In Joshua Tree National Park, with nothing to do and nothing to do it with, Don Edler began Boredom Is the Ultimate Weapon, his ongoing series about what we create when bereft of inspiration.
For a week ahead of the show, Elder scoured Portland for materials to make his ratcheted-together sculptures. Among his finds were assorted foam pieces, a floral pillow and a heart-shaped tub. With the materials' formal and anthropomorphic qualities in mind, he built them into art. The results are sensual, larger-than-life sculptures.
Foam Time, Fun Time! greets you as you walk into HQHQ's small, well-proportioned space. Layered yellow and green blocks of foam are folded and squeezed around a pedestal with bright orange ratchet straps. The sculpture grows more welcoming as you walk around it to see where the layers of foam envelop the pedestal and each other, and the industrially straight lines soften into curves. Altogether, it creates a biomorphic allure.
In contrast, Lover(s) Ladder projects and protrudes. A ladder with yellow rails extends horizontally across the gallery from a heart-shaped tub tilted on its side and supported by what look like your grandmother's couch cushions. While Lover(s) Ladder may be a more immediately engaging work, it's also the most quickly exhausted. Overtly phallic, it lacks its partner piece's subtlety of form and sexuality.
Two small, purplish paintings accompany the sculptures but don't add much to the show. Repetitively layering upward of 100 layers of house paint in a meditative process, Edler's Boredom Paintings are intimate surfaces with subtle color gradations. But we need a longer line of them to be drawn in—two were too few to stand up to eye-catching sculptures.
The site-specificity of Edler's work, sourcing materials from Portland streets and shops, is what makes these sculptures interesting. They're a glimpse into what our city can inspire. It's a little dirty and a little sexy.
SEE IT: Boredom Is the Ultimate Weapon is at HQHQ Project Space, 232 SE Oak St., Suite 108. 1-4 pm Saturdays and Sundays through Aug. 23.