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Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz

Laura Russo Gallery
Portland OR Jun 5-28, 2003

Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz - Faith
Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz, Faith (2003), Chromira print
[Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, OR
Jun 5-28, 2003]

My perfect blue is an exhibition of photos and sculpture by Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz. Her large-scale Chromira prints have a distinctly female voice with their juxtaposed images of natural objects and human forms. Her sculptures are similar to her photographs of flowers frozen in beeswax that she combines with soft and delicate materials, such as crocheted and embroidered textiles. The intimate pieces are mounted from steel plates suspended from the wall. Hornbeak-Ortiz’s photographs likewise are mounted in rough welded steel frames that seem to protect the fragile nature of her work.

Many of Hornbeak-Ortiz’s photographic shots are taken close-up or contain a centrally focused image. The detailed and sensitive nature of her images is underscored by the scale of the prints. Her compositions are fluid and sensual. She keeps her colour palette moody by manipulating the original image, creating an emotional atmosphere that serves as a personal catharsis as well as inspiration for her theme, “My perfect blue.”

Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz - Mercy
Susan Hornbeak-Ortiz, Mercy (2003), Chromira print
[Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, OR
Jun 5-28, 2003]

Hornbeak-Ortiz’s photographic diptychs and triptychs speak of creation and death in both a comforting and fearful way. Faith juxtaposes a close up shot of her grandfather’s hands with a pristine flower in full bloom, referencing youth and age. The foundations for these works are her personal experiences with rites of passage and how they overlap within her own family life. From the death of an uncle to her own childbearing and her grandfather’s witness of weddings and baptisms, Hornbeak-Ortiz has created a visual journey of the simultaneous joys and sorrows that weave through life. My perfect blue is a way for her to turn the page and redefine perfection with a realistic notion of human mortality.

© Allyn Cantor

 Sat, Jun 7, 2003