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Dana Lynn Louis - Faith: Suspended

February 26 - March 28, 2007

In the ambitious installation Faith: Suspended in The Art Gym, Dana Lynn Louis builds on much of the work she has engaged in since coming to Portland in 1988 for a residency at the Oregon College of Art and Craft (then Oregon School of Art and Craft).

Louis' sculptures and drawings are often about the internal workings of nature. Many of her early artworks remind one of the organs that do the body's dirty work, like the stomach and gut. Recently the artist's drawings and sculptures reference cellular arrays and the webs of tiny vascular structures that capture air, transmit electrical impulses or carry nutrients to an organ, limb, branch or leaf.

In addition, Louis has always been interested in animating the space above the floor of the gallery and has created installations in college and commercial spaces that explored those possibilities. Louis also works actively as a public artist, and two very recent commissions for Portland's City Hall and the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, also provide the springboard for The Art Gym installation.

At City Hall, Louis responded to the community's desire to honor Mayor Vera Katz. With Suspended Migration, she created a hanging garden of multiple sculptures crafted from glass beads, kiln formed glass and other materials to fill a four-story atrium. She also provided a large red velvet cushion beneath it all for the visitor who wished to linger. In The Color of Breath at the Tacoma children's hospital, Louis integrated thousands of glass circles with the three-story windowed facade, causing pools of colored light to migrate across several floors of the building as the day passed. Like Suspended Migration for City Hall, in Faith: Suspended the artist floats multiple sculptures to animate The Art Gym's sheer volume of space; and like The Color of Breath in Tacoma, Louis continues to experiment with cast shadow and light and with the idea of using a sequence of spaces in the formation of a whole.

For The Art Gym, in addition to sculptural work, Louis has integrated drawing into the installation. In one section, she is drawing a delicate tracery of white directly on The Art Gym's cream-colored walls, and is overlaying that web with drawings on circles and ovals of Mylar. She is also placing many of her delicate drawings on Japanese rice paper so they can be seen through and among the hanging glass, paper and mica sculptures.

Creating images that suggest delicacy and complexity that is intrinsic to nature, and our place in it, has been the subject of Dana Lynn Louis' work for many years. We are very pleased to be able to present Faith: Suspended to Art Gym audiences.

The Art Gym is producing a catalogue for Faith: Suspended with an essay by Kate Bonansinga, director of the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas at El Paso. To allow photographs of the installation in the gallery to be included, the catalogue will be published midway through the exhibition.

The artist and The Art Gym thank the Regional Arts and Culture Council for providing major support for this project through an Artist Project Grant. These grants to artists are invaluable in supporting new ventures in our community.

We have also had wonderful response to our request for support for the publication, which is the artist's first. Both Dana Lynn Louis and Marylhurst University are grateful to all those who made it possible to document this work: Katherine Grant, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Deborah Horrell and Christopher Gillem, Marilyn Murdock, Larry Kirkland, Judy Hill, Philip Krohn, Ken Unkeles, Eloise Damrosch and Gary Hartnett, and Ann Sacks.

In addition, The Art Gym acknowledges the support of the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support for our programming.


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