Eyeshine: Wendy Given and Ryan Pierce - Opening Reception
Thursday, January 7, 2016 - 4:00pm
Eyeshine: Wendy Given and Ryan Pierce - Opening Reception

Autzen Gallery
Neuberger Hall, room 204

School of Art+Design
Portland State University
724 SW Harrison St
Portland OR 97201

Exhibition on view January 7 - 29, 2016

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 7, 4-7pm

Wendy Given and Ryan Pierce present Eyeshine, at PSU’s Autzen Gallery from January 7 through January 29th. In Eyeshine, the first of a series of two-person shows, the Portland artists present new sculptures, paintings, and photographs drawn from the intersection of their creative visions: the nocturnal, the nonhuman, and the wildness that resides in each of us.

For this exhibition, Given has produced vivid, uncanny photographs and sculptures that resonate in the dark, unstable ground between consciousness and collective memory. Her practice stems from a profound interest guided by the natural world, folklore, myth and magic—magic as a term meant to conjure the notion of the interconnectedness of all life forces. Nature is prescribed as a foundation of verity, power, and mystery in the work—both intelligible and arcane. While Given’s subject matter dwells on primeval belief systems, the resulting work is distinctively contemporary—reflective of modern culture’s mode of assimilating and processing myth.

Pierce will exhibit mixed-media sculptures and paintings inspired by his visit to a mask museum in Zacatecas, Mexico. As a continuation of his series Terra Incognita, Pierce looks to the historical parallels between the search for knowledge and the conquest of land and people. In the styles of botanical illustration, surrealism, and folk art, his objects and images evoke the confluence of the Age of Discovery with present and near-future uncertainty about climate change, speaking to a simmering dread that we are desecrating the natural world just as we come to know it.

Eyeshine was devised while Given and Pierce spent two weeks camping together as hosts of Signal Fire’s Outpost Residency this past Summer. Given and Pierce both convey an intense yearning to honor and utilize our inherent awareness through their respective visual crafts—to regain unspoken understanding and to be conscientious of the fact that we are all, and always will be (as humans), integral to and dependent on the natural world.


WENDY GIVEN studied fine art and was trained in painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture during her BFA undergraduate work at Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her MFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California. and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work is represented by whitespace in Atlanta, Georgia where she and Ryan Pierce will showcase their second collaborative exhibition; Spellbinder, opening April 1st, 2016. Wendy is an Assistant Trip Leader with Signal Fire and works as a Studio Artist with Wieden + Kennedy in Portland.

RYAN PIERCE makes paintings, texts, and journeys inspired by the resilience of the natural world. He has exhibited internationally and his work has been recognized by grants from the Joan Mitchell and San Francisco Foundations, and by reviews in Art in America, Art Papers, and The Oregonian. Pierce has is currently Artist-in-Residence at Portland State University’s School of Art and Design. He is co-founder of Signal Fire, an organization that provides wilderness residencies and retreats for artists of all disciplines.  He is represented by Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland. 

Review of EYESHINE from Oregon ArtsWatch