Nim Wunnan

 

VizArts Monthly: Art blossoms all over town

The local art scene bursts into action as we mark the last graduating class at OCAC

Spring is upon us, and the art scene is blooming like the cherry blossoms downtown. In the same month, you can see the thesis shows by the 112th and final graduating class from OCAC and PNCA’s first year of MFA students to study in their new location, The Glass Building. If you’re walking around for First Thursday you can catch a high-concept group show at PDX Contemporary or a set of handmade quilts showing the ravages of climate change at Erickson Gallery. Then there’s the massive range of events during Design Week. However you want to divide art from design, you can sort events by either discipline on the festival’s site. If you’re looking for a party, PICA has its Meta Gala at the end of the month.

Takasaki at Nationale

Where did you sleep last night?: Shohei Takasaki

Through April 23
Nationale
3360 SE Division
Portland-based painter Shohei Takasaki’s first solo show at Nationale cast a colorful, abstracted eye on domestic scenes. Geometric forms and color fields intersect with recognizable objects found in the home, like a sock or a cracked egg. A playful intimacy pervades the bright colors of these canvases, filled with impressions of time Takasaki spent with loved ones.

via The White Gallery

When is a bowl of fruit just a bowl of fruit? Hiromi Lee and Prithvi Chauhan

Through April 12, 2019
Reception: Thursday, April 4, 6–8 PM
Littman + White Galleries
1825 Southwest Broadway
This two-person exhibition was curated by Jeremy Husserl borne out of frustration with the expectations thrust upon artists of color to “only create with a social justice meaning,” in the words of the press release. The title comes from a saying favored by the mother of one of the artists, which suggests that sometimes the art can speak for itself. Lee and Chuahan choose to cut loose and express themselves in this show that focuses on “the fantastic, the colorful, the controversial, and most of all the human condition.”

Installation view from Charmed

Echo: Joe Feddersen

Through April 20, 2019
The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
511 NW Broadway
This exhibition features a new series of prints produced by Feddersen while artist-in-residence at PNCA’s Watershed Center for Fine Art Publishing and Research. Working in collaboration with MFA students and program chair Matthew Letzelter, Feddersen produced new, large-scale prints that connect to his 2014 piece, Charmed. Comprised of more than 400 pieces of fused glass, Charmed will be displayed with the new prints. Together they develop a visual vocabulary that is as informed by ancient, mystical glyphs as it is by modern logos and icons.

Game of Skill by Stephanie Simek

Speculative Frictions

April 3 to April 27
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders

The title for this research-centric group show was inspired by poet Joan Retallack’s idea of a “poethical wager on the Experimental Feminine.” Contrasted with the scientific method’s focus on testable propositions, this wager proceeds according to what Retallack calls “a feminine dyslogic.” Artists 0rphan Drift, Caspar Heinemann, Emily Jones, Ranu Mukherjee, Lisa Radon, and Stephanie Simek draw on artistic techniques, writing, “wrighting”, and diverse presentations including video, sculpture, and installation. A show guaranteed to spark some form of insight, even if it can’t quite be put into words.

PNCA MFA First Year Exhibition

April 4 – April 23
The Glass Building
2139 N. Kerby Ave.
First year graduate students in three disciplines (Visual Studies, Print Media, and Collaborative Design) present their work at PNCA’s newly acquired building in a still under-the-radar North Portland industrial neighborhood. The Glass Building also houses the school’s ceramics facilities and graduate studios, and it seems only fitting that students will share the developments they have made in their first grueling year of a master’s degree program in a brand new space.

Landscape: Opium Poppy

Landscape: About Space and Time, Sang-ah Choi

Northview Gallery
PCC Sylvania Campus
12000 SW 49th Ave.
Opening and Artist Talk
Wednesday, April 10, 2–4 PM
Weekend Reception
Saturday, April 13, 2–5 PM
Bursting with energy, Choi’s graphic work on paper combine accident and precision in dizzying patterns that cover the whole visual field. Carefully rendered in acrylic, felt pen, and graphite, the shapes seem to fly across the paper in an all-over blast while at the same time reading like a decorative pattern. Reminiscent of of Takashi Murakami or Julie Mehretu, there’s a lot going on in Choi’s ultimately unique visual style.

Hillside Burning at Night Above Suburban Neighborhood Park, Woolsey, CA

Unraveling World: Quilts of Flood, Fire, Collapse: Amy Subach

April 4 – 29
Erickson Gallery
9 NW 2nd Avenue
Artist Amy Subach is perhaps most well-known for her series Erotic Selfie Quilts which are exactly what they sound like: handmade quilts depicting erotic selfies – and the oversaturated social media landscape to which they belong – with humor and dignity. For this show she turns her eye and her needle to the deluge of images of the frightening effects of climate change, adorning her quilts with images of flooding, the destructive California wildfires, and melting permafrost. Each piece carries a title with the specifics of the time and place of the event depicted.

Untitled 112: OCAC Graduate Thesis Exhibition

April 19th, 6–9pm
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
8371 N Interstate Ave
OCAC’s final graduating class will show their thesis work at Disjecta this year. The BFA Class of 2019 posted the following as a collective message from the final graduating class of this local institution on their Facebook page for the event:

Celebrate the culmination of our education and our recent body of work.

