Fuller Rosen Gallery

VizArts Monthly: Personal reflections, collective inquiries, and space rocks

May's art offerings are bountiful with everything from tambourine collages to altered communist propaganda to meditations on line.

Dogwoods and breezy days have set the stage for a month of sunlit art-viewing, with precautions continuing in place—be sure to check the visiting guidelines for each gallery! This month’s round-up centers exhibitions that fuse the personal and the collective. Some artists are looking inward, reflecting on their past year’s experiences, while others are focusing on wider topics of colonialism and racism toward AAPI communities. In true PNW fashion, references to the natural world are woven throughout this month’s art offerings, too. Standouts in this group include petrographic photography at the High Desert Museum and Emily Counts’ botanical sculptures at Nationale. Many galleries are offering viewings by appointment, and there are still plenty of ways to engage without leaving the house. Keep up with the digital programming offered by Eugene-based Tropical Contemporary’s 2021 Transformation Residents on their Instagram page, or tune in for performance and visual artist Baseera Khan’s Zoom talk as part of Converge 45 programming.

Work by Emily Counts, image courtesy Nationale

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VizArts Monthly: Spring reflections on social upheaval

From new backyard spaces to established galleries, March's Vizarts Monthly offerings tackle the racial reckoning and Covid-induced isolation of the past year

It may feel difficult to believe, but the spring equinox is upon us, and our art scene is in bloom with plenty of new exhibitions to see in the sunshine (or the rain. Let’s be honest, it is Oregon). Several exhibitions this month expand upon the social, environmental, and racial justice movements of 2020, centering topics like police violence against Black men and art collaborations with those experiencing houselessness and poverty. Many galleries are still accepting viewers by appointment only, so plan ahead and make a day of it!

Figure sitting on a bed in a room with a window and scattered children's toys
Work by Jon Henry, image courtesy Blue Sky Gallery

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Fertile, Grounded, Virtual & Here

ArtsWatch Weekly: Portland's festival of new performance goes online; finding the humans in the frame; fresh flicks; new theater & more

RIGHT ABOUT NOW EVERY YEAR FOR THE PAST ELEVEN YEARS before 2021 the hustle and bustle’s hit performance spaces large and small in Portland and environs – an energetic outpouring of new work at just about every stage of development, from first reading to workshop to staged reading to full-blown premiere production. In an ordinary year the Fertile Ground festival of new works presents more than 100 pieces of theater, dance, film, and other performance, by Oregon artists, from first-timers and unknowns to projects from the biggest performance companies in town. It’s been a creative free-for-all, predictable in its unpredictability, a sprawling mega-event in which you never know what you’re going to see next, and that’s a very big part of the fun.
 

Scene from Myhraliza Aaza’s “Oh Myh Dating Hell,” debuting at 9 p.m. opening night – Thursday, Jan. 28 – in this year’s online Fertile Ground festival of new works.

This year, of course, is far from ordinary – and so, Fertile Ground 2021 is far from ordinary, too. You might say it’s breaking new ground, which might be as fertile as the old, but in very different ways. Fertile Ground opens today – Thursday, Feb. 28 – and continues through Feb. 7 entirely online, with a lineup that’s both curated and vastly reduced: thirty-six projects, all created to be streamed online, making their debuts over the run of the festival and available to view on the festival’s Facebook and YouTube channels through Feb. 15. Streaming the shows is free, although the festival is happy to accept donations.

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Bodily limitations recast: Panteha Abareshi and Kayley Berezney

The artists' sculptures, paintings, and video works, now on view at Fuller Rosen Gallery, challenge the ableism of the art world

I haven’t left home in a bit, and when I do, it’s like the moment after seeing a matinee: I emerge from the dark theater of my apartment, walk outside, and everything becomes big and bright. Fuller Rosen Gallery is no different. Entering the space, I slather on a layer of their provided hand sanitizer and listen to the mechanical whirring sounds emitting from a video along the gallery’s right wall. To the left, bright lights gleam down onto textural forms. Already I know this exhibition harbors no fear of the senses—mine are fully engaged.

Works by Panteha Abareshi and Kayley Berezney. Image courtesy Fuller Rosen Gallery.

Panteha Abareshi and Kayley Berezney, the two artists featured in NO SANCTUARY at Fuller Rosen, confront the prevalence of ableism in the art world. In both artists’ works, the body becomes more dynamic and versatile—not despite the limitations of disability, but because of them. Neither artist shies away from the fear, isolation, and rapid changes they face as artists with health challenges. Abareshi has Sickle Cell Beta Zero Thalassemia, a genetic condition causing debilitating chronic pain. Her videos feel urgent in their response to this lived experience; they’re severe and coarse, but that atmosphere provides penetrating insight into the dynamics of power and powerlessness within bodily perception. Berezney’s experience with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is unveiled in her sculptures, which feel like stand-ins for bodies in recovery. They’re enticing, but also feel heavy, fatigued. 

