Art like you’ve never seen before

Alexander Hall’s newest exhibit brings “The Unseen World” and “The Ruffle Pit.”

By Jonathan Sanchez

Unseen realms come to life and merge into our world through this small glimpse into “The Unseen World.”  Portland-based artist Erica Hanson brought her unique imagination to Clackamas Community College to showcase her distinct arts in the Alexander Gallery.

Cloth and linen canvases surround the walls, giving the room an atmosphere that reflects each and every stitch that is sewn in by hand to bridge the gap of fantasy and reality. From a young age, Hanson has been drawn to mystical and mysterious things, and it’s something clearly visible in all of her work. Her mystifying art also coincides with plants and animals, giving insight into Hanson’s inner persona.

“Her pieces are super unique; I’ve never seen embroidery like this before,”  said Abdul Williams, a student at CCC. “I like the level of detail through the embroidery.”

Many students like Kris Currie were left intrigued after viewing the pieces. “I like that they bring a lot of tactile elements into each piece,” Currie said.

In addition, the Alexander Gallery also introduced “The Ruffle Pit” by Junko Iijima, a studio artist and instructor at CCC. Iijima, originally from Japan, came to the United States with aspirations of becoming a writer.

“When I came here, I actually came to study journalism, but art is a different form of expressing myself,” Iijima said. “I see art-making kind of like making a book.”

Iijima displayed a piece called “Affection” at the last faculty art show on campus. The nine-foot wide work of art featured tons of ruffles. But displaying the piece itself had one major wrinkle.

“At that point everybody wanted to touch it, and steal it and I felt like my work could have been more tactile, so that’s when I started getting the idea of ‘Oh, I can just have an interactive nest of my work by displaying it in a different form,’” Iijima said.

Iijima said the meaning behind the piece is about “maternal love, affection and my commitment to making art.”

The interactive art sculpture encourages spectators to take a step inside and explore the inner linings of the pink ruffles.

“This is the first time I’m doing any kind of interactive art in public, so letting go of the control and letting the public interact with the piece without my control was a little bit hard because some people are rough and it got really tangled,” Iijima said.

This has led to having her art displayed all over the Northwest. Her latest piece “The Ruffle Pit” has brought in many students to get a hands-on experience with her art in an unconventional way to the point where most of them couldn’t resist taking off their shoes and jumping around.

Students seem to have a positive response to the piece, Williams said. “It’s really playful and childlike. It brings your inner child out.”

“The Ruffle Pit” and “The Unseen World” will be displayed in Niemeyer Hall in the Alexander Gallery Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Feb. 12 to March 23.