The Remains: New gallery is ‘a bit dark,’ but keen on collaboration

The Remains are to be seen.

Hood River’s newest art gallery opens Aug. 1 for First Friday in a place that may seem unlikely, yet is just right to its owners, artists Nic Vik and Nate Chavez.

The venue is certainly new, on the railway side of historic Union Building, but the building is a century old, and Vik and Chavez believe the setting suits the tone of their work. They will exhibit new and existing works starting Friday (details below) in two side-by-side bays that are connected by the concrete and brick corridor of the former packing house along the railyard on the north edge of downtown

The gallery name was chosen after “a lot of text messages,” Vik said.

“I think that it’s not only the way the place feels, but it feels like, especially with the art we do, maybe that’s the remains of what’s popular and what’s out there, and then there’s us and the underground kind of thing,” Chavez said.

“This building was the remains of Diamond Fruit those many years ago, but it’s here by the tracks, and it’s got a little bit of a darker theme,” Vik said. “No one’s been down here for many years.”

“I think we were blown away by the fact that we got the coolest place we had ever worked out of,” Chavez said. “Within a day or so it was ‘there is no way we’re not sharing this with people.’“

“The ideas just started coming, starting with, ‘we’re going to have a party.’“

They plan group shows and collaborative efforts to give a showcase to other artists.

The Remains are at 500 Industrial Way in the west end of Union Building, under Haskell Davies Dunn law offices, but the only way in is down a set of stairs that seem to lead down to the railroad tracks. The gallery’s neighbor is the new Underground Music Experience.

“As soon as we mention where we are it’s like ‘oh, yeah, I know where that is.’ The fact that it’s a little like a speakeasy is kind of working for us,” Chavez said.

“Friday is an introduction, to say ‘here we are, dig the art, have a good time,‘ and I think once that happens there won’t be any problem with people knowing where it is,” Chavez said.

Chavez said, “Our art tends to be a little more dark. As artists ourselves, we are really trying to let people have another option of seeing different types of things. In Hood River there is some super awesome stuff, but for me, as an artist and someone who appreciates art, I like it when I see something I haven’t seen before or haven’t had a chance to see, and once we had this spot, it wasn’t even a question we’d hog this and work out of ourselves.”

Vic said, “Nate’s style and my style kind of mesh well, and The Remains is maybe a little grittier feel and appeal to it, and I think there’s great art and talented artists around here, but sometimes art won’t go so well side by side with a basket of fruit.”

Both have worked as artists for about 10 years, Chavez doing local shows for the past two years, including several at 301 Gallery and Vik, a Parkdale native, working and exhibiting in his adopted town of Portland. He moved back to the valley this year and he is painting and helping on the Laurance family farm.

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The Remains exhibit opens at 7 p.m. Friday, featuring jazz by The Clambake Combo of Portland, Liggo, and a DJ later. Solera Brewery will provide the beer and authentic lagniappe gumbo will be served up by Garret Arceneaux. Parking is along Industrial Way; walk there via Third Street, or through Cannery Square Park, at Fourth and Columbia streets across from Double Mountain Brewery.

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