Category Archives: Froelick Gallery

Gwen Davidson – Wallowa Mountains

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Gwen Davidson, Wallowa Mountains (2014), acrylic, charcoal on paper on canvas, on view at Froelick Gallery (April 29 – May 31, 2014 )

Gwen Davidson’s landscapes are intriguing collages of color and form that flicker between abstraction and representation. Wallowa Mountains depicts a landscape that appears stacked like some sort of geological layer cake. Davidson creates her painted collages by first painting on papers of different textures and then cutting them into different sized strips. These strips she then affixes to the canvas. It’s a sort of paint by numbers landscape that offers a quite fresh way of seeing. Most interesting to me was the tension at work in many of these paintings: at once they seem to cohere and resolve into familiar views and at the same time to fracture into facets and bits of raw nature, slabs of color and texture, rock and dirt.

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Sarah Horowitz – Gray Briars I

Sarah Horowitz, Gray Briars I (2012) Sumi ink on hahnemulhe paper On view at Froelick Gallery (as of mid March 2014)

Sarah Horowitz, Gray Briars I (2012)
Sumi ink on hahnemulhe paper
On view at Froelick Gallery (as of mid March 2014)

Sarah Horowitz’s Gray Briars I is a remarkably careful and detailed ink drawing. Most remarkable is the way this modest network of spindly branches manages to hold the mostly undrawn space. It feels both unstudied and meticulously composed with the overall effect, at least for me, being a reminder that humble and unexceptional eyefuls of our world can be perfect and just enough.

Laura Ross-Paul – Upturn

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Laura Ross-Paul , Upturn, 2013
Oil, watercolor, wax on Hulle paper on board
On view at Froelick Gallery, February 4 – March 15, 2014

Upturn is a portrait of what Laura Ross-Paul refers to as one of Portland’s  “deciduous citizens.” Certainly there is real personality and expression in this tree that looms up in the picture plane with upturned and twisting arm-like limbs. This isn’t some grand old giant in a pristine old growth forest. Rather it’s a younger and somewhat battered looking specimen, browned in places and surrounded by a collection of somewhat spindly looking trees in the background. Installed in the Froelick Gallery Ross-Paul’s show Urban Forest, offer a wall full of portraits of trees, humans, and statues that benefit from being hung together, in a grove or garden of sorts. To me it suggests that the urban forest is full of strange beauty, dramatic juxtapositions, and opportunities missed.

Laura Ross-Paul – Red Boot

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Laura Ross-Paul , Red Boot, 2013
Oil, watercolor, wax on Hulle paper on board
On view at Froelick Gallery, February 4 – March 15, 2014

It’s a cliché that things look different at night, but one that is certainly at play in this painting. Laura Ross-Paul’s lovely Red Boot shows a woman at night sitting on a bench. She seems inwardly focused, intent only on her phone and its powers to transport and inform. Around the sitting woman is a beautiful urban nocturne. Night has made this city scene softer, more mysterious, and somehow more natural, but the woman seems not to notice. This painting is part of Urban Forest, Ross-Paul’s exhibit at Froelick Gallery. The proximity of natural beauty and our ability to overlook it is a recurring theme here. Even if some of the characters within Ross-Paul’s paintings are absorbed by their digital devices her work certainly pays careful attention to urban nature in all its strange beauty. (Up next will be a tree portrait from this same exhibit).

Joe Feddersen – Parking Lot with Stars

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Joe Feddersen, Parking Lot with Stars (2013)
hand engraved blown glass
On view at Froelick Gallery (Dec. 18 – Jan. 31)

What are the unintended and perhaps embarrassing icons of our time? High on that list I’d put the car and the landscape that it’s enabled – big box stores, dispersed dwellings, and parking lots. Joe Feddersen’s glass vessel “Parking Lot with Stars” takes the familiar parking lot and makes it fresh and beautiful turning it into an abstract pattern that wraps and repeats. “Parking Lot with Stars” offers an aerial perspective, reminding me of just how prevalent parking lots appear when you fly over most any metropolitan area. Feddersen, an Okanagan member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, updates Native textile traditions by discovering a more contemporary and more urban iconography that includes high-rise buildings, power lines, and traffic signs. Mique’l Askren writes, “These designs were originally inspired by everyday occurrences such as seeing snake tracks in the sand. Now, as Feddersen remarks in a 2010 interview, most people are accustomed to seeing the tracks left by SUVs.” This new iconography is striking, humorous, and a bit melancholic. I’m left hoping that we will, in the end, be remembered for other things.

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