In the doer of great deeds and the speaker of great words, seven artists examine how a person’s private life influences their public perception. The exhibition recognizes that the complexity of self is often disregarded due to the limited range of representation and respectability, specifically for—but not limited to—those who identify as female, femme, non-binary, and/or people of color. In a way, succinct, performative elements—like a debate, gesture, or tweet—are more effective at negotiating public power, backgrounding complicated personal stories. These personal stories often become reduced to a sound bite on which to place a judgment, devoid of context.
Artists in the doer of great deeds and the speaker of great words take different approaches in navigating the perceptions of the self. Painters Tessa Heck and Anja Salonen identify the humor and awkwardness that occur while in mundane social situations. In Danielle Dean’s video/sculpture, her performers use slogans from Ebony, Essence, and Vogue, alongside political speeches, to discuss covert plans. Artist and writer Nicole Reber poeticizes the speech of the pseudo-celebrity. Both Dawn Kim’s postcards of used wedding dresses, and the magazine covers on Leslie Vigeant’s cake, remind the viewer of social ideals at odds with every-day life. In her talk-show video, Marisa Williamson plays Sally Hemings (Thomas Jefferson’s slave and mistress), leading discussions with 20th century icons about representation and an individual’s loss of context in the public life.
Hap has also released an accompanying publication, titled the doer of great deeds and the speaker of great words, as this month’s Hap Edition. The book includes written works by Carmen Denison, Alley Pezanoski-Browne, and Nicole Reber.
About the Artists
Danielle Dean – Danielle Dean is an Alabama-born, London-raised visual artist. Her recent solo exhibitions include Focus at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY and Hexafluorosilicic at L.A.’s Commonwealth and Council. Select group exhibitions include Shifters, Art in General, New York; What Shall We Do Next, Diverse Works in Houston; Effeminaires, Western Exhibitions, Chicago; and Made in L.A. 2014 at L.A.’s The Hammer Museum. Recent screenings include, Comrade, what is your visual bond today? MoMA PS1 in New York; Frye Art Museum in Seattle and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. Dean’s residencies include Houston’s Core Program, The Whitney’s Independent Study Program, Skowhegan School of Art, and recently The Drawing Center Open Sessions in New York. Dean is a Rema Hort Mann Foundation and Creative Capital awardee, and received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts and BFA from Central Saint Martins.
Tessa Heck – Tessa Heck is a painter based in Portland, OR. Her work questions the absurdity of the construct of the female body through humor, awkwardness, self-deprecation, and sexuality. She received her BFA in Painting/Drawing in Tacoma, Washington at Pacific Lutheran University School of Art and Communication and is a 2016 candidate in the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Heck has shown at Disjecta, Worksound International, CoCA Seattle, among other spaces in the Pacific Northwest.
Dawn Kim – Dawn Kim is a Brooklyn-based artist. She received her BA from Art Center College of Design. Her current work explores cultural myth and assumption by examining the unintentional expressions of non-artists creating for market-oriented tasks: selling, buying, and proselytizing.
Nicole Reber – Nicole Reber is a New York based artist working within sculpture, painting, collage, and language. Recent exhibitions of her work have taken place at Black and White Project Space, Knockdown Center, and Kimberly-Klark. She has spoken at MoMA PS1, NADA, and Printed Matter, and is a co-editor of Packet, a biweekly arts publication that has published over 75 issues in the past 3 years. The complete Packet archive was recently acquired by the MoMA Library. Nicole has a BFA in Writing for Publication, Media and Performance, Pratt Institute, 2011.
Anja Salonen – Anja Salonen’s work interrogates the role of the body in contemporary culture through brightly-colored oil paintings whose surfaces vary in size and shape, softness and rigidity. The paintings both explore and disorient relationships between consumption, objects, food, fetishization, and the sexualization of the body—referencing stock imagery, advertising, comic books, and soft pornography. The paintings act as psychological investigations of the corporeal—exploring the humorous, sexual, and awkward nature of the physical body, the rituals that go along with it, its treatment in contemporary image culture, and its relation to objects. Anja Salonen lives and works in Los Angeles. She attended Rhode Island School of Design and California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been shown at Friend Gallery, Sunday Los Angeles, Studio 106, As it Stands, and Leiminspace (all in LA), Motel Gallery in New York, and will be shown at the Mänttä Art Festival in Finland in June 2016.
