former Liz Leach Gallery, 207 SW Pine, through August 21st
Part of this summer's Taking Place series, BENT brings together three of Portland's most inspired emerging artists, each of whom has transformed the former Liz Leach Gallery space through site-specific installations. Chandra Bocci, Ryan Boyle, and Jesse Duros have created spaces out of modest materials (such as commercial cardboard and plastic) that are transporting and disorienting, if somewhat inscrutable.
Bocci's "Wash" marks a departure from the fairy tale imagery and 1980s childhood relics that populated last year's "Bubble Speak" installation at the now-defunct Haze Gallery. With "Wash," she trades in the My Little Ponies, Otter Pops, and bright yellow mustard packets for an intricate layering of cardboard disks, loops of paper, and wire helixes that wind and twist. Limited to a grayscale palette, "Wash" is an amorphous collision of forms that at once implies undulating movement and the serene play of shadows.
In Boyle's piece, "The Greenhouse Effect," a painstakingly constructed, miniature community perches on a wall and extends to a pillar in the center of the gallery. In an ironic nod to the piece's title, these incredibly detailed architectures are constructed of recycled materials such as cardboard, turn-of-the-century sheet music, and green twisty ties, which function as roofs. As the structures stretch along the wall, tiny perforated paper dots spill out of every door and onto the floor like confetti—or perhaps the indistinguishable inhabitants of this constructed society.
Finally, Durost's "Pop Mantra" occupies a separate, darkened room at the back of the gallery. Hundreds of small translucent vellum panels—each bearing a succinct hand-written "thought"—are suspended by nylon wires that shimmer like spider webs under a single light, creating a kind of chandelier of speech bubbles. The panels' "thoughts" veer from vulnerable ("No one understands") to asinine ("People drive like idiots"). This effect is echoed in an accompanying sound collage, in which urgent newscasters and snippets of pop music compete with deep, rumbling ring modulations that build to shrill frequencies.