Beaver Story

Fifteen years ago Beaver Story was acquired from a life-altering show I had at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and found a permanent home in the Wieden + Kennedy building, which housed PICA’s exhibition space at the time. The 8 foot tall plywood sculpture was moved the short distance to the venerable ad agency’s lobby and has been there ever since. By far my most visible artwork, many connections and opportunities have been born of the beaver, not to mention all the awesome jokes.  


My work has always been about stories and relationships and this one is exemplary, the fact that it was made from reclaimed ¼ plywood that was later found to have come from the very building it now lives in only the first of many resonant details. The beaver is the original builder, logger and developer and the fact that it’s 8 foot tall prehistoric iteration has scaled down so drastically is a functioning parable for our times. It is also a story about following through with what one has set into motion, heeding the signs and being alert to opportunity. 


For the month of September 2015 I have the honor of revisiting the gracious lobby gallery of Wieden + Kennedy with a show of work having domestic themes, like the Bed Bug quilt and the Chopping Pillow, darkness redeemed by beauty, obsessive craftsmanship and humor. 

Malia JensenComment