Christopher Russell

"Mountain," a photograph by Christopher Russell, is featured in the exhibit "Surface Tension," which is on display with works by Rafael Soldi at The Arts Center in Corvallis. 

Contributed photo

“Surface Tension,” a two-person exhibition presenting works by Christopher Russell and Rafael Soldi, is on view at The Arts Center, 700 SW Madison Ave., Corvallis, through Nov. 9. An artist talk will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m.

This pairing acknowledges a shared lightness in the aesthetics of their work. However, this initial perception obscures a hidden drama that occurs below the surface of their photographs. Both artists mask their works with a veil of ethereality, enticing the viewer into closer engagement.

Portland-based artist Russell’s scratched and abraded photographs are often ambiguous and fractured, reflecting his exploration of the darker aspects of the human psyche. His photographs, taken in the landscape around Portland, have few traces of the original scene, relying on color and lens flare to entice.

His work appears in two dozen museum collections, including museums of contemporary art in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego and Antwerp. He received his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in California. He is represented by the gallery UPFOR in Portland.

Soldi’s project “Life Stand Still Here” explores internal dialogues and moments when life and its darkest facets can offer monumental symbolism. Through a variety of image-making techniques, he deftly mixes portraiture and abstraction as a metaphor for personal loss. Based in Seattle, Soldi received his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work is in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Frye Art Museum and the King County Public Art Collection.

“Surface Tension” is organized by Julia Bradshaw, assistant professor of art and new media communications at Oregon State University. The exhibition is in conjunction with the Society of Photographic Educators Northwest Regional Conference, which will be held at OSU on Oct. 20-21.

For more information, contact Bradshaw at Julia.bradshaw@oregonstate.edu.

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