Leslie Vigeant – Using the Western construct of femininity as her base, Leslie Vigeant’s work pokes at the perceived female disposition, and considers the hierarchies of low vs high, expectations vs reality. Vigeant has exhibited across the North America including at Cambridge College, Woodbury Art Museum, University of Missouri, Oklahoma State University, and the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival. She has received grants from RACC, Oregon Arts Commission, and UMass Arts Council and has held residencies with GLEAN, Artspace Raleigh, and the Penland School of Crafts. Vigeant received her MFA in Applied Craft + Design (MFA AC+D) from OCAC and PNCA, and a BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Vigeant is currently the Graduate Studies Program Manager at the MFA AC+D Program and does Event Production Coordination for Portland Monthly Magazine.
Marisa Williamson – Marisa Williamson is an New York-based performance and video artist. She received her BA from Harvard University and her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She was a participant in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in 2014-2015, and attended the Shandaken Project at Storm King in 2015, ACRE Summer Residency in 2014, and Skowhegan in 2012. Her project as an artist is to explore and interpret through performance, video, objects and images, the ways that soft technologies—”problem solving tools” like narrative, mythology, and community, along with hard technologies such as the Triangle Trade, cotton gin, moving image, and the web—facilitate the rendering and surrendering of the physical and psychological body over time. Her work is regularly shown in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
About the Writers
Carmen Denison - Carmen Denison is a researcher, educator, and artist currently residing in Portland, OR. She holds a BFA in Intermedia (2010) and an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research (2013), both from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. She is one part of the collaborative projects, Hudson River School and Artifacts of Post Colonial Ruin, both of which examine themes of geography, colonialism, and power. She is also co-founder of the Creative Activism Lab, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and co-coordinator of Bud Clark Commons Television (BCCTV), at Bud Clark Commons. She has participated in collaborative projects and group shows at numerous cultural institutions and project spaces, which include University of Ontario, De Young Museum, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Lewis and Clark, Portland State University. Denison has also contributed work to Butte Arts Monthly, Publication Studio, and Drain Magazine among others.
Alison Pezanoski-Browne - Alison Pezanoski-Browne is a writer, media/event producer and cultural critic based in Portland, Oregon. She earned an MA in Critical Theory from Pacific Northwest College of Art and a BS from Northwestern University in Radio/Television/Film and Sociological Studies. She was a Fulbright Scholar to Hong Kong, where she researched the phenomenon of mass social withdrawal in adolescents. She has produced numerous documentaries, and her essays have been published in various publications, including the Leonardo Music Journal, Bitch magazine and the lifestyle website HelloGiggles (recently acquired by Time).
Nicole Reber – Nicole Reber is a New York based artist working within sculpture, painting, collage, and language. Recent exhibitions of her work have taken place at Black and White Project Space, Knockdown Center, and Kimberly-Klark. She has spoken at MoMA PS1, NADA, and Printed Matter, and is a co-editor of Packet, a biweekly arts publication that has published over 75 issues in the past 3 years. The complete Packet archive was recently acquired by the MoMA Library. Nicole has a BFA in Writing for Publication, Media and Performance, from Pratt Institute, 2011.
About the Curator
Iris Williamson is a curator based in Portland, OR. She is currently the Associate Director and curator at Hap Gallery and the Project Manager at Converge 45. She was previously Assistant Director at Freight + Volume Gallery in NYC, and she co-founded Dugg Dugg Gallery in Charlotte, NC and enter:gallery in NYC. Williamson has curated exhibitions for the city of Charlotte during the 2012 Democratic National Convention and co-founded Charlotte’s city-wide arts event Southern Holiday. Williamson received her MA in Critical Theory + Creative Research at Pacific Northwest College of Art and her BFA in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Florida.
Nicole Reber Madman Across the Water, 2016 Vinyl, plastic, and aluminum, 18 in. x 24 in.
Vinyl, plastic, and aluminum, 18 in. x 24 in.
Watercolor on paper
5 x 7 in.
Last Night, 2016
Watercolor on paper
5 x 7 in.
Self Portrait on Treadmill, 2016
Watercolor on paper
5 x 7 in.
Once Worn, Never Altered, 2016
Digital prints mounted on 1/4″ white Sintra with text on the reverse side
42 x 48 x 1.5 in.
Oil on canvas
48 x 48 in.
Self Portrait: Devotion, 2015
Acrylic and oil on canvas
36 x 48 in.
Hemings & Hawings, (still), 2015
TRT 14:34 minutes
Edition of 3
Femme Fatale: 100% Guilt, 2015
Cake, digital print
18 x 12 x 2 in.
No Lye, 2012
Single-channel video installation, HD video, TRT 8:48
60 x 24 x 48 in.
Edition of 3 + 2 A.P.