Archer Gallery

Alyson Provax: Out of Nothing

Provax's innovative print work showcases resourcefulness in both medium and audience engagement

Untitled (feels so far away now), letterpress on gampi / animated gif

Sometimes simple phrases say it best. Alyson Provax’s letterpressed and animated piece Untitled (feels so far away now) is increasingly relevant in light of COVID-19’s impact on daily life. Although many institutions have resumed in-person viewings, a carefree visit to an art exhibition remains a distant dream. Portland artist and printmaker Provax acknowledges this challenge with versatile viewing options for her latest exhibition, Out of Nothing, at Clark College’s Archer Gallery. The show is hosted on Archer Gallery’s website, supplemented by a snail-mail art reproductions series, downloadable mobile wallpapers, and a Zoom artist’s talk and workshop. The show experiments with subtle human connection through language and offers new possibilities for togetherness in redefined spaces.  

During her artist’s talk, Provax explained the exhibition’s title; inspired by the phrase ex nihilo, or “out of nothing” in Latin, it conjures images of the void and the universe’s creation. It also suggests a resourcefulness requisite to daily pandemic life. Provax is known for devising art projects from unconventional sources and in unusual places. Her previous projects include text-based artworks on billboards and public benches. She’s pulled source texts from The Bachelor and a UFO sighting website. With this in mind, a question arises: What strategies for togetherness can we invent from the tools we have at hand?