Yale Union

DanceWatch Weekly: Spaces, places and faces

Dancers experimenting with dance everywhere from the theatre to the Armory to a pilates studio.

It is all about variety in the Portland dance scene this week—spaces, places and faces. POV Dance, directed by Mandy Cregan, will perform In My Own Space in Cregan’s Pilates studio in Southeast. Musician Ben Martins curates a third gathering of eclectic Portland performers at The Headwaters. 11: Dance Co performs Cool Moves, Bro for a second week, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre NW can be seen at JAW Playwright Festival and Trisha Brown’s films are still looping at Yale Union.

This week I interviewed Cregan. This dancer, choreographer, director, business owner, healer, teacher, partner and mother has been creating site-specific (or “architectural dance”) in Portland since 2007 in such places as The Leftbank Project and the Ford Building. I reviewed POV’s Leftbank performance in 2014.

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DanceWatch Weekly: Time travel with dance

11:Dance Co founders Brittany DeLano and Huy Pham talk about the company plus dance films at Yale Union

This weekend is all about the evolution of dance and time travel. It begins back in 1963 with three Trisha Brown dances on film that will screen on a loop as part of TREES IN THE FOREST, a curated exhibit opening at Yale Union on Sunday. Brown is one of the founding members of the legendary Judson Dance Theatre in New York.

Then we will jump forward 50 or so years into the present day, revisiting Shakespeare through the eyes of BodyVox in Death and Delight, and see the newest generation’s take on dance with 11: Dance Co and their new evening-length show Cool Moves, Bro.

11:Dance Co founders Brittany DeLano (also known as Bb) and Huy Pham consider their creation a Neo-Fusion dance company—a new choreographic style that blends the street and classical worlds of dance. DeLano is the artistic director and Pham is the executive director. The performance will showcase new works by Northwest Dance Project dancer Ching-Ching Wong, William Jay (Chanti Darling) and Emma Portner, principle dancer and choreographer for Justin Bieber’s Purpose project.

In the midst of dress rehearsals and travel, I was able to catch up with Delano and Pham to ask them a few questions via email. Our conversation follows the week’s listings.

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News and Notes: A BCA shutdown, summer shows galore, grants

Business for Culture & the Arts closes up shop and lots of other items, three-dot style.

News and Notes has been in a bit of slumber, but we were awakened from our deep sleep by Business for Culture & the Arts, the nonprofit that links the arts with businesses. The group has announced that it’s going out of business June 30, though it will hold a special membership meeting currently slated for August 11. Declining memberships and staff transitions led the board to conduct some research with its members and stakeholders, and in late May, the board voted to start to shut things down.

BCA is looking for homes for its primary programs, including the Art of Leadership board training program, the Arts Breakfast of Champions, which recognizes successful business-arts partnerships, and Associates and Business Volunteers for the Arts. We’ll let you know what happens to these programs as soon as we know.

And now back to our usual News and Notes programming!

The Portland Piano International Summer Festival opens Thursday at Lewis & Clark with a busy schedule of lectures, workshops and performances, involving a great lineup of musicians. You’re going to have to visit the website to get the big picture…Post5 Theatre has announced its schedule for 2016 (which seem further away than it really is), and it involves a generous helping of Shakespeare or Bard-influenced plays—Lear, and all-female Othello, Richard III, The Complete Works [abridged] revised, along with a little Christopher Durang, Rashomon, and Jeff Whitty’s The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler. We’ll get you linked up for the details once they are available on the website.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has received $25,000 from Arts Midwest’s Shakespeare in American Communities program. The money will support reduced or complimentary tickets for schools in Oregon and northern California to Much Ado about Nothing, Pericles, Antony and Cleopatra and Twelfth Night the next two years, and also go to related classroom curricula and actor workshops, post-show discussions, tours, and teacher training classes. Since 1971, the festival’s School Visit Program has reached more than 2 million students, according to OSF…Coho Productions’ Summerfest is in full swing—this weekend’s show (June 18-21) is Deanna Fleysher’s Butt Kapinski, a sexy and gender-confused murder mystery, with a big dollop of comedy mixed into its Noir…Third Rail Repertory Theatre runs a mentorship program, and on Thursday those, um, mentees (?) will open the Off the Rails Festival, June 18-28, 7:30 pm Thursdays-Sundays at Action/Adventure Theater. The playbill includes three fully-staged productions of plays that are on the edgy side, and a reading of a new play by resident playwriting mentee, Alexandra Schaffer.

