Gabriel Manca - Socializing Cats
Robert Yoder - Cover You and Smother You

May 3 - May 28, 2011

First Thursday reception
May 5th, 2011
open until 8:00pm

Gabriel Manca - _i_Socializing Cats__i__br_
Socializing Cats is the latest solo exhibit by Eastern Oregon artist Gabriel Manca. Known for his shadowbox scenes of oblique family and community rituals, Manca here turns his focus to the individuals at the heart of his complex relationships. His carved wooden figures now stand alone, raw and unpainted, removed from any stage or familiar surroundings. By this act of decontextualization, he confronts difficult questions of personal roles, strengths and weaknesses, needs and responsibilities. The works in this exhibit are reminders of the fluidity of seemingly entrenched and rigid dynamics. The cast shifts, people enter and leave by choice or by necessity, birth or death. Throughout these transitions, Manca retains key elements of his personal iconography- a diver’s fins, mask and snorkel- the trappings of a careful explorer, making discoveries both external and internal.

Cover You and Smother You is the latest body of work by mixed media artist Robert Yoder. This collection of collages and oil paintings investigates issues of fantasy, desire, and what it means to physically/emotionally connect or detach. Yoder likens the artmaking process to romantic attraction- a back-and-forth pull between powerful forces ranging from arousal and devotion to guilt, indifference and vulnerability. Fashion models are reassigned to serve as visual elements in his collages, covered beneath swatches of color and pattern, inverted and minimized. The oil paintings in this exhibit represent some of Yoder’s early forays into the medium, which he views as a necessary counterpoint to his collage work. As he states, “The collages begin with the real and work toward an abstraction; the paintings begin with an abstraction and work toward realness”. A sense of discovery is evident as pale colors appear to seep and pool from fissures in thick, white impasto surfaces. Yoder combines these paintings with found papers in a single composition, working from opposite directions toward a common aesthetic goal.