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Intriguing, Intelligent, Interactive Installations: “Social Being” at Maude Kerns Art Center

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By permission of the gallery
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Mei-ling Lee (composition and performance) from the video installation called "Lighted Windows"

This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s Arts Review Program. I am sitting in the curtained off stage at the Maude Kerns Art Center watching bubbles blowing down the Willamette River. I’m perched on a so-called Limbic Loveseat being encouraged to relax and space out.

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By permission of the gallery
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Kerry Weeks • Breathing Outside In • Installation with film, mirror, stretch shape, stage drapes, stage lighting, Limbic Loveseat made of velvet, silk ,foam, recycled plastic film and wood, oil diffuser with Doterra Essential Oil, reflection prompt with comment cards and basket • Film: Breathing Outside In, by Kerry Weeks, includes original poetry by Mary Oliver • Lighting and Soundtrack Design: Nathan Trowbridge AKA Clear

This is one of many interactive and thoughtful installations at Maude Kern's current and very unusual and fun exhibit called “Social Being,” the brainchild of Kathleen Caprario, Sandra Honda, Mei-Ling Lee, Charly Swing and Kerry Weeks. The artists were invited to re-imagine the various gallery spaces, and I think you’ll enjoy being surprised by them.

The concept is examining our social beingness through a variety of female lenses.

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By permission of the gallery
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Mei-ling Lee (composition and performance) in the video installation "Lighted Windows"

I think I’ll leave the concept explanations at that, preferring to give you a sense of the variety of installations. For example, there’s another very different video in the Salon Gallery. “The Lighted Window” is a sort of performance to the narrated story of a young girl who wanders around outdoors at night wondering about the different people living behind “the lighted windows” of her neighborhood.

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By permission of the gallery
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Kathleen Caprario, "Patterns of Privilege - Under My Skin." Painted Cloth 1 • Acrylic and aerosol painted cloth • 48x120in

While watching and listening, you can enjoy poetry on the walls and think about the intriguing related art. All of it is intertwined.

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By permission of the gallery
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Charly Swing, "On Being Seen"(the mysterious closet with no doors) with interactive self-portrait drawing station in background. The closet was created along with artists Barbara Counsil, Cari Ingrassia, Liz Larue, Patricia Montoya Donohue, and Sandra Honda • Digital drawings, audio, fabric, wood, glass, metal, projector

When you find yourself back out in the main gallery, you’ll see a mysterious red closet with no door but with moving projected images you can glimpse going on inside.

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By permission of the gallery
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Charly Swing, "Me in the Mirror" Oil on panel • 24x14" framed

You’ll find a corner with mirrors and butcher paper where you can draw yourself and deal with all the thoughts and emotions that bubble up around self-imaging.

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By permission of the gallery
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Sandra Honda, "Grief (We Remember), 2021." Black tag Installation

Perhaps the most striking is a wall of 240 black tags, part of an installation by Sandra Honda relating to the Japanese relocation camps of WWII.

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By permission of the gallery
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Kathleen Caprario, "Patterns of Privilege: I Stand Upon You #4" • Acrylic and aerosol painting

I just wanted to give you an idea of how different this show is physically to experience and to encourage you to show up ready to engage with a variety of themes and spaces. Kudos to Maude Kerns Art Center curators for starting 2022 with this exuberant exhibition.

Sandy Brown Jensen has an MFA in Poetry and is a retired writing instructor from Lane Community College. She is an artist and a photographer with a lifetime interest in looking at and talking about art. Sandy hosts KLCC's long-running arts review program Viz City.