Distance, Stance, Circumstance

Opening on Saturday, Aug. 18th, 5 p.m.

Show runs Aug. 18th–Sept. 14th

In the White gallery at Place (Portland, OR), an exhibition curated by Rachael Wilson, featuring works by Katherine Bauer, David Flaugher, Davida Newman, James Woodward, and Michelle Young Lee.

“[E]very expression is an invention. It violates the purity of being with the accidents of personality, language, and time.”
–Leo Bersani

“Sometimes I see it and then paint it. Other times I paint it and then see it. Both are impure situations, and I prefer neither.”
–Jasper Johns


Movement as a simultaneous organization and disorganization: travel, flux, kinetics, contraction and expansion, collection and dispersal; the movement implicit in any “distance,” meaning di-stance, or “two positions.” Distance as a condition of movement: being between two places, being in two places at once.


The implicit point of fixity in any movement between distances–a kind of rootedness that allows for that movement. The first stance, as the condition of possibility for a second stance, and then the movement between. The quality of movement depends on the poise, the bearing, of the initial stance.


Displacing the binaries that attempt to erect themselves from the pairing of “distance, stance” (like between “movement” and “fixity”), circumstance arrives as almost an afterthought–the most forcible kind. It means to travel around… a movement more like wandering, a little less purposive, and suggests an oblique approach, compassing, curious. “Circumstance” highlights the role of contingency in any endeavor, the importance of the “circumstantial,” and of tenuous connections; it invokes the idea that any two things may relate to each other through accident, simply by their proximity, rather than through a shared logic.

“Distance, stance, circumstance” should range through the works of these very distinctive artists, touching down here or there, gathering things together in places like a loose plaiting: the tracery of delicate, accretative networks in Davida Newman’s wall drawings; the condition of maximal potential energy expressed through James Woodward’s sculptures; the sense of physically and psychically negotiating a multiplicity of places in Michelle Lee’s video and photography; David Flaugher’s re-routing of space and of the senses through subtle obstructions and diffusions; the intense rhythms of Katherine Bauer’s visionary, erotic, epic films. Between each stance, a distance and a circumstance.


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