Continuing through May 13, 2017
The mixed-media works in Christopher Russell’s “Escape from L.A.” (he relocated to Portland several years ago) stem from an obsessive process marrying digital manipulation with fastidious hand-craftsmanship. In works such as “Framing Exercise #10” (2011), the artist begins with original photographs, which he edits with software — flipping, mirroring, and otherwise altering certain passages into images resembling wallpaper patterns. After printing the composition, he methodically slices into the photographic paper with a razor blade, overlaying the digital patterns with physically incised ones. Sometimes he douses the incisions with metallic spraypaint, which causes the cuts to bloat into tattered, tacky textures.
In “Explosion #22” (2014) he has sandwiched long cracks of broken glass between sheets of Plexiglas, continuing the incision motif. The Plexiglas in the framing of “Explosion #2” (2013) is carved so thickly, the lines’ contours cast a web of dramatic shadows onto the print itself. While these various bodies of work cover a wide array of subject matter and theme — childhood fantasies, apocalyptic explosions, sex in public parks, and waterfall imagery obscured by veils of fabric — the impact of individual pieces is primarily formal, as Russell riffs on the permutations of process, pattern, media and color.