We are conceptually driven individuals who strive for excellent craft and innovative solutions. We explore our own identities and experiences beyond ourselves to feed our practice and our future.

Our community arrives at this point with a 112–year history of ingenuity and discovery as its source of growth, and now as its foundation going forward. We embrace our futures, untitled and endless in their possibilities with a dedication to our craft.

“Man not by abdomen and buttock plates or vertebrae but through his currents, his weakness what recovers from shock, his startings.”

So begins a selection from surrealist French poet and artist Henri Michaux, who asserts himself in Compagnie Marie Chouinard’s current performance at the Newmark Theatre. If you’re familiar with Chouinard’s electric, transgressive, and sometimes bizarre choreography, it makes sense that she would be drawn to Michaux’s poetic transmutations of the body. If you aren’t familiar with this award-winning Québécois choreographer, this weekend’s show will serve as an excellent introduction.

The company, making its fourth Portland visit through White Bird, has brought two pieces with it. The first is 24 Preludes by Chopin, is one of the company’s best known. It premiered in Vienna in 1999 and was first performed in Portland as part of White Bird’s 2005-’06 season, Preludes displays early hallmarks of Chouinard’s unmistakable movement in a rapid succession of short, effervescent vignettes set to Chopin’s preludes, most of which run less than two minutes. The second is Henri Michaux: Mouvements, which premiered in 2011 and travels deeper into Chouinard’s corporeal experimentation. Consisting of 64 pages of simple, energetic ink drawings, a 15-page poem, and an afterword, Michaux’s 1951 book Mouvements becomes a physical score through Chouinard’s literal reading of its semi-abstract, figurative blots of ink. The dancers, dressed in black Lycra, cavort across the stage in front of giant screens onto which the drawings’ contorted shapes are projected.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard performs "Henri Michaux: Mouvements." Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard performs “Henri Michaux: Mouvements.” Photo courtesy of White Bird.

Chouinard’s movement is unmistakable, but more nuanced than it may seem at first. You might be tempted to write it off as grotesque or simply weird if you only experience it through internet clips. People often post gifs or videos of perhaps her most infamous work, bODYrEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS, in the comment sections of online discussions about modern art, as knee-jerk examples of its excess or strangeness generally. I can understand that take if viewers have only seen her work online, without seeing the amount of play and esprit in the performance or understanding the company’s dedication to exploring the movements and peculiarities of the body. Chouinard’s dancers in bODY_rEMIX pull exaggerated faces and crawl, flop, and bounce across the stage in little more than gauze wraps and touches of body paint, employing canes and crutches in ways they were never intended to be used.

Continues…

In like a lion: March VizArts Monthly

A round-up of new shows at spaces big and small

Spring is creeping up on us between snowstorms, and new work and some big announcements (good and bad) are blossoming all over town. The big story last month was the Oregon College of Art and Craft closing its doors. In happier news, Tannaz Farsi was named the 2019 Bonnie Bronson Fellow. If you’d like to see what artists get up to on local residencies you can check out the Leland Ironworks 2018 residency show this First Thursday at PNCA. While you’re out, you can catch exciting new shows at Upfor, Williamson Knight, the Oregon Jewish Museum, and more.

Che Guevara by Alberto Korda

Korda Y El Espíritu De La Revolución Cubana (Korda and the Spirit of the Cuban Revolution)

Through July 21, 2019

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
1420 Johnson Lane
University of Oregon Campus, Eugene OR

Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez was better known as Alberto Korda or simply “Korda” when he took the photograph of Che Guevara that can now be found on countless T-shirts and posters. This romantic image of the revolutionary is considered to be one of the most reproduced images in history. Though he received almost no royalties for the constant unauthorized reproduction of his iconic image, Korda’s photography career continued to flourish in Cuba. He is also known for an iconic portrait of Fidel Castro. The Guevara portrait is on display as well as many other vintage prints published by Havana’s Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (OSPAAAL). All confirm Korda’s enduring influence on Cuban art and artists.

 

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme: We know what it is for, we who have used it

Installation View, We know what it is for, we who have used it

We know what it is for, we who have used it: Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

Through April 7, 2019
Disjecta
8371 N Interstate Avenue

This new, multi-media exhibition by Palestinian artist duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme confronts the imagery and effects of violence, cultural erasure, and the art of resistance. Using Adrienne Rich’s poem, Diving into the Wreck (1971–72), as a “script,” this research-based project looks at the history of sites of disaster and violence as well as personal histories to search for evidence of what can be salvaged from destruction. Abbas and Abou-Rahme traveled to Palestinian villages in Israel that were destroyed in 1948 to ask what happened to the people, places, and things that were destroyed and displaced. This exhibit extends their project And yet my mask is powerful which began in 2014 when the artists first encountered Neolithic masks exhibited at the Israel Museum. These 9,000 year old masks are the oldest known masks at the time of writing. Abbas and Abou-Rahme created 3D printed reproductions of these masks and photographed Palestinian youths wearing them at locations in Palestine that have been destroyed by conflict or occupation. This promises to be a conceptually-deep and affecting show.

