Megan Harned

 

February Gallery Guide

Skinny Dipping with Hap, Something is Wrong at Hellion, Ok, Cupid? at Upper Playground and more...

Happy Black History Month! This February I’m excited to introduce a new gallery on the scene – Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art – a name that those of you who’ve been in the scene for a while might recognize. But since I fall in the category of people for whom name recognition hasn’t kicked in, I’m not going to vet his local chops here, just give an overview of what it looks like he’s doing with his new space.

Located on Northwest Raleigh Street between 22nd and 23rd avenues, Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art is an “installation-based exhibition space” that will periodically be activated by performance workshops and public talks. The gallery salon (think people chatting philosophy over wine) is a collaboration with Katayama Framing and Murdoch Collections that will present a series of group exhibitions curated around specific concepts.

Marilyn Murdoch (Murdoch Collections), Peter Murdoch (Katayama Framing) and Jeffrey Thomas (Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art)

Marilyn Murdoch (Murdoch Collections), Peter Murdoch (Katayama Framing) and Jeffrey Thomas (Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art)

Installation can mean several different, but related, things in the art world. First, there’s the fairly straightforward idea of installing a show. Depending on the type and scale of work, this will be more labor intensive that simply hanging a few flat works, and can also include activities such as building display cases and temporary walls depending on what the exhibition design calls for.

Second, there’s installation as artistic practice, which is often considered site-specific. This then turns into a pun about the specificity of seeing the work in the place that it’s designed for or responding to (sight/site). Installation art can respond to a lot of things – architecture, community, landscape, ideas, etc., through materials and practices not traditionally considered part of the visual art. In doing so it’s become an interdisciplinary way to create immersive, interactive exhibitions for public audiences.

Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art’s inaugural show is titled The Sum of Its Parts and is curated around the concept of individual works of art that champion the concept of holism as described by Aristotle. Thirteen artists for whom building a whole or complete visual experience is a central component of their artistic practice will present their approaches to the “parts” of their visual practice. Over the next two months (Part 1, and Part 2) new and different work from each of the artists will be installed, creating an evolving exhibition that encourages return visits for an experience that will be greater than the sum of its parts.

The Sum of Its Parts opens Wednesday, February 11th and runs through Saturday, March 7th at Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art, 2219 NW Raleigh Ave. A reception will be held that evening from 5 to 9 p.m. to celebrate the inaugural show and new space. I look forward to seeing you there!

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Upper Playground – The rapidly advancing landscape of technology has resulted in countless modern conveniences and comforts, including the ease of connecting with others. As a result, dating sites such as Tinder and Ok Cupid have become wildly popular; most everyone either knows someone, or has a story themselves, about their adventures trying to find love online. In fact, when I was on OkC I posted a lot of the messages on Facebook under the headline, ‘Today in Ok Cupid Messages’ and they still are the most popular posts I’ve made. Fifty24PDX Gallery aims to explore the humor and horror of these experiences in the group show Ok, Cupid? from February 4th through February 28th.

 

 

Hellion – Hellion’s first show in their new space is SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YU SUDA. Descending upon us from Tokyo, Japan, Yu has a unique style that is a mashup of vintage Edo era art and a quirky contemporary view of Japan. For all those Portlanders interested in the clash of history and contemporary, this exhibition promises to be full of visual puns and an exuberant approach to (dis)locating our modern habits with regard to tradition. Basically, if you love those Stephen Chow movies (I’m specifically thinking of Shaolin Soccer) you need to get out from under your blanket and see this show. Opening Thursday, February 5th at 6pm, 15 NW 5th Ave.

 

 

 

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Hap – While it may seem too cold for it this time of year, Hap gallery’s February show, Skinny Dip, is not full of ice water for you to dunk yourself in, but is in fact an exhibition of sculptures by Lisa Rybovich Crallé. Working with bright colors, organic forms, bold lines and a sense of whimsy, Crallé creates sculptural forms and installations that bring out the theatricality of everyday life. Look forward to works that will engage your sense of play and stop by the opening reception on First Thursday, February 5, from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

 

 

Nationale – From a quaint and steamy babushka’s kitchen, to the elaborate and vast castle of a Norse god, Carson Ellis’s illustrations explore the myriad spaces we call home. In her third exhibition at Nationale, Ellis shares some of the original illustrations featured in her debut book, Home (Candlewick Press). From the practical to the whimsical, Ellis demonstrates that although homes can be very different, they often share a few commonalities: they are places where we spend our nights, eat our meals, and experience our days with friends and family. On view February 11th through March 16th, with an opening reception Sunday, February 15th from 2  to 5 p.m.

