Blackfish Gallery has supported artists in the Pacific Northwest for many years via a free opportunity to exhibit work in our street-side Fishbowl II window in Portland, Oregon.
In response to the events of 2020, the gallery has committed to shifting the emphasis of that space to increase opportunities for artists of color in our community to be seen and heard. We welcome working with this year’s curator, Christine Miller, whose vision and voice is launching a pilot platform specifically for Black-identifying artists in the Pacific Northwest, with emphasis on artists from the Portland Metro area. This pilot, titled “Without Form and Void,” will run in Fishbowl II through May 2022, with a new artist’s work curated into the window each month. Our hope and intention is that this will become an established program and continue after the pilot.
We're excited to welcome Christine Miller as the first curator for this program. Christine Miller is a conceptual artist and curator currently based in Portland, OR. Her work centers around racial imagery, products and histories while simultaneously reframing her own cultural identity. In addition to her own work, Christine’s curatorial practice centers on bringing underrepresented contemporary artists to the front of the Portland art community and beyond.
STATEMENT | “Without Form and Void centers around the thought of creating in darkness and detaching away from traditional Eurocentric definitions - such as evil or lack. Inspired by a sermon from Pastor Toure Roberts, the message spoke to theological creation, with the verse “let there be light” symbolizing revelation in the light and creation in darkness. Without Form and Void focuses on the importance of darkness as time and space to create from an inner place. This theme is also inspired by Legacy Russel’s Glitch feminism as it applies to the concept of looking at non binary gender as going back to abstraction, reexamining the definition of the word body.
My curatorship is in support of the Absence of Light documentary on HBO which features some of the most monumental Black contemporary artists speaking of their resilience to keep creating without recognition and praise from prominent art spaces and critics. Thus this call is specially for all Black artists in the Oregon, Washington & Idaho areas. As Black creatives living in the Pacific North West, Portland specifically is a space that not only excluded us in legislation but was not created prioritizing Black life, Black lenses or Black creativity. These exhibitions address what was created during the time of darkness and give commentary of this new season of attention."
d.a carter kicks off “Without Form and Void” with his work ‘black want.” Derrais Carter is a teacher, writer and artist from Kansas City, Kansas. Sometimes he makes work oriented around the aesthetics of Black life. Featured in Fishbowl II from Thursday, September 2 – Saturday, October 2, 2021.
Tieara Myers is an African-American abstract artist living in Portland, OR - making art for over 20 years in various mediums and styles. Currently working primarily with acrylics melding empty spaces with impactful symbols and lines. Circles are dominant symbols in her artwork.
This theme was sparked after a death in my family. I began to explore the journey of forgiveness in all its imperfections in their life and afterward in my own. Since then, this theme has only expanded and grown in depth and viscerality.
I am inspired by the abstract, the magical, the surreal, the spiritual. I have a passion for artists like Hilda of Klint, Frida Kahlo, Agnes Pelton, Remedios Varo, and Bisa Butler.
I believe that forgiveness is something everyone can have for themselves and others. Life isn’t perfect, and neither are our individual journeys. I believe there is a simplicity and beauty to accepting, admiring, and seeing the imperfection of life. There is beauty in forgiveness. I communicate these themes and my vision of life through my art. I create art that sparks a reaction in people, bringing them closer, and engaging them in their own sense of feelings, emotions, and memories.
IG/Social Media Handle: @ tiearamyersart
Sharlene Prosser Oregon based artist is a non-binary, mixed race African-American
maker who has been honing their skills in ceramics for the past five years. They are a recent
graduate from Pacific Northwest College of art class of 2021 after transferring from the Oregon
College of Art and Craft in 2019. They make work based on the experience they have in their
body, racial identity, social justice, self love, and community. Through the lens of ceramics they
are inspired to make their own artifacts since they are unable to connect directly with the West
African side of their heritage.
IG/Social Media Handle: @art.by.sharlene
My practice involves making hand-sculpted, one-of-a-kind toys and packaging. Although I call them toys, they are not meant to be played with or opened. My toys are witty, comical, and most of the time inappropriate. My work says what everyone is thinking but may be too polite to bring up. Through these toys, I am able to speak about topics that are scary, frustrating, and uncomfortable to deal with.
