Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Vanessa Calvert | I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held

Sylvania North View Gallery

Full view of the wrapped mountain installation.

Vanessa Calvert, I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held. 2023, fabric, rope, metal, site-specific installation in the North View Gallery, PCC Sylvania. (Photograph: Mario Gallucci)

Vanessa Calvert | I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held

  • The artist invites you into the gallery during the installation process:
    • Wednesday, October 11, 11am-2pm
    • Monday, October 16, 11am-2pm
    • Thursday, October 26, 3-5pm
  • Exhibition dates: November 4 – December 15, 2023
  • Gallery hours: Monday – Friday, 8am-4pm, Saturdays 12-4pm
  • Opening reception: Saturday, November 4, 3-5pm
  • A conversation with Vanessa Calvert: Wednesday, November 15, 12-1pm
  • Closing reception: Friday, December 15, 5-7pm
View of installation through the window with show title.

Vanessa Calvert, I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held, detail, 2023, fabric, rope, metal, site-specific installation in the North View Gallery, PCC Sylvania. (Photograph: Mario Gallucci)

The North View Gallery is pleased to invite you to experience the artist Vanessa Calvert’s new site-specific installation; I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held.

During the month of October, Calvert worked on-site in the gallery, assembling a netted landscape, inspired by processes and ideas she first explored during her GLEAN residency, including the structure of the net. Visitors were invited to watch the new installation in process and, on days when the artist was present, help bind together materials that ultimately formed a spiraled, mountainous structure.

Calvert is a sculptor and installation artist who manipulates functional objects and materials to build new, often uncanny forms. Most recently, she has been pushing at the idea of landscape, engaging mountains and other land masses as seemingly steady bodies that feel permanent, yet are always shifting in imperceptible ways. Calvert sees a related paradox in relationships, which may feel stable, yet are always mutable and becoming.

For Calvert, the net-like form also evokes relational dynamics. Her choice of material for the North View installation; clothing worn by the artist, her daughter, and other people in their lives, underlines this connection. In the installation title, Calvert evokes the poet Mary Ruefle’s exploration of the need to be seen by another, to be comprehended. Grasped. Wrapped in your mother’s arms.

I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held.

Yet as Ruefle explains, comprehension is limited. The embrace disintegrates. We are always getting close and never arriving. In this relational dance, we constantly negotiate and adjust, push and pull, trying to reach that elusive understanding. Like relationships, nets can be simultaneously fragile and strong. They can appear solid but are always permeable. Nets are structures that cannot maintain a shape on their own. They can trap or restrict but they can also protect and support. Calvert embraces this complexity and invites us to immerse ourselves in a landscape that exposes the delicate balance between holding and being held, seeing and being seen.

Side view of Vanessa Calvert's installation.

Vanessa Calvert, I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held.  2023, fabric, rope, metal, site-specific installation in the North View Gallery, PCC Sylvania. (Photograph: Mario Gallucci)

About the artist

Vanessa Calvert is a mixed-media sculptor and installation artist living and working in Portland, OR. Calvert received her MFA in Contemporary Art Practice from Portland State University in 2009 and her BA at Whitman College in 2003. She has exhibited in spaces around Oregon and Washington including The Bellevue Arts Museum, Schneider Museum of Art, and Disjecta (now Oregon Contemporary). Calvert has worked as an adjunct professor of sculpture and drawing at Portland Community College, Portland State University, and Clark College and has mentored graduate students at Oregon College of Art & Craft and the AC+D MFA program. Learn more about her work at: vanessacalvert.com

About the gallery

  • Address: 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, Oregon, 97219
  • Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am-4pm, Saturday 12-4pm
  • 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.
Detail of Vanessa Calvert installation

Vanessa Calvert, I don’t know about you, but I just want to be held. Detail. 2023, fabric, rope, metal, site-specific installation in the North View Gallery, PCC Sylvania. (Photograph: Mario Gallucci)