M. Acuff

Image from M. Acuff

Polyglot Plume: M. Acuff

Through March 31
Carnation Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave

This show of gallery member M. Acuff examines “the slow, invasive, inescapable violence of capitalist-driven climate change.” Interested in contradictory images and materials, Acuff wants to convey aspects of climate change that can’t be truly visualized – the scale and widespread effects of industrial development, chemical contamination of the environment, and habitat loss. Carnation Contemporary describes this work as “bearing witness to the remote forces of our common ruination.”

Chris Mullins

All Parts – Chris Mullins

Behavior: Chris Mullins

Through Mar 23
Opening Reception Thurs, March 7th 5:00–8:00pm
Caplan Art Designs
1323 NW 16th Ave #1001

PNCA alumnus Chris Mullins makes densely layered, often meditative paintings that hint at landscape and a sense of space along the lines of James Lavadour. This show of new paintings represent Mullins’ recent work with poured paint, a technique that makes way for more accident and less of the artist’s hand in the surface. Noting that no painter can be prepared for “every contingency,” Mullins says “the fun then is in allowing for the emergence of simple relationships.” This often leads to what he calls “a submerging of oneself” making the resulting images more aligned with “behavior” than selfhood.

Breadfruit - Alika Cooper

Breadfruit – Alika Cooper

Wabi Sabi Lobby: Alika Cooper and Eric Wesley

Through April 13
Private Places
2400 NE Holladay Street

This small, strange, but affecting show in one of Portland’s more hidden art spaces features a work of complex fabric art by Alika Cooper and sculpture by Eric Wesley. Located in a shared studio in an industrial neighborhood, Private Places may be difficult to find for new visitors (instructions on their site say to ring the doorbell for Holladay Studios) but this project curated by local artist Bobbi Woods is worth checking out for anyone interested in the current wave of independent art spaces in town.

Thank You - Mel Bochner

Thank You – Mel Bochner

Enough Said: Mel Bochner

March 7 – May 26, 2019
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
724 NW Davis Street

A colorful, fun, and insightful major exhibition by acclaimed American Jewish conceptual artist and painter Mel Bochner. This exhibit draws from the collection of Jordan Schnitzer and highlights the ways that Bochner has visually explored the forms of language as well as its meaning. Editioned prints and unique pieces display Bochner’s skillful, complex printmaking techniques as well as his bombastic usage of words and letters. Colorful graphics wrapping the museum’s windows shout their message from across the Park Blocks, making this one hard to overlook.

Ulama Ule Alley Oop - Ronny Quevedo

Ulama Ule Alley Oop – Ronny Quevedo

Ronny Quevedo

March 7 – April 27
Upfor
929 Nw Flanders St

Working in multiple mediums, Ecuadorian artist Quevedo “posits profound interconnections between the circular movements engendered by sport and the expansive pathways forged by the artist’s personal migration story from Ecuador to the Bronx,” according to Hyperallergic. The result is a show of energetic drawings, diagrams, and otherwise assembled images that harvest the designs of basketball courts and other seemingly-abstract sports iconography.

 

Still from Mickalene Thomas, Do I Look Like a Lady

Still from Mickalene Thomas, Do I Look Like a Lady

Do I Look Like a Lady? (Comedians and Singers): Mickalene Thomas

March 9 – August 31
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205

This exhibition highlights the recently-acquired video installation by internationally renowned artist and former-Portlander, Mickalene Thomas. Thomas has said that a 1994 exhibition featuring Carrie Mae Weems was a crucial moment in her development as an artist.
This powerful, high-energy video collage of performances by African-American actors and singers throughout the 20th century engages with themes of beauty, identity, and representation while celebrating the individual voices of performers including Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Eartha Kitt, Whoopi Goldberg, and Whitney Houston.

Image via Dan Paz

The sun never knew how great it was until it struck the side of a building: Dan Paz

March 7 – April 13
Opening reception 6 – 8pm, March 7
Williamson | Knight Gallery
916 NW Flanders St

Taking its title from a quote by the architect Louis Khan, this solo show by Dan Paz curated by Yaelle Amir explores the role that light has played in the oppression of historically marginalized individuals. Williamson | Knight describe it as an examination of “how light is manipulated in carceral environments to craft a controlled collective space.” Including video, sculpture and performance, the show “demonstrates different methods of performing in, modifying, and refracting light to uncover how psychological and physical development is affected by lightness and darkness,” which is something those of us living near the 45th Parallel should understand well.

Beijing Dance Theater thinks big

Choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, a creative force behind the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, now runs her own show

On February 20, the globally recognized Beijing Dance Theater will make its Portland debut at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with a hefty program of contemporary work. Choreographer Wang Yuanyuan directs the 13-member company and creates big, bold pieces that design director Tan Shaoyuan and lighting designer Han Jiang help shape. Although this is the company’s first local appearance, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen Wang’s work.

Beijing Dance Theater makes its Portland debut with striking work including “The Crossing.” Photo courtesy of KMP Artists.

