Quintana, Crow’s Shadow, big day

Art notes: A legendary Native American gallery returns, an innovative eastern Oregon art center comes to Portland, and the Jewish Museum prepares for a grand reopening. Oh: and First Thursday, too.

The innovative Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts has been a boon to the worlds of art and Native American culture in the Northwest since it was established twenty-five years ago by artists James Lavadour, Phillip Cash Cash, and others on the Umatilla Reservation near Pendleton. Its nationally known printmaking center draws artists of all sorts to eagerly sought-after residencies with master printers. The Institute actively boosts economic development for Native American artists and students via classes, workshops, and other programs. And not coincidentally, over its quarter-century Crow’s Shadow has had a hand in the creation of a wealth of vital contemporary art.

Jim Denomie (Ojibwe), “Blue Mountain Portraits,” 2011, print monotype on Somerset satin white paper, 20 x 15 inches; Crow’s Shadow at Froelick

For forty-two years until its founders retired and closed up shop two years ago, Quintana Galleries was a national and even international force in nurturing and selling mostly traditional Native American and First Nations art. Several other Portland galleries represent excellent contemporary Native artists, but no new gallery has sprung up to take Quintana’s place.

The good news this week is, Crow’s Shadow’s coming to Portland, and Quintana’s back in business. A large selection of prints celebrating Crow’s Shadow’s 25 years opens Tuesday at Froelick Gallery (one of the Portland galleries that represents several Native artists) and stays until July 15, with works by Susan Sheoships, Lillian Pitt, Joe Cantrell, Frank La Pena, Maori artist Gabrielle Belz, Jim Denomie, the late Rick Bartow, Victor Maldonado, Shiroud Younker, and others.

And Quintana’s back on the scene, freshly opening as an online business with plans to do occasional pop-up exhibits. “This is a big restart,” Cecily Quintana, whose parents Rose and Cecil founded the gallery, told ArtsWatch. “I’m over the moon. It’s been so exciting.” Cecily, who headed the gallery for several years when it was in the heart of the Pearl District and at its largest filled the spaces that Waterstone Gallery and the adjacent Annie Meyer Gallery now occupy, will operate the new Quintana out of a live/work space in Southeast Portland’s Buckman neighborhood. And she likes the idea of keeping it mostly online just fine: “I didn’t want to do it brick-and-mortar,” she said.

Quintana will continue to represent a wide array of Northwest Coast, Arctic, Mexican, and other indigenous art, with a new stress on works and styles that speak directly to Cecily Quintana’s personal interests. For instance, “I’m going to deal more heavily in the Mexican social justice works,” she said. You can see the new Quintana web site and sign up for emails, too.

Celeste de Luna, Tejana, “Don’t Hate the Player,” 2015, linoleum cut, 15 x 19 inches paper size; image of Santisma Muerte playing the Border Fence. Quintana Galleries


YOU LOSE SOME, YOU WIN SOME. When the venerable and often exciting Museum of Contemporary Craft folded abruptly in February 2016, it left a giant hole unfilled – and a good small museum space empty. Nothing’s come along that even slightly resembles public access to the craft museum’s collection and programming, despite its parent Pacific Northwest College of Art’s vow that its essentials would be folded into the college’s operations.

But for the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, which had been cramped in a small and somewhat out-of-the-way space on a northern stretch of Northwest Portland, the chance to move into a bigger space just off Broadway in a neighborhood of leading galleries was a huge opportunity. The Jewish Museum jumped at the opportunity, and after many months of remodeling and reinstalling it’ll have a grand opening on Sunday, June 11.

Grisha Bruskin, “ALEFBET, The Alphabet of Memory,” opening the Oregon Jewish Museum’s new space.

The new location offers the Jewish Museum higher visibility, a much more central and easy-to-find space in an active arts neighborhood, much more exhibition square footage, and the opportunity to deepen and expand its programs, which under Judith Margles’ leadership have been consistently interesting. The opening exhibit, which is curated by Bruce Guenther, former chief curator of the Portland Art Museum, is ALEFBET: The Alphabet of Memory, featuring large tapestries, preparatory drawings, and related gouache paintings by the Russian Jewish artist Grisha Bruskin.

