Allison Sommers, Jeremy Hush and Susannah Kelly share an interest in creating poetic imagery out of macabre subject matter. The three artists are presenting new bodies of work for their collaborative show, “Irresistible Atrophies,” opening at Portland’s Antler Gallery on October 30.
Studying mythology allows one to examine how the values of contemporary culture are transmitted through history. Tying a thread between past and present, Portland’s Antler Gallery invited a group of artists to create portraits inspired by mythical creatures for their third annual “Unnatural Histories” group show. Each piece is accompanied by a short story written by each artist relating their specific character’s tale. According to curators Neil M. Perry and Susannah Kelly, some artists reinterpreted existing myths while others took the opportunity for more inventive storytelling. Participating artists include Josh Keyes, Craww, Vanessa Foley, Michael Page, Hi-Fructose co-editor-in-chief Annie Owens, Siolo Thompson, Brin Levinson, Syd Bee, Jackie Avery, Crystal Morey, Susannah Kelly, Ben Kehoe, Neil M. Perry, Jennifer Parks, Jon MacNair, and Ryan Berkley. Take a look at our preview of the exhibition before it opens this evening.
Jon MacNair opens windows into cryptic worlds with his monochromatic pen-and-ink drawings. His work has a decidedly vintage, if not medieval, feel. The artist renders elaborate depictions of self-created myths and legends, but rather than being grandiose, the tone of his work is self-aware and humorous. Demons and shamans mug for the viewer while performing rituals and spells. Some of his drawings show gratuitous, cartoon violence akin to that of heavy metal album art and skateboard graphics. MacNair has a solo show opening at Portland’s Antler Gallery this Thursday, August 28, titled “Age of Enigmas.” In addition to his own work, the exhibition will feature MacNair’s collaborations with five other artists he admires: Jennifer Parks, Trudy Creen, Mark Burt, Ian Anderson, and Michael Hsiung.
Partners in art and in life, Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall collaborate seamlessly, almost out of necessity. They work in close proximity to one another in their studio, switching between parent duty to their two young children and working on their paintings. Elements of Plock’s blocky, geometric style end up on Tunstall’s softer, more painterly canvases and vice versa. The couple, sometimes known by the monicker KeFe, currently has an exhibition at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery titled “Floating World: Part One” on view through August 9. Part two of this body of work will open at Antler Gallery in Portland on July 31, creating a visual dialogue between two cities.
Though Nicomi Nix Turner’s subtle graphite work resembles an intricate examination of the natural world, one would be surprised to learn that the artist uses absolutely no reference material. The skinny, springy mushrooms and horned beetles that often appear in her drawings are not modeled after a particular species. Instead, Turner enjoys playing god, in a way, and seeing what an ecosystem of her own creation would look like. People often tell her the human characters in her work resemble someone they know, said the artist, but perhaps the beauty of their faces is that they can evoke different memories for each viewer.