January 2017

Wish You Were Here: The Lure of the Exotic

Curated by R Keaney Rathbun

January 4 – January 29, 2017

Preview reception: Jan 4, 5-8pm
First Thursday Reception: Jan 5, 5:30-­8pm
Artist Talk: Jan 22, 11am


The term exotic is most usually defined as something originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country. It can also mean strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual. Some of us pursue these glimpses of the exotic in our lives, always curious about things and places that are unfamiliar to us. This exhibition is about the various ways in which six artists use their own sense of what exotic means to create their work.

Baba Wague Diakite is a native of Mali. His work is literally exotic, of another place. His ceramic vessels are decorated with narratives of his country’s fables.

Frank Hyder’s paintings and carvings are inspired by his travels and projects in Venezuela. The striking portraits of tribesmen of the Amazon Rainforest connect deeply with our primitive id.

Lisa Onstad’s abstractions condense her experience of travel, too. Her color palette and references to architectural forms hints at her journeys to Nicaragua. Her technique of adding, subtracting, and layering fragments gives her work an oblique sense of memory itself.

The figures of Mary Josephson’s glass mosaics seem naïve and primitive. So while they are easily understood to be from this place, they feel like they could have been created in any number of other lands. The mosaic technique itself shares a common language with those of ancient Rome.

Adam Sorenson’s acid-kool aid-colored landscape paintings in oil on canvas seem to be from another planet altogether. While they are at least partially inspired by both traditional Japanese Woodblock prints and contemporary Japanese aesthetics they also could be seen as a post- apocalyptic world, albeit a rather peaceful one.

Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley is inspired by the creatures and the Flora of the tropics. She paints in various watercolor mediums on paper or panel. Her vision is decidedly retro. They look as if they could have been painted in 1940’s Hawaii. There is nostalgia and alluring Romance to these works, as if they were from another time AND place.

The thing all these artists have in common is that they make me see the world differently, they transport me beyond the here and now.


-R. Keaney Rathbun


Thank you to Russo Lee Gallery, PDX Contemporary, and Butters Gallery for loaning work to this exhibition.