In Sad Gods, Portland-based artist, Ryan Pierce, investigates the link between our yearning to understand the nonhuman world and our desire to conquer it. The artist draws on inspiration from the journals of Spanish conquistadors and Enlightenment-era botanists, as well as indigenous American narratives foretelling European invasion. Pierce considers whether we are living in an era of new exploration, as we reshape our landscape through climate change, industrial agriculture and bio-engineering.
Pierce received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2007 and a BFA from Oregon College of Art & Craft in 2003. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including the CUE Foundation (New York, NY), Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Peekskill, NY), Roberts and Tilton Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Lisa Dent Gallery (San Francisco, CA), and Babel Gallery (Trondheim, Norway). He has received recognition from Art in America, Art Papers, Art Week, and the Oregonian, and grants from The Joan Mitchell Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. He is the recipient of a 2012 Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. Pierce is the co-founder of Signal Fire, an organization that provides wilderness residencies and retreats to artists of all disciplines.