A dancer who trained in China, earned an MFA from Cal Arts and served as the National Ballet of China’s resident choreographer, Wang founded Beijing Dance Theater at the end of 2008. As she recounted in a recent interview with Oregon ArtsWatch, she’d already had plenty of experience by then directing large-scale performances, after playing a prominent role in the famous opening ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the opening ceremony of the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing, and the 1997 celebration marking Hong Kong’s return to China. The Olympics opening ceremonies alone featured an estimated 15,000 performers; the other two events featured more than 5,000.

While she is rightly proud of her role in those events (the Olympics opener, especially, required “a lot of artists and people to work together to present the same result,” she said), starting Beijing Dance Theater felt even more significant than choreographing a performance that millions of people watched. “I prefer works that present my personal artistic ideas,” she said. “It is important to express myself. Starting Beijing Dance Theater gave me a more personal and professional sense of achievement.” Since it was founded, her company has toured far and wide, and she has earned best choreographer awards in Bulgaria, the U.S., Russia, and China. 

A section of “Wild Grass,” slated for the Portland show, demonstrates the company’s creative vision. Photo courtesy of KMP Artists.

The company’s Portland show will feature selections from three of her original pieces. The first of these, “Farewell, Shadows” is from Wild Grass, a piece the company tours frequently; it was inspired by the writings of 19th-century Chinese author Lu Xun. Though Wang called Lu Xun “one of the most important writers in the history of Chinese literature,” she doesn’t think audiences necessarily need to know his work to engage with the show: as she pointed out, “This is the international language of dance.” Themes of duality and its exploration within Eastern philosophy run through the work; some reviews have characterized “Farewell, Shadows” as the more playful movement portion of the whole.

The company will also stage The Crossing, the first piece Wang ever created for the company. It has, she said, the “action elements of traditional Chinese dance.” It opens as a single dancer, to the hum of white noise, enters a darkened empty stage divided by a single long paper streamer. Crossing “traces the struggles of the individual dancers to mark the emptiness,” according to the company description of the piece, as a progression of solos, duets, and trios pit the dancers’ lyricism against the spareness of the space and the weight of the sound that fills it.

The show ends with BDT’s interpretation of Hamlet, the most theatrical of the three pieces. It dates back to 2006, when director Feng Xiaogang invited Wang to choreograph dances for Daniel Wu and Zhou Xun, the leads in his film The Banquet, which was based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After The Banquet was released, the choreography received a great deal of attention, and Wang and Feng began talks of a stage adaptation. While inspired by the film, the adaptation departs on many points to become a new Chinese Hamlet. Extracting characters the Ghost, the New King, the Queen, the Prince, and the Floral Spirit from the original, this production focuses on Hamlet’s psychological struggles, his compassion, and his doubt. This take on the classic tale, which has both historical and contemporary elements, is surely unlike any other version of Hamlet out there.

This show looks to be ambitious and spectacular, as performances that can fill the Schnitzer often are. Behind the blazing marquee lights, however, the company tries to root itself in something more personal and earnest. Of her approach, Wang said, “The most important point is that I think artists should be honest with their works. Only true emotions can lead to sincere works. Works represent the quality of your heart, and more or less represent the living environment you are affected by.” It’s high time that Portland gets to see the company’s vibrant mix of innovation and tradition.

Beijing Dance Theater performs 7:30 p.m. February 20 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Find tickets here

VizArts Monthly: from vandalism to valentines

There may be snow and ice but there is plenty to see in February in the Visual Arts

We’re looking a great month for painting, collage, and regional artists! Unexpected juxtapositions abound, whether it’s the group show of keepsakes at Adams and Ollman or Jayna Conkey’s photographs of vandalized library books. The Contemporary Northwest Art Awards are relaunched as a new triennial series at PAM, where you can still view the excellent American realism exhibition. Lucinda Parker has a major retrospective at the Hallie Ford museum in Salem, and photographer Leo Rubinfien returns to Reed to exhibit decades of photography.

In art world news, Butters gallery has announced that it will be an online-only gallery, effective February 1, and Converge 45 has announced Lisa Dent as their new director.

If you’re out for First Thursday you can catch the second-to-last Night Lights event downtown as part of RACC’s outdoor public art series. If you can’t get enough light at night, the Portland Winter Light Festival starts that night too.

Lucinda Parker, “Star (in the Winner’s Circle),” (1979) acrylic on canvas, 44 x 48 in., collection of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, Salem, OR, Gift of Marilyn and Robert Shotola, 2008.047. Photo: Dale Peterson.

Force Fields: Lucinda Parker

Through March 31
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Willamette University
700 State Street
Salem, Oregon

Don’t miss this 50+ year retrospective by the “premier Portland painter of her generation” according to Artswatch’s Paul Sutinen. Roughly 40 paintings span more than 50 years of her career, starting with a self-portrait painted when she was 16. Read Sutinen’s review for full comments on this vibrant show by an important local figure.

 

Elliott Erwitt, West Germany, Sylt, 1968

Withdrawn: Jayna Conkey

Through February 23
Roll Up Gallery
1715 SE Spokane Street
Portland OR

Jayna Conkey turned a page of “The New Color Photography” by Sally Eauclaire in 1999 at the Multnomah County Library only to discover a vandalized image. A previous reader had cut a very particular section out of photo of a nude figure reclining on a bed. Below the window, which revealed the text on the following page, the words “Can’t Believe it!” were written in red ink. Since then, Conkey has documented mutilated books from around the country in great detail using a large-format camera. This exhibition is the first time she’s shown this series in Portland, and looks to be full of unexpected and entertaining accidental compositions.

