Snap, crackle, pop: April is Portland Photo Month, with events and exhibitions all over town. Photolucida, which sponsors the annual celebration, has put together a handy guide to several of the photo exhibits.
Among the gallery shows are works by such high-profile figures as the 20th century master Minor White (in a continuing show of images of Portland 1938-1942, at the Architectural Heritage Center), Christopher Rauschenberg (photos from Poland at Elizabeth Leach), and a couple of Portland photographers who balance fine-art photography and globe-trotting photojournalism (Corey Arnold and his Aleutian Dreams at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art; Susan Seubert with Not a Day Goes By, an exploration of suicide and the choice between being and nothingness, at Froelick).
Among other intriguing-looking shows: Amjad Faur’s A Scythe Across the Night Sky, photos looking at the destruction of antiquities and land grabs of ISIS, at PDX Contemporary; Susan Bein’s whimsical Head Games, with a Nod to Arcimboldo, at Camerawork; #Inhonor, Earvin A. Johnson’s mixed-media portraits at Blue Sky in response to the killings of black people across the nation; and Erin Leichty’s Re-Connection, in which she transfers photos of ordinary people onto plaster, at Waterstone. And Augen Gallery is fielding an all-star lineup including Cecil Beaton, Arnold Newman, Barbara Morgan, and several others in an overview show of trendsetters from not so very long ago, 20th Century Photographs.
Photos, of course, aren’t the only gallery game in town. As April’s First Thursday openings roll around this week, a few other shows have caught our eye, too:
Roboyat: Omar Khayyam’s ‘Rubaiyat’ Reimagined. A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou beside me, beeping in the wilderness: Merridawn and Geordie Duckler’s installation at Blackfish gives a futuristic twist to the 11th century Persian poems and Edward FitzGerald’s elegant 19th century English translation of them with this installation melding science, poetry, and about 500 robots. Includes a lecture/performance at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Imagined Architectures. In addition to its show of 20th century photos, Augen is featuring this show of heavyweights dreaming up places: Josef Albers, Roy Lichtenstein, Arless Day, Philip Pearlstein, George Johanson, and others.
Hosokawa Morihiro and Lan Su in Bloom. Japanese ceramics and botanical art in the gardens: the former Japanese prime minister’s clay art at the newly reopened Portland Japanese Garden, and a botanical art exhibition by artists from Oregon and Washington at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Beastly. Portland painter Stephen O’Donnell’s new show at Froelick includes several of his meticulous, historically informed, and gender-fluid self-portraits, plus several exquisite small paintings of small animals, sometimes bejeweled.
Amplifying Aura? The Prophetic Sandal in the Ages of Its Technological Reproducability. New York University’s Finnbar Barry Flood speaks on images of the Prophet Mohammed, focusing not on his face but on depictions of his sandal or footprint, and what the possibilities of modern reproduction mean to that. The subject is topical because of the controversy within Islam over making images of the prophet (remember Charlie Hebdo and “Je Suis Charlie”) and the rise in destruction of works of art by ISIS and other radical groups. Flood speaks at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Vollum Lecture Hall at Reed College, in conjunction with the exhibition Iconoclastic, which looks at the destruction and censorship of images, at Reed’s Cooley Gallery.
Heather McGeachy and Daria Loy. McGeachy’s Obsessive Meditations & Meditative Memorials, an “obsessive number of small paintings portraying elements of nature and sublime contemplation,” pair at Gallery 114 with Loy’s Pieces of Species and Other Spaces, a “series of artifacts exploring memories of death.”
The Lost Chord. Jack Ryan, co-director of Ditch Projects in Springfield, opens a solo show in The Art Gym at Marylhurst University of works in sculpture and sound. Opening reception 4-6 p.m. Sunday; exhibition opens Tuesday, April 11.