In an exhibition exchange that is unprecedented for Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), the College’s Feldman Gallery + Project Space will partner with Threewalls, a Chicago nonprofit art organization dedicated to cultivating contemporary art practice and discourse. For Binary Lore, Feldman Gallery curator Mack McFarland and Shannon Stratton, curator and director of Threewalls, have collectively selected two artists from their respective cities for the dual exhibitions. Opening on December 6 in the Feldman Gallery + Project Space, Binary Lore will showcase Edie Fake, from Chicago and PNCA alumna Brenna Murphy ’09, from Portland. A new version of the exhibition will be on display at Threewalls in June 2013.
In this, the second decade of the 21st century, it’s too soon to be able to pull back and identify the definitive aspects of this era. Perhaps it will be known for its idiosyncratic eclecticness, for a hodgepodge of digital-handicraft and self-published reality shows. Or perhaps it is moving toward the process of definition rather than an arrival at a taxonomy that will mark this time. It’s this journey of Binary Lore that brings together the work of Edie Fake and Brenna Murphy. Residing (when not touring) in Chicago and Portland, OR respectively, these next-level troubadours are creating songs and sounds, paintings and gifs, comics and installations, all in the service of understanding the mythological truths of the present in the dim screen light of history’s past.
Fake has taken to unearthing nuggets of information of Chicago’s queer cultural past. Names of clubs, bars, and social gatherings that live on only in name are the subjects of a series of drawing titled City of Night. These works, colorfully and meticulously crafted in pen, ink, and gouache, are imagined architectural façades of place such as Mama Peaches, Sappho, and The Virgo Out. Like any bard worth his salt, Fake is able to combine the historical and fictitious into a poetic image, the content of which is lodged in the viewer. This is only one project for Fake. His current serial comic, Gaylord Phoenix, which he described as, “a psychedelic microcosm of homoerotic smut and gender meltdown,” is dominated by lanky figures and mind-altering patterns, with a smattering of word, void of talk bubbles and panels.
Murphy’s digital compositions are a stellar example of the digital handicraft being done today. Somewhere between alien artifact and computer game nightmare, these works possess a musicality in the vein of LaMonte Young and Steve Reich, echoing outward and inward. The repetition of textures in these works find their way into her floor installations and her collaborative project with Birch Cooper, MSHR. With MSHR, Murphy and Cooper create interactive sound installations made up of various sculptural, electronic instruments of driftwood, wire, lights, houseplants, and mirrors, the signal to music sounds of which modulate with every moving body in the room. After allowing the curious audience members the chance to tinker with the gear, Murphy and Cooper take over creating a multi-textured sonic and visual experience, that only the maker could coax from such equipment.
Together Edie Fake and Brenna Murphy present two multi-faceted approaches and distribution methods to unpacking our definition-dodging time.
In addition to a display of his own work Edie Fake will bring to PNCA a selection of comics from Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), which Fake co-organized in June 2012.
This exhibition at the Feldman Gallery + Project Space is supported in part by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Regional Arts And Culture Council, and the Oregon Cultural Trust.