Chasing Jessie Applegate, a new solo show at Ford Gallery, is a visual art exhibition of work created by Portland artist Kirista Trask. Through the abstract exploration of place the artist seeks to reconcile her genealogy as a seventh generation Oregonian in relationship to her families long struggle with inter generational trauma. Chasing Jessie Applegate visually speaks to how trauma does not dissipate in its effect but rather can trickle down from generation to generation. Chasing Jessie Applegate will also allow the artist to share the stories of the women in her family visually as often words are out of reach. Generating a visible representation of pain that is often unspoken or invisible. To give pain a place to rest and to allow stories of hope and resilience to stand alone in its place. Chasing Jessie Applegate features twelve paintings that each represent the untold story of a women in her genealogical line. These twelve paintings span eight generations of women, going all the way back to the Oregon Trail.
Opening Reception Saturday, October 26th 6-9 PM
Coming up this Saturday at the Ford Gallery! Kirista Trask discusses her current solo show, Chasing Jessie Applegate, and the process she went through creating a body of work that is so intimate and personal yet so important. During the talk you will learn a little more about each of the women in her family and how trauma directly affected their lives. Kirista will be breaking down how each plate relates to the symbols in each of the paintings, as well as spending a good amount of time talking about how important it is, especially for female artists, to tackle difficult and somewhat painful subjects in their art.
Artist Talk Saturday, November 16th 3 PM
About the Artist Kirista Trask translates subtle moments and landscapes into swirling abstraction, blending saturated, opaque colors with translucent washes to evoke moment as an emotional experience. Her work is created using a variety of materials, including acrylic, ink, charcoal, pencil, oil pastel, chalk and coffee, in order to react to the spirit of the location at the moment. These abstract works exist somewhere between presence and memory, giving the viewer a moment for pause. Her best work is done plein air style in stunning locations all over the world and especially in the Pacific Northwest. As a seventh generation Oregonian Kirista finds a deep connection to place and incorporates that into her work.
Be a Subject in a Neuroscience Study at the Opening Reception
This one-of-a-kind installation reveals paintings designed both as a coherent body of artwork and as scientific stimuli. When you enter, you become part of an experiment.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
INTO A STUDY is both an art installation and a carefully planned neuroscience study. It began in early 2017 when painter Paul Rutz called neuroscientist Amanda Hampton Wray with a question about how to study the ways people view new paintings. After more than a year spent debating, compromising, fundraising and building a stellar team, that question has blossomed into an immersive exhibit using state-of-the-art research technology to transform the gallery experience.
At the opening—one night only—visitors to Ford Gallery will become subjects in a special data collection event. Many will be fitted with biometric equipment, and all will be shown a series of precisely crafted paintings designed both as a coherent body of art and as stimuli for a neuroscience study.
This is not art inspired by science or vice versa. The exhibit practices both art and science together, which is no small feat! Merging the two cultures has been a difficult yet rewarding process, a dialogue full of give and take—and learning—on both sides. This is a growing niche for art, not only as a site for the artist’s self expression, but, importantly, as a guide for how to engage with the world differently.
Immediately after participating in the study, viewers can enjoy a Q and A with the collaborators and see behind-the-scenes video of how it all came together. Next year the exhibit will be tweaked before it travels to Purdue University and beyond.
A Note on the Subject Matter by Paul X. Rutz
Our symbols for “female” and “male” come from the ancient Romans, but they don’t reference the level-headed Minerva and Apollo, the gods of wisdom, art and self control. Instead they refer to Venus and Mars, the gods of sex and war. The “female” symbol depicts the handheld mirror of Venus, while the “male” circle with arrow represents the shield and spear of the war god.
Looking at those symbols on bathroom doors got me curious about our culture’s parallels to Rome beyond the political and military similarities. A quick online search shows that ancient Rome celebrated some surprisingly complicated and flexible images of femininity and masculinity, much like we do today. It turns out that Venus, the goddess of erotic desire, and Mars, the rampaging, pillaging war god, were just two of many forms of these gods. Romans kept making up new versions of them over the centuries, establishing new names, rituals and temples. Soldiers of the Roman Empire sacrificed to Mars Gradivus—the marching god, god of good combat—but when Rome was not yet so big and powerful many people worshipped the agricultural god Mars Silvanus. He gave farmers good harvests and made them into good fathers. As guarantor of treaties, Mars Quirinus precariously held on to peace. Venus Obsequens—Indulgent Venus—was the ancient Romans’ image of the perfect wife, while Venus Genetrix, the pure feminine parent, brought out the best qualities of motherhood in her people. (Julius Caesar’s clan, the Julii, claimed this version of the goddess as their ancestor.) Some ancient writers say the city also worshipped Venus Calva—Bald Venus—for motivating Roman women to sacrifice their hair for the common good, such as during a siege of the city when women cut off their hair and wove the strands into bowstrings to fight off the invaders.
The ancient Romans believed the gods drove people’s behavior. Personified in statues, paintings, prayer and ritual, Venus Obsequens was healthy erotic desire. When you felt it, you knew she had found her way inside you. The paintings in this exhibit show these versions of Venus and Mars as I found them living in us today.
