NOW WE ARE FIVE
August 2 – September 1, 2018
First Thursday opening August 2, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Since our opening in September 2013, Upfor has presented 50 gallery exhibitions, participated in 20 art fairs in the US and internationally, hosted dozens of online and pop-up projects, and published numerous catalogs and artist books.
Our anniversary exhibition offers an unruly and invigorating selection of new and familiar work from the past five years. During our brief history, we have been honored to work with a remarkable group of artists. We thank all of them for their trust, generosity and unwavering support. Our deep gratitude as well to the collectors and curators who have sought out and supported our program.
Morehshin Allahyari (b. 1985 in Tehran, Iran) is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator currently based in New York. Her work explores political and cultural contradictions through the lens of Middle Eastern and colonial history and modern techno-utopianism. Allahyari holds an MFA from University of North Texas, MA from University of Denver and BA at the University of Tehran, Iran. She is currently an artist in residence at Pioneer Works. She first exhibited at Upfor in 2017 in her solo exhibition She Who Sees the Unknown, though she began working with the gallery in 2016.
Ben Buswell (b. 1974 in Dallas, Oregon) is a sculptor and educator based in Portland, Oregon. His work spans diverse media, encompassing ceramics, metals, resins, incised photographs and more. Buswell was recently awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, is a Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts (2015) and a two-time recipient of the Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and Ford Family Foundation (2014 and 2011). Buswell received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and BFA from Oregon State University. Buswell debuted at Upfor in late 2013 and is the first artist represented by the gallery.
Srijon Chowdhury (b. 1987 in Bangladesh) is a painter and installation artist whose dream-like works are intended to act in the space between knowledge and emotion, considering the present moment as part of a larger, intuited (perhaps mythic) history. Chowdhury recently received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. He divides his time between Portland, where he co-runs the alternative exhibition space Chicken Coop Contemporary, and Los Angeles. He holds an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design. Chowdhury first exhibited at Upfor in the 2015 group show The Great Debate About Art, and became a represented artist later that year.
Jack Featherly (b. 1966 in Rolla, Missouri) is an oil painter based in Portland. His meticulous craft and lack of obvious conceptual basis make for magnetic works, where overlapping blocks of color and pictorial lines maintain a level playing field in terms of visual hierarchies. He recently received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission and was part of Portland 2016: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Michelle Grabner and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center. Featherly holds a BFA in painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Upfor began representing his work in 2014 prior to his solo exhibition Unpattern.
Michelle Grabner (b. 1962 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin) has a multi-faceted career incorporates writing, curating and teaching with a studio practice grounded in process and productivity. As David Norr writes in the introduction to her exhibition at MoCA, Cleveland, “All of Grabner’s activities are driven by distinctive values and ideas: working outside of dominant systems, working tirelessly, working across platforms and towards community.” Grabner holds an MA in Art History and a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University. She curated the Portland 2016 Biennial of Contemporary Art, presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, and currently divides her time between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Cleveland, Ohio. Grabner's first exhibition with Upfor was at the 2017 Seattle Art Fair.
Kris Graves (b. 1982 in Queens, NY) is a photographer and video artist based in New York City. His work explores and re-conceptualizes contemporary black experiences in America through portraiture and storytelling. He collaborates with his subjects in order to capture how they perceive themselves. Graves is also the collections photographer and studio manager at Guggenheim Museum and an adjunct professor at Parsons school of Design. His work exhibited at Upfor in The Soul of Black Art, a 2016 exhibition guest curated by collector John Goodwin.
Julie Green (b. 1961 in Yokosuka, Japan) wanted to be a stewardess until age four, but became a painter instead. Awarded a 2017 Hallie Ford Fellowship in the Visual Arts from The Ford Family Foundation, Green also received a 2011 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, the 2015 ArtPrize 3-D Juried Award, a 2016 Fellowship and a 2017 Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. Last month, Upfor presented a solo exhibition of recent paintings. Since 2000, Green spends half of each year on The Last Supper, a widely covered and ongoing project about capital punishment in the United States. Green lives in the Willamette Valley and is a professor at Oregon State University. Green is represented by Upfor and debuted at the gallery in 2015 with the solo exhibition My New Blue Friends.
Zun Lee (b. 1969 in Frankfurt, Germany) is a Toronto-Based photographer, physician and educator. His work capturing quotidian black life has been published in the New York Times, The New Yorker and TIME. Through his project Father Figure, Lee places the stereotype of the absent black father into a broader context of black masculinity. Lee holds a MD from Goethe University in Germany, MBA from McMaster University School of Business in Ontario, Canada, and he studied photography at the Magnum Foundation and Brown Institute of Media Innovation in New York. His work exhibited at Upfor in The Soul of Black Art, a 2016 exhibition guest curated by collector John Goodwin.
