GALLERY IN NIEMEYER GOES PINK
By Doug Fry and Nicholas Allison
The Alexander Gallery, located in Niemeyer Center, has transformed yet again with a new art exhibition, “RIPE,” by Leslie Vigeant.
April Rutherford, a student at Clackamas Community College, has visited multiple shows at the Alexander Gallery and has been pleased by the variety.
“Every single art thing they have here is totally different, every single one. I really like that,” Rutherford said. “I like how you can come in here and kind of escape, and just relax. You can try to figure out what they are trying to convey.”
Last spring, Kate Simmons, the director of the Alexander Gallery, made the decision regarding which artist would bring their work to the gallery this winter.
“Leslie had approached us during that time with a really strong proposal that she was interested in seeing to fruition in this space,” said Simmons. “She had been navigated towards the Alexander Gallery by a faculty member where she works.”
The nature of Vigeant’s artwork stood out to Simmons.
“What made us choose her work as a strong candidate was that it was interesting, that it is installation based. The three dimensional
qualities are very strong,” said Simmons. “There were unique facets that we thought our student body could really get some new information from.”
Vigeant, a Portland-based artist and an instructor at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, has commanded the gallery’s space as her own. After entering Niemeyer, a shimmer of light will catch your eye making you alert to a bright open doorway that gives you a first impression of the “RIPE” exhibit. At first glance, the room seems to just be tinfoil with light reflecting off of it, but you are greeted by Vigeant’s statement on the wall.
“You have to want to read it. This sets the tone for the rest of the work, and this conversation,” said Vigeant. “From entering the gallery through the shine room people should be intrigued, slightly disoriented, and have an acute awareness of the relation of light onto one’s self within a confined space.”
After regaining your senses, the atmosphere changes once again as you pass through the “Shine Room” and enter the rest of the exhibit. The blinding white light leaves as you enter a dimly lit room consisting of pink fluorescent lighting. Once again, you will be greeted by a message.
“I’m trying to create an inside/outside approach reaching into the questions, ‘Did you cast this opinion onto me? or do I harbor this within myself?’” said Vigeant. “Thinking of the current political and media climate, it can be difficult to decipher where prejudices come from.”
The gallery creates a climate that makes you reflect upon each piece of language that is presented to you. Mirrors are strategically placed in a way that allows you to catch your raw reaction after taking in the art.
“This show is addressing how we talk casually about women in society,” said Vigeant. “I am looking directly at language and how that can fester or be harbored in a dark place and what that can look like.”
The effect of the show is meant to stick with you and create a discussion that is long lasting.
“I imagine that after people leave the gallery, the next time they hear a sexist remark, it will bring them back to this show, back to my work, and back to this inquiry,” said Vigeant.
The “RIPE” exhibit will be on display in Niemeyer until Feb. 3.