VISUAL ART

VizArts Monthly: Big shows on tap

Around the galleries this month: James Lavadour, Judy Cooke, Chris Rauschenberg, Terry Toedtemeier

October is here, and the arts calendar isn’t slowing down. The Portland Biennial has announced its curatorial team, featuring Portlanders Yaelle S. Amir and Ashley Stull Meyers, and Seattlite Elisheba Johnson. Meanwhile, Nationale has added Francesca Capone to its stable of artists, and the Stumptown artist fellowship (curated by Nationale director May Barruel) has opened a new show (see below).

If you’re thinking that fall is a great time to review what the Portland art scene has to offer, you’re in luck – the latest edition of the Grapefruit Juice Artist Resource guide has just been released. This un-editorialized compendium of local venues, organizations and other resources for and by artists is available for free at many locations, including Passages Bookshop, Nationale, Ampersand, and Monograph Bookwerks. A noteworthy addition to the shows listed below is a group show opening at PCC’s North View Gallery. The Work Continues features six Portland artists including OCAC Dean Jiseon Lee and the prolific and talented Samantha Wall.

As Far as I Can See From Here, James Lavadour

James Lavadour: All That I Can See From Here

October 3 – 27
PDX Contemporary, 925 NW Flanders

New paintings by Northwest favorite James Lavadour. Lavadour’s trademark style – wild, rich, and full of precise accidents – plays with material and representation to capture some of the mystery and majesty of landscape while never denying their paintfulness. If you’ve somehow never seen Lavadour’s work, this is a good chance to see some fresh samples. If you’re familiar, you’re sure not to be disappointed.

Waterpark Second Thoughts, Ralph Pugay

Stuck on the Ride

October 6 – November 30
Open Signal, 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

If you’ve ever felt that the subject matter of exhibitions in Portland is hard to figure out or repetitive or vague, then you can’t miss this show full of waterparks and rollercoasters. Ryan Woodring, an interdisciplinary artist and former special effects instructor at Open Signal, has curated an exhibition that examines amusement parks place in American culture and media. Artists Ralph Pugay, Erin Mallea, Kristin Lucas, Claire Hentschker and Yaloo explore the subject matter through projection art, virtual reality, video and painting.

Painting by Anya Roberts Toney, photo by Mario Gallucci

Anya Roberts Toney

Through November 26
Downtown Stumptown, 128 SW 3rd

The show marking Anya Roberts-Toney’s awarding of the Stumptown Artists Fellowship features an arresting and beautiful set of détourned still-lives. Roberts-Toney “play[s] with this idea of flowers representing the female body, and by incorporating moments of rupture and fantasy, I seek to consider a counter-femininity that is powerful, self-possessed, and disregarding of the viewer’s satisfaction.” These impressive, self-possessed paintings command the space of the flagship Stumptown location downtown. If you go to see them, pick a quieter time for the cafe so you can spend some time with them.

Indian Cove, Terry Toedtemeier

Terry Toedtemeier: Sun, Shadows, Stone

October 20, 2018 – February 17, 2019
Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma WA 98402

Self-taught photographer and curator Terry Toedtemeier (1947–2008) is best known for his monumental, haunting photographs of Oregon’s iconic natural features – the coast, the Columbia River Gorge, and the high desert. Beginning with snapshots from a moving car, he went on to become an accomplished photographic craftsman, influenced by the photographic traditions of the American West and the evidence of its geographic history. TAM remarks that “Toedtemeier often sought to capture the most dramatic images of places that have been shaped first by catastrophic geological events, then by the imprint of humans.” Part of the Northwest Perspective Series, this exhibition runs through mid-February, with a members celebration event on Saturday, November 17.

Hoi An – by Chris Rauschenberg

Chris Rauschenberg Photographs

October 4 – 28
Nine Gallery, 122 NW 8th St

A new set of photographs taken in Vietnam by Rauschenberg will be on display in the Nine Gallery space in the back of Blue Sky Gallery.

 

Painting by Judy Cooke

Judy Cooke: Conversation: Aluminum, Oil, Rubber

Through October 27
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 417 NW 9th Ave

Subject of a recent Artswatch interview, Judy Cooke has become one of the Pacific Northwest’s most established abstract painters. For the past 30 years, she has explored abstraction and the structures of painting, working with formalism, color fields, and specific materiality.“ Her new series ”Conversation: Aluminum, Oil, Rubber” verges on the sculptural, embracing rubber and aluminum as both painting supports and materials.

Also opening at Elizabeth Leach this month are Portland-based artist Mark Palmen’s small, intricate embroideries, “influenced by his diverse interests ranging from art history and fashion to metaphysical investigations surrounding the cosmos.” An exhibit of Malia Jensen’s sculptural works, which opened last month, will also be on display, including a re-firing of a sculpture started decades ago.

 

Stills from Post Analog

Post Analog: Paloma Kop and Sara Goodman

Through October 21
Grapefruits Art Space, 2119 N Kerby, Suite D

New media artist, poet, curator, VJ, and teacher Sara Goodman and electronic media artist Paloma Kop have packed a remarkable amount of analog video synthesis and glitch art into the small warehouse Grapefruits gallery. This is a show for anyone who gets excited when they see a Sony Trinitron in a gallery. These pieces of original video synthesis come out of a community of artists working with technology that was once considered cutting edge but now refers to a very specific – and fading – moment in technological history. Citing “an increased resurgence of analog tools to create and distribute newly created video content,” this movement is drawn to pre-digital means of making video precisely because of its imperfections and technical demands on the creator. Bonus: some work was created using a device called a Wobbulator.

Venus, Mars – Paul X. Rutz

Paul X. Rutz and Amanda Hampton Wray: Into A Study

October 27
Ford Gallery, 2505 SE 11th Ave

The opening for this show is a one-night event that the artists refer to as “both an art installation and a carefully planned neuroscience study.” An ambitious and unusual project for the Ford Gallery, which has curated the atrium of the Ford Building since Gallery Homeland left, this exhibition is a collaboration between painter Paul X. Rutz and neuroscientist Amanda Hampton Wray. Sparked by Rutz’s questions about how people view new paintings, they have created an interactive exhibit in which viewers neural activity will be measured by Wray while they view Rutz’s paintings, which interrogate the history of the “female” and “male” symbols seen everywhere from bathroom doors to tarot cards.

Art Harvest Studio Tour of Yamhill County reaps as it sows

The art, in many media, is for sale, but the real bounty lies in the dialogue between artists and visitors about the creative process

Given the confluence of autumn colors and great art, it’s tempting to employ hyperbole when talking about Yamhill County’s Art Harvest Studio Tour, but I’ll spare you a Thesaurus Drop and just lay out the facts.

The 26th annual event includes 40 artists, working in virtually every medium imaginable: watercolor, oil, acrylic, bronze, copper, steel, glass, stone, pastels, charcoal, silver, wood, paper, clay, fiber, tiles, beeswax, digital, and mixed media. It kicks off Friday and runs six days over two weekends. You can visit one, a dozen or all 40 artists if you have time. They’re concentrated in Yamhill County’s two largest cities, McMinnville and Newberg, but you’ll also find artists in Amity, Dundee, Carlton, Yamhill, Sheridan, and Willamina.

The cost to jump into this self-guided tour of local color and creativity? Eight bucks.

Sure, on any weekend, you can spend a day visiting galleries and exhibitions, but this is the one time of year when local artists invite the public into their studios (which often are also their homes), where they answer questions, educate, do demonstrations. Yes, you can buy stuff, but that’s not ultimately the point.

Last week I reached out to a handful of participating artists, both new and returning, to get their take. Of those, none illustrated the point quite so well as paper carver Doug Roy. He’s been working his magic with paper for more than a quarter-century and has participated in Art Harvest for two decades.

Paper carver Doug Roy cuts colored paper into impossibly tiny pieces and turns them into intricate pictures such as this one, titled “Reefers.”

He told me this story.

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Witnesses in a churning world

The artists speak out in the Hallie Ford Museum's big new exhibition on social justice and art. Here's what they have to say.

The idea of art as a pristine thing, separated from the hurly-burly of the everyday world and somehow above it all, is a popular notion. But a much stronger case exists for the idea of art as the expression of the roil of life, in all its messiness and cruelty and prejudices and passions and pleasures and occasional outbursts of joy. Art comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is the world in which we live.

