PDX CONTEMPORARY ART presents The Book is a Body that Bends, an exhibition of new works by Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen that reflects their preoccupation with books. From photographic color fields depicting the dyed fore-edges of pulp paperbacks, to drawings of broken spines and warped pages, and sculptural tomes made from cement and bound paper, the works in the exhibition are about the book as a physical object and a metaphor for the body.
Made in parallel to a process of becoming informed about trauma, we're interested in the ways the body holds a history (visible or invisible) of past suffering—how it accrues vulnerabilities and constructs protections against the realities of being in the world. Both hard-edged and soft, open and bound, ghostly and bodied, the pieces in the show depict texts that have been damaged by use, by the market, by water or air yet remain beautiful in their singularity.
With the knowledge that coming to terms with traumatic experience necessitates a certain kind of literacy and collective regard, we're excited to co-host a series of Saturday morning reading discussions in the gallery from 11:30-1pm. Discussions are open to the public. More details, bibliography, and links to reading material we be on the gallery website June 1st so please check back with us then.
Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen have worked together as a single artistic entity for over ten years, making project-based artwork that focuses on the activities of reading & writing and the ways we come to and through knowledge. They use art as an extended form of study and a way to transform the solitary act of reading into a collective one. Gray + Paulsen have been artists-in-residence at the Schneider Museum of Art, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and Oregon College of Art & Craft as well as recipients of grants from the Precipice Fund and Regional Arts & Culture Council, and the Oregon Arts Commission. Among their solo and group exhibitions are shows at PDX CONTEMPORARY ART, Marylhurst Art Gym, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, The White Box, and Disjecta (Portland, OR), Schneider Museum of Art (Ashland, OR), Museum of Northwest Art (La Conner, WA), Tacoma Art Museum (Tacoma, WA), James Harris Gallery (Seattle, WA), SPACES (Cleveland, OH), Renaissance Society (Chicago, IL), Boise State University (Boise, ID), and Locust Projects (Miami, FL). They’re work is included in the public collections of Washington University Library (St. Louis, MO), University of Oregon (Eugene, OR), and the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK), among others.