The toys of my youth made adulthood look easy. They didn’t tell us what went into getting the dream house and convertible. There was no mention of the debt, small apartments, and long hours at the job. My toys present a packaged reality of how life actually is. Sometimes it's hard but most of the time there’s something to laugh about. My toys draw upon childhood nostalgia to riff on contemporary society while providing the catharsis of childhood play. My toys use humor and sarcasm to deal with events far outside of my control
IG/Social Media Handle: @niksterproductions
Nia Musiba is living and eating and sleeping and creating work and making friends in Portland, Oregon. Her identity as an African-American woman and the daughter of a Tanzanian immigrant influence her work and her exploration of Blackness throughout history. Nia's creations are about being human, about hands and feet and bodies and love and sadness and flowers and sunshine. She views her depictions of Black and brown bodies as a direct response to the hyper-sexualization, brutalization, and overall negative depictions of BiPoC individuals within art and media.
IG/Social Media Handle: @niamusiba
Rose Léon is a Nigerian-American Visual Artist based in Portland, OR. His artistic pieces are an ode to his community who are an integral component of his body of work. In this series "Give Them Their Flowers" he has teamed up with Creative Floral Installation Artist Vytell (Vanessa Tello). “This series is dedicated to the artists in our lives, whom we would like to celebrate and give their flowers to them before our chance to closes.”
IG/Social Media Handle: @rosexleon
Ruby Joy White
Ruby Joy White (b. 1988, Denver, CO; Prince/She) is a stylish, 30-something, sapphically-inclined, writer-altarist-violinist-dancer-Sagittarius-TOMBOY, based in Portland, OR. A neurodivergent radical imaginist, Prince is a cultural curator, and plans & executes creative events, art talks, festivals, and installations that center People of Color and all their intersections. Additionally, Prince is a sociologist, and hosts conversations on equity in creative spaces, engages with youth, and has a background in the academy. She is a Content Writer and Editor for Art for Ourselves, a creative essayist, an anti-racist educator, and is an equity manager for a department in regional government. In creative practice, Ruby curates and creates vibrant experiences that aim to transport those engaged into realms that connect the soul to the beauty and intersections of the self.
Prince’s work is best described as aesthetic, altar-like intimacies that tell stories, illuminate Queerness (in all its forms) and challenge the cacophony of the static norm. These installations come together in a multitude of forms: always centering writing and complemented by paintings, drawings, collages, and antique props. Within her writing practice, Ruby’s swirl of mind and sociological exploration dig into the questions, appreciation, and confusion of self that she finds to be so common amongst her Black Diasporic siblings. Ruby aims to use her artistic and written vehicles as stewards of the power that stems from the granting of self-agency, and the ability to define reality for our(BIPOC)selves.
Ruby holds degrees in Journalism: News/Editorial and Sociology: Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.
IG/Social Media Handle: @rastaroo
Jae Lamar is a mixed media artist living in Medford, Oregon who just finished her Bachelors of Fine Arts. While she enjoys working with a variety of mediums, her particular interests are painting on textile surfaces. Since childhood, she has enjoyed the democratization of art achieved by using utilitarian mediums such as T-shirts, felt, bed sheets and more. She believes there’s something special about wearable, usable art- it makes room for people who enjoy aesthetic beauty but don’t necessarily have the privilege to purchase large framed or canvas works.
All of her art is focused on inviting as many people to the conversation as possible. Art, she believes, is the true litmus for the values, hopes, fears, and social norms for any society. In addition to painting, she has explored these themes in the medium of sculpture, video, digital art, performance art and several others. She hopes to continue on in her mission to share art with people generally excluded from conversations about art; maybe in the form of a non-profit dedicated to community art projects.
IG/Social Media Handle: @Jaeleelamar
Myles Parker is a local painter/clothing designer that currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon. As an artist with multiple creative outlets, his passion in painting is particularly driven by his fascination with the in depth exploration of the vast color wheel. This passion is brought to life through his expansive canvas to canvas contemporary art pieces. When creating, Parker strongly believes in relaxing his mind and letting the paint and his intuition lead the way. Once he feels like a piece is complete, he evaluates and the process begins again.
When consuming his work, please note that Parker strongly believes that interpretation is up to the viewer. There is no right or wrong, whatever you feel and see is true. Feel free to share your thoughts with him at @artbymylesp.
IG/Social Media Handle: @artbymylesp