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Fertility figures get an update

Grace Stott's ceramic sculptures offer whimsical takes on fruit, baked goods, and even Cheetos

By ASHLEY GIFFORD

The slate grey of the concrete floor offsets the deep scarlet red of three anthropomorphized strawberry figures, voluptuous and feminine, covered in electric yellow, lilac, and coral strawberry seeds. The figures coalesce into a pyramid shape. This ceramic wall sculpture, Strawbaes, faces the gallery entrance of Fuller Rosen when you walk into Grace Stott’s show, “Ambrosia.” 

Grace Stott, Strawbaes (2020). Ceramic relief, 18x15x2 inches. Image courtesy of Fuller Rosen Gallery.

The show’s title alludes to the delicacy that was the food of the Greek Gods, rumored to be life-giving and restorative for those that lived on Mount Olympus. North Carolina-based artist Grace Stott’s sensuous, fruit-focused figures bridge the gap between symbolic and literal. The body of work featured in “Ambrosia” was inspired by Stott’s personal struggle with infertility, as E.M. Fuller, the gallery’s co-founder, shares in both the gallery’s press release and in conversation. 

Stott’s year-long rumination led her to become increasingly interested in fruit imagery, and the longstanding correlation and symbolism it shares as representations of fertility. The personal and archetypal aspects of muliebrity in this work are uniquely expressive and auspicious.

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VizArts Monthly: Connection amid isolation

November's art offerings explore connections with the natural world, both the familiar and further flung

Julia Cameron, author of the quintessential creative recovery book The Artist’s Way, prescribed a steady diet of “artist dates”—time set aside to nurture one’s inner creative by “filling the well” with new stimuli for inspiration. This month, art institutions in Portland and beyond offer up virtual and in-person opportunities to fill your visual well. As skies go gray and temperatures cool, cozy up at home with Malia Jensen’s Worth Your Salt, or venture out for Edward Jeffrey Kriksciun’s OUT OF BODY at Lowell. Artists featured in this month’s exhibitions find human connection amid isolation, and the natural world while still indoors.

Work by Angela Saenz & Laura Camila Medina, image courtesy Carnation Contemporary

ACROSS TODAY’S TOMORROW: IPRC 2020 BI/POC Artist & Writer Residency
October 24 – November 22, 2020
Carnation Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave (open Fri-Sun 12-5 or by appointment)

This group exhibition showcases works by seven Independent Publishing Resource Center 2020 BI/POC Artist & Writer Residency participants. Salimatu Amabebe reimagines the convenience store as a space of Black celebration through installation, while Angela Saenz and Laura Camila Medina use stop-motion animation and wheat-pasted screenprints to contemplate the relationship between body and environment. Common considerations across the works include patterns of erasure, archived histories, personal narratives, and potential futures.

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The hot days, long nights, and spontaneous trips to the river are here. It’s summer in Portland, no doubt about it. As is tradition, everything happens all at once and there’s no time for anything. First Thursday falls on the first of the month, so why not start your busy summer schedule with an art crawl? If you can’t make it out then, there are a few good shows opening later this month, particularly Stephanie Simek at Melanie Flood.

image courtesy of Private Places

Eclipse: Kelly Akashi and Cayetano Ferrer

July 26 2019 – September 14 2019
Private Places
2400 NE Holladay Street Portland OR 97232

Private Places, a small gallery in the Broadway district known for innovative shows featuring early and mid-career contemporary artists from beyond Portland as well as local talent, describes this show with a sort of poetic materials list:

Terrestrial epiphyte sprouts, screen negative. Steel roots, planular log, silicate stems.
Interlocked breath and pressure—molten glass conformed to a heat-shocked mold of sand and lime. Fissures recomposed under weight of a reclining bell bubble.
Folded furniture and mimetic prosthetic. Compartments and platforms for pattern-impressed vessels, located and rotated, inset and offset.
Orbiting lights, bell body lens, refracting an envelope of rays.

All the pieces in the show are collaborations between artists Kelly Akashi and Cayetano Ferrer. An undisclosed, offsite location houses the second, appointment-only half of the show. Eclipse looks to be both intriguing and cerebral.

Brandi Kruse, File Bluff White

Flat Out: Brandi Kruse

July 20 – August 10
Book launch + poetry reading August 10, 2019 from 6 – 8 PM
Fuller / Rosen Gallery
2505 SE 11th Ave Suite 106

Brandi Kruse’s exhibition is preoccupied with imagined spaces, physical absence, and a unique observation: very few things are actually, truly, flat. Her sculpture and poetry are filled with “compressed and expanded” light, memory, and reflections. Kruse says:

I flatten things every day: my face in mirror images, my body in the shadows, the world through photographs. I have flattened ideas by recording them on pages, in words made of letters, made of lines, shapes without form; seemingly non-dimensional. But they are not formless and they are not without dimension.

