Beaverton's Reser Center features immersive, interactive exhibit
The Patricia Reser Center for the Arts is currently featuring "Invisibilia," an exhibit exploring Asian American identities and other themes through photography, sound and other mixed media.
The exhibit will be available through Aug. 13 at the Reser's gallery alongside "1,000 Moons," an exhibit discussing grief and COVID-19. Entry is free to access both exhibits.
"Invisibilia" includes work by Oregon artists Sandra Honda, Mei-Ling Lee and Jefferson Goolsby. The three artists contributed in different ways to create "Invisibilia," forming an interactive and immersive exhibition.
"The overarching theme of 'Invisibilia' is those things which we maybe hesitate to talk about or aren't really seen to the to the naked eye or to the everyday things we consider," Honda said.
For her part of the exhibit, Honda explored her identity as a Japanese American and her relatives' history of being forced into Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II.
"And although some Americans know about that history — and even if they know — it's often pushed to the back of our minds. And considering what's happening today with the anti-Asian hate crimes that are going on," Honda said, "my purpose in doing this work is to show that history is connected not only to our past, but our past creates our present and our present creates our future. It's a reminder to all of us to pay attention."
Honda is also hosting a book discussion of "When The Emperor Was Divine" by Julie Otsuka, a novel discussing experiences with the camps. The discussion will be at 2 p.m. Friday, July 29, at the Reser.
In Honda's part of the gallery, the artists used sound and lighting to highlight photos from the internment camps and the paper tags that were issued by the U.S. government for identification.
"Like cattle," Honda said.
"The conceptual part of it was that these tags would be lined up on the wall so that anybody who walked into that part of the gallery … felt like they were surrounded by these black tags with these carved figures," she said.
Lee — the expert in sound and music, Honda said — recorded Honda reading the descriptions on the tags to be played at random, with an LED light signifying the matching tag.
Lee's second work was made in collaboration with Goolsby. It's displayed in another part of the gallery, which was made into a miniature theater playing a trilogy of stories.
Lee worked on the sound for the stories, which include unique, "data-driven" music that's performative, unique and definitely not music you'd expect.
They stories are all all different, Lee said, yet have a common theme.
"To me, it feels like (the stories are) trying to say when you know, or when you feel, or when you desire to do something, or you want something," Lee said, "you just need to accept that and go for it."
Goolsby's second installation is a collection of photos attached to the wall of the gallery. They are connected with magnets, he said, and are actually meant to be played with by the audience.
"The interactive is really fun that you kind of explore the work and reconstruct it and reconfigure it," he said. "Then you're really bringing your own actions and also your own responses even more so in some ways."
Goolsby said it's wonderful to have the new Reser Center as a place to visit, and he's excited to show their work at the gallery.
"Whatever you expect a gallery should be, this probably won't be it," he said. "Which is how it should be."
The Reser's gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
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