Storied Texture | Jeffrey Liddicoat + ariella tai
Jeffrey Liddicoat + ariella tai
August 8 – 30, 2018
Reception: Thursday, August 9, 6-8 PM
Statement from curator Andrew D. Jankowski:
Storied Texture is an exhibition centralizing texture’s role as a lens for analyzing and understanding non-traditional contemporary artworks, elevating the unseen labors an artist performs in selecting media as a means of furthering expression. How does the viewer navigate a work’s representational form when it both references and defies natural reality, sifting through seemingly broken colors and constructs, from strategically arranged digital and physical debris, especially if they don’t know the strategy? Storied Texture invites the viewer to note not the gallery as site specificity, but also how each piece interacts and intersects with one another.
As a presentation of two artists’ distinct practices, Storied Texture also centers perspectives from people whose communities process trauma from systematic oppression. Both artists’ works resistance, survival and respectability politics to convey messages and aesthetics reflecting their communities in a space which has been historically exclusive and exclusionary.
Jeffrey Liddicoat presents selections from his sourced wood sculptures at Outsider Gallery, an exhibition space and campsite in inner East Portland. Liddicoat, a member of the houseless rights collective Right 2 Survive, routinely face cruel “sweeps,” wherein his personal belongings are seized by agencies contracted by the City of Portland. A month prior to Storied Texture, Liddicoat’s sculpture collection and personal belongings sustained severe-to-irreparable damage seized by Pacific Patrol Services.
Video artist, film scholar, and independent programmer ariella tai presents previously unseen works from hoe dor, a multi-channel video installation sourcing, processing and glitching video from popular film and television, invested in reaching behind, inside and underneath Black narrative, image and performance. As part of Storied Texture, tai’s work activates Littman Gallery with sound and color.
"I see and feel what, for lack of a better word, I’ll call spirit. It is pervasive in the outdoors: in the rain puddle, the bark of the tree, the fallen leaf, the pattern of the dog’s fur, the cloud, and yes, even in yard debris and driftwood. Indoors, I rarely experience that which is spirited.
And so through my life choices, and through my wood sculptures, I seek to be as close to, in touch with, and reflective of that spirited world. As a consequence, I live —quite comfortably, cleanly, and alongside other so-called “homeless” people (who share a very low carbon footprint). For our efforts, there is constant judgement, police harassment, and various punishments, punishments that cause stress and devalues longevity and quality of life.
Repeatedly, my wood sculptures have been stolen by and destroyed by Portland police. Every day, “outsider people” have everything they have threatened, taken, and destroyed by this culture. It is a greedy, death-worshipping culture. The more this culture touches a part of the world, the less spirited that part of the world becomes.
And so I say: hands off the homeless, and hands off my outsider art."
Jeffrey Liddicoat is a sculptor and political activist. He attended Loyola University of Chicago and Florida Technical University on debate scholarships, and has previously run as a Portland mayoral candidate. Liddicoat is a board member for Right 2 Survive, a group of houseless and formerly houseless individuals and supporters dedicated to teaching about and defending the human, civil and constitutional rights of people experiencing homelessness. He operates Outsider Art Gallery, his home and workspace, in East Portland.
For more information on Outsider Art Gallery, visit outsider-art gallery.business.site.
For more information on Right 2 Survive, visit right2survive.org.
"in the hbo series, game of thrones, hodor protects an heir to the throne. he can only speak the nonsense phrase “hodor.” over the course of the show he is repeatedly physically and mentally possessed by the telepathic heir to various ends. in his moment of death, we see a revealing flashback— he saw his death many years ago and has since been only capable of occupying and articulating the moment in which he dies, “hodor” or “hold the door”. his identity being articulated as the moment of his death resonated with the how depictions and narrative deployments of black death, as well as the labor leading up to and surrounding these deaths, are mobilized in popular film and television. how that moves in conjunction with the respectability politics that mediate our political and social value in these obligations towards care, labor, sacrifice and performance —or what we are continually expected to hold at bay— brought me to the work that comprises hoe dor.
hoe dor is a multi-channel video installation. Sourcing, processing and glitching video from popular film and television, hoe dor is a collection of work invested in reaching behind, inside and underneath black narrative, image and performance. How do we talk about the things we’re not supposed to? What happens when we see what is deliberately hidden? Who do we fail when we are messy, irreverent and bitter? How do we handle, process and heal from the pain we’re expected to bear with grace?"
ariella tai is a video artist, film scholar, and independent programmer from queens, new york. they are interested in the materiality of black bodies and black performance as vernaculars which subvert, interrupt or defy the diegetic cohesiveness of narrative. they currently re- appropriate, glitch and video process existing media in attempts to rupture and reconstruct some of the messier emotional realities of black femme existence. they are one half of “the first and the last,” a fellowship, workshop and screening series supporting and celebrating the work of black women and femmes in film, video and new media art.