An opening reception for “Artifacts of Memory,” featuring a room-sized installation by Crystal Schenk, will be Saturday, April 7, from 3-5 p.m. at the Linfield Gallery. The show will run from April 2 through May 5.
Schenk is an emerging artist with a string of awards, residencies, and national and international exhibits behind her. She was selected as one of the nation’s top 100 artists by Artists Wanted, an arts organization based in New York City.
Her room-sized installation piece in the Linfield Gallery embodies the cloud of loss, and like fading memory, lacks defined edges or recognizable forms. The work contains 1,100 magnets covered in pods made from silk flower petals―half the magnets hung from the ceiling and the other half tethered to the floor using nearly invisible wire, with a one-inch gap at eye level. The delicate rising and falling elements create an elegant tension, and the result of the pairing is an ethereal cloud of objects hovering almost magically in space, with a plane of empty space lying between them.
“I have a labor-intensive and detail-oriented way of working, in which craftsmanship and material choices play a large role,” Schenk said.
“My work often starts as a lingering feeling or impression that defies words and imagery,” said Schenk, whose sculptures address issues of physical and mental illness, social interaction and class. Much of the subject matter is drawn from the artist’s familial history.
“I spend a long time meditating on this sentiment, turning it over and over in my mind like a worry stone,” she said. “It’s important for me to hunt down the perfect metaphors and representations until I find one that resonates.”
Schenk’s work has been exhibited in cities across the U.S., including New York City and Chicago, and in Switzerland and Australia, and has been featured in sculpture and craft magazines. Her pieces are surprising and ambitious; in 2009, she collaborated with Portland artist Shelby Davis to create a life-size semi-truck made of drywall. Schenk was one of 19 artists represented in the Oregon biennial, “Portland 2010.”
Exhibitions of regional, national and international stature are on view throughout the academic year in the 1,500 square foot space at Linfield College. Patrons can expect challenging shows that exemplify diverse approaches to the practice of contemporary visual art.
All exhibits are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in the James Miller Fine Arts Center on the Linfield College campus (map). Ample parking is free. For more information, call (503) 883-2804 or visit the gallery online.