DISJECTA CONTEMPORARY ART CENTER, PORTLAND OR – To March 4, 2018
By Allyn Cantor
Using refuse from consumer culture as her medium for this exhibition, Portia Munson creates a singular large-scale installation reflecting on mass-consumption and materiality. Made entirely of blue plastic items that have been carefully sorted and compartmentalized, the primary installation Flood fills Disjecta’s main gallery, covering the floor with arrangements of blue objects. The artist has collected and assembled hundreds of color-similar discarded things that speak of humanity’s failure to contain its waste, noting that blue-toned pieces often relate
to themes of water.
The New York artist has shown at public and private venues since the early 1990s, her range of media includes sculpture, photography, painting and installation work that addresses environmental and cultural themes through a feminist lens. Munson was included in the seminal Bad Girls show at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York (1994). She has created many pieces using collections of pink plastic to examine the color as it relates to gender specific marketing, commenting on the link between color and identity that is instilled into women at an early age. In 2016, her Pink Project at Frieze London revisited this idea, while pointing out the pervasive impact of excessive plastic usage on humanity. Munson imagines an end to the “plastic age” – many of these artworks also read like an archive of consumerist artifacts that infiltrate our world.
Portia Munson is also known for her large-scale light box mural of flower petalvarrangements, created in 2015 for the Bryant Park Subway Station in Manhattan as part of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Lightbox exhibition series.