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The group exhibition HEATWAVE brings tan ceramic butts, a painting of a lesbian threesome in the grass, and an illustrated pyramid of nude sun-worshippers to Portland, OR. It is hot in every sense of the word—viscerally connecting to “sun, surf, and skin,” as the show's description puts it. The yellows, reds, and blues of summer echo throughout the show, at Stephanie Chefas Projects, while the styles and media shift from artist to artist, emphasizing the feral side of human nature.
Kate Klingbeil’s orgiastic Making the Barren Fruitful Again and Monica Kim Garza’s private Cake Con Leche depict intimate embraces, passionate and sweaty. Klingbeil’s painting is rife with movement, from a body contorted in ecstasy to tall swaying grass. Garza’s work is more still, with a woman’s closed eyes and parted mouth, making the piece profoundly intimate.
Adding to the theme of nudity is Meegan Barnes’ Dripping In Gold Booty, which inverts the work of Klingbeil and Garza, removing any hint of passion and turning the butt into an ironically fetishizied object, placed next to a tube of sunblock and pair of sunglasses.
Symmetry reigns in Laura Berger’s geometrical piece, which depicts women arranged in a pyramid shape below the glowing orb of the sun. Meanwhile, serenity is captured in Nathan Mckee’s simple and colorful depiction of three surfers. The pieces evoke the simple pleasures of summer, emphasizing the natural elements.
Summer gets abstracted in Heather Day’s Stacks At Home #1 and Kelly Ording’s visual ode to the sun and ocean, Paloma. Similarly abstract is Kelly Allen’s piece Ejszaka which seems to depict a sunrise and a starry sky created from fabric; ejszaka means ‘night’ in Hungarian. As clothing is normally shed in the summertime, Ejszaka imagines the night sky as a kind of cloak, a collection of discarded clothes. The piece is lovely and odd, adding to the many fascinating depictions of summer at HEATWAVE.