Maria de Los Angeles In the-Garden of Hope and Freedom

From Ignorance to Wisdom

Through March 16
Schneider Museum of Art
555 Indiana Street
Ashland, OR 97520

A vibrant and eclectic group show curated by Disjecta’s executive director Blake Shell. Each artist is reacting, in their own way, to the theme of exploration – “through their practice–instead of exploring expansion and personal gain, they explore ideas, materials, and new approaches to art-making. America’s land is beautiful and vast but now overused, damaged, and known as sites for past and current atrocities,” according to Shell. Artists include Robert Arellano, David Bithell, Cody Bustamante, Miles Inada, Robin Strangfeld, Ryan Kitson, Maria de Los Angeles, Adam Batemen.

Ryan Kitson – sculpture

Suds Ur Duds: Ryan Kitson

Through March 16
Schneider Museum of Art
555 Indiana Street
Ashland, OR 97520

While you’re at the Schneider Museum of Art, check out this show by Kitson, currently participating in the Visiting Artist and Scholar in Teaching (VAST) program at Southern Oregon University. This exhibition is Kitson’s direct reaction to the experience of returning to the Rogue Valley after living on the East Coast for 17 years. Operating on the principle “absorb all aspects of the experience and react almost passively, letting every day be your guide”, Kitson has created fun, lively assemblages from materials and images gathered from the activity of the SOU campus. Gathering unused clay from students, he threw slabs onto the buildings and trees on campus. These impressions were supplemented with materials “according to the ensuing adventure,” including aluminum, lead, resin, harvested redwood, a tie-dye t-shirt, commercial kombucha bottles, a vacuum sealed cast of a locally harvested blacktail buck heart, and maps of Oregon.

 

Leo Rubinfien, On Nathan Road, Hong Kong, 1995

Eyehold to Eyehold: Leo Rubinfien

Feb 7 – April 28
Cooley Gallery
Reed College
3203 SE Woodstock

Accomplished American photographer Leo Rubinfien grew up in Japan, coming to Reed College from Tokyo in 1970. While at school, he continually traveled back and forth for the holidays. The constant shifts instilled in him a strong awareness of the differences and similarities between post-war Japan and America. After a stint in New York in the early 1980s he returned to Asia, where he spent eight years photographing his way through Japan and many other countries including Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. This exhibition is a happy return to Reed for Rubinfien and is a look back across his extensive catalogue. Curated by Cooley director Stephanie Snyder from the extensive archive of photos that have come out of his many travels, several of which have never been published or exhibited before.

 

New Work by Holly Osborne

Human Nature: Holly Osborne

February 7 – March 4
Erickson Gallery
9 NW 2nd Avenue

New paintings by Portland artist Holly Osborne explore human relationships – between each other and the environment. Osborne’s arresting paintings shift abruptly between delicate, skillful representative portraiture, abstraction, and empty space. A realistic hand reaches out with a hose to spray water, represented by bare canvas, into a garden of heavy blobs of paint. A clear-cut forest is depicted by a pink emptiness that fades in to the far mountains and the flatness of the panel. This show looks to be filled with satisfying yet haunting imagery.

Keepsake by anonymous 19th century artist

Think of me

Feb 8, 2019 – March 16
Adams and Ollman
209 SW 9th Ave

The visual and traditional styles of keepsakes and mementos runs through this charming group exhibition. The body – both as a physical and a social concept – is explored through collage and assemblages. The work on display crosses the boundaries between two-dimensional and sculptural work. The artists featured range from an anonymous 19th century sailor to contemporary artists. The show’s title is borrowed from the sailor’s valentine: composed of many different kinds of seashells arranged in a radiating pattern, the keepsake implores the viewer, or perhaps a long-forgotten recipient, to “Think of Me.” Joining it are Anthony Campuzano’s abstract compositions made from newspaper headlines, novels and song lyrics to make abstract compositions that function like rhythmic mantras or stutters. Cuban-American artist and cigar-roller, Felipe Jesus Consalvos, contributes a personal body of work based on the tradition of cigar band collage. Other work includes Paul Lee wall-mounted assemblages, Em Rooney’s embellished photographs, and Dennis Witkin’s relief sculptures.

Rock Formations, Study 2, Yoichi, Hokkaido, Japan, 2004. By Michael Kenna

Ice & Stone: Suiseki Viewing Stones from the Huntington & Hokkaido Photographs by Michael Kenna

February 9 – March 24
(Extended display in Tanabe Gallery through April 7)
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Road

“Viewing stones” are small, naturally occurring rock formations that encourage a sustained gaze. Variously known as Suiseki (水石) in Japan, “scholar’s rocks” in China or “suseok” in Korea, this is a robust, traditional, and ancient art of appreciation. The Japanese tradition is distinguished by carefully-considered presentation – usually mounted on a diaza, (a hand-carved wooden base) or set in a suiban, a sand-filled tray. On loan from the the prestigious Huntington Library and Gardens, this elegant exhibition features a selection of suiseki viewing stones from the collection of James Greaves, curated by the Huntington Cultural Curator, Robert Hori. Joining the stones are gorgeous black and white photographs of Hokkaido landscapes by Seattle photographer Michael Kenna – included as part of the Portland Japanese Garden’s celebration of 2019 as The Year of Hokkaido.

