Nationale Gallery

VizArts Monthly: Nature, culture, and Indigenous viewpoints

August’s shows feature everything from houseplants to bees to algebraic equations

August’s offerings draw inspiration from diverse areas of lived experience, a refreshing respite from the slow dog days of summer. Artists statewide will present works intertwining cultural storytelling, vulnerability, and the natural world. Hear vital Indigenous perspectives online at Five Oaks Museum, or view new paintings by Klamath Modoc artist Ka’ila Farrell-Smith at Springfield-based Ditch Projects. Many artists this month are also considering the role of nature in healing and creativity. Try a road trip to the High Desert Museum’s new exhibition on pollinator flora, or visit the Schneider Museum to expand your perspective on possibilities for computerized expressions of nature.

Work by Lili Navarro, image courtesy Five Oaks Museum

Untouchable Artifacts: A Virtual and Printed Exhibition on Indigenous Storytelling, History, and Resilience
July 17 – September 30, 2021
Five Oaks Museum

Untouchable Artifacts, curated by Rya Hueston (Diné) and Kat Salas (Chiricahua, Apache), centers the stories of eleven Indigenous artists who both hold intersectional identities and are committed to sustaining ancestral knowledge. Each artist has recorded themselves reading their story, all of which are listenable on the Untouchable Artifacts webpage. The curators aimed to reconstruct and heighten the experience of online and two-dimensional work experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, aspiring toward a “landscape of living culture.” Downloadable learning materials and a curator’s talk are forthcoming.


Colorful banners with hopeful messages for anxious times

Community and collaboration are at the heart of The Living School of Art's project now on view at Nationale

At Nationale, the line between fine art and functional object has always been blurred. The iconic Portland gallery space is also part shop, thoughtfully curated with must-reads and apothecary curiosities. These days, the space contains a selection of Mixed Needs ceramics and Incidental Music’s tone poem, along with a selection of music, print, and home objects.

Interior view of Nationale with banners from The Living Art School’s Banners for Cultivating Resilience. (2020)

Nationale’s embrace of art in all its forms made the gallery a perfect venue for Banners on Cultivating Resilience, a project by The Living School Of Art (LSA). Facilitated by artist and neighbor Amanda Leigh Evans, LSA is an intergenerational art project based in an affordable housing development in east Portland. Neighbors in the community teach and participate in hands-on activities and present exhibitions in the eight apartment complex laundry rooms. The program includes a visiting artist residency, a community garden, a medicinal herb garden, and field trips. LSA draws participants are of all ages, though the banners featured in this exhibition were made exclusively by children.


Portland artist John Gnorski’s exhibition Like a Train in the Sky at Stumptown Coffee celebrates the Portland artist’s Stumptown Artist Fellowship award. It was curated by May Barruel, the proprietor of Nationale, and features a suite of woodblock prints and tenuously representational sculptures-as-drawings that readily communicate forms without being didactic. The forms aren’t fixed; they don’t always represent, say, humans, herons, or trains—but they’re also not nothing, far from it. In fact, “far from nothing” would be a good subtitle for a show that announces its attachment to, among other things, dusk and clouds. The fourteen works all involve wood, a material with which Gnorski, a carpenter by trade, is intimately familiar and they refer loosely to the visual world. 


Viz Arts Monthly: July looks deliciously scrappy

July features some tasty group shows, a DIY flavor and much more than anyone could possibly see!

The summer vibes have brought another set of lively shows to Portland! If the news has got you down, visit the strange, raucous utopian visions of the future from Killjoy Collective at the Littman Gallery at PSU. If that doesn’t do it for you, you could try to DIY scrappiness of the Germination photo show in the partner White gallery at the same location. Elizabeth Leach and Ori gallery also offer some lively group shows, highlighting the work of two different, vibrant artistic communities. For a more singular vision, try Sarah Mikenis at Nationale or Glenn Brown’s collection of works at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene. And finally, if you want to confront the state of the world head on, National Geographic photographer Randy Olson’s talk at his new show at Camerawork gallery will give you some action items. Stay sunny, Portland!