within the distance

Iván Carmona, Penny Davenport, Matthew F. Fisher, Alexander Kori Girard, Rachel Kaye, Ryan Nord Kitchen, Robert Pokorny, and Blaise Rosenthal


A virtual garden exhibition that hangs in the trees, sky, and in a treehouse by Jay Nelson at Johansson Projects West

A virtual garden exhibition that hangs in the trees, sky, and in a treehouse by Jay Nelson at Johansson Projects West

Within the Distance offers viewers an opportunity to wander among a selection of new works by eight artists on view at Johansson Projects West, our virtual venue that traverses interior and exterior space spanning across garden spaces and our Jay Nelson designed treehouse. The paintings, drawings, and sculptures in this exhibition range in their motifs, from landscape to portraiture, and off into pure abstraction. However, they share among them an ability to provoke consideration of the relationship between one’s environment and one’s self. Within the Distance features a stellar collection of recent works by Ryan Nord Kitchen, Penny Davenport, Alexander Kori Girard, Matthew F Fisher, Rachel Kaye, Blaise Rosenthal, Iván Carmona, and Robert Pokorny. 

Ryan Nord Kitchen’s landscapes combine fluid gestures and ambiguous forms that effectively challenge legibility to draw his viewers into compositions that inhabit a unique position between representation and abstraction. His series of gouache on paper drawings, works that reference George Bellow’s American context, display the unpretentious marks that spans his oeuvre.This visual vocabulary is both dynamic and contemplative, working to emphasize the material quality of paint and support while allowing his audience to travel across the surface of his works and into their own experiences. 

Penny Davenport creates dream-like realms and anthropomorphic animal spirits in her work. Her compositions are defined by intricately detailed lines of ink and graphite that weave across her paper surfaces creating a sensation of movement and an atmosphere of play while activating open narrative potentials. These works have the power to transport viewers into fantastical worlds that seem both distant, and yet vaguely familiar, like recalling primordial memories that had long been forgotten.

Alexander Kori Girard’s petroglyphic figures and modernist forms all vibrate together, creating a landscape of interconnectedness. His whimsical cast is drawn from early impressions as the artist’s legendary grandfather, Alexander Girard, was a prolific collector of folk art and Girard was immersed in these archetypal images from a young age. The absence of a horizon in these works defies a sense of hierarchy. This allows viewers to incorporate a personal dialogue into the viewing experience without challenging the integrity of the healing narrative that exists within each composition. 

At the edge of the continent Rachel Kaye draws from the impressionist technique of layering broken fields of color atop one another to create drawings and paintings that reveal the shifting seasonal light of California’s northern coast. Defying a personalized calligraphy, her affectless marks offer the purest presentation of their color, allowing the various hues to play off of one another with delight. These works escape definition, presenting as primarily abstract compositions, but with titles and small visual clues that tune viewers into her inspirations.

Matthew Fisher’s moonlit beaches, waves, and mystic environments emerge from direct experience of landscape as filtered through memory. The artist looks both inward and outward during his process, allowing for a deeper connection with his audience, and resulting in works that transcend the rationale of direct representation and operate by a personal form of magic.        

Originally from Puerto Rico, Ivan Carmona creates ceramic sculptures inspired by the rich culture and landscape of his youth. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Ivan works from memory, with nostalgia as a ready guide leading him through his studio processes. His deep ties to his Caribbean Island origins facilitate more than a looking back, however. Ivan’s works, made far from the place of his birth, realize new abstract potentials, with his whimsical flora based abstract forms and vibrant palette having a triangulating effect that helps him define a new sense of self and in relation to his new home. 

The very recent, raw portraits created by Robert Pokorny during the pandemic, reveal both the frustrations of confinement and an exuberant eruption of the pent up energy engendered by the lockdown. Their explosive interplay of elements, bright pinks and reds bursting forth with dramatic shapes and lines, functions to add a dynamic abstract narrative into these compositions. This enhances the urgency of the storytelling quality of his portraiture, and injects humor into the emotional chaos of the moment.

In his practice, Blaise Rosenthal focuses on the physical qualities of his materials, while engaging with the expressive potentials imbued in them by the history of painting. His processes are drawn from an attunement to the sensual qualities of simple means, such as canvas and pastel, and the inspiration provided by environmental experiences ranging from the subtle pleasure of a soft gust of breeze against one’s cheek to the dramatic visual impact of the grand vistas of western American landscape.