The Sexy, Simple Pleasures of Summer Take Over Stephanie Chefas Projects with 'Heatwave'
As the sun pumped scorching 97-degree temperatures into Portland, Oregon this past weekend, Stephanie Chefas Projects unveiled its hottest group exhibit to date entitled Heatwave. The show featured a blend of eight artists who adorned the gallery walls with their love for sun, surf, and skin.
All the more extraordinary was the fact that in spite of such organic cohesiveness between each work, there wasn’t a sliver of redundancy or overlap in terms of style and aesthetic. Take Kate Klingbeil’s piece “Making the Barren Fruitful Again”, which portrays striking sexual imagery amidst a globular landscape--what almost looked like cake icing protruding from the canvas in eye-catching color and texture. Right next to that was “Cake Con Leche” by Monica Kim Garza. Garza’s imagery was also sexual in nature and rife with summer vibes, but the overall visual style of the work couldn’t be more different. Garza’s use of color is singular and magnificent, warm brown bodies against a golden background.
Giving the gallery space essential balance were two booty sculptures by Megan Barnes. Her trademark fusions of street style and pure craft sat atop two pillars and were accompanied by ceramic bottles of suntan lotion and gold-rimmed sunglasses. Also included in the show were Nathan McKee's depictions of surfers via painstakingly cool archival paper cuts, vintage excursions of summertime color and imagery on dyed canvas by Kelly Ording, geometrically flawless paintings by Laura Berger that conjured associations with hieroglyphics, vibrant abstract pieces by Heather Day, and a peculiar textile piece by Kelly Allen that was the stuff of night sweats - in a good way.
With an array of refreshing cocktails on hand, the sound of upbeat music in the air and late summer daylight pouring into the open space through huge windows, Heatwave was truly a show firing on all cylinders. Every piece stood on its own and worked with others to create an exhibit that immaculately personified both the figurative coolness and literal heat of those sultry summer days.
Heatwave is on view through Sept 3rd at Stephanie Chefas Projects, 305 SE 3rd Ave #202, Portland, OR 97214, www.stephaniechefas.com