A large-scale sculptural installation by Portland-based artist Mike Rathbun

Entering Mike Rathbun’s Urgency is like stumbling down a rabbit hole. This bizarre world recalls the magical darkness of the Brothers Grimm and the wondrous imagination of Maurice Sendek’s Where the Wild Things Are. Rathbun’s powerful installation evokes both unease and wonder. On one hand, the space compels exploration, but it also is filled with a sense of foreboding. As visitors in this strange environment, we are swallowed up by its monumental scale and dwarfed by a menacing forest of thorns that appear to burst out of the gallery’s ceiling. With only a narrow passageway around the perimeter, the installation overwhelms the space, making it difficult to maneuver. Even still, our scale in relationship to it is confounding: are we the size of insects in a field or have the thorny trunks taken over this world?

The artist would like to thank the following individuals whose hearts and hands were instrumental in the production of this work: Zoe Clark, Caitlin Ducey, Rick Holden, Lewis Feuer, Kelly Kuykendall, Riley Meinershagen, Kathryn Miller, Molly Montagna, Sandra Moll, Meagan Nuss, Kim, Melissa & Ameilia Rathbun, Steve Rathbun, Sonia Stolfo, and Kyle Thompson.

Urgency is generously supported in part by an Applied Materials Excellence in the Arts Grant, a program of the Arts Council of Silicon Valley.

San Jose Institute of Contemporary, San Jose, Ca.