Call of the Wild:
Through July 28
Over 150 people streamed through KALA on Saturday, July 9, the opening of the ground floor space at the HIPFiSH production office, in conjunction with Astoria Second Saturday Art Walk. An auspiciously sunny eve (one of few yet this summer) helped raise the spirits and numbers of art walkers and fill the new flexi-space.
Freshly-caught tuna on an open face sandwich, prune tarts, pirrakaa, smoked salmon and salty licorice were a part of the traditional Finnish food offerings tied to Astoria’s Scandinavian heritage and gallery namesake KALA (Finnish word for fish, pronounced with the glottal “K” sound).
Delight in food and drink and sunny eve KALA guests interacted with large-scale installation works by featured artists Anne Greenwood and Renia Ydstie.
Portland mixed media artist Anne Greenwood’s animalistic figure, A Kind of Blue, Sleep, I’ve Got U, (17’ long, constructed of dyed indigo muslin and filled with shredded documents) was intended to be suspended from the gallery ceiling by a net. Says Greenwood, “An animal-person caught in the air in a net is a sensation, premonition, gut feeling, or instinct. This figure describes the feeling. Is the net a sieving? A trap? An embrace? Is the figure a memory, a person, a dream?”
As experiments will go, upon filling the gentle, blue giant, the weight of shredded paper prohibited the raising of “Blue.” At opening time, a gravity-ridden figure lay in wait for its participants. Visitors were compelled to physically interact, to lie, to sit, to hug, and to rest on “BLUE.” Greenwood’s artfully constructed figure, of which has taken on a spirit of its own, lays in respite, its form displaying signs of human embrace.
In contrast, Greenwood’s subtle, embroidered images on found textiles accompany on the adjacent wall. In addition, her debut work, and large-scale piece Dresden Plate Quilt is created from rift-sawn white oak plywood, silkscreen, and found objects (old bottle caps and colorful gelato spoons from a trip to Argentina). Greenwood approaches the quilt as cultural artifact, that tells about the person or community that made them. The Dresden Plate quilt pattern was one of the most popular quilts made during the 1920s and 30s.
Intended for interaction, local artist Renia Ydstie’s Bird’s and Nest made for a lively spot at KALA, and continues to enchant visitors. The NEST, built to human proportion, is based on many forms of enclosed woven bird nests. Participants joyfully climbed in and surprisingly found it to be “different” on the inside. A haven, a resting place, a cocoon . . . a journal is handy to jot down impressions. Most visitors express they would love to have one of their own.
Ydstie’s accompanying movable flock of birds (the birds can be purchased from the flock), were made after watching an enormous flock that was living over by Burger King this winter.
Each bird is built around a blown chicken eggshell. The body is sculpted with papier-mâché feathers cut from a romance novel, newspapers, tickets and linen, then finished with beeswax. Birds are hung in mated pairs so that when one bird is pulled, another moves. Participants may move birds as they wish, thus constantly changing the shape of the flock. More participants = more flock movement. Natural motion has the birds spinning free in any direction.
All are invited to visit KALA, and experience an imaginative, interactive installation. KALA is open Fri – Sun, 12noon to 5pm, and by appt. Located at 1017 Marine Drive. Call 503.338.4878.