White Box multi-media exhibit explores the themes of travel and ice

PORTLAND, Ore. -- (Feb. 16, 2010) -- A young filmmaker heard his friend was going to die. He set out on foot on Nov. 23, 1974, walking in blizzard conditions and the bitter cold for three weeks from Munich to Paris, believing his journey would save her.

Anna Fidler, "Swamp Band," mixed media on paperAlong the way, Werner Herzog kept a diary of his travels, his loneliness, notes on his films and poetic descriptions of the landscape. It became the small, but significant book, "Of Walking in Ice."

Using the book as inspiration, Jack Ryan, University of Oregon art professor, has curated a multi-media show by the same name. "Of Walking in Ice," will be exhibited March 2 to April 2 at the University of Oregon in Portland's White Box.

"The premise that initiated my curatorial process started with a question: How would artists from different backgrounds interpret a text, written by a filmmaker, that is a remarkable travelogue conceived and acted upon for reasons of altruism, as well as adventure? Herzog's journey becomes metonymy for the artistic act itself," said Ryan.

The show features the work of 16 artists, who drew from their own perspectives to reflect and visually contextualize facets of Herzog's travelogue. Through a variety of media, the artists explore the themes of travel and ice.

"I have invited a filmmaker, a writer/poet, a sound artist, a sculptor who uses letters as formal and conceptual elements, an artist who regularly explores travel and icy climates, a German born near Herzog's route, a writer who is interested in Herzog's tension between drama and documentary and an artist who explores the complicity of mark making in a drawing practice with the footprint of a journey across a landscape," Ryan said.

Artists participating in the show are David Berman, Joseph Burwell, Dominic DeJoseph, Anna Fidler, Alexandra Lakin-Gordon, Donald Morgan, Melody Owen, Anna Grey and Ryan Paulsen, Greg Pond, Steven Thompson, Laura Vandenburgh and Anke Weyer with an essay by Jan Tumlir. Featured artists are from New York, Los Angeles, Germany, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

The show is part of First Thursday on March 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

In addition the feature-length film, "Walking to Werner," directed and edited by Linas Phillips, will be shown throughout the exhibition. The film will be screened during First Thursday and from noon to 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays in the Grey Box, the versatile projection room in the White Box. Phillips' latest film, "Bass Ackwards," was shown at the 2010 Sundance Festival.

"Jack Ryan is a curious intellectual – a really original thinker – whose interests in a complex range of visual media makes 'Of Walking in Ice' a 'take-away' experience. The relationships of the selection of works is provocative, thoughtful and will resonate beyond the walls of the White Box," said Kate Wagle, administrative director of School of Architecture and Allied Arts for UO in Portland.

The exhibit is sponsored by Fugitive Arts, University of Oregon in Portland, UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts, UO Department of Art and the UO Arts and Administration Program.

The White Box is a 1,500-square-foot visual laboratory that allows students, faculty and regional and national communities to research, explore and present global issues in art and design. The White Box is located at 24 NW First Ave, on the ground floor of the White Stag Block. It is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, during the period when an exhibition is scheduled. Admission is free.

In addition to exhibits in the White Box, smaller exhibits rotate through The Commons, located throughout the first floor of the White Stag Block.

The Commons Exhibit:
"4 Salvaged Boxes," March 3-April 16
wHY Architects
This sustainable design exhibit was created from materials salvaged from the construction of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. When closed, the "cabinets of curiosities" function as their own traveling crates. When opened, the boxes unfold to present information about the sustainable design features of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and other innovative green projects, through the use of diagrams, models, material samples and videos. For more information, visit www.4salvagedboxes.com.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Heidi Hiaasen, UO in Portland communications, 503-412-3714, heidih@uoregon.edu

Link: Artists bios and information on the White Box: http://aaablogs.uoregon.edu/blog/category/portland-white-box/

Image: Anna Fidler, "Swamp Band," mixed media on paper.