With that world huddled suspiciously against itself, afraid of its own moving parts, gathered defensively in closed tribes, angry over what large fragments of its inhabitants still believe to be a lost paradise, how can art not reflect the political and cultural realities that surround and help define the artists themselves? Artists are our witnesses, the ones who watch and experience and tell the tale.

Witness: Themes of Social Justice in Contemporary Printmaking and Photography grabs our current cultural condition by the collar and gives it a good bracing shake. An expansive exhibition that is helping the Hallie Ford Museum of Art celebrate its twentieth anniversary in Salem, it features a sterling lineup of artists of color who look at the world through both a personal and a cultural lens, demanding each in their particular way that their stories be heard. All of the works are drawn from the collections of Jordan Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, and they’ve been smartly selected and arranged by guest curator Elizabeth Anne Bilyeu. The show she’s put together, which continues through December 20, is bold and revealing and aesthetically accomplished and reflective of a world that is richer and more complex than we can individually comprehend.

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Judy Cooke: The birth of an artist

Paul Sutinen's interview with Judy Cooke focuses on the Portland painter's development as an artist

Since her first exhibitions here 45 years ago, Judy Cooke has been a leading artist in the realm of “painting” in Portland, though paint is just one aspect of her materials palette. All of her works in the current exhibition Conversation: Aluminum, Oil, Rubber at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery were completed this year. However, the range of sizes, formats, materials and motifs—ten inches to eight feet, polygon, square, skinny rectangle, found sheet metal, wood panels, rubber sheeting, tape, oil paint, line drawing, brushy painting—samples her interests over the length of her career.

Portland artist Judy Cooke

Cooke had a retrospective exhibition at The Art Gym in 2002, Judy Cooke: Celebration After the Fact: a retrospective, 1973-2001 (the catalog essay is by Bruce Guenther), and she has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious grants, including the second Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award in 1993.

The exhibition at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery continues through October 27. She will be speaking about her work at the gallery on Saturday, October 13, at 11 am.

When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist?

Probably when I was about eight.

Interesting. Some people have that very early thought. Did you know what an artist was when you were eight?

No. When I was six, I had a fabulous first grade teacher. The art part of that first grade was always the best part. It was kind of unusual. This was in Bay City, Michigan, a small school. There were two very large blackboards in the room. Every week she would let two kids go up and paint on those blackboards, with chalk or whatever—something you could remove. The whole class got to do this. At the end of the week they’d vote on whether one of those pictures could stay up. It was a fairly big blackboard. So that was where I had a chance to see something on a very large-scale. And I always drew when I was a kid—tended to be large shapes. The crayons that everybody used were very thick. At school they tended to use these big materials.

The black and the blackboard are still in your work.

Somewhere, yes. I think I tended to work more abstractly, at an early age, than concrete observation. I mean really paying attention to space and three-dimensionality.

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Shoring up Toledo’s Centennial Celebration Mural

Nature has taken its toll on the 13-year-old public artwork commemorating 100 years of the city's history

This seems to be the season for kids and art — a topic that naturally came up earlier this month when the Newport Performing Arts Center celebrated its 30th anniversary. Talk of old times (and new) called to mind for many all the students of dance, music and theater who benefited from the PAC. I’m no expert, but it seems obvious that art opens doors, expands horizons and stretches imaginations. Art, like kids themselves, is about possibility — for everyone.

Thirteen years ago, then Toledo Mayor Sharon Brandstiter saw the possibility for honoring Toledo’s 100 years of history by creating a public work of art. Lawrence Adrian, the artistic director and founder of the Oregon Coast Children’s Theatre and Oregon Coast Children’s Center for the Arts, designed the project and lead the charge to build it. Local residents and companies pitched in, raising something over $10,000 for the project, Adrian said. Students from every school in Toledo had the opportunity to share their creative spirit in what would become the largest mosaic mural in the state.

The Centennial Celebration Mural stretches 96 feet long and stands more than 15 feet high on a stepped retaining wall at the Toledo City Hall parking lot. The design was inspired by more than 100 photos from a century-plus of Toledo history.

