Knew Normal

An exhibition for HABITAT: Exploring Climate Change Through the Arts

• Opening Reception: Saturday, August 29, 6-8pm

Knew Normal presented a selection of recent works from established and emerging contemporary artists who use paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and wearable art to bear witness to the moments when environments, including the body, become more difficult or awkward to inhabit for reasons generally attributed to climate change. The artists in Knew Normal depict universally familiar themes of loss and uncertainty, tempered with unmistakable empathy and, at times, hope and humor. Each artwork in the exhibition tells a story about how our physical and psychological environments are shaped by current climates, whether social, political or environmental. Several of the artists also looked to the future, as characters of the existing universe are drastically altered or disappear altogether. Knew Normal recognized the age old tradition (or compulsion) of art making as a strategy for understanding complex circumstances and emotions. As we come to terms with our “new normal,” and as we brace for the near and distant future, what will we learn from what once was and how might we affect what will be? The exhibition was guest curated by Nancy Zastudil.

Featured Artists:

Gala Bent (Seattle, WA)       Wendy Mason (Los Angeles, CA) 
Magda Biernat (Brooklyn, NY) Nina Montenegro (Portland, OR)
Nick Brown (Los Angeles, CA)  Ryan Pierce (Portland, OR)
Mel Chin (Houston, TX) Liliana Porter (New York, NY)
Adriane Colburn (San Francisco, CA) Dario Robleto (Houston, TX)
Naomi Kizhner (Israel) Miriam Simun (Brooklyn, NY)
Lee Lee (Taos, NM/Denver, CO) Cedra Wood (Albuquerque, NM)

Selsun Blue 002 photo by David Bach

Opening Night:
Music provided by Selsun Blue, an eclectic slice of American roots music featuring guitar, banjo, tuba and dobro.


Exhibition Catalog


HABITAT Fall/Winter program guide:



Knew Normal Gallery

  • Magda Biernat, Adrift 3, Antarctica, 2013 & Adrift 4, Barrow, AK, digital prints, 20x20 in ea
  • Nick Brown, Standing Dead, watercolour on paper, 8x10 in
  • Mel Chin, Repurposed Texaco sign for Bank of the Sun, mixed media installation
  • Adriane Colburn, Anaconda Pond (video still), HD video & mylar
  • Lee Lee, Bleed, oil, colored pencil, sharpie on shotgunned plywood, 24x24 in
  • Wendy Mason, Fragrance of 2009, potato, perfume dispenser, dimensions variable
  • Nina Montenegro, Last Drops of Lake Mead from Souvenirs from the Anthropocene, mixed objects
  • Ryan Pierce, Los Angeles, flashe & ink on canvas over panel, 46x34 in
  • Liliana Porter, Black Drips, acrylic & figurine on wood, approx 6.25x2.75x1.25 in
  • Dario Robleto, I Wish The Ocean Sounded More Like Muddy Waters, seashells, sound, glue, 32x49 in
  • Miriam Simun, DOSD (Direct Olfactory Stimulation Device) from Shifting Baselines, mixed media
  • Cedra Wood, Lemmings, 2014, graphite on paper, 17x13 in

Images: (page top) Gala Bent, Ship for Fools (detail), gouache & graphite on paper, 30x22 inches
 • Selsun Blue, photo by David Bach