Friderike Heuer

 

At Albertina Kerr, art of ebullience

Not "outside": Artists from the Portland Art and Learning Studio create an exhilarating exhibition at Gallery 114

There is an Outside spread Without & an outside spread Within
Beyond the Outline of Identity both ways, which meet in One:
An orbed Void of doubt, despair, hunger & thirst & sorrow.

– William BlakeJerusalem (1818).


STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRIDERIKE HEUER


Let me not mince words: I despise the term outsider art. Yes, I know the definition is loose – it can refer to anything, from art by those not trained as artists, or not affected by a particular culture, or living on the margins of society, or living with a disability or mental illness – often in any possible combination of all of these. And yes, I know we are stuck with the term, since it has taken on a life of its own ever since people started collecting this art. It is part of a commodity market always on the lookout for something new, something striking, something that money can be invested in.

Marker work by Lindsay Scheu
Lindsay Scheu

The very fact that you call some artists “outsiders” (including those living with disabilities, who are our family, our neighbors, our clients and, yes, our friends) perpetuates a tendency toward segregation rather than integration, to the loss of all involved. All, that is, but cutting-edge curators and collectors who boost their bottom line, staging art fairs and exhibitions of the few among the legions of creative “outsiders” who somehow make it to the top of the art market. Yet such art has its own life and energy, without regard for the market, and can be highly creative and life-affirming without apology or categorical pigeonholing. I found a good deal of such ebullient art recently at the Portland Art and Learning Studio, a project of Albertina Kerr. And so can you: Ebullience, an exhibition of work by PALS artists is featured this month at Portland’s Gallery 114.

Continues…

Land and Water: By Necessity

A gathering of Native American activists and allies and an Oregon-produced film join the battle against pipelines and other climate threats


STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRIDERIKE HEUER


TIMES ARE HARROWING for people trying to protect Indigenous ancestral land and prevent accidents from pipeline spillage that would poison and pollute the regions’ land and water. The movement is taking place on many fronts, several of them cultural and artistic, including an Oregon-produced documentary film, Necessity: Oil, Water, and Climate Resistance, that focuses on the work of climate activists on the front lines and movement lawyers involved in supporting that struggle. And last week a group of Native American leaders and community allies in Portland gathered at the Port of Vancouver to protest the dangers of the continued use and expansion of pipelines, and alert us to what is going on farther north.

The Wet’suwet’en people in northern British Columbia, trying to stop construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline (CGL), were arrested by Canadian police and tactical teams in the dark of night by militarized police with night vision and automatic weapons, their camps destroyed and media hindered from filming and reporting the police action. The BC Supreme Court granted the company behind the Coastal GasLink project, TC Energy, an injunction to continue construction activities, and issued an enforcement order for the RCMP to clear the area.

Continues…

Southern Rites at the Jewish Museum

Photographer Gillian Laub's deeply documented show on the persistence of racial attitudes in the South is visual activism at its best

What do I want? Why do I want it? And how do I get it?
– Stacey Abrams, in a TED talk shortly after she lost her bid to be elected governor of Georgia in the 2018 midterm elections.

*

AS SHOULD BE OBVIOUS by now, I rarely review exhibitions that I don’t like. The world doesn’t need more negativity, and I don’t need the emotional aggravation. It is therefore with some trepidation that I accept invitations to review something I have not yet had a chance to see. I will only do so if I am deeply committed to an institution and usually trust its choices, as is the case with the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education (OJMCHE.)

Felicia after the Black Prom, Vidalia, Georgia, 2009. Photographed by Gillian Laub. Photo: Friderike Heuer

No need to fret: OJMCHE’s newest exhibition, Southern Ritesis one of its strongest yet, a moving and thought-provoking tour de force about race relations and racism in contemporary America. Organized by the International Center for Photography and judiciously curated by Maya Benton, the exhibition of photographs by Gillian Laub is visual activism at its best: perceptive, engaged, critical photography of human beings in a context that defines them. Did I mention beautiful? Beautiful!

Continues…

Our place in the fabric of the world

Finding the warp and weft of things in Amanda Triplett's studio, a fresh look at PCVA, and a Diane Jacobs work at the Portland Art Museum

*

The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see. 

James Baldwin The Creative Process (1962) (from The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985.)


STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRIDERIKE HEUER


ONE OF THOSE WEEKS. Unrelenting, miserable downpours, not the drizzle Portland usually knows. Unrelenting, horrid news, death calling with helicopter crashes, earthquakes, viral lung disease. And then three art encounters that stretched the brain and filled the soul with smatterings of joy. Softened the week around the edges.

Details from Amanda Triplett’s studio.

The thread that ran through these encounters was literally that: a thread. Or, more precisely, multitudes of them, fabrics, textiles, hair, and other palpable materials fashioned into something different and new. To stay within the textile metaphor, the warp running the lengths of the works was clever, clever ideas about our place in the world, crossed by the weft of invitations for multiple interpretations.

Continues…

Photo First: Hope and joy

An evening showcase of student dancers from Faubion and Harriet Tubman schools highlights the talent and promise of a new generation

Jump for Joy: Lighting up the Winter Showcase.

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRIDERIKE HEUER


There were at least two people in awe at Da Vinci Arts Middle School on a mid-January evening while attending the Winter Showcase of Faubion and Harriet Tubman Middle School: this young lady and me.

As Harriet Tubman Principal Natasha Jackson, in unison with teachers, staff and musicians from the other organizations, put it: People of all races and all backgrounds are coming together to celebrate art and the achievement of these young dancers who have worked hard to present an incredible program. Both schools have a diverse student population, with many languages on their website to get information to all those parents who have newly arrived. To see all those different faces merge into dance ensembles that became one in the movement really represented hope: for a future where unity fights back the forces of segregation.

Continues…

‘Nothing at all of this is fixed’

"It struck me as joyful": A visit to Dorothy Goode's studio reveals a merging, overlapping, playful kinship with Calder and Modersohn-Becker


STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRIDERIKE HEUER


Was glänzt, ist für den Augenblick geboren, 
Das Echte bleibt der Nachwelt unverloren.

That which glitters is born for the moment;
The genuine remains intact for future days.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust eine Tragödie, Kapitel 2: Vorspiel auf dem Theater (1808)

*

I WAS SO COLD WHEN I LEFT Dorothy Goode‘s studio after a visit last week that I could barely get the key into the car ignition. During our first-ever encounter we had huddled, both in down jackets and hats, in front of a little electric stove in her unheated warehouse abode. The space had beautiful views, brilliant light, and a damp iciness that crept into my arthritic bones. I could not help but think of Frans Hals, that radical observer of humanity, who was so impoverished at the end of his life that in the Dutch winter of 1664 he accepted three loads of peat on public charity, otherwise he would have frozen to death. (Of course, he then had to portray the administrators of said charity, the Governesses of an Alms House in 17th century Haarlem – those faces all-telling.)

Dorothy Goode, painter.

Not that Goode would accept alms. Ever. Fiercely independent, proud, accomplished and not at all risk-averse, she’ll probably persuade you that rheumatism is the price you pay for pursuing your art. Or so I wager. After all, I have to run on the impressions of two hours of conversation with an artist intensely protective of her inner life.

Continues…

New art territory in Oregon City

At the Museum of the Oregon Territory, a dynamic partnership and a "gutsy art of overcoming" create an art show and an auction

Jugaad: Originally from Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Urdu.

Definition in the Oxford English Dictionary: “a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way.”

*

ONE OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OF BEING GERMAN is that everybody comments on the weird words your language generates, and in particular their length. Yes, it’s strange to have (real!) words like Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (loosely translated as the law for the task assignment of monitoring beef labeling), but then again, their length is proportional to the length of German sentences that extend across half a page. Other languages, less often mentioned, engage in similar stretching exercises, Turkish, Greenlandic and Finnish among them. How is this for a lingual marathon? Ymmärtämättömyyksissäni suuntautumisvaihtoehtoni opintotukihakemuskaavakkeeseen kuulakärkikynällä kirjoitin is a Finnish statement, I am told, that translates into, “In a state of not fully comprehending, I wrote my major thesis on the form for financial aid provided by the state using a ballpoint pen.” Just saying. …

Bethany HayesErratic 1

In reactive fashion, I have become very fond of truly short words that convey incredibly complex meanings. Jugaad is one of them. Fully aware that I might engage in inappropriate cultural (mis)interpretation, the word implies making do with very little, salvaging what can be salvaged, miraculously coming out ahead. Or, as the Harvard Business Review defines it: “the gutsy art of overcoming harsh constraints by improvising an effective solution using limited resources.”

Continues…