"The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities."
"I never succeed in painting scenes, however beautiful, immediately upon returning from them. I must wait for a time to draw a veil over the common details."
Depicted in personal, intimate scales, a range of real and invented imagery comprises a cross-section of approaches to the contemporary landscape. Energized and fantastical, dark and foreboding, these microcosms imply contradictory feelings of both safety and vulnerability. Creating spaces to peer into, but not necessarily through, these artists explore paths of escape while allowing us access to altered realities. As with the reflection from a portal’s glass, the viewer faces her own presence and occupation of space in the act of viewing.
Out of the shape and texture of a landscape emerges the first clue into an artist’s subjectivity. The works in Portals manipulate artificial proportions. These interpretations of the land break from traditional horizon-driven vistas into compositions that are jammed up, graphic, or ethereally floating. Spaces oscillate between perspectival depth and flattened surfaces, leaving the viewer in undefined territory full of potential. Through their imagined worlds, these artists transform memories and traumas into fantastical spaces; in some the results are haunting, while others are disarming.
Like a portal or passageway, technology can open uncharted mindscapes full of new kinds of energy and promise, while editing and shaping our experience. As we acclimate to experiencing life in conjunction with new technologies, we become further detached from our terrestrial surroundings, the physical space we occupy falling out of focus. We fight to stay present, often nostalgic for a recent past that did not include the digital mediation of our experience. In this increasingly digital world, the physicality of the landscapes in Portals is more vital than ever. Through brushstrokes, blurred and hard edges, these images test our attention, slowing down our consumption in spaces that pose more questions than answers.
Featuring: Christopher Bertholf • Kat Chamberlin • Maureen Drennan • Sharona Eliassaf • Paul Metrinko • Meredith Hoffheins • Jenny Lee • Joshua Sevits • Susan Wides