 

Fernanda D’Agostino (American, b. 1950), Borderline, 2018, Still from video projection, 2 projectors, 13 scenes set up in a software to combine imagery in a 169 combinations, Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Brian Foulkes.

the map is not the territory

February 9 – May 5, 2019
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue

Organized by Grace Kook-Anderson in in collaboration with the Museum’s Education Department, this will be the first exhibition in a triennial series that PAM is calling “a reconsidered format to the biennial, previously known as the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards.” By including Alaska and Vancouver, B.C. for the first time as part of the museum’s Northwest Art program, the series hopes to offer a fresh take on how we think of the boundaries and history of the Northwest. The themes of the show center on our connection to the land, the effort of decolonization. It foregrounds indigenous values and is “a celebration of the region’s kinship.” Artists include Annette Bellamy, Fernanda D’Agostino, Jenny Irene Miller, Mary Ann Peters, Ryan Pierce, Rob Rhee, Henry Tsang, and Charlene Vickers.

Viz Arts Monthly: The post-holiday edition

The gears are grinding as the arts world shifts into 2019

Well, we made it. Hello, 2019. While some galleries are still shaking off their holiday hangover, there’s still good stuff to see. If you’re making new year’s resolutions, why not resolve to see more art in person! Some good shows are closing soon, so take this chance to see them before they go. Besides the ones listed here, make sure to check out the closing events at PICA’s Abigail DeVille show—two film screenings feature a local documentary about police violence and independent films from houseless youth. And if you haven’t had your fill of New Year’s celebrations, the Portland Japanese Garden will host an evening of music, games, tea, dancing, and performance for Japanese new year on the 13th. Also worth celebrating: five Portland artists have received the prestigious Painters and Sculptors grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Congratulations to Addoley Dzegede, Lisa Jarrett, Elizabeth Malaska, Wendy Red Star, and Blair Saxon-Hill.

Ōtagaki Rengetsu (Japanese, 1791–1875), Samurai Footman with Poem, 1867, hanging scroll; ink and light color on paper, 12 13/16 x 17 1/2 in., Collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles.

Poetic Imagination in Japanese Art
Through January 13
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue

There’s still time to catch this exhibition of, as Laurel Reed Pavic noted in her ArtsWatch review, “calligraphic texts, imaginary portraits of poets, monochrome ink paintings, and landscapes from the eighth through the twentieth century,” all drawn from the collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles. Maribeth Graybill, the Curator of Asian Art at the Portland Art Museum, calls the collection “without question one of the finest collections of Japanese art in private hands.”

Print by Christoph Ruckhäberle

Paradise Lost: Christoph Ruckhäberle
Through January 13
Ampersand, 2916 NE Alberta Street

Bursting with color, these collages, photogravures, and wood prints by German artist Christoph Ruckhäberle evoke a bustling world of shapes and figures. Many of the prints come from some process of recycling, whether it’s taking material from paintings made by Ruckhäberle or creating collages from makulatur, a German word that refers to wastepaper from test prints. This small, lively show should be a nice shot of color in the midwinter months.


Member Show
Through January 30
Blackfish Gallery, 420 NW 9th Ave

Stalwart of the Portland art scene since 1979, Blackfish Gallery is member-owned and operated by artists representing a broad spectrum of the local art community. This annual show highlights recent work by each current member, and kicks off the 40th anniversary of this community hub for countless regional artists.

Photo By Rebecca Reeve

Sun Breathing: Rebecca Reeve
January 3 – March 2, 2019
UpFor, 929 NW Flanders St

UK artist Rebecca Reeve brings a show of photographs of eerie, beautiful landscape interventions to Portland for her first solo exhibition at Upfor. Painting directly onto portions of the landscape or elements within it. Reeve returns to the same sites over and over, describing it as “watching the change in seasons and the earth breathe.” This allows her to develop a relationship with the area that informs her final photos, which represent a patient collaboration between Reeve and the light, flora, and natural elements of the landscape.

Sculpture by Joanna Bloom

Exaggerated Stories: Joanna Bloom
January 4-February 2
Adams and Ollman, 209 SW 9th Avenue

Regional artist Joanna Bloom’s first exhibition at Adams and Ollman “elaborates upon her experiments with the ritual forms of the trophy and the bowl.” These chunky, enigmatic ceramic sculptures draw on the right history of self taught art, ceremonial objects, and the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Crowns, bowls, floral shapes, and other loose and lovingly-sculpted forms play with associations of achievement, glory, and recognition while reveling in imperfection and rough-edged personability.

Altar installation view

Altar: Lynn Yarne
January 16-March 1
Open Signal, 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

This vibrant mixed-media installation weaves the real-life stories of “nine elders from Portland’s Chinatown/Japantown” from a collection audio recordings, images, and animations. Yarne explores representation, local history, and community memory in the second- and third-hand stories that she’s pieced together in this altar to local mythology. A very long list of contributors and collaborator helped produce the three video pieces in the show Don’t Forget Who You Are Or Where You Are From, Digital Collage Power Portraits, and Power Shirts.

