Amanda Clem speaks with Portland artist Tyler Mackie about her artistic practice, and her retrospective exhibition Intimate Spaces — on view at the Chehalem Cultural Center through July 28
Intimate Spaces is a retrospective body of sculptural and two-dimensional work that manifests the divine, wounded, and everyday contradictions of a lived female experience.
The work employs notions of the body, movement, ritual, and objectness - making space for comfort to exist inside discomfort. In these spaces, revelrous rebellion is pursued in all that feels deliciously wrong. I make a space where it is necessary for the unsettling to be interwoven within the decorative and pretty. Here, handicraft traditions engage in an obscure grasp with the abstract and surreal. Familiar home good materials have taken on a new life and gain a strange anonymity, discreet yet related to their former function. Questions of access and consent are raised in liminal encounter with the work. Who, or what, gains access here? …or here? What is it permissible to touch, fondle, or penetrate?
How does a witness process gestures that are permitted to simultaneously swaddle and smother? How do we communicate pleasure and pain? It is good for the feelings of the viewer to experience a delicious conflict. Acknowledging conflict makes room for the authentic response.
Look to those moments where we are vulnerable and drawn to hold space for one another. Intimate Spaces advocates that we make room for a careful, compassionate, and uncomfortable practice. It advocates for the tender ways that we express joy, anger, delight, pain, and the beauty of being viscerally, unapologetically human.
Tyler Mackie holds a B.F.A in Studio Arts from Oregon State University (2005), and an M.F.A. in Studio Arts from Louisiana State University (2009). Her work explores relationships between performance, visual, and craft-based communities, with an emphasis on the female experience. Themes push engagement with the sensuous, dis/comfort, and moments of public versus private. Recent projects include Bridge for Blankets, an installation on the Broadway Bridge (2013), creative contributions are ongoing as a member of the international, collaborative collective, Expanded Draught (2009-present), and she has shown recently at Wolff Gallery, Furthermore @Bison Building, as well as with Killjoy Collective.