Stephanie Chefas Projects is pleased to present Summer Collective, a group exhibition featuring new work from nine contemporary artists, including Ben Willis, Carissa Potter, Jeffrey Cheung, Laura Berger, Leslie Vigeant, Mako Miyamoto, Maxwell McMaster, Mia Farrington, and Ryan Whelan. From Geometric Abstraction and Photography, this exhibition covers an extensive scope of contemporary artistic movements.

The opening reception for Summer Collective will be held at Stephanie Chefas Projects on Saturday, July 27th from 5-8pm. Stephanie Chefas Projects is located in Portland, Oregon at 305 SE 3rd Avenue on the second floor of the Urban Row building. The exhibition will be on view through August 24, 2019 and is free and open to the public.

The pattern paintings of Ben Willis are derived from concepts of optical art. In contrast, his use of materials has allowed him to go beyond creating a visual depth, adding a third dimension of suspending paint, iridescent pigment, and glitter in many layers of resin. Willis says, "My patterns do not just end in paint. Their repetitive nature has provided a fluid outlet for collage, digital, mixed media, and installation in my work."

Carissa Potter’s artwork reflect her hopeless romanticism through their investigations into public and private intimacy. Speaking both humorously and poignantly to the human condition, Potter’s work touches chords we all can relate to – exploring situations we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives and conveying messages we simply long to hear.

Jeffrey Cheung’s bright figurative work celebrates queerness within his personal life and within skate culture. He is a prolific maker, whose vivacious art examines freedom, identity, and intersectionality, through bold color and intertwined characters. Cheung’s figures stem from his homoerotic zine making practice and have grown into larger than life paintings. On canvas his playful androgynous characters fearlessly take up space, blend together, and playfully unite in non-binary identities. His genderless body positive world questions the boundaries of sexuality, body, gender, and race. Cheung’s simplistic line-work of gender nonspecific bodies offers a clever yet loving response to the heteronormative male gaze creating a more inclusive and accessible entry point.

Concise female figures commune, dance and support one another in Laura Berger’s paintings. Each character is at once an individual totem and an integral piece of a larger composition upholding the communities created within each of Berger’s paintings. Shadowy echoes of figures mirror their more vivid counterparts, evoking a sense of history and unity. These ghostly apparitions seem to lend their support and serve as a reminder of past generations.

Using the Western construct of femininity as her base, Leslie Vigeant’s work considers the hierarchies of low vs high, expectations vs reality while exploring the impossible standard of female beauty and the lengths to which women contort themselves to attain it.

Mako Miyamoto is known for his cinematic landscapes brimming with vivid Wookie characters and compelling narratives. His subjects transcend any level of campiness to embody something beautiful and even profound. With every image, Miyamoto unapologetically lures the viewer into a realm that exists somewhere between the real and the imaginary.

Maxwell McMaster’s work typically takes inspiration from his native state of California. Maxwell uses color, shape, and texture to enhance and deepen scenes from his travels and everyday life. The result is typically abstract and minimal in design but somehow complex in appearance. The images invite the viewer to reflect on life, and its mysteries while reminding us of the beauty in it.

Mia Farrington’s art aims to bring color to the forefront. The colors are controlled and contained by a continuous hard edge making the color the focus which ultimately becomes the object. The paintings become about relationships and perception. How the colors influence each other, how they communicate with the surface and the texture of the canvas. Like so many perceptions in life, from far away the edges look flawless, yet once experienced up close is when the viewer comes upon all the intimate imperfections.

Ryan Whelan strives to achieve strong contradictions in his work no matter the subject - ordinary becomes magical, simple turns complex, imperfection becomes perfection. In his latest work, Whelan explores the romanticized world of agriculture from the perspective of a city boy, only to undermine his own heightened musings with stark revelations. As a result, the work takes on gritty undertones, even as waves of green bask in the midday sun. In the most direct and visual of ways, Whelan wonders if the grass is indeed always greener on the other side.