Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery, 929 NW Flanders, through Dec 30
Anna Fidler's new exhibition at Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery, Oblivious Peninsulas, indicates a substantial jump-off for the already accomplished local artist. Known best for abstract panoramic landscapes that she builds from cut, colored paper, Fidler expands her repertoire here in many mediums. Her paper constructions have grown denser and more wildly colorful; the paintings reflect an abstract psychedelia in the vein of Steve DiBenedetto and Darren Waterston; a video collaboration with Philip Cooper shows Fidler installing felt constructions in the landscape; and finally, Fidler's band, the Sensualists, have released a new CD in conjunction with the video.
Hi Anna. You said you've been traveling a lot this year?
Yeah. One thing I did was to go back to visit my parents in Michigan, and a lot of the peninsula pieces in the show are inspired by the area, and growing up there surrounded by water and the shapes of peninsulas. My dad is a science teacher, so we went out and visited some bogs, where, if you jump up and down, you can feel the whole land ripple.
Do the peninsulas in your work also refer to an emotional state—of extending yourself and reaching out as much as you can?
In a sense. Growing up on a peninsula, I'm attracted to their remoteness, and also to the fact that in order to experience a peninsula, you have to travel it twice—once to enter it, and then again to leave. They always have a connotation about going as far as you can.
What does working with paper give you that you don't get from painting?
I like the actual physicality of cutting paper. That's what it comes down to. With paint—I like to pour paint and watch how the air evaporates it and how I can slowly manipulate it by adjusting the board. The painting is very quick, but the collage is very meditative. The act of cutting, the repetition of it, and moving the pieces around the paper is very deliberate, where the painting is a lot looser.
Maybe it's just the new CD, but the work in the show seems especially musical to me. The peninsulas can even be seen as sheet music.
Well, I actually moved to Portland originally to make music, so it's very important to me. When I work in the studio, I tend to listen to the same thing over and over and over, so I can't help but think that this music informs the work.
So what were you listening to nonstop while making this work?
I've been listening to Ariel Pink almost nonstop, and a lot of dub. But in my mind, Ariel Pink is the sort of unofficial soundtrack to Oblivious Peninsulas.