The mosaics of the Toledo Centennial Celebration Mural record memorable events of the city’s past 100 years, such as the 1970 filming of scenes for “Sometimes a Great Notion,” based on Ken Kesey’s novel. Photo courtesy: Oregon Coast Children’s Theater and Oregon Coast Children’s Center for the Arts

“One great aspect of the project was meeting many of the people pictured on the mural, or the children or grandchildren of those same individuals,” Adrian said. The mural and the community support it garnered were among reasons Adrian moved the OCCT/OCCCA from Lincoln City to Toledo, he said.

But the years have taken their toll on the mosaic mural. Mud, rocks and debris fall from above, chipping and otherwise damaging tiles. There’s been some vandalism, too, Adrian said. But mostly the problems come from nature — albeit exacerbated by folks climbing on the structure.

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Painting the town in Newberg

George Fox students lend their hands and paintbrushes to increasing Yamhill County's mural inventory

Those of you in Portland lucky enough to live within a few blocks of an awesome mural have to understand: We don’t have as many artists in Yamhill County as you do. Or as many walls. But give us some credit; we have people working on it.

One of the most important is Luke Zimmerman, a classically trained painter who teaches at George Fox University in Newberg. A few years ago, he started looking around and realized that the community had a serious mural deficit. That’s true of much of Yamhill County, but more on that later. Zimmerman had both students who had mural experience and others who wanted to give it a try, so they all put their heads together, and art happened.

The first of what organizers hope will be several murals by the Yamhill County
Mural Project is visible driving into Newberg on Oregon 99W. Photo by: David Bates

You can see the result as you head into downtown from the north. After you come down the hill on Oregon 99W and hit the curve, you can see the mural on the left side of the road: three pairs of colorful hands in various poses splashed on the east-facing wall of Steve’s Auto Service. It faces a parking lot, so parked vehicles sometimes block the lower section, but most of it is impossible to miss.

Benjamin Cahoon, a 19-year-old second-year George Fox student from Florence, lives across the street and has a 24/7 view from his window. That’s fine with him — he helped paint it, after all.

“It is incredibly fulfilling,” said Cahoon, who also worked on a mural in Albany for BJ’s Ice Cream. “It was an amazing experience.”

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Picturing Oregon: wide open space

In the collections: The Portland Art Museum's survey of Oregon landscapes gives a history of the shifting territory as artists imagine it

On a recent Saturday afternoon I dropped in to the Portland Art Museum and immediately encountered a crowd at the entrance, lined up waiting to get in. That’s odd, I thought. Nice, but odd. Then I heard a bit of chatter in line, and remembered: the cars. It was prime visiting time for the museum’s megashow of slick beauties, The Shape of Speed: Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1930-1942, and the traffic was still lively and thick.

It wasn’t quite like working your way around a pileup of tourists snapping selfies with the Mona Lisa, but once I threaded through the Bugattis and Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupes and Chrysler Imperial Airflows things thinned out a bit to a nice steady pace. It was the first weekend day after the August heat wave had broken and the forest-fire smoke had begun to lift, and people were beginning to get out and about again: It felt as if a good chunk of the car crowd had peeled off to see what else there was to discover in the museum.

There are at least a couple of ways to go about visiting a museum. If it’s a new museum to you, sometimes the best thing to do is just to wander around and see what you find: Let serendipity be your guide, at least at the start. If it’s a museum you’re familiar with, your visits are probably more targeted: to see a special exhibition, for instance. At the Portland Art Museum right now, that might mean taking a last whack at the splendid show of early Richard Diebenkorns, arranged by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and hanging around Portland through Sept. 23. (The door-busting Shape of Speed ended Sunday.)

Philip Guston, Untitled, 1969, acrylic on panel, bequest of Musa Guston. Portland Art Museum

Or you might go to check in on some old favorites in the permanent collections. Special exhibitions serve a lot of purposes besides selling tickets. They can fill in gaps in a museum’s collection, or capture an important social or historic moment, or expand on strengths a museum already has. And they can get people interested in a museum, and its art, and encourage them to become regular visitors. But you can find the soul of most museums in their permanent collections, and how they’re displayed and rotated, and the way they allow people to visit over and over again, getting to know specific pieces or collections, or finding something new they hadn’t noticed before. This is where the Deep Museum exists.

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