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Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have intriguing shows beyond the scope of this brief guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

New Year, New Guide!

MMA at White Box, A group show at Disjecta, and Adam D Miller at Rocks Box Contemporary Fine Art...

The New Year is upon us, and with a new year comes new art! While this post might seem a bit delayed, in fact we were all enjoying the first day of the year on the first Thursday of January, which is why the Portland Art Dealer’s Association postponed their opening receptions to Thursday, the 8th. In addition to few First Thursday galleries I’ve also included shows that open later in the month so we can start off the year with a fresh start. I don’t know about you all, but my new year resolutions include being moved to tears by art more often, like I was when I saw A Winged Victory for the Innocent at Mississippi Studios a few weeks ago. I can’t tell you why I cried, by I can tell you it was cathartic and uplifting, which is why I’ll keep schlepping around to the galleries every month for the rare chance at a similar experience.

First Thursday Galleries:

Wrest_01White BoxThe Quick and The Slow by Evan Larson-Voltz explores the idea of imaginary travel through crafted objects and installation pieces that draw out the viewer’s fragmented sensory responses. Wrest_01 is a video of artist Heidi Schwegler trying to free herself from the defensive holds of Colt Toobs, mixed martial artist and son of famous World Wrestling Entertainer Rowdy Roddy Piper.

 

Untitled, from the series Inventing My Father by Diana Markosian

Untitled, from the series Inventing My Father by Diana Markosian

Blue Sky – Dima Gavrysh, Inshallah (God-willing), catalogs the impact of the Soviet and American occupations of Afghanistan while he was embedded in the US Army. Diana Markosian, Inventing My Father, reconstructs her relationship to her lost father with whom she reconnected after a separation of over 15 years.

 

 

 

 

Joel Wellington Fisher

Joel Wellington Fisher

Art Gym – Shifting Practice is a group show of allusions, interventions, and conventions in contemporary photography at Marylhurst University.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, Jan 17th openings

constructs at DisjectaDisjecta – Constructs with Nathan Green, Pablo Rasgado, and Laura Vandenurgh takes Disjecta’s gallery walls as a form for experimentation that highlights the architecture of gallery space through scale and the body through site specific installations that encompass painting, sculpture, and architecture.

 

 

Roger Shimomura (American b. 1939), Classmates #1, 2007, 24 x 36 in., acrylic on canvas, private collection, Seattle, WA. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art at Washington State University, Pullman, WA.

Roger Shimomura (American b. 1939), Classmates #1, 2007, 24 x 36 in., acrylic on canvas, private collection, Seattle, WA. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art at Washington State University, Pullman, WA.

Hallie Ford Museum of Art – Roger Shimomura: An American Knockoff at the Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery at Willamette University is an exhibition of paintings and prints from the early 1970’s to the present with an emphasis on his recent work. Influenced by comic books, pop art, and traditions of Japanese woodblock prints, Shimomura’s work represent his experiences as a Japanese-American by addressing his childhood at the Minidoka internment camp during WWII and by inserting himself as an aging Asian Everyman in a host of recognizableAmerican settings.

 

 

Saturday, January 24th opening

Detail of work by Adam D Miller

Detail of work by Adam D Miller

Rocks Box – Hive Mind is a solo exhibition of work by Adam D. Miller. Co-founder of The Pit, an exhibition space featuring emerging and mid-career Los Angeles based artists. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5pm, or by appointment at the intersection of N Interstate Ave and N Rosa Parks Way.

 

 

 

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Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have intriguing shows beyond the scope of this brief guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

Holiday Gallery Guide

Celebrate The Magic Garden Strip Club at One Grand Gallery, and support local artists and galleries this holiday season...

These days we’re all defined by our tastes – whether it’s in music, fashion, or food – so don’t forget the visual arts when considering what to buying your friends and family this holiday season. Art is a gift that they can experience over and over again. Art makes the rooms in your home unique, and it’s the best way to support an artist and the local art scene.  With that in mind, let me direct you to the posters that will be for sale under $100 this month at One Grand Gallery.

