Together and Alone
March 2-27, 2021
Kelsey Birsa’s paintings are united through her use of detailed rendering alongside abstract marks, bold colors, and gold highlights. Interested in traditional painting techniques and themes of the human body, she also likes to explore consciousness and the connection or disconnection that we feel with our physical selves.
In her current series, Birsa explores her experiences of the quarantine and the feelings of anxiety and depression that it has created in herself and many others. She sourced images from her remote online community and included mixed media and abstraction in her process as a reflection of the recent chaos of current events. The past year has been a rollercoaster of emotions for many us, ranging from frustration to compassion and confusion to hope, as we navigate a world of information overload. While we each experienced 2020 a little differently, Birsa’s latest series of paintings illustrate how we are together in our loneliness.
Above: Kelsey Birsa, Coping Mechanisms, Oil and mixed media on canvas 63 x 57” 2021
Kelsey Birsa is a painter living in Portland, Oregon and has a BFA in Art Practices from Portland State University. She is the recipient of awards such as Best in Show at the Society of Washington Artists, The Artist Magazine Student Portrait Competition, and first place at Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited locally at the Blackfish Gallery, Art at the CAVE, Gallery 360, North Bank Artist Gallery, and many more. She has been published in the Columbian, Beacon Magazine, Pathos, and The Artist Magazine.
Follow her on Instagram @kelseybirsa
Together and Alone
The speculative worlds I create underscore my affection for the remnants of a more analogue age. The marquee is an ancient mode of advertising, with even fewer characters of expression than a tweet. Although outdated, the brevity of statements parallels the urgency of today’s discourse. This abbreviation of opinions can mirror the abrupt and meme-like way we currently communicate. There is an urgency in language when the space is limited, and it can sometimes be more impactful and earnest. The prints, drawings and sculptural work in this exhibition use the relationship of image and language to formulate the narratives. Through indirect gesture and suggestive vocabulary, the viewer is invited to weave their own connections.
Above: Edie Overturf, Cycles, linocut and screenprint, 22'X 27", 2020
Much of my imagery and use of text were developed to give voice to my own frustrations and despair. My limits have been tested during the pandemic. And like many, I am deeply concerned about the traps of capitalism, and the veil of political deceit that is becoming thinner and thinner. For too long, our world has held so much anger and so much fear, magnified under capitalism and today’s political oppression. And the pandemic has highlighted unresolved discord and disparity in the foundations of American life.
There’s no individual story that encapsulates the communal experience of pain, loss, anger and anxiety. There are moments of fatigue from fighting to merely exist, let alone, to thrive. Flashes of anger and resentment when seeing strangers’ unmasked faces. The loathsome ache of grief and loss that is universally understood, yet painfully isolating. Inequities, injustices and tragedies that have existed among us for far too long being exposed. This work is my way of putting words to that heaviness, to connect with others across a great distance. Through a process of collecting, naming, and giving forms to these emotions, Overturf hopes to have created a space to process, grieve and untangle emotions.
Back Room Gallery
Ikeda has been creating sculptures and paintings that derive inspiration from a dream he had years ago where he was in the midst of cosmos and saw universe as a constantly evolving tree like form where stars appear as flowers and fruits of this Cosmic Tree. This time Ikeda has illustrated this dream as drawings in acrylic ink.
Image: Within the Realm of Cosmic Tree #5, acrylic ink assemblage, 2021
Click through for all images in collection