Nan Curtis

November 1 – December 15, 2018

In Portland, I had come into consciousness amidst hues that I had collected as words, beautiful words like: fern, moss, sap, pine, sea, and the most special of all—chartreuse. But my new home was a suburb of muted, dusty tones for which I had no language and which I associated with loss and scarcity (withered plants, drought, etc.).

-Stephanie Snyder, “Coming Clean” from: The Rekindling: Nan Curtis.

Nan Curtis approaches art making through an interdisciplinary and installation based practice that seeks to mine ideas surrounding site, home, and narrative in order to reframe concepts of the mundane in life. In NUMB, a portable massage chair, glass slag, industrial rubber, and pieces of steel conjure the breakdown of communication between body, brain, and speech patterns. In the gallery, painted tumbleweeds, that are sharp to the touch, bring forth sensations of numbness and discomfort. For Curtis, this is the pinnacle of an emotional response—when verbal communication ceases and haptic reactions take control of one’s own experience.

In this exhibition, Curtis’ offers a range of feelings and emotions through her sculptures: confusion, reflection, engagement, and futility. A masseuse has been hired by Curtis to serve the viewing public on opening night. Massages will be provided on first come first serve basis—making visible the condition in which the body is transformed beyond viewership and towards that of an experiential receptor.

Nan Curtis (b. 1966) is an artist living in Portland, Oregon. She received her MFA from the University of Cincinnati and a BA from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. Solo presentations by Curtis include exhibitions at: NINE Gallery (Portland, OR: 2017, 2011); Mira Costa College (San Diego, CA: 2015); 1430Contemporary (Portland, OR; 2009), The Art Gym (Portland, OR: 2008); with Red Shoe Delivery Service at Nottdance Festival at the Melbourne Art Center (Melbourne, AU: 2005); Elizabeth Leach Gallery (Portland, OR: 2002); and at Linfield College (Portland, OR: 2001). In 2016, Curtis’ work was was featured in Portland2016: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Michele Grabner (Portland, OR: 2016). In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious Bonnie Bronson Fellowship. Curtis has participated in residencies at Mira Costa College (San Diego, CA: 2015), Oregon College of Art and Craft (Portland, OR; 2014), and the Caldera Art Residency (Sisters, OR: 2013, 2004). Her work has been reviewed in ArtForum, ArtWeek, the Tacoma News Tribune, Portland Monthly, the Seattle Stranger and The Oregonian. Curtis’ work is held in the collections of Sarah Miller Meigs, Reed College, and Joan and John Shipley. She is the Chairperson of Studio Arts at Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she has taught for over 25 years. 


Images by Mario Gallucci