gallery guide

May is MFA season Gallery Guide

MFA exhibitions around town, Kyle Simon at the Museum of Modern Art and more...

May is MFA exhibition season here in Portland, and the University of Oregon and the Oregon College of Art and Craft are out in full force. Between the two institutions they fill four galleries: White Box, Disjecta, Upfor, and PDX Contemporary.

MFA exhibitions are difficult to curate and difficult to write about because while we want to find something in common between these artists who have been living and working together for years now, there very often isn’t beyond that fact and that they’re all in the same room together. And that’s a good thing because if they were all similar it would have meant their creative vision was subsumed by the group experience, when what they attended the program for is the opportunity to refine their individuality.

I recommend you go to these exhibitions to see what kind of art is coming out of these programs and if you like it. Take the curatorial essays with a grain of salt but do read them. Like an iceberg, a great deal of the artistic process is beyond our view, and these exhibitions reveal a great deal that we might not otherwise see. It’s the coming months and years that will make or break these artists’ careers and the fun is watching their trajectories.

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White box second yearWhite Box – The eight master of fine art graduate students in their second year of candidacy share “an interest in the constructed environment” according to Megan Pounds who wrote the catalog essay, “which naturally manifests itself differently in every practice.” Either the viewer enters an unfolding narrative, or they finds themselves immersed in an environment constructed by the artist. I believe this means there will be some interesting installation work in this exhibition. The artists are Anya Dikareva, Summer Gray, Krista Heinitz, Steven Joshlin, Daniel P. Lopez, Sarah Mikenis, Stephen Nachtigall, and Rachel Widomski. First Thursday Opening Reception, May 7 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

 

Disjecta MFA

Disjecta – The culminating work of ten candidates for the master of fine arts program at the University of Oregon are exhibited without “strict physical boundaries demarcating the end of one artist’s work and the beginning of another’s in this exhibition.” Translation: don’t expect wall labels, but look forward to a map of the exhibition instead. Christie Hajela also discuss the “Derridean conception of différance” in her catalog essay for the show. The artists are Farhad Bahram, Fei Chen, Matt Christy, Alex Krajkowski, Anne Magratten, Andrew Oslovar, Brandon Siscoe, Megan St. Clair, John Tolles, and Jessie Rose Vala. Opening reception Friday, May 8 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

 

Through The Wind Shield by Morgan Buck, 2015; muslin, acrylic, organza, wire mesh, and pins; 85 x 70 x 48 inches. Courtesy the artist and OCAC. Photo by Jason Horvath.

Through The Wind Shield by Morgan Buck, 2015; muslin, acrylic, organza, wire mesh, and pins; 85 x 70 x 48 inches. Courtesy the artist and OCAC. Photo by Jason Horvath.

Upfor and PDX ContemporaryWITH/AND, the Oregon College of Art and Craft’s inaugural Thesis Exhibition of the MFA in Craft. “With” implies merging (coffee with cream) while “And” conveys a quality of autonomous association (salt and pepper). WITH/AND explores the intersectional nature of Art and Craft, revealing a space where ill-defined boundaries touch or blur. Featuring work by Amanda Beekhuizen, Brittany Britton, Morgan Buck, Daniel Harris, Megan Harris, Jason Horvath, Colin Kippen, Nicole McCormick and Amy Turnbull. Opening reception on Friday, May 15 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Through May 27.

 

Kyle Simon at MoMAMuseum of Modern Art – While participating in a residency in the south of France, Kyle Simon became intrigued by the network of archaeological cave-sites in the surrounding areas. The image of cave exploration took root in his psyche, and developed into an exhibition, The Catacombs. Inspired by archaeoacoustics, the study of sound as a methodological approach in archaeology, Simon explores the translation of vibrations into sound, and acoustic content contained in ancient artifacts. The centerpiece of the show is a machine built by the artist to record sound waves onto ceramic objects. Opening reception Friday May 8 at 8pm. Through June 20.

 

An installation of Willem Oorebeek’s Blackouts, as documented in the newspaper, De Witte Raaf.

An installation of Willem Oorebeek’s Blackouts, as documented in the newspaper, De Witte Raaf.

Yale Union – Closing out the month is the first solo exhibition in the United States of work by Willem Oorebeek. The artist reflects on the representation of the human figure in The Vertical Club by cutting out certain personalities from print media, re-printing them lithographically at warped scale, and pasting directly onto gallery walls. Meanwhile in BLACKOUT, he overprints existing publicity images, covers, and pages from magazines and newspapers, with a coat of black lithographic ink. This ink makes the image only visible when the light on the black surface is seen from a particular angle. The suppression of an image’s function or look contributes to making these ubiquitous images more visible, so that we look with greater attention. Opening reception Saturday, May 30. Through July 19.

