PENDLETON — A self-taught artist who works mostly in inks and paint is featured in a new exhibit at Pendleton Center for the Arts.
After many years of oil painting and designing clothes, Erika Rier shifted her focus to works on paper. Writing was her first love and she still writes fiction but not poetry. Identifying herself as an artist and illustrator, she works on commissioned projects, zines, textiles and children’s books.
“My work draws heavily upon folk tales and mythology as a means to examine themes of the modern world,” she said in her artist statement. “I seek to twist narratives to make old themes feel new and of-the-moment.”
“To Grandmother’s House” is available for viewing Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. in the East Oregonian Gallery at the arts center, 214 N. Main St. There is no admission charge.
She calls her unique art style “folk surrealism.” Rier explains that she focuses on developing a visual narrative. Each drawing, she said, is almost like the next page in a wordless book.
Utilizing a modified spelling for woman or women, Rier said it’s important to her that when a female-identifying person looks at her work they see their own struggles, realities and dreams reflected back at them.
“My work is particularly focused on portraying the inner life of womxn as well as changing our expectations of womxn’s roles as a subject within art,” Rier said. “It is my mission to create art depicting womxn engaged with their world and shaping their reality, rather than depicting passive womxn shaped by the male gaze.”
Rier has lived in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York City, Arizona and Washington. She now resides in Portland with her husband, daughter and a cat.
Three of her pieces are currently included in “From the Forest, From the Furrows, From the Field,” a group show at Ford Gallery in Portland. It highlights folklore and superstitions. The exhibit continues through Oct. 23. Also, Rier has another solo show that runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 22 at Wolff Gallery, also in Portland.
In addition to Rier’s exhibit in the East Oregonian Gallery, the photography work of Anne Sump and Julie Muller is featured in the Lorenzen Board Room Gallery. Both exhibits run through Saturday, Oct. 26.