Curated by Stephanie Snyder

August 27–October 20, 2013
Tuesday–Sunday, 12-5:00 p.m.
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 19, 6–8:00 p.m.

Jamie Isenstein: Will Return is an exhibition, an occasion, and a publication. For the past fifteen years, Portland native and Reed College alumna Jamie Isenstein has created objects, drawings, mixed-media sculptures, and installations that engage the artist’s body as an artistic medium—a subject of humor, theatricality, and historical representation. In keeping with the tragic-comic slapstick of turn-of-the-century Vaudeville, Isenstein explores the subjectivity of the marginalized individual—the bit-player, the human prop, the butt of the joke, the wisenheimer who gets the last laugh. At times, Isenstein’s humor veers toward the bittersweet and the melancholy. The jokes and word-play embedded in her work materialize the pain of others, confronting us with life’s most essential predicaments: mortality, for one. Perhaps more than any other object, Isenstein uses the common “will return” sign as a means for discussing the relationship between artist and spectator, and artist and artwork. The sign embodies the inevitable moment when both artist and spectator will no longer return. Or will they? Like all good magicians, Isenstein keeps her secrets close, so don’t ask.

Full color catalog published by the Cooley Gallery and designed by Heather Watkins, with texts by Reed College alumni: Jamie Isenstein, Graham Jones, Stephanie Snyder, and David Velasco.

Selected Press

Jamie Isenstein—Her punch lines are dead serious,” John Motley, The Oregonian, September 6, 2013.