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Parallel Exhibitions: M. V. Moran “Bad Air” and Erika Rier “Extravagant Creatures”

Paragon Arts Gallery, Cascade Campus

A detail of a charcoal drawing of a woman and a ceramic sculpture of 3 stacked heads.

Images: (left) M. V. Moran, detail of Bad Air: Passive, 2020, charcoal on paper on panel, 80″ x 24″ (image courtesy of the artist) and (right) Erika Rier, The Triplet, 2022, ceramic, 23” tall (image courtesy of the artist).

Bad Air by M. V. Moran
Extravagant Creatures by Erika Rier


  • Exhibition Dates: December 2, 2022 – January 28, 2023
  • Reception for both exhibitions and Artist Talks: Thursday, December 8, 2022, 5 – 7 pm, 6 pm artist talks
  • Artist-Led Drop-In Ceramics Painting Workshop by Erika Rier: Paint ceramic shapes built by Erika Rier, Saturday, postponed to January 21, 2023, 1 – 4 pm
  • Artist-Led Drawing Workshop by M. V. Moran: Explore states of mind with portraiture and charcoal, January 26, 2023, 10 am – noon
  • Gallery Hours:
    • Wednesdays – Fridays, 12 – 7 pm
    • Saturdays, 12 – 5 pm
    • Holiday closures: December. 23 – 24, 28 – 31

Paragon Arts Gallery at PCC Cascade presents two parallel exhibitions: Bad Air by M. V. Moran in our West Gallery and Extravagant Creatures by Erika Rier in our East Gallery. Visual and interactive, the exhibitions offer drawings and ceramics, intriguing figures in bold black-and-white contrasts and eye-popping bright colors with messages reflecting on our current times.

Please join us for a reception on Thursday, December 8, 2022, from 5 – 7 p.m. with talks by both artists beginning at 6 p.m.

Public programming continues with a “Ceramics Painting Workshop” led by Erika Rier postponed until Saturday, January 21, 2023, from 1 – 4 p.m. Drop in and paint ceramic shapes made by Rier, and pick up your completed work to keep after it’s fired. Open to folks of all ages.

A “Drawing Workshop” will be led by M. V. Moran using prompts inspired by her work Thursday, January 26, 2023, from 10 a.m. – noon.

All events are free and open to the public.

Bad Air by M. V. Moran

Presented in the Paragon’s West Gallery, the Bad Air series consists of nine large charcoal drawings, each portraying a female figure. The contrast of marks and black charcoal on a field of white paper add a dramatic distinction between the body and the space that surrounds each woman. The indeterminacy of place suggests confinement and isolation. Originally for the Coos Art Museum, these drawings were made during the pandemic, the Oregon wildfires, and global, national, and local political turmoil.

Moran writes,

My body, again, was used as a model for this work. However, for these drawings, I availed myself as surrogate, stand-in and muse. . . . I visited the museum, the City of Coos Bay and Sunset Beach. I modeled on the beach, in the ocean and the surrounding areas. I was exhausted when I arrived; and at first I was disappointed with the images; and then I began to understand that my body, my mind, my soul were bone tired. Covid, the political unrest had affected me in ways I had not known before. It took me seeing images of myself, so unbelievably spent, to truly understand how to move forward with these nine women.

When I returned to my studio, I knew I wanted the work to be about this tiredness and loneliness. The Oregon fires had begun and the valley where I live was filled with smoke. Apocalyptic smoke. It was hard to think, to rest, to create. And all over the news were warnings of hazardous air quality, in other words, bad air. And, then I realized I have been breathing bad air for a long time. I have been breathing the bad air of hypocrisy, the bad air of hatred, the bad air of harassment, neglect, abandonment, prejudice and lies. So this work is about facing the bad air, and moving forward to peace, justice and truth.

The drawings reference various sources that include direct observation and photographs of my body. Three major influences for this work are Lisa Yuskavage, John Currin and Fernando Botera. The cartoonish quality of each woman is the inspiration of Lisa Yuskavage and John Currin. The thick bodies and the curvature of the line is inspired by the various works of Fernanado Botera, especially his large sculptures. — M. V. Moran

About M. V. Moran:

M. V. Moran earned her MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Moran has a BFA in Painting from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. After several years of working at the University of Oregon in Student Services, she resigned from her position and began her dream of becoming a professional artist. Moran has exhibited prolifically throughout the Pacific Northwest. Moran is an Artist-in-Residence for the Lane Arts Council and has also taught at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon.

Instagram: @m.v.moran
Facebook: @M.V.Moran.artist

Extravagant Creatures by Erika Rier

In the Paragon’s East Gallery, Erika Rier presents new figurative vessel-like ceramics and dense drawings. Initially eye-catching with bright colors, repetitive line work, and whimsical caricatures, the humor allows the dread and anxiety of the world slowly to creep in.

Rier writes,

Over the course of the past three years, between world turmoil and personal tragedies, Extravagant Creatures has slowly taken shape. . . . At this current time, there is no place for distraction and as an artist, I feel the need to keep pushing my viewers out of spaces of comfort with gentle nudges. The works span both ceramics and works on paper, creatures fanciful and absurd abound in both mediums. — Erika Rier

About Erika Rier:

Erika Rier is a self-taught artist working mostly in interdisciplinary art forms in a style she calls folk surrealism. After many years of oil painting and designing clothing, she shifted her focus to works on paper, ceramics, and artist zines. Writing is her first love and she still secretly writes fiction but never poetry anymore. Having lived in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, NYC, Arizona, and Washington state, Erika now resides in Portland, Oregon. She also has one of each of the following: a husband, a daughter, a fluffy cat, and a small dog.

Instagram: @erika_rier

About Paragon Arts Gallery:

Paragon Arts Gallery is an educational showcase committed to exhibiting work of high artistic quality. Our versatile gallery is located at 815 North Killingsworth, at PCC’s Cascade Campus. Mindful of our role as a member of the Humboldt community, we are especially committed to engaging community members in our space.