The Lathe of Heaven: Damien Gilley, Daniel Glendening, Laura Hughes, and Jordan Tull

November 14 – December 30, 2012
Photos by Mark Stein

The Lathe of Heaven is a group exhibition featuring new work by four local artists in conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1971 science fiction novel of the same name. The show explores the physical and spiritual geography of Portland through site specific installations by artists Damien Gilley, Daniel Glendening, Laura Hughes and Jordan Tull.

Le Guin’s “The Lathe of Heaven” focuses on the actions of George Orr, a man who has dreams that change reality for everyone on the planet. Through the guidance and manipulation of a government appointed psychologist, Orr’s dreams are used to try and shape the world into a utopia—an effort that continuously leads to unintended negative consequences. Throughout the novel, the landmarks of Portland remain the singular constants in a rapidly shifting reality.

Inspired by Le Guin’s text, Disjecta’s Curator-in-Residence Josephine Zarkovich has invited four artists to produce work that resonates with the novel’s themes of overlapping visions, architectural interventions and flawed utopian ideals. The resulting exhibition explores Portland’s metaphorical and literal landscapes, its geography and unique identity through the work of artists who call the city home.

“Things don’t have purposes, as if the universe were a machine, where every part has a useful function. What’s the function of a galaxy? I don’t know if our life has a purpose and I don’t see that it matters. What does matter is that we’re a part. Like a thread in a cloth or a grass-blade in a field. It is and we are. What we do is like wind blowing on the grass.” – George Orr, “The Lathe of Heaven”

Damien Gilley is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator based in Portland, Oregon. His practice challenges perception of spatial structures and their potential through the unison of drawing and sculptural approaches. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Tetem Kunstruimte, Enschede, Netherlands; Las Vegas Art Museum; Arthouse, Austin; EastWestProject, Berlin/Portland; and in Portland at Rocksbox, Linfield College, Wieden+Kennedy, Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Pacific Northwest College of Art, the Portland 2010 Biennial, and many others. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, the Oregonian, Las Vegas Review Journal, the Austin Chronicle, and New American Paintings.

Daniel J Glendening is an artist and writer based in Portland, Oregon. He received a BA in Art Studio and English: Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis and an MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland. He has exhibited nationally, including recent exhibitions at False Front, Portland, and Extra Extra, Philadelphia. He recently published projects with Panhandler, Drain, and Social Malpractice Publishing. He collects books and mystical shit.

Laura Hughes is an installation artist based in Portland, Oregon. She creates site-specific projects that investigate how light, form and space surround and shape one another in our perceptions. Hughes is a finalist for the 2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards; a recipient of a 2012 Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission; and was recently included in the 10th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum. She is currently a professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Marylhurst University.

Jordan Tull, a Portland-based artist, explores the exchange between artwork, site and viewer through sculpture and installation. Through technology, collaboration and experimentation Tull creates radical asymmetries, ordering systems and dynamic geometric progressions that aim to establish an alternative perceptual approach to spatial applications. Tull’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally at venues including littlebigspace, Albany CA, The Center for Architecture AIA, Portland OR, and Beers.Lambert Contemporary, London UK. His work has been published in Whitewall Magazine. He received a BFA in sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute and is recipient of a Regional Arts and Culture Council Professional Development Grant.