Magic Garden Last CallIn case you haven’t heard, the Chinatown strip club Magic Garden is closing its doors at the end of December after more than 40 years in business. To celebrate this Portland staple, One Grand Gallery put out a call for poster art “inspired by vintage posters, historical images of the dancing nude, and through re-imagined images, typefaces and symbols of all kinds” for its exhibition Magic Garden: Last Call. With a long history of the nude form in art and painting, there’s plenty of source material to inspire the artists.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn a little history: Magic Gardens opened as a lesbian club back in the ’60s. And while some of you might think my inclusion of an exhibition dedicated to a strip club to not to be your tastes or politics, I’ll just say that the times that I’ve visited Portland’s strip clubs I’ve been impressed with the strength, athleticism, and artistry of movement the women on stage exhibited. These qualities are well worth celebrating in art. Magic Garden: Last Call runs December 530, with an opening reception 7-10 p.m. Friday, December 5.

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Confiscated Junk Ship 25713 (The Sellard Ship)-FinalRetouch copyDuplex Gallery – I’m making a point to include this show because even though Eric Petitti is from Boston, the paintings in The No Place People are influenced by Portland’s Shanghai tunnels, and the history of shanghaiing, or as it’s known on the East Coast, pressing. This show is a historical exhibition of a fictionalized future. In presenting his work in this way, Petitti asks us how we construct our own “Historical Truths” through the (mis)representation of people and past events. Duplex also has an online store where works from previous exhibitions can be browsed through and bought.

 

Michael VahrenwaldHap Gallery –  Michael Vahrenwald photographs banks, built with sumptuous materials and in neoclassical styles, that now host fast food restaurants, retail stores, mom-and-pop shops, and churches. These photographs document the layering of style and functionality as the symbols of the permanence and optimism of the American economy give way to the changing wealth, class and power aesthetics in the United States. Hap Gallery usually commissions a unique series of works from each artist to be sold for less than $100, so you can please the architecture enthusiast without breaking the bank!

 

 

 

elizabeth malaskaNationale – Anyone critical of the patriarchal lineage of modern art has a lot of material to work with.  Which is why there are so many visible references to the “great artists” in Elizabeth Malaska’s paintings. At first glance we might see a vase filled with lily pads, a standing woman, and a chair in front of a tapestry. Closer looking reveals the gun in her hands, and the head a sculpture under the chair. These details and others create an unfulfilled narrative tense with premonition. Elizabeth Malaska: When We Dead Awaken is perfect for the feminists and art lovers in your life!

 

Buffalo FetishQuintana Galleries – Interested in Native American art and culture? Quintana Galleries has a wide range of works available including Zuni fetish items, Arctic sculpture, Northwest Coastal art, Southwest jewelry, Northwest Coast prints and jewelry, basketry, and Southwest pottery. In addition to supporting contemporary native artists and their creative traditions, don’t forget to sign the petition to get the Washington Redskins to change the name of their football team from a racial slur against fellow Americans.

 

MitsuOkubo_SpiderlandWorksound International – Spiderland is an installation of drawings by Mitsu Okubo that examines what happens when the body finds itself in conflict with its environment. An LA native with Japanese and Mexican parents, Okubo sought intimacy while growing up with his loud extended family. These contradictions, along with his interest in comics, horror, and porn, feed his work in such a way as to create beautifully grotesque imagery. Whether this will show up in this exhibition is just one reason to go see the show for yourself.

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Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have intriguing shows beyond the scope of this brief guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

Missing the Sun? Here’s some Art!

Abigail McNamara at Duplex, Alaskan Fisherman Photography at Hartman, Terry Atkinson at YU and more...

Now that Portland has entered the time of year when we rarely see the sun’s light or feel its warmth, I thought I’d bring to your attention the installation by Abigail McNamara at Duplex Gallery. Over the past few weeks she’s been installing her site-specific work directly onto the gallery walls, and her imitation gold leaf has the same sheen and malleability as the real deal. Gold has long been a sacred material. First recognized for how the metallic qualities resembled the sun, its symbolism expanded to include heavenly realms and divine figures, and its meanings continue to grow to fit contemporary life’s needs.

