Last weekend we viewed work by Nancy Lorenz in a show called “Polished Ground” at PDX Contemporary. The first thing I noticed when I entered the gallery was the reflection of metal on all four walls. But after my initial reaction, I was struck by the contrast between precious and utilitarian in her work. Backgrounds of jute or burlap feature marks, such as circles, gestural strokes, and spills, of what look like poured silver and gold. As someone who works with fiber, I found Lorenz’s choice and treatment of materials fascinating. She creates gestural strokes with clay or gesso, sometimes using her fingers to make pattern within these materials. Then she burnishes gold or silver leaf over the top. In some pieces, the background fiber is left natural. In others she leafs over it. Her show runs through May 2, 2015.