Portland artist Jacinda Russell creates exquisitely detailed work as carefully constructed photographs and powerful installations. I first saw her work at the Modern Zoo in Portland, and was immediately drawn to the grand scale and sheer volume of her arresting full-room piece, but her smaller creations are equally compelling.
Her current show, Strange and Mundane Objects, is a collection of 50 boxes, each containing a photographic image reproduced on glazed and textured painter’s canvas. What she’s chosen, arranged, and photographed calls to mind a “chamber of wonder” (wunderkammer) or a chamber of curiosities — ephemera and memories in a skillful balance of darkness, familiarity and fascination. She’s giving an artist talk on Sunday, June 3 at 4 pm, which is open to the public, and her show will be up through July.
The private wunderkammer was the precursor to the public museum; a typical “cabinet” contained eclectic groupings of objects collected for their aesthetic, social and historical value. About this collection, Jacinda says: “All the objects are influential in defining my childhood and adult years, the various places I have called home, and the things that I carry with me, not yet willing to let go.”
Jacinda will be leaving Portland soon for an exciting new project: she’ll be teaching photography at Ball State University in Indiana beginning in the fall. I look forward to seeing how her newest home informs which directions her art takes, but Indiana’s gain is certainly Oregon’s loss. You can see more of her work, past and present, at her artist’s website.
If you go: