Carolyn Hopkins + M Acuff

November 5 - November 27, 2022

Exhibition Reception

Saturday, November 5 5-8 pm

Open Hours

Sat-Sun 12-5pm
drop in or by appointment 

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Exhibition Statement

In their two person show Smolder, Carolyn Hopkins and M Acuff address their rising anxiety surrounding the various catastrophes of the recent past and impending future. Through video and sculpture these two contemplate our interdependence with the world around us as well as the powers of tenderness and imagination.

In Hopkins’ new video piece Slow Burn, she explores her deep grief over the accelerating climate crisis, as well as her interest in dismantling patriarchal tropes of the American West. Carolyn rides her horse in tight circles inside of a 150 year old hay barn with active forest fires nearby. Her shirt is covered in tiny mirrors, much like a disco ball. As she spins it reflects the disheartenedly discolored and diffused sunlight around the space. Paired with an instrumental composition reminiscent of spaghetti westerns, Carolyn quite literally dons a cowboy hat and performs within the space. This piece addresses the urgency of our time by utilizing beauty and spectacle and placing it against a backdrop of our new frightening reality. When it feels as though there is nothing to be done, we dance.

Acuff’s A Thing Burnt in its Entirety is keyed to the alchemical concept of the Nigredo, a Latin term that means black, and references material that was set ablaze in an attempt to transform it utterly. Alchemy was historically practiced in China, India, the Muslim World, and Europe and was a precursor to early modern science, chemistry especially. The psychologist Carl Jung took an interest in these techniques for their metaphorical ability to describe the epic battle between the Ego, the Self, and the Unconscious that can occur within an individual, but also at collective scale, within cultures. Some argue that we are inside a Nigredo right now! Within the Nigredo all illusions are extinguished. A Thing Burnt in its Entirety also nods to the practice within Hellenistic and later religions of making a sacrifice to the god(s) via burning an animal completely. Per the Sixth Extinction, many animals were and continue to be harmed during the making and viewing of this sculpture. Finally, it would be remiss not to acknowledge that the disastrous and constitutive transformation at the origin of the modern world was the transformation of Africans into slaves, from humans to things. None of us remain unscathed by this fact.


Carolyn Hopkins graduated with an MFA in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her recent work has been made from the viewpoint of the end in order to re-examine our current political and ecological landscapes, as well as the rise of solastalgia. Carolyn has collaborated with Mark Dion and has been an Artist in Residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, the Vermont Studio Center, Caldera, Brush Creek, Mildred’s Lane, and Leland Ironworks. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Carolyn lives and works in Lyle, Washington on her 20 acre ranch where she splits her time between the saddle and the studio.

M Acuff is an artist whose practice ranges from object making to installation to video and performance, and makes legible the specific agents that have made, erased and perpetuated particular kinds of knowledge, structures and perception over other possible formations. Acuff’s work re-fashions dominant ideas about nature, gender, race and class that organize and enact omnicidal, world-ending violence, venturing instead to seed alternative, biophilic imagination and radicality. Acuff is a Professor of Art at Whitman College .

© Carnation Contemporary
photo credit: Marcelo Fontana
8371 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Open Hours
12-5 Saturday-Sunday

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