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News & Notes: Party in the Pearl

The 27th annual Art in the Pearl festival highlights Portland's Labor Day Weekend. Plus, art around Oregon in Astoria, Eugene, and The Dalles.

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Mary Sly, “Daylily Silk Kimono 1,” hand-painted and constructed, in this year’s Art in the Pearl arts and crafts festival.

It’s almost Labor Day Weekend, which means it’s almost time for a party in the Pearl District — a 27th annual party, at that. Art in the Pearl, which began as a feisty end-of-summer upstart, has been around long enough now to be a genuine Portland tradition, this year drawing more than 100 artists to booths packing the North Park Blocks between Northwest Davis and Flanders streets and Northwest Eighth and Park avenues.

Art in the Pearl calls itself a “fine arts & crafts festival,” and that’s part of its charm: It cheerfully crosses borders, celebrating visual creativity in all sorts of forms. Mixed in among the fine-art demonstrations over the festival’s three days will be showcases featuring artists working in ceramics, wood, and metal. There’ll also be jewelry, fiber art, digital art, glass art, and photography along with painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawings, and mixed-media works. And as befits any good street fair, there’ll also be food, entertainment, and hands-on arts activities for kids and adults.

Left: Amy Flynn, “After Us: The Conservators,” found-object robots. Right: Lisa Telling Kattenbraker, “Ancestor Garden,” batik on cotton fabric; silver thread.

As we noted a year ago, “As always, attendance at Art in the Pearl is free. (What you spend or don’t on art to take home is entirely up to you.)” Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 2 and 3; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 4.

Art around Oregon

Plenty of art is happening outside of Portland, too: Check Jason N. Le’s September VizArts Monthly column, which in addition to several Portland exhibits and events includes shows in Ashland, Beaverton, Newport, Roseburg, Salem, and Corvallis.

Here are a few others to keep an eye out for:

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Works by M.J. Anderson at Imogen Gallery in Astoria.

M.J. ANDERSON IN ASTORIA: It’s almost closing time for “All Things Being Equal,” the exhibition at Imogen Gallery in Astoria of marble sculptures by the notable Oregon artist M.J. Anderson. Anderson travels to Italy several times a year to select marble from the quarries of Carrara, where she maintains a studio, then has it shipped to her studio in Nehalem on the Oregon coast.

Her work concentrates on the female form, and on the strength of women as survivors of adversity. As a statement from the gallery puts it, “For Anderson the magic happens within the stone itself; revealing what some might refer to as flaws, she leaves the revealed rawness to become an integral part of the finished form. … The imperfections of surface become a living record of strife and struggle, becoming part of the overall beauty of form.”

“All Things Being Equal” continues at Imogen through Monday, Labor Day: See it while you can.

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Left: Ron Conrad, “Open-minded,” metal, glass, wood, resin, 24 x 24 x 14 inches. Right: Kitty Kingston, “Firestorm,” 2016, mixed media/print, 32 x 40 inches framed.

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“EUGENE BIENNIAL AWARD WINNERS — ONE YEAR LATER.” It’s as easy as 1-2-3: First you choose ’em. Then you give ’em a year to do new work. Then you show the work. Well, maybe it’s more complicated than that. But that’s the gist of this show at Karin Clarke Gallery in Eugene, which gathers work by last year’s winners of the Eugene Biennial Awards — Ron Conrad, Doug Davidovich, Kitty Kingston, Tom Miller, Danuta Muszynska, Marjorie Taylor, Jud Turner, Libby Wadsworth, Michael Whitenack — and creates a group show. “One Year Later” opened Wednesday, Aug. 30, and contiues through Oct. 14.

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“LORI MASON: A LIFE IN PATTERN.” Out the Columbia Gorge, things keep moving forward at The Dalles Art Center, whose continuing turnaround we wrote about in May. Opening Sept. 7 is “A Life in Pattern,” a solo show by Portland artist Lori Mason, whose fiber-arts degree is from the late, lamented Oregon College of Art and Craft. Later she studied at The Fashion Institute of Technology and designed printed and woven fabrics for Nike Apparel and others. In the late 1990s she began making one-of-a-kind contemporary quilts, some of which have been shown at the Renwick Gallery’s ArtsMart in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Museum Craft Show, and elsewhere.

Mason’s show, curated by the art center’s director, Sally Johnson, is made up of memorial quilts she’s made for families, carrying on an American tradition that goes back at least to the 19th century. The quilts are specific to the person honored, and several will be seen in this exhibit for the first time by anyone other than family members.

“I made one of my earliest quilts from silk scarves that had belonged to my wonderful Grandmother,” Mason said in an artist’s statement. “I made it to honor her passing but more than that, to honor her remarkable life. I was struck by the powerful intersection of grief, clothing, and memory and felt compelled to develop my ability in the medium. I wanted to help others honor someone they loved.”

Her grandmother’s quilt will be among those on display in “A Life in Pattern,” which will continue through Sept. 30. Mason will give an artist’s talk at The Dalles Arts Center on Sept. 14, and you can see and hear her talk about her work in the Vimeo above by Dan Sadowsky of Storymind Productions.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Bob Hicks has been covering arts and culture in the Pacific Northwest since 1978, including 25 years at The Oregonian. Among his art books are Kazuyuki Ohtsu; James B. Thompson: Fragments in Time; and Beth Van Hoesen: Fauna and Flora. His work has appeared in American Theatre, Biblio, Professional Artist, Northwest Passage, Art Scatter, and elsewhere. He also writes the daily art-history series "Today I Am."

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