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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!

The Ides of March Gallery Guide

Rosemarie Beck takes over Portland, a group show at Gallery 114 and more...

This month I am excited to share with you an exhibition of the multi-disciplinary work of Rosemarie Beck (1923-2003) hosted in venues across the city. Co-organized by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Portland Community College Rock Creek, and PSU College of the Arts, Lyric Truth: Paintings, Drawings, and Embroideries by Rosemarie Beck includes Beck’s joyous figure drawings, dense and colorful embroideries, and large, rigorously organized paintings inspired by themes from classical mythology and literature.

Rosemarie Beck, Two with Horses, 1964, oil on canvas, 24 x 30in., Collection of Nora Beck, Portland (photo by Loren Nelson)

Rosemarie Beck, Two with Horses, 1964, oil on canvas, 24 x 30in., Collection of Nora Beck, Portland (photo by Loren Nelson)

Beck, the daughter of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, was a painter, needleworker, musician and journal writer with ties to the New York School. While many of her peers opted for abstract expressionism, Beck pursued an independent vision that moved craft traditions out of the domestic sphere and into the artistic. Lyric Truth’s exhibits and PSU symposium bring Rosemarie Beck’s work to the Pacific Northwest audiences for the first time in a widely accessible retrospective at three locations across the city:

Paintings are on display at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., Portland: February 5 – May 3, 2015.

Embroideries are on display at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, 1953 NW Kearney St., Portland: January 14 – March 22, 2015.

Drawings are on display at the Helzer Art Gallery, Portland Community College Rock Creek, 17705 NW Springville Rd., Portland: February 9 – March 13, 20015

In addition, First Thursday, March 5 will feature an all day multidisciplinary symposium, which will explore themes in art, poetry, music and drama in conjunction with the exhibition. Programming includes a panel that will discuss genre and medium, while another will focus on her literary inspirations, and docent led tours of the PSU exhibit will also provide an informal way of engaging with her paintings.

Culminating the day will be a keynote address by Samantha Baskind, professor of art history at Cleveland State University, who will place Beck in the broader context of American art in the late 20th century. The lecture will be this year’s Sara Glasgow Cogan Endowed Lecture in Judaic Studies.

Additional support for Lyric Truth comes from PSU’s Department of History, Friends of History, School of Art and Design, and from Lewis & Clark College.

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Reminder! Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art – “The Sum of Its Parts, Part 2,” opens Wednesday, March 25.

 

Toast of the Town, Trish Grantham, 2015.

Toast of the Town, Trish Grantham, 2015.

Augen – If you think you’d never see an artist with obvious anime influences in their work at Augen, think again. Trish Grantham: Mystics, Stripes, and Thieves is a show of the artists layered works inspired by animals, kawaii, and the ever-present Portland “put a bird on it” in varying degrees of realism. Also a muralist with an Etsy shop, Grantham is one of those artist-of-all-trades who makes their aesthetic widely accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

David Slader, "Anything Not," digital pigment print, 56 x 56 in.

David Slader, “Anything Not,” digital pigment print, 56 x 56 in.

Gallery 114 – A longstanding, artist run gallery recently celebrating their 20th anniversary, presents the figural oil paintings of Joanie Krug, abstract oil paintings of Nathan Rhoads, and all-digital works of David Slader in an exhibit titled, “Exposure,”  March 5 through 28. There will be a First Thursday opening reception for the artists March 5,from 6 to 9 pm.  Gallery hours are noon to 6 pm Thursday through Sunday and 3 to 9 pm First Thursday.

 

 

 

 

Hedonic Reversal No. 12 by Rodrigo Valenzuela, 2014.

Hedonic Reversal No. 12 by Rodrigo Valenzuela, 2014.

Upfor  – Rodrigo Valenzuela’s work addresses issues of income inequality, class and racism both directly and obliquely. The monochromatic photographs of Hedonic Reversal recreate urban decay and ruins in the artist’s studio. Divorced from the social conditions that typically underlie “beautiful ruins” photography, the images question how our aesthetic response is altered by the absence of poverty and suffering.

 

 

 

 

 

An example of Jeff's investigatory approach to life's layers.

An example of Jeff’s investigatory approach to life’s layers.

Duplex – Jeff Sheridan is fascinated by the interior cyclicality of the universe. Using watercolor and ink washes, and inspired by geologic science texts, he attempts to make sense of this huge spinning reality by depicting microcosms, or space stations, or living petri-dishes that peel away the layers to reveal what really makes everything work. Psychic Heaves will have a reception First Thursday, March 5 from 6 -9pm.

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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!

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!

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!

 
Oregon ArtsWatch Archives