Alice Spencer


In The Arts: Current shows illustrate why galleries deserve support (excerpt)


In Spencer's case, (textiles) are the source of her work. They account for it so voluptuously and with such luxury that she appears as a singular artist.

There are others who share her passion for textiles, but to make the expression of that passion central to her art is remarkable.

The defining term in this is the word "central." Textiles are so integral to Spencer's graphics that you lose your presence in the journey between them.

The division between the weavings and their depiction lessens as we move along; at times, it disappears. They are not equivalents, but there is a transference that I define as an exchange of spirit.

Spencer's show at Aucocisco in Portland, "Yardage," is an opportunity to test my responses. She describes her images in it as depicting dry goods of the sort one might see in the stalls of a village market, and reflects on their potential partnerships with the human body. Cloth becomes clothing and bedding, and life unfolds within them.

Her materials are gathered in exotic places, and she presents her images of them as metaphors for human experience. It is a grand mission and its components are beautiful to behold.