MARCH 7–APRIL 26, 2014
February 12, 2014 — Portland, OR: Adams and Ollman is pleased to announce The Ground, an exhibition by Conny Purtill with Felix Culpa, Jay Heikes, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Barry McGee, Todd Norsten and Tobin Yelland. The exhibition will be on view March 7 through April 26, 2014.  

In this exhibition organized and designed by Conny Purtill, five paintings — one each by Felix Culpa, Jay Heikes, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Barry McGee and Todd Norsten — line the walls of the gallery. Each of these works has been executed on a canvas gifted by Purtill to these artists in an ongoing project of exchange. The recipients are asked to consider them as they would any blank canvas or “ground.”

Purtill prepares these grounds, all measuring 17 x 22 inches, with alternating layers of gesso and gesso that has been toned with India ink. After eleven layers have been applied, the artist then makes numerous paintings, sanding each down upon completion. This happens until the ground is exhausted, at which time it is “neutralized” with pencil marks that create a monochromatic gray surface. In this penultimate iteration, Purtill’s canvas becomes the ground for another artist.

On an X-shaped, free-standing structure rest works called Hand-held Grounds, double-sided objects of ambiguous use. Their surfaces are created through a process of layering and sanding similar to the grounds mentioned above. Installed across from each of the four Hand-held Grounds are a collage, a drawing, a rudimentary puppet called Sam Fox, and a photograph of an airborne skateboarder by the artist Tobin Yelland that provides a sort of key to Purtill’s highly constructed installation.

Additional works by Purtill include pencil drawings in what the artist terms the “available spaces” on the pages of select books. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication of the artist’s drawings.

Conny Purtill is an artist and book designer living and working in Boston, Massachussets. 

Felix Culpa is an artist living and working in Paris.

Jay Heikes (born 1975, New Jersey) lives and works in Minneapolis. He received his BFA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and completed his MFA at Yale University in 2005. Following his first solo presentation at Artists Space, New York in 2003, Heikes participated in a number of group exhibitions at venues such as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2003) and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (2002 and 2005). In 2006, Heikes was included in the Whitney Biennial: Day for Night, curated by Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne. Since then, Heikes has been the subject of numerous domestic and international exhibitions, including shows at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2007); Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome (2011); and the Aspen Art Museum (2012). In 2007, Heikes had his first solo exhibition with Marianne Boesky Gallery, Jay Heikes: Like a Broken Record, followed by Jay Heikes: Inanimate Life (2010), and Generational Anxiety (with Alighiero Boetti) (2010), as well asTrieste (2012), a group exhibition organized by the artist. Most recently, Heikes was included in Painter, Painter at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 

Jessica Jackson Hutchins (born 1971, Chicago) lives and works in Portland, OR, and Berlin, Germany. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University; Hepworth Wakefield Museum, West Yorkshire, UK; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; and Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.  Her exhibition, Unicorn, opens in April 2014 at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT. She has been featured in numerous group exhibitions internationally, including the 55th Venice Biennale; the 11th Biennale de Lyon; and the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Her work is held in collections at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Seattle Art Museum, WA; and the Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, all in New York.

Barry McGee was born in San Francisco in 1966 where he continues to live and work. In the early 1990s, McGee developed his graffiti-influenced style on San Francisco’s street; the majority of his earliest artworks existed as temporary paintings on the walls of abandoned buildings and train-cars. As his career has progressed, McGee's work has diverged from its original street setting, yet characteristic elements of his earliest works-- monikers, caricatured faces, and appropriated objects-- have persisted and evolved, often in combination with McGee’s more recent interests in geometric patterns and sprawling installation. Recent mid-career retrospectives at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (2013) and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2012) showed McGee’s artistic output as both expansive-- combining drawing, painting, and sculpture within elaborate installations, and inclusive-- with elements from McGee’s earlier work shown alongside artifacts from McGee’s collaborators and friends from throughout his career. 

Todd Norsten was born in Minnesota in 1967 where he continues to live and work. He has exhibited at galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Asia, including The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. His work is in the collections of British Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center, as well as numerous private collections.

Tobin Yelland (born 1970, Berkeley, California) lives and works in Venice, California. Yelland has been steadily documenting the shadowy existence of youth and its vestiges in day-to-day life. First published in Thrasher skateboard magazine, Yelland’s work has expanded beyond the world of skateboarding to become a collection of images that lend voice to an entire generation transcending many locales and social identities. Yelland’s photographs have been exhibited worldwide including The Luggage Store, San Francisco, Deitch Projects, Thread Waxing Space, White Columns, all New York, Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and Dazed And Confused Gallery, London, among others. His photographs have been featured in various publications including Visionaire, Tokion, Thrasher, Spin, and Dazed and Confused. 
Adams and Ollman: 811 East Burnside #213, Portland, OR 97214
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11AM–5PM and by appointment
Public Information:
Opening reception: Friday, March 7, 2014 from 6–9PM

Amy Adams |

Conny Purtill, Hand-held Ground, 2013, gesso, India ink and pencil on wood, 24 x 24 x 1/4 inches.