An eye for dark and strange aesthetics comes naturally to Portland-based artists Wendy Given and Ryan Pierce.
When I walked into their gallery, Eyeshine, I was enveloped with a sense of mystery. Their work is displayed in a room with white walls and white floors contrasting the dark nature of their work.
Eyeshine, an art show featuring works from Given and Pierce, will be displayed in Portland State’s Autzen Gallery until Friday, Jan. 29.
Eyeshine is the first in a series of two-person shows. This gallery features art reflecting the nocturnal and the nonhuman, according to the artists.
“You’re going to want to see this before it rots,” Pierce said. “It’s a fragile show that is always decaying.”
Pierce is the co-founder of Signal Fire, an organization that leads artists of all disciplines on retreats in the wilderness to engage with nature and spark inspiration.
Given is a trip leader with Signal Fire. Eyeshine was, in part, inspired by one of their retreats.
“Eyeshine was brought together by being together in the forest and our shared interest of the nocturnal and mythology and folklore,” Given said. “We have always found shared interest in our work and in our beings. As friends we thought our work would vibe well together.”
“This is a two person show that is the result of a friendship that Wendy and I have and a dialogue around some of our shared interests,” Pierce said. “We’re both really interested in the magic of night creatures.” Said Pierce
Visitors to the Eyeshine art gallery can expect to see photographs, sculptures, and paintings. Some of the pieces include a giant peacock feathered chandelier and an eight-sided mirror, alongside photos representative of long nights spent in the forest.
Each piece in the gallery has something unique about it. The art is not like anything you’ve seen before. It’s powerful and allows for the viewer to create their own meaning for each piece.
“There’s so many pieces to describe,” Given said. “You have to really experience them singularly, one at a time.”
One piece, “Invasive #7,” created by Pierce, displayed rows of masks with many unique faces.
“A lot of the work I am exhibiting here was inspired by a trip I took last year to a mask museum in Mexico,” Pierce said. “There’s 13,000 masks in their collection… I just started working by imitating the method of displaying a grid of masks.”
“Ryan’s sense of the historical is something that carries through to my work in the show as well,” Given said. “It’s more of a natural history and phenomena.”
Given and Pierce will continue to collaborate in the future. Their next gallery is scheduled to open on April 1st, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.
“This is only the first iteration of our collaborative efforts,” Pierce said.
“(Our work) just really melds together,” Given said. “In the future there’s an on-going collaboration.”