Germination | Xander Marrow + Rocket


Xander Marrow + Rocket

July 2 – July 27, 2018

Reception: Friday July 20, 2018, 6 - 8pm

In the floral kingdom, “germination” is the phase between a seed structure’s inception and fruition: a restless, micro-laborious process mechanizing out of sync with humanity’s perception of natural reality. Broadening the concept, germination is the growth of a large, complex structure or concept from a smaller, more simple one. Germination is only possible through consistent exposure to nurturing elements, as defined by the structure.

Applying this concept to contemporary urban film photographer, Germination is a duo exhibition by two emerging photographers. Xander Marrow and Rocket exhibit, on their own wall of Portland State University’s White Gallery, small-scale photographs documenting the realities of young DIY artists across mediums. Between Marrow’s map of Portland grown from his collection of over 14,000 processed film images taken in four years; and Rocket’s intimate Holga portraits of burlesque and drag artists seconds before performing at Pacific Northwest cabaret revues; the viewer sees common themes including fearlessness, tenacious grit and expression as self-actualization. Germination’s reception coincides with the launch of Rocket’s new self-published zine about her years working in Portland’s most legendary and infamous clubs.

Xander Marrow is a photographer using analog methods to create a site specific installation that captures the less familiar side of an ever changing Portland landscape. The photos and their respective locations not only mark in which quadrant of the city they were taken, but also from which perspective Portland and its inhabitants were initially seen. The center road that divides the wall is an all too familiar boundary. Memories of Old Portland, missed connections and architectures, both physical and social, act as a network of passed moment. This installation is a homage to a photographic past, a memory of a Portland as some of us knew it and a glimpse into the networked future.

Xander Marrow uses photography to cope with their dissociative behavior in social situations. Their camera allows them to interact with the world around them and focus on the “imperfections” that bring them a sense of peace.

In this portrait series composed of Holga images, and its corresponding zines, Rocket captures fellow cabaret performance artists in the moments just before they step on stage, in an effort to document the moment of change from person to stage persona. Her known presence in the performance art community gives her a unique advantage to photograph her peers in the very private environment of the dressing room, where artists are kept safe from the outside world.

Burlesque, drag, vaudeville and circus —cabaret —artists often perform works that are personal in nature, and the artform lends itself well to self-exploration and growth. There are moments in this growth when the performer is both vulnerable and strong, and one of these moments is right before they step on stage. Rocket takes a only a moment to capture images of her subjects at this time, in an attempt to show a performer about to blossom.
Rocket is best known as a burlesque entertainer, show producer and strip club dancer in Portland, Ore., where her career has blossomed over the last twelve years to include published writing and multimedia art. With Germinate, she makes a debut as a photographer. Her work with the camera is influenced by her father's career as a professional photographer and a desire to capture the beauty she sees in her fellow performers. Rocket also worked as a preparator and PR manager at Rising Room Gallery in Portland, Ore.

Littman White