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Entry to the Oasis

Syd Veverka

Jan 10, 2020 – Feb 21, 2020
In the Window
Artist Website

What magical place do you dream of running away to? Syd and her sister Carly share this dream of a healing place in nature to feel totally at peace. While she now lives in the cold of Chicago and paint the babes that reside in this imagined Oasis, Carly lives island life in Saint Lucia, creating a real physical space to bring others into. Last January, Syd spent the whole month with her, painting and helping her build her visions, while collecting a feeling that comes with being a lumpy girl, barely clothed, laying in sunshine. Syd frequently paints happy beach babes because of the pure, good feelings that reside in them. They are in the place of comfort that we yearn for when we want to run away from stress or even just the cold.

This January, Syd is taking the residency opportunity at SPACE to create an entryway to the Oasis that exists in her desires, based on her time spent with her sister and the dreams they’ve discussed since they were kids. The installation will contain three layers: the background layer will be a jungle-patterned mural based on sketches and photos Syd collected of the flora of the island, while beach babes of all shapes, genders and skin tones lounge, hanging in the space between wall and window. On the front window, Syd will paint a portal, the doorway into this world, for all Portland’s winter-clad passersby to yearn to jump into or remember a time they had that bliss.

Syd Veverka is an illustrator and muralist based out of Chicago. You’ll recognize her lumpy, rainbow skin-toned ladies and tropical patterns as common themes in her work. She paints interior and exterior murals commercially as well as a form of street art, focusing on line, color and shape to enhance spaces. In 2019, Veverka published her first book, Things To Do Before A Monday with Chronicle Books; her series of amusing prompts accompanied by drawings is half irresistible mojo-compliments, half feminist instructional art, all in the spirit of influencing optimism and open-mindedness. Veverka is a self-described “mixed bag of creative talents,” and it shows in her genre-bending style that combines illustration histories, interior design and architecture conventions, street art, play, and body positivity. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, she is passionate about the environment, bicycles, and repurposing old materials into colorful art.

*** The timing of this exhibition is acute as we consider how the global south is under threat right now from climate change, new weather patterns, and serious neglect. Here are some ways to support a few of the current crises:

Vets Without Borders is sending vets into Australia to help with the unseen damage to animals and their habitats from the fires (an estimated one billion+ animals have lost their lives in the fires).

In the aftermath of Hurricane María, the Hispanic Federation launched its UNIDOS program, which partners with local grassroots organizations, foundations, businesses, and individuals to ensure that emergency relief was able to have long-term positive impacts on Puerto Rico. Donations fund both first responders in Puerto Rico after the earthquake, but also sustainable contributions to local community organizations.

And lastly, for fires in the Amazon, SPACE would recommend the Rainforest Action Network. Not only are they doing important work in Brazil but in rainforests globally, and they are simultaneously doing big picture work tackling the root causes and environmental lobbying needed to combat climate change at the root of so much of these unusual weather patterns.