An artist with an eye toward the whimsical, but with pieces intended to convey deeper meaning is being featured at one of George Fox University's galleries through the end of the month.
"A Fork in the Road" features the work of Portland artist Erika Rier and opened Feb. 3 in the Lindgren Gallery on the GFU campus. Rier will give a talk at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St. The discussion will be followed by an artist reception at 7 p.m. in the gallery, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
A self-taught artist, Rier's work primarily consists of inks and paints on paper in a style she characterizes as "folk surrealism" that draws heavily on folk tales and mythology.
"I seek to twist narratives to make old themes feel new and of the moment," she said in a release from the university.
She got her start painting with oils, then shifted to working with paper using ink, watercolors, gouache and graphite to focus "on developing a visual narrative she has been building over the past decade built with pattern, color and line," the release said. "She creates pieces that draw viewers in with their bright colors and delicate line work, but as the viewer delves deeper into the piece they find themselves immersed in a complex narrative."
Rier explained her background in a recent interview with the Independent Publishing Resource Center.
"I think what drew me to drawing and working with paper originally was when I was around 10 years old I was really into the simplicity and flatness of medieval art and the surrealness of it along with its desire to try to accurately portray something without good visual language to do so," she said.
Rier's personal journey brought her to Portland after having lived in Maine, Connecticut, New York City, Arizona and Washington. She inherited her love of art from her stepfather, who was also an artist.
"So we always had art supplies and art books in the house," she told the IPRC.
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