James Lavadour

VizArts Monthly: Big shows on tap

Around the galleries this month: James Lavadour, Judy Cooke, Chris Rauschenberg, Terry Toedtemeier

October is here, and the arts calendar isn’t slowing down. The Portland Biennial has announced its curatorial team, featuring Portlanders Yaelle S. Amir and Ashley Stull Meyers, and Seattlite Elisheba Johnson. Meanwhile, Nationale has added Francesca Capone to its stable of artists, and the Stumptown artist fellowship (curated by Nationale director May Barruel) has opened a new show (see below).

If you’re thinking that fall is a great time to review what the Portland art scene has to offer, you’re in luck – the latest edition of the Grapefruit Juice Artist Resource guide has just been released. This un-editorialized compendium of local venues, organizations and other resources for and by artists is available for free at many locations, including Passages Bookshop, Nationale, Ampersand, and Monograph Bookwerks. A noteworthy addition to the shows listed below is a group show opening at PCC’s North View Gallery. The Work Continues features six Portland artists including OCAC Dean Jiseon Lee and the prolific and talented Samantha Wall.

As Far as I Can See From Here, James Lavadour

James Lavadour: All That I Can See From Here

October 3 – 27
PDX Contemporary, 925 NW Flanders

New paintings by Northwest favorite James Lavadour. Lavadour’s trademark style – wild, rich, and full of precise accidents – plays with material and representation to capture some of the mystery and majesty of landscape while never denying their paintfulness. If you’ve somehow never seen Lavadour’s work, this is a good chance to see some fresh samples. If you’re familiar, you’re sure not to be disappointed.

Waterpark Second Thoughts, Ralph Pugay

Stuck on the Ride

October 6 – November 30
Open Signal, 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

If you’ve ever felt that the subject matter of exhibitions in Portland is hard to figure out or repetitive or vague, then you can’t miss this show full of waterparks and rollercoasters. Ryan Woodring, an interdisciplinary artist and former special effects instructor at Open Signal, has curated an exhibition that examines amusement parks place in American culture and media. Artists Ralph Pugay, Erin Mallea, Kristin Lucas, Claire Hentschker and Yaloo explore the subject matter through projection art, virtual reality, video and painting.

Painting by Anya Roberts Toney, photo by Mario Gallucci

Anya Roberts Toney

Through November 26
Downtown Stumptown, 128 SW 3rd

The show marking Anya Roberts-Toney’s awarding of the Stumptown Artists Fellowship features an arresting and beautiful set of détourned still-lives. Roberts-Toney “play[s] with this idea of flowers representing the female body, and by incorporating moments of rupture and fantasy, I seek to consider a counter-femininity that is powerful, self-possessed, and disregarding of the viewer’s satisfaction.” These impressive, self-possessed paintings command the space of the flagship Stumptown location downtown. If you go to see them, pick a quieter time for the cafe so you can spend some time with them.

Indian Cove, Terry Toedtemeier

Terry Toedtemeier: Sun, Shadows, Stone

October 20, 2018 – February 17, 2019
Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma WA 98402

Self-taught photographer and curator Terry Toedtemeier (1947–2008) is best known for his monumental, haunting photographs of Oregon’s iconic natural features – the coast, the Columbia River Gorge, and the high desert. Beginning with snapshots from a moving car, he went on to become an accomplished photographic craftsman, influenced by the photographic traditions of the American West and the evidence of its geographic history. TAM remarks that “Toedtemeier often sought to capture the most dramatic images of places that have been shaped first by catastrophic geological events, then by the imprint of humans.” Part of the Northwest Perspective Series, this exhibition runs through mid-February, with a members celebration event on Saturday, November 17.

Hoi An – by Chris Rauschenberg

Chris Rauschenberg Photographs

October 4 – 28
Nine Gallery, 122 NW 8th St

A new set of photographs taken in Vietnam by Rauschenberg will be on display in the Nine Gallery space in the back of Blue Sky Gallery.

 

Painting by Judy Cooke

Judy Cooke: Conversation: Aluminum, Oil, Rubber

Through October 27
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 417 NW 9th Ave

Subject of a recent Artswatch interview, Judy Cooke has become one of the Pacific Northwest’s most established abstract painters. For the past 30 years, she has explored abstraction and the structures of painting, working with formalism, color fields, and specific materiality.“ Her new series ”Conversation: Aluminum, Oil, Rubber” verges on the sculptural, embracing rubber and aluminum as both painting supports and materials.

Also opening at Elizabeth Leach this month are Portland-based artist Mark Palmen’s small, intricate embroideries, “influenced by his diverse interests ranging from art history and fashion to metaphysical investigations surrounding the cosmos.” An exhibit of Malia Jensen’s sculptural works, which opened last month, will also be on display, including a re-firing of a sculpture started decades ago.

 

Stills from Post Analog

Post Analog: Paloma Kop and Sara Goodman

Through October 21
Grapefruits Art Space, 2119 N Kerby, Suite D

New media artist, poet, curator, VJ, and teacher Sara Goodman and electronic media artist Paloma Kop have packed a remarkable amount of analog video synthesis and glitch art into the small warehouse Grapefruits gallery. This is a show for anyone who gets excited when they see a Sony Trinitron in a gallery. These pieces of original video synthesis come out of a community of artists working with technology that was once considered cutting edge but now refers to a very specific – and fading – moment in technological history. Citing “an increased resurgence of analog tools to create and distribute newly created video content,” this movement is drawn to pre-digital means of making video precisely because of its imperfections and technical demands on the creator. Bonus: some work was created using a device called a Wobbulator.

