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This content was published: February 12, 2023. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

A Joyous Grief: Molly Alloy & Michael Espinoza

Cascade Paragon Arts Gallery

Entwining two practices that reach toward queer ancestors, this exhibition vibrates with the vitality of queer solidarity in action.

Two sculptures; one of a standing piece of wood with a metal ring and the other behind it, a tall structure covered in blue masks.

Image: Michael Espinoza and Molly Alloy, Gulp, 2023, includes Michael Espinoza, How to Survive a Plague (glory hole), 2021, disposable masks & wood, 37” x 6” x 2” and Molly Alloy, Bit, 2022, unaltered driftwood, leather, artificial sinew, found steel ring, 10” x 3’ x 32” (image courtesy of the artists)

  • Exhibition dates: February 24 – April 8, 2023
  • Gallery party and artist talk: postponed to Friday, March 17, 2023, 5-7pm, artists talk at 6pm
  • Other events:
    • Celebration: Art for Trans Solidarity! Friday, March 24, 5-7pm tour the exhibition with the artists and enjoy live music!
    • Conversation: Michael Espinoza and Malcom Gregory Scott, on AIDS and Activism, Friday, March 31, gather at 5:30pm, talk 6-7:30pm
    • Conversation: Using Peer Relationships to Grow an Art Practice, Thursday, April 6, 10:30-11:30am, via Zoom
  • Gallery hours:
    • Wednesdays – Fridays, 12-7pm, Saturdays, 12-5pm
    • 24/7 view at 815 N. Killingsworth, Portland, OR 97217
  • All events are free and open to the public.

Artists Michael Espinoza and Molly Alloy have assembled duets about embodiment, care, queer family, vulnerability and survival. This exhibition looks at the contrivance and absurdity of binaries, especially between two restrictive, compulsory genders, and between aliveness and death. The simple conceit of framing a binary relationship between the artworks of these two nonbinary artists marries two practices which are at once divergent and disarmingly related. Formal choices echo between the works, conceptual elements mirror, and tension playfully (promiscuously) produce new dimensions. This show takes root in the deeply fulfilling personal connection these two enbies share, and brings audiences into the sense of discovery it elicits in their work and in their lives.

This exhibition, and related programming, seek to honor and reassert the urgent need for queer and trans spaces and relationships. The work in this show calls forth chosen ancestors within a legacy of queer and trans survival. The artists name water, the land, trees, beavers, Michel Foucault, living long term AIDS survivor Malcom Gregory Scott, and the unfathomable multitudes of queer and trans relatives past, present, and future. Joy and grief are framed in opposition by dominant culture, but in trans and queer family making those feelings are entwined. Entwining two practices that reach towards queer ancestors, this exhibition vibrates with the vitality of queer solidarity in action.

About the artists

Molly Alloy (they/them, b. 1981 St. Louis, MO/ Osage land) is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working within the positionality of a queer, non-binary, trans, white settler, and that of a spouse and parent. Alloy’s sculptures claim driftwood and leather as remnants of ancestral presence which they shape into material contemplations of collective queer immortality. As a founding Codirector of Five Oaks Museum, on Tualatin Kalapuya land, they orient their work towards the protection of body, land, truth, justice, and community. Alloy holds a Bachelor of Science in Studio Art from Skidmore College and a Master of Fine Art from Pacific Northwest College of Art. They have exhibited in group and solo shows nationally, and have been the recipient of the 2004 Margaret Mergentine Award for Excellence in Fiber Arts, the 2017 Artist in Residence of the Oregon Bee Project, and a 2019 residency with PLAYA Summer Lake.

Michael Espinoza (they/them, b. 1984 Colorado Springs, CO/ Cheyenne, Ute & Lipan Apache land) is a non-binary, multi-racial, multi-disciplinary artist whose work embodies and embraces the undone artistic practices of Queer Ancestors lost to persecution, disease, fatal sadness, and closets. Currently, their practice borrows strategies from embroidery, quilting, digital media, sculpture and photography to explore sex and sexuality, intersectional identities, intimacy, the body, and contact with the dead. They have previously exhibited live performance, site-specific installation, and video. Their work can be found in public art collections, digital spaces, domestic and international group shows, and the many spaces intended for queer joy.

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.