MJ Anderson, Eyrie, 2014, green onyx, 13 x 20 x 8"/Elizabeth Leach Gallery

MJ Anderson, Eyrie, 2014, green onyx, 13 x 20 x 8″/Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Sculptor MJ Anderson is giving an artist’s talk at Elizabeth Leach Gallery at 11 am Saturday, June 27. Anderson has sculpted stone for the past 30 years, and she’ll be talking about the process, including her shift in the current exhibition, Acqua Pietrificata, away from the female form to something more abstract and metaphorical, using rare stones, such as the green onyx above.

A-WOL takes its circus to the trees in Art in the Dark.

A-WOL takes its circus to the trees in Art in the Dark.

One of the best adaptations by an arts group to Oregon summer (and lots of successful one exist including Third Angle’s Porch Music and Bag & Baggage’s outdoor summer Shakespeare, Richard III this year) is A-WOL Dance Collective’s August Art in the Dark show in West Linn’s Mary S Young Park. This year’s performances are August 7-9 and 14-16, and they start at dark. The theme involves Old World circus acts—and since it’s an aerial company, they’ll be hanging and swinging from the trees…Richard Maxwell is the artistic director of the New York City Players, a band of theater experimentalists, and he’s going to be in town for a series of performances of his Showcase, a play in which “a businessman alone in his hotel room reflects on his day, and his life.” It plays 7, 8, and 9 pm Thursday, June 18-20, in the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 SW 6th Ave. It’s free, but you have to RSVP, because seating is tight in the actual hotel room where Maxwell will perform it. Yale Union is the sponsor—visit the site to RSVP.

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!

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!

The book I read was in your eyes

Anne Hamilton at Elizabeth Leach, Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen at PDX Contemporary Art

When I first thought to write this essay for ArtsWatch, the artists for the 2014 Whitney Biennial had not yet been announced. I mention this because now I cannot consider the Portland exhibits I wish to write about without contemplating the tenor of the Whitney curators’ choices for the upcoming Biennial. Much of the art chosen is by artists who also write about art, or artists who often use text in their work, or artists who only use text in their work, and to fill out this line of thought, publishers of texts. (See the breakdown here.)

Not that I want to make claims for being prescient or any such thing, but the art that caught my eye in Portland the last two months also had much to do with writing and reading. Never mind that I am often creatively geared this way and that my own predisposition may guide me toward this type of work—I have seen a lot lately. In the last year or so I have written essays about artists who use text as a central focus of their work: Lisa Radon’s sublime ἐπί ἡμέρα (epi hemera) and Sue Tompkins’ typewritten works at Portland Museum of Modern Art and part of this year’s TBA Festival.

Now, Elizabeth Leach has an exhibit by Ann Hamilton that runs for ten weeks through January 11, plus Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen were around the corner at PDX Contemporary Art last month. Then there is an ongoing curatorial thrust of Yale Union. While I hesitate to call it a trend, I cannot brush it off as a coincidence. Something is afoot.

Whether text (and I mean this in the broadest possible sense) is finally getting its due as the inspiration for and an element of a fair amount of art we see these days, or that the worlds of the poet, philosopher, curator, critic and artist have irrevocably melded into a Leviathan of practice, it nevertheless has me thinking.

Does building a richer inner life, namely by reading, run the danger of becoming a form of hermeticism, thereby leaving something or someone behind?

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