Nathaniel C. Praska | By the Skin of Our Teeth

Nathaniel C. Praska | By the Skin of Our Teeth

On view: May 2 – May 31, 2024

Opening Reception: First Thursday, May 2, 2024, at 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Virtual Viewing Room:

This exhibition takes place at after/time Gallery in Portland, OR, USA.

Address: 735 SW 9th Ave #110 Portland, OR 97205


Portland, OR– after / time in association with MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture, is pleased to present By the Skin of Our Teeth, a solo exhibition of works by Nathaniel C. Praska.


By the Skin of Our Teeth presents scenes of difficulty, if not disaster, and the objects left behind as records of bare survival. Inspired by a popular American idiom and biblical reference, the title of the exhibition calls attention to both human frailty and fortitude. Formulating a critique of the power over life, the works on display confront the pervasiveness of a destructive politics that molds landscapes into realms where personhood is stripped away and existence is reduced to mere survival. Depicting a kind of living against the odds, Praska’s oeuvre represents the volatility of the present amidst dire circumstances, calling into question the meaning and security of home, nature, and nurture. 


Through a series of large-scale oil canvases, Praska’s works appear disconcertingly calm. The objects in sight become records of life: a rundown red Bronco, an old gray muffler, a still excavator. The rough outlines of the hand-made oil sticks and the gritty texture of the repurposed canvases emphasize the uncanniness of the surroundings: off-the-grid forests, an isolated trailer, vacant faces. These spaces, both as homely sites and as hostile spaces to endure, confront viewers in an eye-to-eye meeting with the present. Why now? Why here?


This exhibition represents the inaugural collaboration between after/time gallery in Portland, Oregon and MPAC in Zurich, Switzerland, as the first international extended viewing experience presented simultaneously in-person and virtually. Each viewing space, as hybrid extensions of each other, presents distinct works from Praska’s series. The exhibition serves as the artist’s debut solo showcase with both after/time and MPAC.


Nathaniel C. Praska began his career as a Plein Air artist and still considers himself a landscape painter. Often working with recycled material and homemade oil sticks, his material, process, and subject matter fuse to represent the anxiety of the times. Praska’s gritty analogies forge a visual language that encapsulates the mounting recognition of societal despondency and the precariousness of the post-1980s socio-economic paradigm in the United States.


after / time is an artist-run gallery and experimental curatorial platform based in Portland, Oregon. To come after is to acknowledge what has come before: histories, practices, actions, positionalities and to move with the knowledge and capacity to care for the past, build the present, and nurture the future. Understanding that just as time is not fixed, so are our actions and thoughts in a constant state of flux. After declares the need for balance: that at times our work, while important, needs to come after our needs as people; we strive not to drain and exhaust, but to build, to inspire, and recharge.


MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture is an art and research space dedicated to exploring our global contemporary from the vantage of postcollapse art and theory. Our frames of reference begin with the human experiences from Eastern Europe and Western and Central Asia since the end of the Cold War but permeate to every corner of our diasporic world-presence. Formalized in Portland, USA in 2019, MPAC relocated to Zurich in 2023. 


This exhibition was made possible through the generous support from Prosper Portland, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art [PICA], the Ford Family Foundation and Regional Arts and Culture [RACC].



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