The artist at work

The artist at work

A graduate of Lewis and Clark College, McNamara’s early work reflected her interest in natural processes. Nowadays she’s more likely to investigate the boundaries between natural and human patterns through maps of suburban sprawl, charts of population shifts, and the binary language of data. Her use of gold, as a natural material with deep cultural significance, is an appropriate medium to explore how nature mediates culture and vice versa.  These themes of growth and decay combined with a meticulous craft techniques create the foundation for her time-based art.

Her creative practice has moved into the realm of performance as she’s installed her work over the past month while the public has been able to stop by, watch, and ask questions. The time and resources for this ambitious, interdisciplinary project have been made possible thanks to a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. A First Thursday reception, November 6 from 6-9pm, will mark the end of the artist’s creative process, and the start of when viewers can bask in in her completed work. Abigail McNamara will be on view at Duplex Gallery, at 219 NW Couch St, through November 21st.

 

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Roger Kukes, Land Labyrinth (Green).

Roger Kukes, Land Labyrinth (Green), acrylic on paper.

Augen – For dystopian landscapes full of ecological destruction, nuclear warfare, and the clash between native and colonial cultures, look no further than Theater of the Land. Roger Kukes will fill that quiet hole in your heart and make it swell with doubt as to whether civilization as we know it will survive the converging crises you’re mostly content to ignore day in and day out. I could make some comparison to the hellish landscapes of Hieronymus Bosch and the manifest destiny of 19th century American Landscape painting, but you don’t need art history to know we don’t live in an ideal world. Then again, maybe it’ll give you some hope to see your nightmare looking back at you.

 

Katherine Mead, Kite Craft, mixed media collage.

Katherine Mead, Kite Craft, mixed media collage.

Gallery6pdx – For lighter but still stimulating looking, check out Field+Frame. Katherine Mead’s mixed-media collages use architecture motifs to frame landscapes in ways that play with perspective. Though less content driven, Mead’s compositions demonstrate the power of juxtaposition when handled by a mature artist.

 

Corey Arnold, Fight or Flight, archival pigment print.

Corey Arnold, Fight or Flight, archival pigment print.

Hartman – In coining utopia as “no-place”, Sir Thomas Moore located our “good-place” on the farthest fringes of civilization.  Corey Arnold’s newest body of work, Wildlife, is a series of compelling images of life on the edge of the Alaskan wilderness. Arnold has long been captivated and continues to be influenced by the natural world in his work as a fisherman and a photographer.

 

 

APAK, Secret Sanctuary (detail), gouache on wood.

APAK, Secret Sanctuary (detail), gouache on wood.

Hellion – November is your last month to catch a show at Hellion before they take a two month hiatus from exhibiting. So hurry over to see In the Toy Box and Dreams within Dreams before the month is out. Remember the awkwardness of middle school? Well Ikumi Nakada does and creates soft, illustrative style images of boys and girls on the onset of puberty. These works will help sooth your shameful memories of that time. For lush, imaginative paintings of a magical far-off word, husband-wife team APAK has you covered.

 

Image not available for Terry Atkinson, Greaser, mixed media and oil.

Image not available for Terry Atkinson, Greaser, mixed media and oil.

YUTerry Atkinson is an exceptionally influential British conceptual artist who founded the artists group Art and Language. Without a doubt you’ve seen derivative works by PNCA grads for years. After enduring all that you might as well go see the internationally famous version at Yale Union this month so you can say you did. On display are early works fabricated for the first time on site. Atkinson calls them Greasers, but most people understand them as paintings. Be sure to bring a rigorous class analysis of the art world with you for their opening reception on Saturday, November 8th from 3-5pm.

 

 

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Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have great shows beyond the scope of this humble guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

Worksound goes International in time for this month’s gallery walks

Introducing Worksound International alongside Storm Tharp, Ann Hamilton and more...

I know. We are still recovering from the whirlwind of experimental, new media, and performance art the Time-based Art Festival brought to town earlier this month, and a new round of gallery opening sounds…tiring. But many of the  October shows really aren’t to be missed. And this month features the launch of a new gallery dedicated to showcasing and connecting international artists with the local Portland scene.