Visual Magic: An Oregon Invitational
January 19-May 12
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
University of Oregon Campus, 1420 Johnson Lane, Eugene

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in collaboration with the George D. Green Art Institute presents a smorgasbord of beloved Oregon artists. Including recent work by 45 artists who emerged in Oregon during the 1960s and ’70s, the show features paintings, sketchbooks, ceramics, and mixed-media work from an influential generation of Oregon artists. Featured artists include Rob Bibler, Sharon Bronzan, Jon Jay Cruson, Humberto Gonzalez, George Johanson, Connie Kiener, Nancy Lindburg, Lucinda Parker, Isaka Shamsud-Din, Richard Thompson, and Phyllis Yes.

The Bridge by Amy Bernstein

Entre chien et loup: Amy Bernstein
Through January 22
Downtown Stumptown
128 SW 3rd Avenue

The newest recipient of the Stumptown Artist Fellowship, Bernstein is known in Portland for her ebullient, spare and gestural abstract paintings. The title of her exhibition comes from a French expression meaning “between the dog and the wolf.” While it usually refers to the time of day between dusk and night, Bernstein employs it here to describe our current era, which she calls a “divided time of possible selves.” To her it symbolizes “an investigation of an indiscernible time of light and darkness, a time of unimaginable metamorphosis and imminent revolution whose direction is not totally clear.”

 


 

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that an exhibition of work by Hank Willis Thomas is at the Portland Art Museum. In fact, that show will open October 5.

 

 

VizArts Monthly: December rules

This month's Portland visual arts exhibitions jump through the centuries and land firmly in the here and now

The year may be winding down, but the art scene sure isn’t. This month, you can visit the Japanese Garden to catch the only US stop of an international exhibition of Hokusai’s Manga, or see Japanese art from twelve centuries under one roof at the Portland Art Museum. For something more local, there’s the opening of a big new gallery project by Albertina Kerr, The Portland Art and Learning Studios. Also of note, PICA will be hosting the Precipice Fund awards and winter social not far down the street. Heading further north, you can catch a good show at Disjecta and its newer tenant, Carnation Contemporary. If you’re a fan of independent galleries, you can catch the last-ever show at Grapefruits, or enjoy the reliably engaging programming at Ori or Nationale. Whatever you’re in the mood for, brave the cold and the rain and you should be able to find something good out there this month.

Yosa Buson: Thatched Retreat on Cold Mountain – detail

Poetic Imagination in Japanese Art: Selections from the Collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles
Through January 13, 2019
Portland Art Museum,1219 SW Park Avenue
PAM is ending the year with a bang – in addition to the knockout American realism exhibit, you can still catch this gorgeous exhibition spanning 12 centuries of Japanese art. Selected from the collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles, this exhibit highlights one of the strongest themes in this remarkable private collection – art closely related to poetic traditions in Japan.

  • Waka and the Courtly Tradition, featuring work rooted in the poetry and culture of the waka traditions of the ninth through 12th centuries
  • Ink Painting and the Zen Milieu, tracing the adoption and flowering of Zen Buddhism in Japan and the monochrome ink painting style that emerged with it
  • Literati Culture, showcasing the lyrical, romantic landscapes from the 18th and 19th century turn to Neo-Confucian philosophy
  • Modern Innovations, surveying 20th-century innovations of 20th-century artists in Japan as they engaged with traditional techniques in a modern, often highly personal style

Worth noting: the exhibition includes an installation of a traditional Japanese teahouse and newly-commissioned, fully-illustrated catalogue.

Page from Hokusai Manga

Page from Hokusai Manga

Manga Hokusai Manga
December 1, 2018 – January 13, 2019
Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Road

Sure to be a crowd-pleaser, one of the most famous Japanese artists of all time, Katsushika Hokusai, meets modern Japanese manga. Prints and illustrations by the world-famous artist of the iconic print the Great Wave off Kanagawa will be juxtaposed by with work by top contemporary manga artists. A traveling exhibition this will be the only chance to see this show in the Us. Hokusai Manga refers to an 800-page edition of prints, released between 1814 and 1878 in 15 hand-bound volumes, which was the origin of the term that is still in use today to refer to Japanese comics and animation. Materials accompanying the show provide wealth of historical and cultural context, thanks to a curatorial team including many prominent Japanese scholars and art directors.

alienated rhy thm

Alien ate d Rhy thm

Alien ate d Rhy thm
Through December 22
Ori Gallery, 4038 N Mississippi Avenue

If you’re not into the white-cube aesthetic, artists Hiba Ali and Jonathan Chacón have got a show for you. Noticing the prominence of a particular shade of orange in the branding and marketing of a variety of gig-economy services such as Caviar, Ali has literally painted the gallery orange, maintaining that “contemporary color of labor and danger, it is racialized and classed.” Ali engages Amazon’s “customer obsessed” mascot, Peccy in her video Abra to further discuss these issues, and has brought soap bubbles into the discussion of economic bubbles. Chacón’s installation is a text piece using the medium of foam puzzle tiles, adorned with objects and laid out throughout the gallery floor. This engaging, inventive show brings diverse methods and materials to focus on the question “How do queer people of color, repetitively move through environments designed to work against them?”

