Artist Brian Porray’s characters live in two universes at once. Acrylic beasts stand forlorn in front of sandpapery, spray-painted washes, hearkening to the innocence of childhood, while a white, cartoony, sausage-like being beckons the critters into a world of drug-frenzied, Hunter S. Thompson-esque scribbles.
Artist Jeremy Mayer lives in two universes at once. He resides in Tahoe City, Calif., where the air is clear and the art is known for representing the area’s natural beauty. But he’s a contemporary artist who likes to think about parapsychological research and make sculptures out of typewriter parts.
Porray and Mayer are two of the artists from Reno, Tahoe, San Francisco and beyond who are slated to appear in an art exhibition at a shopping mall in Tahoe City, Calif.
The organizers of Remote Viewing—named for a procedure developed at the Stanford Research Institute to allegedly perform clairvoyance under controlled conditions—intend to bring a selection of city-style artwork up the hill and into the woods, where they expect Tahoe City residents will be ready for a change of pace.
Mayer finds that even though the Tahoe area has some active arts organizations, he never quite found a niche there for his typewriter figures and drawings of mechanical parts. In a technological era where peers and colleagues can convene from any part of the globe, he and a few fellow artists decided to create an alpine outlet of their own.
“I just felt that there was a little bit of our community that wasn’t being represented,” he says. “It was probably a little more urbane that the status quo, than people who were doing landscapes and stuff like that around here, and, with some friends who are also artists, we decided to do our own little show and not worry about making any money and just have fun.”
The Remote Viewing artists’ influences come from all kinds of sources. Porray, for example, a recent University of Nevada, Reno graduate and painting instructor, starts with his childhood. He grew up in Las Vegas, watching cartoons with the sound off while his jazz-musician dad would warm up the trumpet. He bases the structure of his drawings on the structure of music.
“I like rhythm, composition, flow, syncopation, you know, beat, groove,” he says. “It’s real important to me to set that up.”
He lays out rules before he starts a drawing, he explains, then improvises over the top of them, much like a jazz combo would.
He mixes in some of the aesthetics he picked up during a bout with hard times.
“I lived off and on for a little over a year …on the streets of Vegas, and these [drawings] are always recalling that time,” says Porray.
The end product is a series of drawings, a psychologically busy mix of sparse composition and frenzied lines that look like they’re fresh from a spray-can but fit precisely in the corners of what Porray calls his self-portraits.
He doesn’t just put himself into the artwork; he puts the artwork back on himself. He points to one of his characters, a line drawing tattooed onto his calf. It’s a fitting gesture, in the spirit of artists who don’t mind finding their own spaces to show their artwork.