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    Villains, Harpies & Sailors Will Carve Their Way Into Your Heart

    RiverSea Gallery invites one and all to come meet a salty cast of characters at Villains, Harpies & Sailors, an exhibition of carved wood from vintage found-objects, brought to life by Portland folk artist, Stephanie Brockway. The show opens Saturday, August 9th in the gallery’s Alcove space, with a reception from 5:00 – 8:00. The artist will be in attendance to discuss her inspirations and techniques and Acustica World Music will provide live tunes. The show continues through September 9, 2014.

    Brockway approaches her carved characters through her background as a painter who has dabbled in many mediums. A common thread throughout all her work is unexpected colors or materials. She considers her style to be primitive and naive, with touches of urban destruction and decay. A generous dose of humor also comes into play.
     
    The artist collects wood pieces that are often worn out or discarded fragments, used for many years, with layers of paint and marks telling their history. From these beginnings, her goal is to create a well-crafted artwork that delivers her own narrative. She doesn’t set out to recycle or upcycle, as much as she examines objects to see possibilities.

    Through her carved personas, Brockway seeks simplicity and a unique voice in a world that is too often mass produced. The artist remarks, “Wood carving is a subtractive medium; it's unforgiving. Each piece of wood is a bit of a mystery, with different grains and ages, each presenting the challenge I crave. It's exciting to see what emerges.”

    Villains, Harpies & Sailors showcases nineteen pieces inspired by Astoria, and Brockway has used a lot of materials found in the area, elevating forgotten bits and pieces into instant heirlooms. Viewers will meet Fishgirl, carved from an old fishing float set with glass eyes, and Stay True, a larger-than-life muscular sailor’s arm carved from salvaged Douglas fir. It’s covered in tattoos and grasping a fish hook. Many more colorful characters are involved—enough to populate a lively sailor’s ditty of good times in port.