Established by Modou Dieng, Jason Doizé, and Jesse Siegel, Worksound International launches its inaugural exhibition with Furniture Porn, paintings by Mark Takiguchi, Dean of Academic Affairs at the Pacific Northwest College of Arts (PNCA). Modou Dieng is an associate professor of painting and drawing at PNCA, the founder of the previous incarnation of Worksound, and a locus of Portland’s art scene.  Maybe you remember the mural that was his contribution to Disjecta’s Portland Biennial? His co-conspirators are Jason Doize, curator of FalseFront studio in Northeast Portland, and Jesse Siegel, a San Francisco artist recently transplanted to Portland.

Takiguchi_SpreadTogether they’ve restructured the Worksound space in Southeast Portland to create a platform from which local artists can access global perspectives. Mark Takiguchi’s work explores how commercial forces direct and define desire in our globalized economy. Furniture Porn uses abstraction to examine the dissonance between the presentation of interior design and the supposed happiness brought on by living in a well ordered home.

Worksound International will have the opening reception for Furniture Porn and launch its first season of exhibition programming on Friday, October 3 from 6 to 9 pm at 820 Alder St. Portland, OR. Furniture Porn: Paintings by Mark Takiguichi will be on display from October 3 through November 23. Hours: Friday and Saturday from 2 to 6pm, and Sunday from 1 to 4pm.

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Victorian Antler Dance, 2014, Gouache, acrylic, pastel and colored pencil on paper

Victorian Antler Dance, 2014, Gouache, acrylic, pastel and colored pencil on paper

Charles A Hartman Fine Art – The newest body of work by Anna Fidler, A Dream within a Dream, features supernatural landscapes host to silhouetted figures performing ambiguous rituals. Inspired by the horror-mystery film Picnic at Hanging Rock, local scenery, and Gothic poetry, these works explore transformation through a topographic style of working on paper. Fidler’s paintings celebrate the euphoric, rebellious, and mythical power of ritual and landscape.

 

 

Foreigner, 2013, acrylic on panel.

Foreigner, 2013, acrylic on panel.

 

 

 

 

 

Upfor Gallery  – While I’m all for art off the beaten track now and then, the placement of Ralph Pugay’s contribution to Disjecta’s Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art at the corner of Southeast  Grand and Morrison made it difficult to appreciate the disquieting humor Pugay is known for: Viewers risked injury at the busy intersection. Which is why I’m all the more excited his first solo exhibition at Upfor, Critter, will include new acrylics of absurd narratives in which the mundane and the fantastical converge.

 

Needle in the Timestack, 2014 paperback book slices, wood, bookbinder's adhesive

Needle in the Timestack, 2014
paperback book slices, wood, bookbinder’s adhesive

Elizabeth Leach Gallery – In what we can only hope will become an annual event, Ann Hamilton is once again being exhibited in Portland. The show includes works originally commissioned to be a part of a 2009 installation for the Guggenheim Museum in NY. Book Weights is in conjunction with the Henry Art Gallery’s exhibition, Ann Hamilton: the common SENSE which will be on view at the Seattle gallery October 11, 2014 – April 26, 2015.

 

Eugène, 2014, oil on panel

Eugène, 2014, oil on panel

 

 

 

 

PDX Contemporary Art – Tiger is an exhibition of Storm Tharp’s painting with an emphasis on portraiture. Despite including an investigation of the history of painting and the historical debate over various theories of painting, Tharp’s work is accessible in that it is both figural and abstract and references such well-known artists as Eugene Delacroix, Lucian Freud, and Picasso. Central to his work is “the development of character and the human endeavor.”

 

HAP Gallery Special Edition: Pavo et Mus musculus, 2014 C-print, series of 30.

HAP Gallery Special Edition: Pavo et Mus musculus, 2014, C-print, series of 30.

 

 

 

 

Hap Gallery – Creatio is an installation designed specifically for Hap by artist Wendy Given, who recently designed a piece for the Portland Building Installation Space. Given’s practice is guided by her interest in natural philosophy, history, folklore, myth and magic. Through photography, drawing, sculpture, and installation, Given investigates multicultural creation mythology through current interpretations of archetypal symbolism to reflect on modern culture’s mode of assimilating and processing myth.

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Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have great shows beyond the scope of this humble guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

The ArtsWatch September First Thursday/Friday gallery guide

Accessing Park McArthur at YU, Ellen Lesperance's debut at A&O, and more...