Holiday Sale - Installation view with chandelier

Holiday Sale – Installation view with chandelier

Exhibit 1 – Holiday Sale
Through January 30
Portland Art and Learning Studio
4852 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

Portland Art and Learning Studio is a new, 10,000 square-foot outsider art gallery established by the Albertina Kerr foundation. Serving nearly 200 artists, the mission of the studio is to “achieve fulfillment by reframing perceptions around intellectual and developmental disabilities through creative practice and community building.” The inaugural exhibition features a mural and large canvases by Studio member Sakari Muhommad, and a “a series of richly textured and experimental weavings” by Native American textile artist Ricky Bearghost. Hanging from a chandelier in the center of the gallery, his weavings include found materials such as sticks and bottle caps, as well as handmade ceramic beads. As many of that artists served by the Studio experience disability and are members of vulnerable populations, gallery director Daniel Rolnik maintains the importance of creating space in the arts for their voices. “Our artists are proud of who they are and we feel fortunate to be able to support their desires to have their works shown to the art world,” says Rolnik.

Object with drawing from Provender

Object with drawing from Provender

Provender: Georgina Lewis and Sarah Rushford
Through December 23
Grapefruits,211 N Kerby Ste D

An exhibition of experimental drawings and process-related prints and photographs that represent current work by Boston artist Georgina Lewis and Portland artist Sarah Rushford. Former co-director of Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn, Rushford has recently returned to drawing after establishing herself as a video artist. Both artists use experimental drawing “as a means of coping with anxiety, fear, and paralysis that they feel emotionally, in their careers, in their art processes, and especially in their civic lives…” If that sounds heavy, you will appreciate the unexpected thread of play and happenstance that carries through the laregly-monochrome installation. Process-based graphite drawings, small sculptures and assemblages, and other materials have been thoughtfully installed in various ways that play well with the rough-hewn charm of Grapefruits.

This, sadly, is the final show by this scrappy gallery known for hosting innovative shows by emerging artists and creating a comprehensive resource guide for artists in Portland. However, former members of Grapefruits are in talks to start a new project in the same space, a small warehouse unit with a loading dock down the same dead-end alley in Portland’s North Industrial district where PNCA recently opened studios in the former Ouroboros glass factory. Look for further developments in 2019.

Netta Fornario by Ty Ennis

Netta Fornario by Ty Ennis

The Marble Fountain: Ty Ennis
Through December 30
Nationale, 3360 SE Division

In this solo show by Nationale favorite Ty Ennis, “melancholic dreams” mix with holiday lore and art historical references in this dreamy show of half-remembered figures, scenes, and moods. “When we are young, the world appears full of magic,” Nationale says in the press release. “We are the center of our universe—we know of little beyond our guided travels. Time equals now.” Ennis’s loose brushwork evokes this less-rationalized, perhaps more-lived way of seeing the world with a steady intensity.

A puzzling light and moving - installation view

A puzzling light and moving – installation view

A puzzling light and moving: Kate Newby
Ongoing
Lumber Room, 419 Northwest 9th Avenue

A meditative, eclectic show that collects found materials, handmade objects, and site-specific constructions to reflect on a process of “prolonged engagement” by New Zealand and New York-based artist Kate Newby’s prolonged engagement. Through site visits, conversations, and exploring our city, Newby has been making and thinking about items in this show for the last two years, and it is likely to continue for some time. Walking among the objects hanging in groups from the ceiling and stacked in corners of Lumber Room’s Pearl-district loft hopefully can spark that that sense of quiet, ongoing thoughtfulness within the viewer.

Between Here and The Machine

Between Here and The Machine

Carnation Contemporary
November 30-December 23
Carnation, 8371 N Interstate Avenue
In this show, three prominent West Coast artists utilize a variety of analog and digital forms to interrogate what Carnation calls “the ubiquity of mediated images.” Bean Gilsdorf, Rhonda Holberton, and Anthony Discenza negotiate different arenas in which we create, share, and consume images in the age of Instagram and increasingly powerful smartphones. Each artist uses a variety of tools to draw attention to and disrupt the many layers of processing and interpretation that modern images go through. Archival news photos, low-fi 3D modeling, hand-sewn soft sculptures, and image composites are all fair game in this show.

One of Portland’s newer independent galleries, Carnation Contemporary occupies space in the  Disjecta building.

Still from "Dislocation Blues"

Still from “Dislocation Blues”

I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins
December 2 – 30
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Avenue

This exhibition is presented as a dialogue between the artistic practices of Carolina Caycedo and Sky Hopinka. Caycedo’s video work pays homage to Langston Hughe’s poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers and emphasizes the political and cultural roots of ecological destruction and the populations that suffer its effects most in our current society. Hopinka’s work addresses “considerations around homeland, the preservation of language, and the undefinable spaces between the known, the sought after, and the unknowable.” His film, Dislocation Blues, refutes the broader narratives of the protests at Standing Rock with individual stories from members of the resistance. Drawings, sculptures, and found objects as well as more video work from both artists further probe the conversation around these pressing issues.