AC+D Mentor Highlight: Brenda Mallory

February 27, 2020

During the AC+D program, students work one on one with a mentor each semester to address their specific interests and goals. The mentor-student relationship is personal and unique and is at the heart of the MFA AC+D program. Mentors include PNCA faculty; Portland designers, architects, artists, and makers; curators and critics; entrepreneurs; as well as faculty from other academic institutions. Our mentors embrace a cross-disciplinary approach to making and understanding work, and represent a wide range of creative practices, much like our students.


Proximate Parcels, 2019, Deconstructed thread spools and cores, 70" x 34" x 4".

One of AC+D's long-time mentors, Brenda Mallory’s work ranges from individual wall-hangings and sculptures to large-scale installations. She works with mixed media and organic materials, creating multiple forms, often joined with crude hardware or mechanical devices in ways that imply tenuous connections and aberrations. Texture and repeated rhythmic forms are instrumental to Mallory’s abstract compositions that deal with concepts of disruptions and repairs. She is interested in ideas of interference and disruption of long-established systems in nature and human cultures.


Reformed Packings #15, 2019, Honeycomb paper, paint, encaustic, ink, 34.5 x 34.5 x 2.25.

A resident of Portland, Oregon for many years, Mallory grew up in Oklahoma and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She received a BA in Linguistics & English from UCLA and a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Mallory has received multiple grants including from the Oregon Arts Commission, Ford Family Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council. She has received the Eiteljorg Museum Contemporary Native Art Fellowship and the Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellowship in Visual Arts. Residencies include Anderson Ranch, GLEAN, Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency at Sitka Center, Signal Fire, Bullseye Glass, and Ucross where she received the Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists.

Recently Mallory has been creating a set design for CKM&A Dance Company based in Washington DC for a work that will be performed in multiple venues over the next 18 months.


CKM&A Artists practicing on set.

Check out more of her work at!!