I hope you all had a happy Labor Day weekend, what with your camping, and beaches, and bbq’s, but now it’s back to the art galleries. There are more than a few significant shows this month so here’s my totally biased gallery guide: September Edition!

Park McArthur recently exhibited a collection of work at Essex Street, NY, under the title “Ramps.”  An arrangement of platforms built to allow her access to places she’s been invited to work were laid out in a minimal composition that directed the spatial concerns of minimalism and the social dialogue of institutional-critique to examine access to institutions professing values of equality. Hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to see this work here in Portland during McArthur’s upcoming exhibition at Yale Union, a center for contemporary art in Southeast. Opening Friday, September 5th, Park McArthur: An Exhibition will present new and recent work through Sunday, October 18.

Yale Union Stair Access

Yale Union (YU) 800 SE 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

During the several visits I’ve made to Yale Union I’ve had to walk up a flight of narrow, exterior stairs to access the main gallery, which is located on the second floor of the iconic Yale Laundry building on SE Morrison St. Despite having friends who would find ascending those steps laborious, if not-outright improbable, I had taken for granted my physical ability to scale the architectural situation, to access art that was of interest to me, and to interact with a community of like-minded people, for the simple fact that I had not attended with those friends. Until I went about the business of researching Park McArthur’s work, I had not reflected much upon how much access to art spaces I have is due to my able-bodiedness. McArthur attends to disability, care, and correspondence through institutional critique, installation, and new-media.

In addition to McArthur’s new and recent work the exhibition will include a sound piece by Alex Fleming and a collaborative performance piece by Vanessa Place and Fleming. The image on the exhibition page also suggests there will be an alien film screening. Hopefully there are points of access in addition to the stairs I’m familiar with so everyone who wants to see this uniquely powerful art can do so. Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon to 5pm, Park McArthur: An Exhibition opens Friday, September 5, with a reception from 6-8pm, and runs through Sunday, October 19th.

Continues…

A simply sublime August First Thursday/Friday Gallery Guide

Daring to meet The Sublime at White Box, plus Relax and Rolex, Animal Battle, and more

Portland is known for its unique aesthetics and green lifestyle, so I’m looking forward to the artistic and environmental concerns of The Immiscible Edges at The White Box. A sculptor and installation artist based in Walla Walla, Washington, Michelle Acuff’s recent work attempts to create a sublime experience of ecological devastation. The Immiscible Edges runs through September 13th with an opportunity to meet the artist at the first Thursday opening reception on August 7, from 5-8pm.

Upside Down in Air Were Towers @ Playa, Summer Lake, OR, 2012 (temporary installation during artist residency).

Upside Down in Air Were Towers @ Playa, Summer Lake, OR, 2012 (temporary installation during artist residency).

Acuff’s work draws us into a consideration of the sublime, an idea as old as beauty. Despite a tendency to conflate the former with the latter, the sublime has a stronger history in opposition to beauty, beginning with the early modern English philosopher Edmund Burke. The sublime image, in this usage, evokes horror by casting the viewer into uncertainty. However, such an aesthetic experience can still allow for pleasure in that the viewer knows themselves to be safe.

Schopenhauer clarified why we’re attracted to powerfully dangerous forces through our relationship to Nature. The German philosopher described the feeling of beauty as pleasure in seeing an object, but the feeling of sublime as pleasure in seeing an “overpowering or malignant object of great magnitude, one that could destroy the observer.”  The majesty and violence of “Turbulent Nature” evoked this dual sensation of pleasure and terror in viewers and quickly became a popular theme in painting and landscape design.

Over the past several centuries the sublime has expanded to include the vastness of our technological advancement. Since the early industrial and throughout the digital age, we continue to create narratives that center on a plot in which our present technological success threatens a human future. We find pleasure in these stories though we fear the outcome, just as we enjoy our modern lifestyle despite knowing the havoc it wreaks on the world.

This is the “schizophrenia in behavior, thought and action with regard to the environment” that Michelle Acuff  is presenting to audiences through her work. Through the juxtaposition of organic forms and modular systems, and the presentation of iconic nature as a crime scene, her sculptures and installations reveal the contradiction between expanding the Western lifestyle and expecting a future in which there are lives to live it.

