Writings & works on the PSU MFA Studio Lecture Series by the students of the MFA in Contemporary Art Practice: Studio program.

Jan 18

A Littler Ramble (2012), brings a probably not quite full scale replica of Euan Macdonald’s replica of a mountaintop onto the vacant lot at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Lincoln Street. Realistically rendered by a general contractor with a dumptruck full of asphalt the day before, the mountain’s summit is surmounted by actual snow from a local cloudburst. The work takes its title from a short prose piece by Robert Walser (1878-1956) recounting a trek in the mountains easily projected onto the landscape around Portland. “I walked through the park blocks today,” the account begins. “The weather was damp, and the entire region was gray. Woe, woe is me.” The ending asserts the power of the mundane: “We don’t need to see anything out of the ordinary. We already see so much.” The artist has added the suffix “-r” to the end so we know that it is in fact littler than probably a real mountaintop, and probably even Euan’s real one—which he has never seen in person and just kind of guessed about the dimensions, scale, and appearance of (after Euan’s original non-attempt to recreate Mt. Rainer).

A mountain encountered inside a parking lot used to store construction equipment temporarily is clearly out of the ordinary, but the piece asserts itself as a commonplace despite its uncanniness. The ordinary is expressed as if extraordinary.

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