Chamber Music Northwest Orion Quartet The Old Church Portland Oregon

(Mis)remembering: VizArts Monthly

June's art offerings explore the phenomena of memory in a variety of media including paint, performance, and piñata paper.


This month’s round-up of exhibitions circles the precarity of memory through retrospectives and homages, as if holding on to what we can remember. It’s been said that as we get older, the days seem shorter and the impact of time lessens, perhaps because our experience of time expands and it feels less new. Sometimes it feels as though things blur together– what was I doing yesterday? What did I eat for lunch last week? Who was I talking to just a few hours ago, and about what?

Our memories seem to collapse in on one another, creating overlaps and gaps in clarity. Sometimes the act of remembering itself is intimidating and slippery; Derek Franklin and Danielle Ross explore this phenomenon through painting and movement. For Justin Favela, remembering can be celebratory and honors the work of those that came before us. The title of Todd Norsten’s show at Adams and Ollman (closing this month) perhaps encapsulates this instability best: it feels like experiencing An Imprecise Recollection of an Inaccurate Memory.

Work by Todd Norsten. Image courtesy Adams and Ollman.

An Imprecise Recollection of an Inaccurate Memory
Todd Norsten
May 20 – June 17
Adams and Ollman
418 NW 8th Ave., Portland (Wed – Sat 11am – 4pm)

Minneapolis-based artist Todd Norsten presents a collection of new paintings that toe the line between witty, satirical word-play broadsides and a nihilistic critique of everyday graphic design. While minimal in appearance, Norsten’s paintings are complex meditations on the unending presence of visual information in our lives and the existential dread it can bring. While you’re there, make sure to check out We Recording Tonight, an exhibition of Hasani Sahlehe’s recent atmospheric color-stain paintings that draw inspiration from the freeform nature of improvisational music.

Work by Justin Favela. Image courtesy High Desert Museum.

Vistas del Cielo
Justin Favela
May 27 – November 26
High Desert Museum
59800 US-97, Bend (Daily, 9am – 5pm)

High Desert Museum welcomes a large-scale installation by multidisciplinary artist Justin Favela, who considers the history of vaqueros and braceros–Mexican and Latinx cowboys and farmworkers–through lenses of place, intersectional identity, and authenticity. Favela’s use of brightly colored piñata paper as his primary material gives the work an air of celebration and playfulness, offering joy and dimension to his explorations. As a whole, the installation pays homage to Favela’s grandfather, who was a vaquero himself, and the deep history of Latinx experiences in the High Desert region.

Work by Derek Franklin. Image courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery.

Grief is on my calendar every day at 2:00 p.m.
Derek Franklin
June 8 – July 29
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 NW 9th, Portland (Tues – Sat 10:30am – 5:30pm)

In his first solo exhibition since 2018, Derek Franklin contemplates performativity and performance in many aspects: the rituals of everyday life, the action of painting, and the staging of art objects in an exhibition. It’s as if nothing is arbitrary in the age-old dialogue of subject/object relationships; everything has a role, be it prop or player, in the space it inhabits. Franklin focuses on this precarious (and, honestly, often harrowing) structure of perception and its both visible and invisible tendrils through a series of layered paintings and concrete sculpture.

Work by Shelley Turley. Image courtesy Helen’s Costume.

Touch ‘em with Love
Shelley Turley
May 27 – July 1
Helen’s Costume
7706 SE Yamhill Street, Portland (Sat – Sun 1pm – 4pm, or by appointment)

Shelley Turley’s new exhibition of paintings, Touch ‘em with Love, revisits the ideas and themes surrounding the single-world title of Helen’s Costume’s first show in 2020, Touching. In an interplay between scenes of domesticity and contemplations of our inner lives, Turley’s paintings ponder the interconnectedness of breath and touch, public and private, and the thin line between life and living. In both style and concept, the work evokes the Impressionists (particularly Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt) and their attempts to grasp at the modern world that was constantly shifting and changing.

Photo by Aaron Johanson. Image courtesy Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

Music for Ghosts
Tom Prochaska
June 6 – August 26
Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery, Hallie Ford Museum of Art
700 State St., Salem (Tues – Sat 12pm – 5pm)

Over 50 years of work by printmaker, painter, and draftsman Tom Prochaska is surveyed in an exhibition of 70 paintings, drawings, prints, and glass works. Curated by Jonathan Bucci, Music for Ghosts takes a retrospective look at the development and maturation of Prochaska’s career that skillfully shifted between many mediums and processes over time. Accompanying the exhibition will be a panel discussion moderated by Bucci on Saturday June 3 at 5pm, two gallery talks on June 13 and August 8 at 12:30pm, and a forthcoming publication titled Tom Prochaska: Music for Ghosts at the end of the summer.