Despite the severity of the situation you should expect to see the immiscible edges and be rejuvenated. Wendell Berry once wrote, “we are living in the most destructive and, hence, the most stupid period in the history of our species.” Such thinking is often a heavy psychological burden, which is why he also calls upon artists to avoid the “silence of perfect despair” by creating images, rhetoric, and melodies to preserve hope and sustain action. In this regard, Portland is fortunate to have a deep wellspring to draw from and we’re grateful to Michelle Acuff for contributing her vision.

Michelle Acuff: the immiscible edges is on display from August 8 – September 13 at White Box UO – 24 NW First Ave. Meet the artist at the opening reception Thursday, August 7, 2014 from 5 – 8pm.

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Riding Hood, 2014, charcoal, graphite, ink, collage on paper, 101”x77”

Riding Hood, 2014, charcoal, graphite, ink, collage on paper, 101”x77”

Blackfish Gallery

If you enjoy dwelling upon the psychological subconscious, surrealism, or improvisational work on a monumental scale , Blackfish Gallery has you covered with Interlopers: Unintended Narratives. Beginning only with the impulse to draw a figure, Ellen Goldschmidt has created a series of images through automatic drawing. These ” figurative Rorschachs” come with an invitation for the viewer to imagine a story, relationship, or emotion onto the characters portrayed. In addition to the First Thursday reception, Blackfish is hosting a public event exploring the similarities and differences between visual and written narrative. The Narrative Impulse: An Evening of Visual Art, Writing and Readings on Sunday, August 17, 5-7pm.

 

 

 

 

 

Barren Lands Breed Strange Visions woodcut, monotype and silkscreen on mylar 90 x 117 inches

Barren Lands Breed Strange Visions
woodcut, monotype and silkscreen on mylar
90 x 117 inches

Elizabeth Leach

If you’ve ever enjoyed fantastical architectural drawings, Forecasting an Impossibly Possible Tomorrow at Elizabeth Leach Gallery will satisfy your appetite for world building – and ruin. Through a mix of printed elements, and stop-frame animation, Nicola Lopez takes on the theme of the “Tower of Babel” from the book of genesis to explore human hubris and hope in the face of impending failure.

 

 

Tolly_Front_WEB_o

Tolly Peppercorn Super Sculpey, Apoxie Sculpt, Armature Wire, Acrylic, Gouache, Fabric, Ink. Approx. 9″ Tall

Hellion Gallery

I can’t quite remember if I ever finished Brian Jacques’ Redwall, but for those of you out there who devoured the entire epic series of animals in a medieval battle for home and hearth, I expect there’ll be plenty to catch your fancy in Animal Battle: The Armies Gather at Hellion Gallery. Wooden swords, flowing banners, elaborate costumes and dapper hats decorate handsome beasts of all species in Maryanna Hoggart’s ongoing series of fantastical creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi Cody, Low Pop   2014 polystyrene, Plexiglas, PVC, metal, wood 30" diameter x 4" deep

Heidi Cody, Low Pop 2014 polystyrene, Plexiglas, PVC, metal, wood 30″ diameter x 4″ deep

Laura Russo Gallery

For an opportunity to see the diverse practices of a group of established Pacific Northwest artists, Non Finito (I am not finished) at Laura Russo Gallery will feature Heidi Cody, George D. Green, Julie Green, and Bill Hoppe. With work ranging from pop culture commentary, to virtuosic trompe l’ oeil painting;, and from ceramics exploring the last meals of death row inmates, to delicate abstractions, this exhibition features work showcasing how the Pacific Northwest is contributing to the conversation surrounding the breadth and depth of contemporary art at the national scale.

 

 

 

James_Arizumi_Shit_Postcard

“The Shit” Neon acrylic on plexi glass. James Arizumi, 2014

One Grand Gallery

If you believe that “you should never take life too seriously” you’ll enjoy the lighthearted wit of Relax and Rolex at One Grand Gallery. Known for his work at Nike SB, James Arizumi is most recognized for his work on Stefan Janoski, a best-selling skate shoe Through an installation-style takeover of One Grand that mixes fine art and high design his work encourages us to see the humor in our complex world and daily doldrums.  #RelaxandRolex

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Notable mentions for August include Adams and Ollman,  Augen Gallery, Blue Sky Gallery, Compound GalleryDuplexNewspace Center for PhotographyPony Club, and Right Side Art. Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have great shows beyond the scope of this humble guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

 
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