What's so Lovely About the End of the World?

Press Release                           

Erik ReeL and Narci Lee

Curated by Rhonda P. Hill

Contact: Rhonda P. Hill, 323.252.3300, PR@edgexpo.com


Architecture MasterPrize, Landscape and Urban Design, Firm of the Year

735 NW 18th Avenue

Portland OR

28 August - 28 September 2023

Reception 6-8 pm 7 September 2023 

Hours: M-F 10-4 or by appointment

Beyond Destined to Dirt

Curator Rhonda P. Hill teams artist Erik ReeL and performance artist slash fashion designer Narci Lee to deliver an exuberant, upcycled take on the apocalypse, beyond destined to dirt.

The widely acclaimed design firm, PLACE, winner of the Architecture MasterPrize, Landscape and Urban Design, Firm of the Year for 2019-2020, hosts the exhibition What’s so lovely about the end of the world? at their world headquarters in Portland, Oregon from 28 August to 28 September 2023, consisting of paintings by Erik ReeL and upcycled fashion by Narci Lee. There will be an opening reception for the artists and curator during Portland’s First Thursdays on the evening of 7 September from 6-8 pm.

Featuring colorful paintings and upcycled fashion, the exhibition is influenced by ideas from ReeL’s recent book, Pterodactyl Cries: Art, Abstraction, and Apocalypse (2021). What is upcycling? Narci Lee explains upcycling as being about “keeping fabric alive, giving fabric a new life, a new meaning, it lengthens the life-cycle, countering the time it takes to biodegrade.”

A collaboration was initiated between the artists when ReeL took discarded canvas futon covers and started painting fabric designs on them so that they could be re-used for clothing. Narci Lee, a California-based performance artist and fashion designer then took this fabric, combined with other recycled materials and created a coat, dress, and bag ensemble specifically for this exhibition. 

ReeL comments, “It seems a considerable portion of the human race lusts for the apocalypse, the end of the world. It is as if there is this darkness deep down in their psyches that yearns to see the world burn, rush to Armageddon, the last battle. Maybe it is possible to think and do things differently instead.” 

Curator, Rhonda P. Hill and her husband, Erik ReeL, are recent transplants to Portland being climate refugees after narrowly escaping the Thomas Fire in 2018. Originally from Seattle, this will be ReeL’s first exhibition in Portland and his first show in the Pacific Northwest in 36 years.

PLACE is an internationally recognized design studio engaging landscape architecture, art, planning, and urban design, committed to making the world a better place by embracing stewardship of the natural world, advancing bold ideas, championing vanguard concepts, and creating memorable experiences through timeless craft. A partner of 1% for the PLANET, PLACE has been recognized for design excellence by the American Society of Landscape Architects, World Landscape Architecture 2021 ASLA Landmark Award, and named the Architecture MasterPrize 2019-2020 Landscape & Urban Design Firm of the Year.

Rhonda P. Hill is an independent curator specializing in exhibitions involving ecologically conscious fashion. She is founder of the fashion intelligence platform EDGE (EDGExpo.com) promoting designers who push for zero-waste practices and production streams, fully circular systems, and the highest aesthetic standards and product quality. Rhonda lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Erik ReeL.

Narci Lee is a zero-waste fashion designer and performance artist based in Ventura, California. Her designs have been exhibited at the realART Gallery in Agoura Hills, California, seen on the runways of art museum's fashion events and in boutiques and wardrobe collections throughout the country. Her performance work has engaged audiences for years at John M. White’s celebrated 5x5x5 performance art series in Ventura, California. She lives in Ventura with her husband, Jason Russell.

Erik ReeL is a Seattle-born visual artist and writer living in Portland. ReeL's art is in collections based in Buenos Aires, Berlin, Chicago, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Houston, Indianapolis, London, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, Paris, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Seoul. ReeL’s work is part of an international turn toward improvisational abstraction that includes artists such as Jadé Fadojutimi, Amy Sillman, Julie Mehrutu, Laura Owens, Albert Oehlen and his students, and Liliane Tomasko while frequently featuring ecological thinking and themes. He lives in Portland with his wife, Rhonda P. Hill.