Rodrigo Valenzuela’s curated exhibition at Upfor reviewed in Visual Art Source 7.8.16
Upfor Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Review by Jennifer Rabin
Subduction, curated by Rodrigo Valenzuela, features works by artists Sharon Koelblinger, Harold Mendez and Ronny Quevedo. The title of the exhibition operates as a metaphor for the works presented: “subduction” is the geological process of pressure over time in the natural production of diamonds from carbon. The works are a manifestation of the labor and background of each artist. Through excesses of labor, they transform their source imagery, highlighting the materiality of their work while grappling with the limits of representation and difficulties in the translation of memories and physical gestures.
Through constructing and reconstructing installations purely to photograph, Sharon Koelblinger searches for images that are familiar yet indefinable. Her process exposes the inherent limits of photography’s ability to accurately describe spatial information and materiality. Harold Mendez, meanwhile, uses archival images as a departure point for works that aim to manifest the instability of memory and political history. Image transfers and mixed-media techniques are implemented as analogies for the way we remember or perpetuate events in the public consciousness. Ronny Quevedo’s drawings represent an on-going project around the charting of migratory experiences. The fragmentation of gymnasium floors and playing fields denote the movement of bodies and the negotiation of locality. This transformation of architecture through changes in games’ iconography and rules expands the cosmology of displacement.
Sharon Koelblinger holds an MFA in Photography from the Tyler School of Art and a BFA in Sculpture from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Koelblinger has participated in exhibitions in New York City, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Chicago; and has most recently exhibited her work the Icebox Project Space in Philadelphia and Hillyer Art Space in Washington DC. She has attended residencies at The Bakery Photographic Collective in Portland, ME, The Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and is currently an artist member at Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia, PA.
Harold Mendez (b. 1977 in Chicago, IL) divides his time between his native Chicago and Houston, TX. Mendez has exhibited widely, including in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Renaissance Society, at Project Row Houses in Houston, in New York at Museum of Modern Art / PS1, The Studio Museum in Harlem and The Drawing Center, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Reviews of his work have appeared in the New York Times, Artforum, ArtSlant and Frieze Magazine.
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. His work has exhibited in New York at The Drawing Center, Casita Maria, the Queens Museum, El Museo del Barrio and The Bronx Museum of the Arts; in Houston at the Museum of Fine Arts and Sicardi Gallery; in Miami at Carol Jazzar Gallery and in Atlanta at Saltworks Gallery. Residencies include the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as Kala Art Institute, Project Row Houses, Skowhegan School, and Lower East Side Printshop.