Modernism is pleased to present its first exhibition of collage works by Portland-based artist Eva LAKE. A longtime student of ancient art history and archaeology, Lake has been especially interested in reshuffling images and ideas that she had to memorize and theorize about. This was the case for Egypt, Greece and Rome, and in the Her Highness series, the sculpture of India.
In the spirit of Hannah Höch [1889-1978]—who appropriated and recombined images from mass media to critique popular culture, and the socially constructed roles of women—each of Eva Lake’s collages is a striking, often playful, amalgamation of ancient sculpture and the mid-century modern woman. Lake makes stone come to life, and with her background in the fashion and beauty worlds, she condenses time via the modern woman, who had her own stony, etched-in experience of life. She is timeless and moves through the centuries with ease.
Lake also reverses the conventional roles, exploring gender and identity, with a nod to John Stezaker’s male/female hybrid Marriage portrait collages. The ancient deities pictured are otherworldly, untouchable, spiritually beyond question, for the most part male, and of genius and absolute authority—whereas the mid-century woman tends to be none of those things. That is not what was expected of her, that is not how she was groomed. In Lake’s work, the voiceless, mostly anonymous beauties of her youth possess a rewritten script. Her Highness has taken root, knows transformation, and has burst from the rock.
Eva Lake has exhibited extensively in the United States and Europe since the 1980s. She is the recipient of multiple awards from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Ford Family foundation. Her work is included in the public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Portland’s Arts and Culture Council.