Outsiders On The Inside: From the Beginning
Project Grow Artists: Pasty M. Blasier, David Lechner, Jamond Williams & Dan McClaryMarch 5th - 27th, 2010
BIG THANKS TO DJ Bad Wizard, DJ Fantastic Fax and Archers
About the Show
This exhibition focuses on the work of four artists who have been members of Portland’s Project Grow studio since its inception in 2009. Each artist in this show is an outsider artist by all but the narrowest definitions, however their work needs no such appellation to elicit our utter engagement with it. The opportunity to closely study the work of each of these artists might lead us to question the assumed value of being “inside”; inside the institution, academia, the art world.
We might be tempted to conclude that expression developed unfettered by preoccupations with external judgment, and hyper awareness of relationship to “norms of the form” would be more accurately defined as inside art.
Dan McClary is a multifaceted artist; while painting and drawing are the staples of his artistic practice he is always on the look out for new forms of expression, most recently he has been exploring woodworking, weaving and glass as mediums. One consistent thread throughout all of McClary’s visual work is his passion for pattern. Each piece develops within a self-contained system. In addition to the artwork he makes at Project Grow, he is also very involved with caring for Project Grow’s chickens and goats. McClary also volunteers as an assistant for bicycle repair at the Alberta Bike Coop.
At 70 Pasty M. Blasier is perhaps Portland’s oldest and most conceptually challenging emerging artist. Patsy’s long interest in the trappings of business and secretarial objects has blossomed over the last year into an extensive exploration of words and numbers as visual symbols composed on a page. In her Paper Work Patsy writes, and duplicates business forms and correspondence compositions through a unique process most closely resembling the practice of observational drawing, and re-inaction. Recently Blasier has extended her practice to include painting and drawing. These are often mixed medium presentations of her paperwork. Blasier’s paintings reveal an instinctively complex and nuanced sense of color that is almost impossible to deconstruct. She is also the unofficial counselor at Project Grow; she shares her wisdom and compassion as naturally and poetically as she chooses her colors.
David Lechner is known almost exclusively for what might be called his “family portraits.” Through tireless and seemingly effortless repetition Lechner draws and re-draws the names of important people in his life, each name eventually finding a spelling that will remain unchanged. These names are accompanied by deceptively simple stick portraits. These portraits, on close inspection, reveal the evolution of physical symbols and accurately capture personality traits that each subject exhibits. Lechner works most often in quick individual sketches, using any material at hand, eventually moving to mixed medium group portraits made through multiply layering the people in his life onto one surface: The Lechner Family.
Jamond Williams works almost exclusively in ink and watercolor. His paintings are composed from a catalogue of personal symbols and executed with a directness, ease, and fluidity that is almost supernatural. Williams work often first appears to be completely non-objective, however on closer study or once informed of the subject matter his ability to channel the symbolic essence of an object or event becomes mind bogglingly apparent. In addition to his work as an artist at Project Grow Williams is a valuable member of the farming and construction team that is always busy manifesting improvements to the studio and farm.
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