PNCA's Center for Contemporary Art & Culture Presents Unwalking the West: Signal Fire artists group exhibition

August 21, 2018

digital image of ice bergs floating in water with a banner saying resist draped over one of them. Rick Silva's video "Resist"

Portland, OR—August 21, 2018—The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) presents Unwalking the West, a group exhibition of work by artists who participated in Signal Fire’s 2016 programs. Signal Fire is a non-profit organization that connects artists with wildlands through expeditions, residencies, and other programs. The exhibition, curated by Signal Fire co-director Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, opens September 5 and runs through October 20, 2018. Signal Fire’s thematic wilderness retreats for artists focused in 2016 on retracing segments of European settler exploration and conquest in the reverse direction, as a way to interrogate assumed histories and connect volatile legacies of settler-colonialism to the present-day challenges in the “American West.” The artists, Sarah Farahat, Tanja Geis, Joe Hedges, Garrick Imatani, Emmy Lingscheit, Rachelle Reichert, Rick Silva, and Ilvs Strauss present work addressing climate change, meteorite repatriation, and the detritus of disaster capitalism.

Works in this exhibition concern connection to land, politics of place, decolonizing dominant narratives, and deconstructing privilege. Rachelle Reichert’s The Smoke Wave series are graphite drawings drawn from satellite images taken of the Fort McMurray fires at the Tar Sands in Canada. These fires and the fossil fuel extraction surrounding them sparked a national debate in Canada on climate change. Garrick Imatani exhibits photographs that highlight the story of Tomanowas, or the Willamette Meteorite. The meteorite landed in either Montana or British Columbia and floated down on a massive glacier during the Missoula Floods about 13,000-15,000 years ago. The works depict Grand Ronde Tribal members returning a 3D printed recreation of Tomanowas, the largest meteorite ever found in North America to an indigenous sacred location.

In conjunction with the exhibition there will be a film screening on September 21 from 5:30-9 pm featuring short films that examine legacies of Western expansionism and indigenous connection to land and place. The screening will feature recent films by Trevino Brings Plenty, Sky Hopinka, Ryan Jeffery, Caroline Monnet, and Vanessa Renwick.

And on September 5 from 6:30-8 pm CCA&C will host a panel discussion of artists in the exhibition including Sarah Farahat, Joe Hedges, Garrick Imatani, Rachelle Reichert, Rick Silva, and Ilvs Strauss. The panel is moderated by curator and Co-Director of Signal Fire Ka’ila Farrell-Smith and Mack McFarland, Director of the Center for Contemporary Art & culture.

Artist Bios

Rick Silva was born in 1977 in Brazil and lives in Eugene, Oregon, where he is an Associate Professor of Art & Technology at the University of Oregon. He received an MFA from The University of Colorado in 2007, and has since shown extensively nationally and internationally, with solo exhibitions at Transfer Gallery in New York, Wil Aballe Art Projects in Vancouver, New Shelter Plan in Copenhagen, and Interstitial Gallery in Seattle. Silva’s projects and collaborations have been featured in festivals such as Sonar in Barcelona, Transmediale in Berlin, and Resonate in Belgrade. His works and installations have been acquired by multiple permanent collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Borusan Contemporary Collection, and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. WIRED magazine called Silva’s videos "glitchy, curious things; some mesmerizing, some arresting."

Joe Hedges is an interdisciplinary artist working in the eastern part of Washington State. Hedges has exhibited painting, digital imaging, installation, music and video in galleries and museums internationally. Hedges’ art projects often explore the links between the digital and physical realms, and between the arenas of science and art by utilizing the visual language of the experiment and the archive. Hedges’ works at once celebrate and critique art historical archetypes, while engaging questions related to contemporary technology and the iconography, sounds or geological features of specific places.

Garrick Imatani is an artist who uses embodied perception, fabrication, and performance to think through the role of landscape, collective history, and racialized bodies within the United States. Imatani’s process frequently stems from research, site visits and collaboration, resulting in sculptures, installations, drawings, photographs, videos, and public projects exhibited nationally and internationally. Imatani’s recent collaborative public work, The Watcher Files Project (with Kaia Sand), has been exhibited at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston; Art, Design, and Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara; YNKB, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Portland Archives and Records Center, Portland, OR among others.  In 2018, his work will be featured in a catalog and exhibit produced by The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, permanently installed at the Chachalu Museum at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and in Unwalking the West at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Imatani holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University and a BA in Art Studio from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is Chair of the Foundation Department at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

Rachelle Reichert lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She has exhibited nationally and internationally. Select exhibitions include the German Consulate in New York City, SFMOMA Artist Gallery, Southern Exposure, and Mills College Art Museum.  Rachelle was awarded residencies at Planet Labs, Lucid Art Foundation, Can Serrat in Spain, and grants from the Susan Pilner Money for Women Artist Fund and the Awesome Foundation. Her work has been reviewed and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Make Magazine, and New American Paintings. Rachelle has presented her artwork at the California Climate Change Symposium, San Francisco State of the Estuary Conference, the American Geophysical Union Meeting,  and currently holds a Research Ambassadorship from Planet’s Labs to create climate-related artwork. She earned her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA and a BFA from Boston University and is a charter resident of the Minnesota Street Studio Program. To see her artwork visit 

Sarah Farahat is an interdisciplinary Egyptian American artist and educator holding a B.A. in Psychology from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California and a B.F.A. in Intermedia Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. In 2011, she participated in the prestigious Homeworkspace Program, located in Beirut, Lebanon. She received an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Fine Art from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California. For the past twelve years Farahat has monitored socio-political conversations in the United States and abroad-intervening with works exploring grief, connection, assimilation, storytelling and engagement. Learning about and participating in grassroots struggles for liberation and self-determination inform her work. In addition to her more traditional art practice, she spends her days organizing, farming, cooking, and dj-ing.

Her work lives in protests, archives, non-profit, public and digital spaces including the Hollywood Transit Center (2018), SOMArts (2018) War Memorial Veterans Building (2017), The Oakland Museum of California (2016), Minnesota Street Projects (2016), Southern Exposure (2015), SmackMellon (2015), a busy intersection in Dakar, Senegal (2007), walls in L.A. (2002) and Chiapas, Mexico (2006), a digital billboard in Savannah, Georgia, (2011), on bookshelves in Beirut, Milan and Manchester (2012), in a stairwell, a restaurant and a phone booth in Beirut, Lebanon (2012), in a bustling marketplace in Torino, Italy (2012) and in a traveling imaginary archive housed temporarily at the Center for Contemporary Art in Graz, Austria (2013). Her work has been featured in publications including Art Forum, The Oregonian, L’Orient Le Jour & The Daily Star.

Emmy Lingscheit’s work critically investigates the ambiguities and exchanges between organisms and non-organisms, and between humans and non-humans. These seemingly rigid categories become increasingly blurry as technological advances take us further into a postnatural domain, and scientific research continues to reveal surprising insights into the world we think we know. Lingscheit’s prints, drawings, and sculptural works explore the myriad ways in which we are enmeshed with the non-human world, from the cellular level to the global economy, and their implications for the ecological and climatic challenges we face. She holds a BFA from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, and an MFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Lingscheit exhibits her work nationally and internationally, and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Image: Rick Silva, “Resist,” 2018. 1:00:00 min. loop

About Pacific Northwest College of Art

Pacific Northwest College of Art empowers artists and designers to reimagine what art and design can do in the world. Founded in 1909 as the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, PNCA offers eleven art and design Bachelor of Fine Art programs, seven graduate programs including Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts programs within the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, a Post-Baccalaureate program, and Community Education courses for artists and designers of all ages.