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

IRL – An In-Person Show of PCC Student Work from Past Online Exhibitions

Sylvania North View Gallery

Turquoise background with peach and pink letters spelling out iRL.

IRL – An In-Person Show of PCC Student Work from Past Online Exhibitions

  • Exhibition dates: April 6 – May 6, 2023.
  • Gallery hours: Monday – Friday, 8am-4pm, Saturdays by appointment
  • Opening Lunch Reception: Thursday, April 6, 12-2pm
Related programming
  • Ekphrastic Zine Making Workshop with 2023 PCC Writer-in-Residence Karah Kemmerly: Tuesday, April 18, 11am-1pm
  • Virtual Closing reception: Thursday, May 4, 1-2pm
    Join the Virtual Reception at 1pm

In Real Life.

The acronym is often used to mark a distinction between things we do online and things we do offline, online framed as something other than real. Yet, as theorist Nathan Jurgenson argues, the boundaries between online experiences and so-called “real life” are permeable. Writer and curator Legacy Russell builds on Jurgenson’s critique of “digital dualism” arguing that experimenting with identities and communities online doesn’t prevent us from developing meaningful relationships beyond our screens. Our online identities do not operate in isolation from the things we experience and the identities we inhabit offline. In fact, Russell explains, the ways we interact online can potentially help us understand who we are and how we relate to each other and the world around us with greater complexity and nuance.

Real life also happens online. The ways that we engage with each other and the world through screens are not divorced from real life, instead they inform the things we do in the offline world. Real life happens both offline and online.

Of course, just three years ago real life changed dramatically with the onset of the global pandemic. The pandemic precipitated one of the most massive and rapid shifts in human behavior in recent times. Many experienced levels of trauma that are still hard to comprehend and we encountered that global trauma IRL both on and offline.

Is this real life? This can’t be real.

In March 2020, when most Portland Community College operations went remote to stop the spread of COVID-19, the PCC Gallery Directors decided to move our annual art student exhibition online. At the awards ceremony for Closing the Distance, the first online student art show organized through the North View Gallery, I promised students that we would show their work in the physical gallery when the college campuses re-opened. At the time, I thought I would be organizing the show in Fall of 2020.

Three years and two additional District-Wide online student art shows later we finally have the opportunity to see in person, the work made by students taking classes in the Art Department, along with projects by students in the Multimedia Program, and the Music + Sonic Arts Program. Most of the art in this exhibition was made in Remote classes and exhibited in the online student shows organized by the PCC galleries. Because the online exhibitions continue to live on the gallery website, writing students from the English Department and our Dual Credit Program have been able to examine and write about digital images of the work. Now they too will have the chance to see the work they have written about in person.

The art in this exhibition stands as a testament to PCC students continuing to push themselves, making moving, beautiful, weird and wonderful art during a time of great duress. The work in this exhibition also illustrates the resilience and ingenuity of our faculty, who almost exactly three years ago, with only one week to prepare, began to teach art classes on Zoom for the very first time.

“To stay alive, to maintain life as a planet, in the face of the virus, but also in the face of the effects of centuries of ecological and cultural destruction, means implementing new structural forms of global cooperation. Just as the virus mutates, if we want to resist submission, we must also mutate.” Paul Preciado in “Learning from the Virus” Artforum May/June 2020

About the artists

Every year, art students at Portland Community College submit work made in PCC art classes to the juried art student exhibitions held in the galleries on each PCC campus. However, when the world went into lockdown to slow the spread of the Coronavirus in 2020, the PCC art galleries decided that instead of cancelling our student art shows, we would move the exhibitions online. Since 2020, PCC art galleries have hosted four online exhibitions, juried by artists including Patricia Vázquez Gómez, David Schell and The Nat Turner Project. Each online exhibition has a continued presence on the PCC website today. Below you will find links to the online shows that this exhibition draws from.

About the gallery

  • Address: 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97219
  • Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am-4pm, Saturday by appointment
  • Directions: Follow signs to the bookstore and visitor parking. The gallery is located in the Communications and Technology (CT) building, adjacent to the bookstore, on the NE corner of the Sylvania Campus.