scott wayne indiana
 Jun 2007 by richard speer
To call multimedia artist Scott Wayne Indiana a Renaissance man is only partially accurate. Yes, Indiana (no relation to Robert) is eclectic in his interests and artistic output, but the 33-year-old’s work is so thoroughly, slyly contemporary, it speaks more to Postmodernism than to Renaissance-style heterogeneity. The Portland-based artist’s aesthetically promiscuous mélange of painting, installation, and public art has brought him increasing critical and popular attention in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Self-taught as an artist (he also has degrees in philosophy, mathematics and education), Indiana began painting at 25 and first blipped onto the Northwest art radar in 2002 with a series of well-received solo shows at Portland’s Everett Station Lofts. “I almost consider that period to be the equivalent of a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts,” he says today, “especially in the nuts and bolts of the real-world art scene: curating, doing press, putting up shows...” In 2005 he moved his studio across town and began his “Horses Project” by chaining toy horses to metal rings on Portland streets—rings once used to secure real horses in Portland’s pioneer past. With its blend of history and whimsy, the project galvanized the civic imagination and captured the attention of the media. For the artist, the fun really began when people he did not know started “pulling the horses’ heads off, spray-painting them, and adding green grass or other props underneath them. I realized that the participation itself, and the freedom inherent in it, is essential in the kind of projects I do.”

Last summer he and his wife, writer and installation artist Harvest Henderson, installed a 39-foot-long chain on the Joshua Tree, CA., property of artist Andrea Zittel. The aim of the project, the artist explains, is for visitors to trek to the remote land and add their own links to the existing chain. Other projects include a coloring book of Northwest art scenesters, an installation of 39 axes stuck in the ceiling of the Portland Art Center, and “The Nachos Project,” wherein he and Henderson deliver nachos to regional artists and help them eat them while discussing art esoterica, while documenting the conversation in any way the subjects choose. And then there are the plaques Indiana and his collaborators installed this May in arts districts in five cities: New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland. Bearing such inscriptions as: “Kate Moss is better than Donald Judd,” and “Beyonce is better than Clyfford Still,” the plaques are intended as “flippant phrases that speak to absurd comparisons and child-like art debates.”

Somewhere amidst all this mayhem lurks Scott Wayne Indiana, the gifted abstract painter. When he chooses to paint, he is capable of deploying an intuitive sense of movement in invigorating compositions, his shellac drips and graphite scribbles reminiscent of Cy Twombly and three Spanish artists he cites as influences: Antoni Tŕpies, Antonio Saura, and Manolo Millares. Of his own painting––which will be featured at Little Bird Gallery in L.A. in November and next spring at Ogle Gallery in Portland––he muses: “I love painting, but I’m way more interested in approaching it from angles that infuse the process with other aspects of the world that would never be considered art genres. To truly have an impact, art has to cross boundaries, open minds, and carve into a new place. For someone to do that with ‘just painting’ requires pure and total genius. I’m just a hard worker with an intuition I believe in.”

Jun 2007 by richard speer

top of page





FREE eNewsletter
Join the
art ltd. magazine
eNews list


Terms | Privacy
Copyright © 2007 Lifescapes Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.