December 1, 2020-January 2, 2021
Above: Unite, 2020, oil on canvas flag
Below: Purple Flag with Gunpowder, 2020, acrylic and gunpowder on canvas flag
These paintings reconfigure the American flag using class III reflective material, which is required PPE for all work done on the streets, such as construction and public works. I am a female artist who works full-time in a public service field typically dominated by conservative, working class males. I was using mirrors in my work as a metaphorical material, exploring ideas of distortion and reflection. When I started working in a position requiring these reflective uniforms and reporting to work before dawn, the mirror-like glow of this material in the dark of morning, along with the connection to the people who wear it, inspired me to begin sewing with it. The act of cutting, hand-sewing, and painting the American flag, and then sewing again with a mirror-like representation of the working-class, is meant as both iconoclasm of the symbol for a nation in crisis and redemption, beautification, and insertion of feminist power into a symbol of contention.
Many of the pieces utilize gunpowder, which I set on fire. This technique was taken from Cai Guo Xiang, but the idea of actually doing it was inspired by two drawing students at the four-room schoolhouse that is Chemeketa Community College's Dallas campus. The repetition of stripes, to me, alludes to prison bars. I was thinking of Peter Haley's "Cells" here. I wanted to make art that addresses the issue of the ever-expanding American prison-industrial complex, while keeping it abstract and interwoven with the other ideas.
Art Treasures of India
Tower graduated with a major in painting from PNCA and has
been painting non-stop ever since. Her journey has taken her on
a variety of voyages from paintings of distinguished personage of
the 20th Century to architecture seen abroad to abstract painting.
Her fascination with art history has led to create her current
series inspired by paintings made in India between the 14th and
While researching India’s rich art history, she says, “I fell head over heels in love with India’s miniature paintings originally inspired by Persian miniatures. They were first painted on leaves, so fragile that few remained for any length of time. They were originally intended to be held in the hands of one person. Tower’s paintings reference stylized heroes, demons and Goddesses. Tower’s choice of medium, oil on canvas, give her interpretations the opportunity to stand the test of time.
Left: Bhadragaura, Oil on canvas, 24"X 18", 2020
Back Room Gallery
Featured in the Backroom Gallery this month is the Small Works Fundraiser. This exhibition features work by Blackfish Gallery artists. 100% of sales from this exhibition goes to the Oregon Food Bank. All works are under $150 and proceeds go towards Oregonians in need this holiday season.