He did the unabashed mash

Patrick Rock at Fourteen30 Contemporary in Portland

I’ve been away for a while, immersed in a visual endeavor, and therefore a little out of practice where arts writing is concerned. However, I did spend this past weekend visiting a number of exhibits, composing an essay as I went along, but one readers will have to wait for, as it’s going to require some research.

But some things can’t wait. Today I come to you with a sense of urgency because Patrick Rock has two videos at Fourteen30 Contemporary that will only be on display until October 9. They are the last installment in the gallery’s four-part, month-long, Coral Brush Node series. I saw them this last Saturday and, by golly, they made my day. A tonic for an otherwise more-cold-than-hot cruise around the Pearl.

Patrick Rock owns Rocksbox Contemporary Fine Art, and I mention this now only because I wrote a review about “The International Invitational Triennial of Contemporary Wind Chimes” he staged last April. And come to think of it, the last review I wrote —way back in June— was for Dan Attoe at Fourteen30. While certainly not wanting to be accused of favoritism for these two galleries, I do happen to like much of their programming, yet often for different reasons.

Jeanine Jablonski at Fourteen30 has an overall serious approach to her curation, and it is certainly “contemporary” in the manner I prefer to use the term, which is to be in the forefront and not merely work the artist happened to make in the last month. On the other hand, Rock’s curation and art may be thought by some to be bombastic with an aesthetic derived more out of hedonism than derived from either the canon or academy. And because both galleries stand out in Portland, I cannot promise I will not write about either in the next year.

But back to Rock’s videos.

Patrick Rock, "I know, I know, I know...,"/Fourteen30 Contemporary

Patrick Rock, “I know, I know, I know…,”/Fourteen30 Contemporary

The video in the front room of the gallery is visible from the street and does not lose any of its appeal or impact if the gallery door is locked. (After dark is best.) It is called “I know, I know, I know…” and was made this year. In short, it depicts the artist holding up photocopies of famous people in front of his face as if they were temporary masks. Film stars, renowned artists and great thinkers are represented, all which he defaces in a specific manner. I will not spoil the viewing by relaying any more information.

However, if one has an opportunity to visit the gallery when it is open (or by appointment), the front video is lent an extra dimension by the audio of the video in the back room. The second video is given a single “I know” for its title, and was also made this year. Again, so pleasingly surprised as I was upon entering the back room, I do not want to give anything away so the more inquisitive among my readers may have the opportunity for a similar experience. I will say that I, too, have a pair of black, capped-toe boots, and I am too fond of them to put them through what Rock does with his.

If I must give context for the exhibition, think Monty Python mixed with a little Paul McCarthy. Think: We might need to reboot… And for the moment, this will be the extent of my commentary about these works. After all, I need to warm up again to this art review thing. But I’m also getting ahead of myself, because I’m beginning to wander into the subject matter for my next review. Wait a couple weeks for further elucidation.

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