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Jenene Nagy: From the guts of stars

Mon, 02/12/2018

Jenene Nagy and Joshua West Smith: From the guts of stars

Exhibition dates February 12 - March 16, 2018
Reception Sunday, February 25, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The work of Jenene Nagy and Joshua West Smith deploys the structure of language as a regimented system for communication but replaces the words with marks and material. The goal is to speak to the body and to evade, momentarily, the mind.

Nagy’s works on paper speak on the surface of geometry and rationality but when addressed simultaneously manifest as shimmering surfaces, which embrace, embody, and occupy our attention more as a phenomenological experience than a static image. Graphite, laboriously built up by individual pencil marks or floating in a medium and applied to a surface, plays off ambient light and shifts as the viewer passes by or approaches for closer inspection. It is this locating of the body before the image that completes the work.

Smith’s sculptural inquiry is an attempt to address issues of language and certitude through the visual and haptic languages of material and formal relations. By exploring a range of materials and methods of manipulation he strives to put the viewer in relation with not only an object of interest but with something that momentarily evades a name. Smith relies on his history as a welder and fabricator and as a furniture maker to make things that relate to the body and consciously engage the viewer in a choreographed looking. Though the use of multiple materials the work creates a multi-textured experience that promotes close looking and an awareness of where his body has been, where the thing lives, and where the viewer is.

Jenene Nagy is a visual artist living and working in the Inland Empire. She received her BFA from the University of Arizona in 1998 and her MFA from the University of Oregon in 2004. Nagy’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the Portland Art Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Southern Exposure in San Francisco, Takt Kunstprojektraum in Berlin, and Samuel Freeman in Los Angeles, among others. Her work has been recognized with grants and awards from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, the Oregon Arts Commission, Colorado Creative Industries, and the Ford Family Foundation. Along with a rigorous studio practice, Nagy is one half of the curatorial team TILT Export:, an independent art initiative with no fixed location, working in partnership with a variety of venues to produce exhibitions. From 2011-12 she was the first Curator-in-Residence for Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, Oregon. Nagy’s work is represented by Samuel Freeman Gallery in Los Angeles, PDX CONTEMPORARY ART in Portland and Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver.

Joshua West Smith is an artist, curator, and furniture maker who lives and works in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Smith received his MFA in Visual Art from the University of California Riverside and a BFA from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Smith is one half of the curatorial team TILT Export:, an independent art initiative with no fixed location, which works in partnership with a variety of venues for its exhibitions.