Brenna Murphy (American, b. 1986 in Edmonds, WA) is a New York-based artist and musician engaging with analog, virtual, post-digital methods of creation. She has exhibited and performed widely in the United States, Asia and Europe with major exhibitions at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Germany; The Rubin Museum and at Eyebeam, New York. In 2016, she won Fotomuseum Winterthur's Post-Photography Prototyping Prize. In addition to her solo practice, Murphy is a collaborator with performance art collectives MSHR and Oregon Painting Society. Murphy holds a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Murphy debuted at Upfor in October 2013, becoming a represented artist shortly after Ben Buswell.
Ralph Pugay (b. 1983 in Cavite, Philippines) creates colorful, narrative paintings that juxtapose cultural norms and ideas in ways that are at once playful and unsettling. Pugay holds an MFA in Contemporary Art Practice from Portland State University and is a residency graduate of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Accolades include a Betty Bowen Award from the Seattle Art Museum, an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award. Pugay is currently participating in a series of residencies: at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Atelier Circulaire in Montreal, Rauschenberg Foundation at Captiva Island and the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans. Pugay began working with Upfor in 2013 and first exhibited in Critter in 2014.
Ronny Quevedo (b. 1981 in Ecuador) earned his MFA from Yale University and BFA from The Cooper Union. He is a recipient of the 2016 Queens Museum/Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists and recently completed the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program. Residencies include the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as Kala Art Institute, Project Row Houses, Skowhegan School. Quevedo first exhibited at Upfor in the 2016 exhibition Subduction, curated by Rodrigo Valenzuela. A solo exhibition at Upfor is forthcoming in 2019.
JORDAN RATHUS & JEREMY COUILLARD
Jordan Rathus (b. 1983 in Princeton, New Jersey) creates playful videos, performances and installations that thoughtfully examine genre tropes and pop culture using humor and behind-the-scenes self-consciousness as critical tools. Rathus holds an MFA from Columbia University and BFA in Film and Television Production from New York University. Her accolades include a Brooks Fellowship Award from Anderson Ranch in Colorado. In addition to her art practice, she works as an educator and filmmaker. Rathus first exhibited at Upfor for her 2014 solo exhibition FERNWEH (FARSICKNESS).
Jeremy Couillard (b. 1980, Livonia, MI) lives and works in New York. Couillard makes 3D animations, kinetic sculpture, 3D and 2D prints, paintings and installations. He was recently awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Digital Media. He has a BA from Michigan State University and MFA from Columbia University. He is a New Media professor in Queens. Couillard has been Assistant Professor of New Media at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York since 2014. Couillard collaborated with Jordan Rathus for the work included in this exhibition, which debuted at Upfor in 2016 in the group exhibition Pain Tero Flight.
Heidi Schwegler (b. 1967, San Antonio, Texas) deftly incorporates found objects with traditional craft and sculpture media. She is drawn to the peripheral ruin, modifying discarded things in order to give them a new sense of purpose. Schwegler’s many accolades include an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, Hallie Ford Fellowship and MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Schwegler holds a BFA from the University of Kansas and MFA from the University of Oregon. Schwegler first exhibited at Upfor in 2017's Extinction Anxiety, though she began working with the gallery in early 2016. Her next solo exhibition is scheduled in 2019.
Katie Torn (b. 1982, New York, New York) integrates 3D computer graphics and video to create vibrant prints, collages and experimental moving image works. Inspired by the detritus of the Internet and consumer culture, she incorporates elements from past commodity eras and web browsing histories. Recently a Resident at Process Space on Governor’s Island, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Torn was also a resident at The Institute of Electronic Arts in Alfred, New York and a 2013 Visions Fellow at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 2014's The End of Flutter Valley was Torn's first exhibition at Upfor.
Rodrigo Valenzuela (b. 1982, Santiago, Chile) roots his video and photo-based works in contradictory traditions of documentary and fiction, often involving narratives around immigration and the working class. His many residencies include a Core Fellowship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; LightWork, Syracuse and the Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York. Accolades include a 2017 Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, inclusion in Open Sessions 10 at The Drawing Center, New York and a 2014 Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award. He holds an art history degree from the University of Chile in Santiago, an MFA from the University of Washington and is full-time faculty at UCLA. Valenzuela began working with Upfor in 2014, first exhibiting with the gallery at UNTITLED in Miami.
Laura Vandenburgh (b. 1963 in San Francisco, CA) creates drawing-based works on paper that often cross traditional boundaries into low-relief sculptures and installations. She is recipient of awards from the Ucross Foundation, Ford Family Foundation, Radgale Foundation and the Oregon Arts Commission. Vandenburgh holds an MFA from Hunter College in New York City, a BS in Zoology and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California, Davis. She lives and works in Springfield and teaches at the University of Oregon. Her work exhibited at Upfor in the 2015 group exhibition, Urban Growth Boundary.