Paul X. Rutz paints pictures in oil on canvas and carved panel. A former Naval Officer and ballet dancer, he holds a Ph.D. in visual culture. His exhibitions include solo shows at the Oregon Military Museum and several academic galleries, as well as group shows at Mark Woolley Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution. A former reporter for the Pentagon’s press service, he has contributed to HuffPost, Modern Fiction Studies, The Smart Set, and Cincinnati Review, among others, and he writes features for Military History and Vietnam magazines.
Amanda Hampton Wray, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor of Communicative Sciences & Disorders and director of the Brain Systems for Language Lab at Michigan State University. Her research program examines relationships between cognitive and linguistic proficiencies and life experiences. Her work employs measures of brain functions mediating language and attention processes in order to understand the development of these skills in populations with typical and disordered developmental trajectories, including children who stutter and those with SLI.
Ford Gallery, Portland, OR
Jason Babcock of Positive Science, LLC
Laura Annalora and Queens’ Suite
Brian J. Clark Productions
Dar Meshi, Ph.D., and Courtney Venker, Ph.D., of Michigan State University
Megan Heiy, Esq.
A series of large scale paintings created in relation to healing from post trauma dissociation.
Saturday, September 29th
6 – 9 PM
Journal entry…on painting 2015
Songs to myself…another chapter of work. All paintings in progress. All writing in progress. The end is nowhere in sight. The fundamental organ. Can’t separate the organ from the bone. There is no story. Color, line movement are all without thought..I find you in everything. I write to myself and I am writing to you. Now I feel hunger. I am your second half, third , and fourth. There is no whole.” six rivers the ocean…”my only hope is that if I keep creating looser, bigger, more, that the understanding will reveal itself without interpretation. My painting will become more real, more full for its lack of interpretation.
Songs for my child. Songs for myself is a body of work created during the last 15 years as a study of self. When I started these paintings and stretched the first large canvases I wasn’t cognizant of what there was to uncover. It’s been an unexpected journey. I knew I was lost and I understood wanting to use my painting practice to build a deeper relationship with self. But what I didn’t realize was how seperated I was from my actual body. Repeated rape, torture, and abuse experiences as a small child had really left me divorced from myself physically and emotionally.
My painting practice required hours of daily meditation in order to find the willingness to show up. Nausea and migraines became daily studio routines. I’ve laid on the floor and tried to surrender to the feelings of grief, pain and betrayal at least hundreds maybe a thousand times.
And I’m still not finished. I’ve done much of this on my own, and I’ve had help along the way. Talented therapists, acupuncturists, and body workers have patiently tried to help me untie these knots. Loving friends and family have reached out and supported me when possible.
I share this work and my process, because it’s important.
Everyday I struggle. Each of us does in their own way. I’m grateful for the time, space, and courage to find myself. And if sharing my process helps even just one other person in the way that it has helped me, then the pain of sharing this experience was worth it. Being alive is beautiful. Part of being a painter is knowing when to stop. There is always more to say, and there’s other paintings to be made.There is blank canvas there to hold my space. I think of these paintings as my pretty monsters. They aren’t about being raped. They’re essentially about who I’m becoming and what I experienced after, and some days in the best of moments, I hope my painting describes the peace of one single lovely instance of being alive.
Journal entry…on being a girl child 2018
Here the air is warm and thick. I walk around and feel like a fissure. A not there. I know at any moment someone could grab and press in to me. And the groups of people are always pressing.
-side note. To feel like a little girl is to be a walking vagina. To be pressed into. Grabbed at any moment and taken. But maybe that would be ok if I could be warm and loved. Not locked in this cold cellar feeling less than. Crumby, not clean, in dirty clothes and worn out shoes, and at least today I have my clothes. Even my bones are cracked because of this stupidness. The shame of knowing that I’m less than. Especially in my vagina…which is no longer the same…and despite my constitutional quiet. Everyone will know and see that something was very wrong. Not with what happened to me. But with who I truly am.
Jolyn Fry was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She graduated with honors from Pennsylvania School of Art and Design in 1996. Since moving to Portland, Oregon, the following year, she has exhibited her continually evolving body of work in many group and solo shows. Whether depicting literal, physical landscapes or abstractions of a more personal, emotional nature, Jolyn says, ‘Surrendering to my artistic process grants me the kindest perspective of myself and the life that moves around me.’ Jolyn is a mother, maker, teacher who works as an Art Educator at Radius Community Art Studio in SE Portland.
On the day I was raped I was not alone. I became one with my sisters, my ancestors. I became nothing and whole at the same time. I became hate. In losing myself I became something I never was before. In losing myself in surrendering I became hate, I became animal, I became sex and rage in my very vulnerability I became humane. I was a child human. Human. Small and insignificant. And it wasn’t until today that I knew as I paint these paintings these pieces of myself, of women, these stories they become me and they become above and below and around me. It was yesterday that I was so sm…small so insignificant. as I am today, but I am all of these things at once small and big. Pain and joy. And I live. I will live. Everything up until this moment has been past. An unfathomable past and I live as life is meant to be for today for a moment with utter knowingness, and a trust that I have never understood before and today becomes a day just like any other day in any other lifetime and that is what makes me rise and fall. That is why I breathe and laugh and cry because of the insignificance of it all.