NOVEMBER 15 – DECEMBER 16, 2018
By appointment through January 3, 2019
The Cooley Gallery is proud to present GULALHI—the first one-person U.S. exhibition by UK-based artist and Reed alumna STEPHANIE GERVAIS. The title of the exhibition is a Pashto name—meaning flowers—that appears as a tattoo in the artist’s photograph AZIZ, 2018.
Gervais created the works in GULALHI while living outside of the Unites States, from 2010–2018. First residing and making art in the hillside favelas above Rio de Janeiro for four years, Gervais then moved to England to earn her MFA at Goldsmiths University. It was there that she discovered a network of people supporting the rapidly expanding camp of Sudanese, Afghan, and Syrian refugees in Calais, France.
Aided by her knowledge of French, Gervais began spending long stretches of time in Calais, living in the camp and getting to know the residents. Struck by their self-organization, endurance, and translation of social customs—and invited to share in this aesthetic of hospitality and conviviality—Gervais slowly began recording the residents' stories over tea and meals.
The works in GULALHI were created during and after this time, as Gervais’ relationships deepened. Some of the works in the exhibition have continued to evolve in response to Gervais’ lasting friendships with people who left the camp—smuggled into England in trucks, or onto trains departing from Calais.
“Aesthetics is a way of communicating—without words—aspects of one’s sublime unconscious with that of others. It is sensing the way others identify and relate to one’s own experience.” *
* Frank J. Ninivaggi M.D., F.A.P.A., “Aesthetics and Envy,” Psychology Today, June 30, 2012.
IMAGE: Stephanie Gervais, Phone and powerbank burnt by the police, 2018. Archival inkjet print on Dibond, 22.5 x 28 in. Courtesy of the artist © S. Gervais 2018
Artist talk and reception:
November 20, 6:30 pm
Reed College chapel, Eliot hall, followed by a party at the Cooley
Works by Afghan performance artist LIDA ABDUL, with remarks by Gervais
November 28, 6:00 pm
Over the last decade, Gervais has developed an aesthetic that privileges presence, openness, and transference, whether through the sound and touch of the body, or the translation of words and gestures through different materials and contexts. The exhibition also includes a small group of experimental sculptures that adorn the body.
While the works in GULALHI seek to embody, or relate to, the experiences of others, their position is neither documentary nor objective. Gervais believes in the realness of artistic acts to engender communication, understanding, and emotional release, as she creates within and alongside her surroundings. Over time, these encounters are recounted and symbolized through material events—patterns, clothing, and non-sequential photographs that belong together but do not ask to be understood as the material evidence of anything other than the needs and aspirations of people.
While the Cooley is something of an artificial hothouse for these peripatetic, sensory objects, Gervais is using the opportunity to continue her outreach from the United States. During the exhibition, Gervais will introduce different forms of communication into the space, including: web-based conversations with refugees living in the UK; group making sessions with students and the public; and the first regional screening of the films of Afghan performance artist LIDA ABDUL.
THE DOUGLAS F. COOLEY MEMORIAL
ART GALLERY, REED COLLEGE
3203 SE WOODSTOCK BLVD.
PORTLAND, OREGON 97202-8199
HOURS: NOON TO 5 P.M., TUESDAY – SUNDAY, FREE
LOCATED ON THE MAIN FLOOR OF THE REED LIBRARY
The mission of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery is to enhance the academic offerings of Reed College with a diverse range of scholarly exhibitions, lectures, and colloquia in its role as a teaching gallery.
The gallery was established by a generous 1988 gift from Sue and Edward Cooley and John and Betty Gray "in support of the teaching of art history at Reed College, as part of an interdisciplinary educational experience that strengthens the art history component of Reed's distinctive humanities program." Exhibitions are coordinated in collaboration with Reed faculty members and courses, with attention to the needs and interests of the larger Portland and Northwest arts communities. A schedule of three to four exhibitions during the academic year brings to Reed and the Portland community work that would not otherwise be seen in the region.
John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director
Registrar and Program Coordinator
Education Outreach Coordinator
Calligraphy Initiative Coordinator
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