January 2012: Kurumi Conley& Kurt Dahlke

Kurt Dahlke creates abstract expressionist paintings in which the lines between chance and decision-making are blurred. Dahlke coats pine boards with joint compound used in construction, allowing the compound to slowly dry and interact with the pine. This first iteration of directed action – the application of the compound, acting in conjunction with chance elements such as the way the compound interacts with the pine – informs every subsequent decision, including how layers of acrylic paints and graphite marks are applied over time. Opportunities for materials to act on their own in semi-predictable yet unique ways are engineered, further drawing into question exactly how intentional or non-intentional are the resulting compositions. Dahlke’s paintings combine mysterious beauty with soothing rhythms and energetic motion, offering a strong immediate impression while rewarding repeated or lingering gazes with perpetually spiraling connections.

Kurumi Conley creates colorful kiln formed glass. Her glass artwork is the product of multiple steps. Colored glass panels are cut by hand to make parts. Some of these parts are worked with a torch, others in the kiln, melting two or more colors together. She also prepares parts with coarse frit and powdered glass, which are fused to clear glass panels. These features are then cut again before assembly and firing.  Finally, most pieces are fired once more on a form or mold to give them shape, and finished by hand.  All scrap is used as is, pounded into coarse glass, or sifted into powdered glass. "I’m focused on not wasting material. It’s like trying to make fried rice with whatever vegetable you have in the fridge," she says. Kurumi Conley grew up in Kyoto, Japan and studied at Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo. Commenting on the Portland connection, she points out "People in Japan use materials from Portland.”