Artist creates twist on community

Masterplexed,” an exhibit by Damien Gilley, features a maze-like exploration of master-planned communities. Katie Paysinger, Senior Photographer

Masterplexed,” an exhibit by Damien Gilley, features a maze-like exploration of master-planned communities. Katie Paysinger, Senior Photographer

Artist Damien Gilley spoke in an artist talk on Feb. 19., answering questions from the audience and describing his artwork, which is on exhibit in the Linfield Gallery.

His piece, titled “Masterplexed,” is a maze-like design that challenges perceived and actual space. It features temporary walls set up at 45-degree angles that confuse the eye’s perception of the installation. The continuity of the walls and lines are interrupted by the artist’s manipulation.

“The main point was to create space visually instead of physically,” Gilly said.

Gilley uses the installation of makeshift walls using gray panels to develop and elaborate on the room’s already existing walls. The lines on the panels are contrasted with additional orange lines. Everything in the exhibit is set to a grid with simple angles.

He said he wanted to reinforce the grid and then break it at the same time.

“The orange lines have no grid relationship; they are less measured and less predictable,” Gilley said.

Cris Moss, gallery director and instructional associate of art and visual culture, shared his perceptions of the exhibit.

Gilley’s work “questions how we view our personal space and perception. His art is busy yet clean. It uses simple lines and colors that allow the viewer to extend viewing past the walls,” Moss said.

The simplicity of the display is one of Gilley’s artistic traits. At first glance, the piece looks complex and busy but is simple at it’s core.

“The goal is to create a perplexing space with a minimal amount of visual stimuli, allowing the viewer to explore and experience subtle perceptual phenomena. The space is optically playing with color, spacial depth and flatness,” Gilley said.

The exhibit translates as something different to everyone who sees it.

“The exhibit is sort of a maze,” freshman Harry Bayley said.“It reminded me of a fun house. I like that it suggests depth without using shading. It looks like you could almost walk into the wall.”

Gilley reflected on his work.

“I like making visually challenging spaces, specifically referencing contemporary architectural developments,” he said. ‘Masterplexed’ is a pun on ‘master-planned communities’ and developments with a confusing twist.”

Gilley’s artwork has been showcased in many venues including the Las Vegas Museum of Art, the Arthouse in Austin, Texas, and even the East West Project in Berlin. He has received many grants from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and was awarded an artist fellowship by the Oregon Arts Commission in 2010.

He is an adjunct professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the Art Institute in Portland.

The exhibit will run through March 12. Gilley’s flat artwork is also featured inside of the James F. Miller Fine Arts Gallery.
For more information, contact Moss at

Kelsey Sutton, Staff Reporter

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