Asian Reporter Info
LUSCIOUS ABSTRACTIONS. "Materialism," an exhibit by Filipina-American painter and printmaker Erin Galvez, is on display through February 23 at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus Gallery. Pictured is "(exp)P1." (Photo courtesy of the artist)
From The Asian Reporter, V22, #03 (February 6, 2012), page 13.
Serious and playful: The art of Erin Galvez
By Josephine Bridges
The Asian Reporter
Materialism," the name of the exhibit by Filipina-American painter and printmaker Erin Galvez showing at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus Gallery, is the first clue that the artist is both having fun with and thinking carefully about her work. After seeing the show, I wanted to learn more about how her luscious abstractions relate to the common definitions of materialism, so I asked.
"The show is called ‘Materialism,’" she explained, "because the materials that one uses in creating definitely inform the work. Because of the materials’ inherent qualities, they may lead to a different, albeit subtle, aestheticism in the finished piece."
Given the sheer number of materials Erin Galvez has used in this show alone — I counted 10 — it is no wonder that the stuff of which the art is made is a matter of significance to the artist. But what she does with the acrylic, tissue paper, gel transfer, aluminum leaf, and other items is why you should be sure to see "Materialism."
The 17 works in the show can be organized into four categories based on the titles and some obvious, and not so obvious, similarities.
The five roughly four-leaf-clover-shaped interactions of circles of varying sizes and colors in the "Wax Linear" series are the simplest and most similar of the works, and they begin and end the exhibit. The five "Club Suite" pieces have the clover shape in common, but colors, textures, and patterns obscure the shapes somewhat.
The three pieces in the "Medallion" series also contain the clover shape, but the sparkling and luminous effect of aluminum leaf in them is what impresses the viewer first. The four-piece "(exp)" series contains the clover shape, though it no longer has center stage, as in the rest of the work. One three-leaf clover makes an appearance, reminding us of the artist’s playful side. Other clover shapes lurk at the edges of the work, or in the case of one, called "P2," are barely discernible.
Her work, Galvez has been told, has subtle Asian qualities and aesthetics — "especially my commercial work." Although she never formally studied Asian art, self-education was ever-present and Asian art and culture books always found their way into her reading.
The artist is as fascinating as her work. Thoughtful and articulate, Erin Galvez is a journalist’s dream to interview. Asked about her ethnic roots — her father is Filipino and her mother from British and German stock — Galvez said, "I grew up with my mother and had a difficult time identifying with my Filipino heritage since I know very little about it. I did, however, identify with a general Asian-ness and am interested in many things eastern."
"Materialism" has an element of mystery as well. It is the kind of exhibit you walk through again and again, beginning to end, then end to beginning, then beeline across the room because there is something about this one and that one. It is a lively, invigorating group of work, especially on a dark, rainy day. You may well have a few of those to choose from before the display comes down on February 23.
The Cascade Campus Gallery is located at 705 N. Killingsworth Street in Terrell Hall Room 102. To learn more, call (971) 722-5326, e-mail <email@example.com>, or visit <www.pcc.edu/about/galleries/cascade>.