January 10 – February 9, 2008
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present Hinterland, an exhibition of paintings by Portland artist Adam Sorensen. Employing numerous sources in his compositions – which range from Surrealism to The Hudson River School to Japanese Anime – Sorensen explores the contemporary landscape in a way that captures how ecological circumstances have displaced traditional ways of imagining and relating to the natural world.
By utilizing a wide variety of formal means, Sorensen electrifies traditional representations of the world around us. His application of paint alternates from thick, self-referential swabs to smooth chromatic transitions that are reminiscent of computer graphics. Dark, earthy tones collide with outbursts of quasi-psychedelic colors, which can read either as signs of buzzing vitality or as instances of polluted deformities. Some compositions use a low point of view to evoke a sense of grandeur and majesty, while others monumentalize small rocks and trees to create a sense of intimacy and lending significance to minute details.
These compositional devices, borrowed from Romanticism, lend the works an underlying visual coherence in spite of their eclecticism. Together they build a contemporary sublime that exposes an ever shifting landscape beyond measurement or imitation. Sorensen shows us a world that is both beautiful and unsettling and, in turn, provides us with an excruciatingly honest picture of today’s natural environment.