by Michelle Liccardo & Ralph Pugay
10/08/11 - 11/05/11
Object Lessons by Michelle Liccardo and Ralph Pugay is an installation that captures the many absurdities associated with functioning in a world of ever-present uncertainty and relativity. This collaboration capitalizes on the artists' sense of humor and imperfect sculptural styles to create a large scale diorama that acts as a metaphor for existential inquiries.
Liccardo and Pugay use visual components that reference video games, obstacle courses, and allegorical narratives to explore how things are defined and experienced in a paradoxical universe. Most of the sculptural elements are composed of ordinary materials like cardboard, foil, and tape. These items are transitory and fragile thus reinforcing the involved considerations about the malleable, ephemeral qualities of perception.
The installation operates as a sort of alternate Myth of Sisyphus where small figures tumble down a 7 ft staircase that is littered with hurdles. The obstacles are indefinite and representational objects that symbolize various facets of life. The falling figures must avoid both common and abstract obstructions to arrive injured, yet jubilant at the bottom of the stairs. Object Lessons points to the idiosyncrasies involved with how success and failure are determined within the fluidity of truth. Liccardo and Pugay use comedy and dialogue to effectively engage the confounding terrritory where the human need for understanding meets the unreasonableness of the universe.
Michelle Liccardo’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s 2009 Time Based Art Festival. In 2010 she worked collaboratively with artist Nanda D’Agostino on her digital, public art project, Intellectual Ecosystem, installed at Portland State University in 2010. Liccardo earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Art Practice at Portland State University. Her studio practice involves intuition driven two and three-dimensional work using a variety of media. More information can be found at liccardo.weebly.com.
Originally from the Philippines, Ralph Pugay is a Portland-based artist whose work is rooted in the investigation of anxiety and alienation that exist in an era of rapid globalization and information consumption. His work has been shown at local and national venues including IGLOO, Disjecta, Grounds for Sculpture, The Door at Ludlow Street, Salt Lake Art Center, and The Time-Based Arts Festival. He is a recipient of grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Art and Portland State University where he received an MFA in Contemporary Studio Practice. In 2010, Pugay received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center. His paintings will be featured in the Pacific Coast edition of New American Paintings this year. More information can be found at ralphpugay.com.