The last show at Suyama Space was made of corrugated plastic, the sort of stuff used to make cheap yard signs. Taking a step even further down the budget spectrum, Portland artist Damien Gilley uses nothing more than green tape and white foam-core to construct AXIS INDEX.
It’s a natural choice for a gallery housed in an architect’s office, since foam-core is often used for architectural models. This is not a material for the archives: Whether the house or building gets built or not, the model usually ends up in the trash. Foam-core is for mock-ups, which are essentially 3-D sketches, not meant to be permanent. The tape here is like Gilley’s pencil, and his lines extend onto the gallery walls. At both ends of the atrium, he’s constructed street scenes that almost function like theater backdrops. (Let’s put on a show!)
The abutting foam-core placards provide a little depth, but there’s more the suggestion of a city than an actual rendering. AXIS INDEX is like a big blueprint written on the walls; it’s a notional exercise, but not much to look at, however. I get the idea of indicating space and perspective on flat, planar surfaces, but I’d rather have a model to see in the round. (Or at least a good sketch on a piece of paper, even a napkin.) There’s a kind of trompe l’oeil effect that pulls your eye in, draws it to the vanishing point. AXIS INDEX provides a visual entryway, if not an end. Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave.,
Free. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. Ends Aug. 9.