen, along with their two-year-old son Calder, are a family art team who create works with a cool analytic aesthetic in a multitude of media, including photo-based indexes, textual mixed tapes, associative lectures, and mass mailings. Their work hinges on the linguistics of text and image, and contains a healthy dose of humor. Their latest exhibition, Maybe It Takes a Loud Noise at PDX Contemporary Art, considered themes nested in the rhetoric of belief and protest. We connected online while they traveled away from their home in Portland, Oregon soon after the close of their exhibition.
Mack McFarland You cite the texts you read as major influences for your work, in the way that French Impressionists found inspiration in the landscape. You also mention the structure of the book and I have heard, or maybe read, that you feel like your works translate well to the book form, which is lovely and kind of old-fashioned. Do you think your projects work well for tablet computers or smart phones?
Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen Maybe some of our work does. Some doesn’t. (We have been working slowly on making a collection of GIFs, but that is probably not exactly what you’re talking about.) We do think about how our works play out on screen, but still involuntarily find ourselves thinking about the final form of what we make as a book or publication.
We often make things in large series that are meant to function like swarms. Conceived as, and intended to be viewed as, one cumulative body, they are also designed to break apart and still hold meaning. (This comes less from thinking about the actual representational platforms i.e. tablet, phone and more from the way images and texts are viewed and aggregated on the Internet.) We accept the conditions of having an online presence, we want our work to be subsumed and re-articulated. We might even go so far as to say that people who want to forbid that kind of movement and transmission need to grow up.
Lisa Radon on her recent PICA residency, the white magic of books, and transforming radical skepticism into Radical Openness.
Lisa Radon makes essays, poems, performances, and publications that carry with them a mesmerizing ethereal quality despite the density of their content. She continues the tradition of the artist who not only postulates, but also creates; devising works that combine her stream of consciousness research with a smart design sensibility.
I corresponded with Lisa at the end of her Resource Room Residency (RRR) at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA). Begun in 2012, the RRR is conceived for artists whose methodologies utilize text, design, and research. The residents are granted a stipend and unlimited access to PICA’s archive and library for a three-month period.
Mack McFarland Lisa, the press release for your Resource Room Residency, titled WHITE MOUNTAIN, is a lovely bit of prose poetry that does not describe much of what you were doing in the Resource Room, though it does leave us with some tantalizing images. Taken with the quotes from René Daumal’s Mount Analogue: A Tale of Non-Euclidian and Symbolically Authentic Mountaineering Adventures and Blaise Cendrars’s, The Astonished Man, I am sensing a feeling of scientific wonder towards the incomprehensible largeness and stealthy nature of language. You write: “WHITE MOUNTAIN is a constellation.” What are some of the points of that constellation?
Lisa Radon It all comes from and through language (language is my primary medium, after all) and reading specifically (Cendrars says, ”...eating the book is the highest form of white magic.”) – but that’s just where I started.