Work by Amber Webb. Image courtesy Native Arts & Cultures Foundation.

Protection: Adaptation & Resistance
May 19 – August 4
The Center for Native Arts & Cultures Foundation
800 SE 10th Avenue, Portland (Fri 4pm – 7pm)

The Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF) welcomes the nationally touring exhibition, Protection: Adaptation & Resistance, featuring Indigenous Alaska artists including Dimi Macheras and Casey Silver, Lily Hope, Amber Webb, Katelyn Stiles, and Holly Nordlum. Protection explores various ways Indigenous Alaskan communities come together with strength and resilience, oriented towards the survival and thriving of future generations. The exhibition is organized around themes of Land and Culture Protectors, Activists for Justice, and Sovereignty and Resilient Futures in order to explore collaboration and allyship as tools of resistance.

Portland Center Stage presents Hair at the Armory Portland Oregon
Photo by Sarah Marguier. Image courtesy Danielle Ross.

Danielle Ross
June 1-3, 8pm nightly; June 3, 4pm
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
15 NE Hancock, Portland

Danielle Ross collaborates with Muffie Delgado Connelly, Allie Hankins, Hannah Krafcik, and Emma Lutz-Higgins to present Lineage, Ross’s latest performance. Thinking through the loss of elders and fraught struggles to maintain connections caused by the recent pandemic, the Portland-based choreographer contemplates various lineages, memories, and affective structures that inform our moving bodies through movement strategies of looping, transmission, and remembrance.

Photos by Kip Fulbeck. Image courtesy Japanese American Museum of Oregon. 15 years of the Hapa Project
Kip Fulbeck
May 21 – August 13
Japanese American Museum of Oregon
411 NW Flanders St., Portland (Thurs – Sun 11am – 3pm)

Kip Fulbeck initially launched The Hapa Project in 2001, photographing and interviewing over 1,200 volunteers who identify as Hapa–the Hawaiian term for someone of multiracial ancestry, often used for those of part Asian or Pacific Island heritage. 15 years after its first museum exhibition in 2006, revisited some of its original participants, resulting in a new exhibition that pairs contemporary portraits and newly written statements alongside their previous counterparts. The comparison shows not just physical changes over 15 years, but new reflections as time and history change the participants’ perspectives and outlooks on the world. 

Work by Cary Weigand. Image courtesy Brumfield Gallery.

Cary Weigand
June 3 – July 30
Brumfield Gallery
1033 Marine Dr., Astoria (Tues – Sat 11am – 5pm, Sun 11am – 4pm)

In an exhibition of new ceramic works, Hawaiian-born artist Cary Weigand merges symbolism, mythology, tradition, and memory to reflect her childhood upbringing on the religiously-diverse island. Weigand’s somewhat haunting figures rendered delicately with muted colors bring together references to Indigenous spirituality, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Catholicism in a dream-like space of coexistence.

Work by Bue Kee. Image courtesy Portland Chinatown Museum.

Bue Kee: An Artist’s Life and Legacy
May 19 – October 8
Portland Chinatown Museum
127 NW Third Ave., Portland (Fri – Sun 11am – 3pm)

Portland Chinatown Museum presents a survey of watercolors, paintings, lithographs, drawings, and ceramics by Bue Kee (1893-1985), developed in partnership with Kee’s family, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Friends of Timberline, Portland Art Museum, and private collectors. The Portland-born Chinese American was the first recipient of the Carey Prize in 1929 and then an artist with the Federal Art Project under the Works Progress Administration, creating works for Timberline Lodge and Tongue Point Naval Station. The exhibition explores the artist’s oeuvre, revealing his unique perspective of Oregon, memories of the state’s Chinese American history, and intimate view of Portland Chinatown in the first half of the twentieth century.

Work by Hannah Bakken Morris. Image courtesy Schneider Museum of Art.

Art Beyond
May 20 – June 15
Schneider Museum of Art; Various locations
555 Indiana St., Ashland (Tues – Sat 10am – 4pm)

Art Beyond, a biennial outdoor art exhibition hosted by the Schneider Museum of Art, returns this year with a series of site-specific sculptures and installations by 14 different artists. Stretching well beyond the walls of the museum, the exhibition activates multiple locations in and around Ashland from satellite galleries and local businesses to fenceposts on the side of the road, ultimately encouraging viewers (and its participating artists!) to critically consider the intertwining connections between art, place, and society. Accompanying the exhibition will be a series of workshops, performances, and events throughout the month.

Jason N. Le (they/them) is a Vietnamese American writer, thinker, and curator based in Portland, Oregon. Their academic background lies in art history and critical theory, focused on postwar American art, identity politics, performance theory, and the genealogy of arts criticism. They hold degrees from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland State University, and their other critical arts writing can be found at Art & About PDX.

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