Venus, Mars – Paul X. Rutz

Paul X. Rutz and Amanda Hampton Wray: Into A Study

October 27
Ford Gallery, 2505 SE 11th Ave

The opening for this show is a one-night event that the artists refer to as “both an art installation and a carefully planned neuroscience study.” An ambitious and unusual project for the Ford Gallery, which has curated the atrium of the Ford Building since Gallery Homeland left, this exhibition is a collaboration between painter Paul X. Rutz and neuroscientist Amanda Hampton Wray. Sparked by Rutz’s questions about how people view new paintings, they have created an interactive exhibit in which viewers neural activity will be measured by Wray while they view Rutz’s paintings, which interrogate the history of the “female” and “male” symbols seen everywhere from bathroom doors to tarot cards.

Picturing Oregon: wide open space

In the collections: The Portland Art Museum's survey of Oregon landscapes gives a history of the shifting territory as artists imagine it

On a recent Saturday afternoon I dropped in to the Portland Art Museum and immediately encountered a crowd at the entrance, lined up waiting to get in. That’s odd, I thought. Nice, but odd. Then I heard a bit of chatter in line, and remembered: the cars. It was prime visiting time for the museum’s megashow of slick beauties, The Shape of Speed: Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1930-1942, and the traffic was still lively and thick.

It wasn’t quite like working your way around a pileup of tourists snapping selfies with the Mona Lisa, but once I threaded through the Bugattis and Talbot-Lago Teardrop Coupes and Chrysler Imperial Airflows things thinned out a bit to a nice steady pace. It was the first weekend day after the August heat wave had broken and the forest-fire smoke had begun to lift, and people were beginning to get out and about again: It felt as if a good chunk of the car crowd had peeled off to see what else there was to discover in the museum.

There are at least a couple of ways to go about visiting a museum. If it’s a new museum to you, sometimes the best thing to do is just to wander around and see what you find: Let serendipity be your guide, at least at the start. If it’s a museum you’re familiar with, your visits are probably more targeted: to see a special exhibition, for instance. At the Portland Art Museum right now, that might mean taking a last whack at the splendid show of early Richard Diebenkorns, arranged by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento and hanging around Portland through Sept. 23. (The door-busting Shape of Speed ended Sunday.)

Philip Guston, Untitled, 1969, acrylic on panel, bequest of Musa Guston. Portland Art Museum

Or you might go to check in on some old favorites in the permanent collections. Special exhibitions serve a lot of purposes besides selling tickets. They can fill in gaps in a museum’s collection, or capture an important social or historic moment, or expand on strengths a museum already has. And they can get people interested in a museum, and its art, and encourage them to become regular visitors. But you can find the soul of most museums in their permanent collections, and how they’re displayed and rotated, and the way they allow people to visit over and over again, getting to know specific pieces or collections, or finding something new they hadn’t noticed before. This is where the Deep Museum exists.

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Crow’s Shadow’s art of the land

The Hallie Ford Museum's generous retrospective of 25 years at the innovative eastern Oregon print center reveals a vital sense of place

Ghost Camp, a four-piece suite of lithographs by James Lavadour from 2002, all but jumps off the wall as you wander through the generous new exhibit Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25 at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem. Lavadour prints and paintings have a way of leaping like that: they have what curators and dealers like to call “wall power.”

But something else is going on in this suite, too. In that familiar Lavadour way Ghost Camp is partly abstract and partly taken from the spacious hilly land of eastern Oregon and Washington near Pendleton, where he lives. A scrawl of lines seems almost arbitrary until you look a little closer and realize they are deft intimations of shapes on the horizon or buildings breaking up the open spaces. Searing streaks of color suggest trees, red and glowing and perhaps – who knows, in a runaway fire season like this one? – on the way to being charred.

James Lavadour (Walla Walla, b. 1951), “Ghost Camp,” 2002, ed. 16, suite of four, four-color lithographs with graphite pencil on Arches 88 white paper, 34 1/4 x 43 3/4 inches overall, CSP 02-114 a, b, c, d. Photo: Dale Peterson

Oh: and, sticking up from the top right print like a towering forest snag, the jagged teeth of a giant crosscut logging blade grind relentlessly at the sky. The suite is inspired by Lavadour’s memories of a forest he used to wander as a child – a forest that’s since been clear-cut, and essentially no longer exists. The lithographs are at once an honoring of the past, a preservation of history, a documentation of a present state of mind, an act of beauty, and a lament. The more you look the more you see; the more you see the more you feel.

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And suddenly it’s October. Among other things – pumpkin patches, Yom Kippur, the World Series, Halloween – that means we’re two days from First Thursday, Portland’s monthly gallery hop of new shows. This week’s visual art calendar is a doozy, from open studios to Warhol with lots between.

A few of the highlights:

James Lavadour Ruby II, 2016 oil on panel 32" x 48"

James Lavadour, “Ruby II,” 2016, oil on panel, 32″ x 48.” PDX Contemporary.

James Lavadour at PDX Contemporary. It’s always a good day when new work by Lavadour, the veteran landscape expressionist from Pendleton, comes to town. This show, called Ledger of Days, furthers his exploration of the land and its mysteries. “A painting is a structure for the extraordinary and informative events of nature that are otherwise invisible,” he writes. “A painting is a model for infinity.” Lavadour is also one of the moving forces behind Pendleton’s innovative and essential Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year. Watch for what’s coming up.

The new Russo Lee Gallery: 30 years. What you’ve known for years as Laura Russo Gallery is celebrating three decades with a showing of new work by its distinguished stable of artists – and with a new name. The name is a fusion of the gallery’s long tradition and current reality. After founder Laura Russo died in 2010, her longtime employee Martha Lee bought the business and continues to operate it. This show promises to be a statement of sorts, and will have a catalog available.

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