The exhibition includes the launch of Kruse’s book of poetry from the show, flat out. You can pre-order the book from Fuller/Rosen now or get a copy at the launch where Kruse will be reading on August 10 from 6 – 8 pm.

Ryan Whelan, Life the Sky soft pastel, acrylic, and casein, 20 x 24 inches

Summer Collective Group Exhibit

July 27 – August 24
Stephanie Chefas Projects
305 SE 3rd Avenue, Suite 202

This group exhibition features new work from nine contemporary artists: Ben Willis, Carissa Potter, Jeffrey Cheung, Laura Berger, Leslie Vigeant, Mako Miyamoto, Maxwell McMaster, Mia Farrington, and Ryan Whelan. Vibrant, sometimes breezy, sometimes funny pieces that overlap with the sensibilities of the design world fill this show. Mako Miyamoto’s photos of a dirtbiker wearing a wookie mask play well with Maxwell McMaster’s LA-sunset-pallette acrylic paintings on found record covers. Meanwhile, Laura Berger’s cut-out style figures and Carissa Potter’s sumi ink paintings accompany the humbly small but beautiful paintings by Ryan Whelan and minimalist abstractions by Mia Farrington.

Tangle by Myra Clark

My Word is Hard to Hear: Mami Takahashi | Pilgrimage: Myra Clark 

July 30 – August 31
Blackfish Gallery
420 NW 9th Ave

Takahashi describes her current project as part of an “ongoing investigation of veiled communication within public space.” “Listening circles” on the floor delinate spaces where listeners to can hear a voice reading poetry in hushed tones that might otherwise be lost among the hubub of a busy gallery. Two different voices read the same poem in different listening circles inviting careful attention from the listeners.

New Blackfish Member Myra Clark will be exhibiting work at the same time. Clark draws on Byzantine icon painting methods, contemporary styles, and found objects to engage with the stories her mother has recounted as she develops dementia. This intimate show reflects on family, spirituality, and aging through its eclectic materials and methods.

One Afternoon in Your Next Reincarnation

Aug 1 6:00 PM – Aug 16 4:00 PM
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
511 NW Broadway

PNCA’s low-residency MFA program is something of a hybrid between a residency program and a traditional MFA. Combining distance-learning and a flexible schedule with intensive residency periods, the program is a different take on the often-costly Master in Fine Arts programs (MFAs) that drive the art world today. Portland artist and curator Srijon Chowdhury has curated the thesis work of the 2019 class for this show. It should be an interesting chance to see work made with Portland in mind while carrying the imprint of sensibilities from beyond the city.

Anne W. Brigman, Infinitude, (1915) platinum print

Toughened to Wind and Sun: Women Photographing the Landscape

Aug 10, 2019 – Mar 8, 2020
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue

Drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition celebrates an exceptional and underrepresented part of photographic history: nature photography by early-twentieth century women. Pictoralist Anne Brigman regularly hiked into the Sierra Nevada mountain range with her medium-format camera to produce some of the most haunting images of the show. “I slowly found my power with the camera among the junipers and tamarack pines of the high, storm-swept altitudes,” said Brigman.
PAM notes that “although women were active in photography from the medium’s earliest period, the terrain beyond the home was the purview of male photographers. Images of hard-to-reach scenic wonders made by men continue to influence our understanding of landscape photography and punctuate its history.” The photographs in this show reveal an important, broader history of outdoor photography. Sara Cwynar, Wendy Red Star, and Penelope Umbrico’s contributions to the exhibition show how women continue to push the boundaries in this field.

Artist Jessi Queen

La Strada dei Pastelli

Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11 from 11:00 am-6:00 pm
Cedar Hills Crossing Shopping Complex
3205 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97005

This is the inaugural event in what the 2D4D arts organization plans to be an annual outdoor chalk drawing festival. With a mission statement that specifically calls out the importance of “bridging interaction between the arts and non-arts communities.” The August event, La Strada Dei Pastelli or “Street of Pastels” is named in honor of the 500-year old tradition of Italian street painting and features fifteen professional chalk artists drawn from around the country who were invited to complete large-scale drawings on the street in 48 hours or less. Free and open to the public, the festival also features musical performances including Portland Opera A La Cart. This is sure to be a family-friendly, fun outdoor event full of art and music.

Stephanie Simek

Stephanie Simek, Installation Detail

August 17- September 14
Melanie Flood Projects
420 SW Washington St., #301

Portland- and Seattle-based artist Stephanie Simek brings her multidisciplinary, sculptural, and scientific experimentation to Melanie Flood Projects later this month. Magnetic phenomena, holograms, lasers, growing cystals, and handmade sound devices are just as likely to appear in Simeks’s shows as are intricate sculptures or succulent plants. Astute gallery-goers might recall her delightful urn that held a crystallized key that could only be viewed in hologram via a convex mirror at the recent PDX Contemporary group show, Speculative Frictions. Don’t miss this chance to see more new work by this talented Northwest artist.