The craft museum’s still gone, leaving a huge gap in the tracking of new directions in craft art and also in the appreciation and documentation of an important strand in the history of Northwest art. But what is lost has also led to something gained. This promises to be a major step up for the Jewish museum, and a big plus for the public. ArtsWatch will be following the story.


FIRST THURSDAY ARRIVES this week, and with it, a lot of new exhibitions in art galleries across town. Here are several interesting-looking shows (a few open on slightly different dates) to consider catching:

Michael T. Hensley, “Wipe Out,” 2007, mixed media on canvas, 66 x 74 inches. Russo Lee Gallery.

Michael T. Hensley at Russo Lee. Nocturnal Emissary, a show of Hensley’s vibrant abstracts, shares gallery space with Michael Paul Miller’s Wild Olympia circular paintings and recent diptych and triptych paintings by Sean Cain.

Angelita Surmon at Waterstone. Surmon’s new exhibit Touch Wood, Touch Water includes acrylic paintings of natural scenes and some intriguing-looking small kiln-formed glass pieces on the same theme.

Whistler and the Etching Revival at Portland Art Museum. The Whistler exhibit, assembled by prints and drawings curator Mary Weaver Chapin, opens June 10 and explores a fresh approach to etching that rose around 1850, with Whistler setting the pace.

Sandra Roumagoux at Michael Parsons. The paintings in Coastal Observations, says the veteran artist Roumagoux (who also happens to be mayor of Newport on the Oregon coast) continue “my interest in the human disregard for the natural world. I want to show a sense of invisible human figures lurking behind the landscapes.”

Nathan Orosco at Blackfish.

Nathan Orosco at Blackfish. Blue Jaguar, Orosco’s first solo show at Blackfish, includes sculptures and drawings inspired in part by his fascination with the once widespread, now rare large cat of the Americas.

Arne Westerman at Attic Gallery. Westerman, the veteran painter and chronicler of everyday life known especially for his watercolors, died on April 17 at age 90, as this show was being prepared. The exhibit at the Attic, in Camas, Wash., serves as both a memorial and a celebration of his life and work. Opening reception 5-8 p.m. Friday.

Chester Arnold and Lee Kelly at Elizabeth Leach. The Song of the Earth, Arnold’s show of new paintings, is a bit reminiscent of some of Henri Rousseau’s lush dreamscapes, minus the lurking tiger. And the veteran visionary sculptor Kelly has a new show, Winter Garden at Muktinath, of freestanding and painted wall sculptures.


PHOTO SHOWS. The Pacific Northwest is prime photography country, and several interesting-looking photo exhibits are opening in June:

Masao Yamamoto, “Kawa=Flow # 1658,” 2016, gelatin silver print. PDX Contemporary.

Masao Yamamoto at PDX Contemporary. The Japanese photographer’s exhibition Tori consists of exquisite images of birds.

In Response: Revisiting DOCUMERICA at Newspace Center for Photography. A group show by nine artists of images documenting the relationship between environmental problems and human culture. It’s inspired by the original Documenta, a 1971 project spurred by the Environmental Protection Agency (and a project that would be unlikely to be green-lighted in the EPA’s current development-friendly atmosphere).

Catherine Haley Epstein and Sean M. Johnson at Pushdot. Epstein’s 50 Days 50 Choices presents just that: images of items (such as colored pencils) arranged in multiples. Johnson’s Burials looks at the rituals of preparing the bodies of the dead for burial, in particular through the lens of LGBTQ cultures.

Wendy Ewald and Ima Mfon at Blue Sky. Blue Sky has always cast its photographic lens internationally as well as nationally, and June’s exhibits continue the tradition. Ewald’s This Is Where I Live looks at the lives of everyday people in Israel and the West Bank. Mfon’s Nigerian Identity is a collective portrait of Nigerian expatriates living in the United States.

Ima Mfon, portrait of Camilla, Feb. 22, 2017. New York City designer of luxury stationery and crafts designer. This image speaks to the different ways in which Nigerian women choose to wear their hair and adorn themselves. Blue Sky Gallery.

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