pdx contemporary art

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

Continues…

Vizarts Monthly: Cozy autumn edition

October offers textiles, botanical prints, and painted memories

Summer has left us, but the colors and coziness of autumn have begun to show up while there are still leaves on the trees and some sunny days. Whether you break out your fall jacket to browse the First Thursday openings or you take a meditative stroll through the Lan Su Chinese Garden to see their exhibition of beautiful flower paintings, this October offers up a rich variety of group exhibitions, solo shows, and even a textile symposium!

Olivia Kincaid – San Diego Zoo

Olivia Kincaid: Perpetuating Family Systems
Through October 25
White Gallery
Portland State University
1825 SW Broadway

Portland State University MFA candidate Olivia Kincaid’s mixed-media paintings appropriate familiar forms of contemporary portraiture, like the family snapshot or the senior portrait, and transform them into explorations of the concept of “family” itself. PSU’s White Gallery presents Kincaid’s latest work in a show curated by Safiyah Maurice that should be both an opportunity to reflect on the ties that bind us to our kin as well as a great chance to see brand new painting by one of Portland’s emerging talents. 


Image by Nora Sherwood

Mums & More Botanical Art Exhibition
October-November
Lan Su Chinese Garden
239 NW Everett St.

As part of the American Society of Botanical Artists’ 25th anniversary, local chapter Oregon Botanical Artists presents an exhibition of contemporary botanical illustration at Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden. The show will focus on chrysanthemums and other plants that evoke autumn or that have significance in Asian cultures. In contrast to the usual “white cube” typical of most contemporary art galleries, this will be a chance to see the work of 17 Oregon artists in a unique setting that complements and contextualizes their subjects.

Jenene Nagy: Banner, 2019

Jenene Nagy: Box Breathing
October 2-November 2
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders

Jenene Nagy’s poetic compositions are made with monochromatic graphite and  folded paper, arranged in grids and nesting squares that are simple in conception but contain surprising depths of light and texture. PDX Contemporary presents some of her latest pieces in box breathing, which will please those who are into process-based and post-minimalist artwork as well as anyone who appreciates the beauty of subtlety. 

Ancestral Connections
October 4-October 29
Multnomah Art Center
7688 SW Capitol Hwy

This multimedia group show, curated by Bobby Fouther, envisions the African Diaspora residing in Portland as an extended family, or a village, complete with elders, students, parents, and peers. At the same time, Fouther’s curation celebrates the diversity of this community by featuring artists of varying age, medium, and style. Works ranging from paintings to quilts to spoken word share individual stories that contribute to a larger picture of a shared ancestral heritage. Look for muralist Jamaali Roberts’ unique collages and the precocious paintings of Hobbs Waters.


Image via Tropical Contemporary

Somethings Together
October 4, 6-9 pm; October 5 & 12, 1-4 pm
Tropical Contemporary
1120 Bailey Hill #11
Eugene, OR

Tropical Contemporary’s October show, “Somethings Together,” is only open for a short time but is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Eugene during gallery hours. The artist-run space has been a platform for emerging Oregon artists since 2015 and their latest show features four artists whose work plays off each other visually and conceptually. The mediums they use vary and range from colorfully painted and shaped canvases to architecturally-informed sculpture and even fabric constructions. Surreal humor ties them all together.

Mark Flores and William E. Jones: Collaboration 3

Mark Flores and William E. Jones: Perverted By Language
October 5-November 8
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 5, 5-7 pm
Private Places
2400 NE Holladay St.

Private Places will host Los Angeles artists Mark Flores and William E. Jones for their second collaborative show. Both artists have multi-decade careers under their belts already but have departed from their usual mediums and methods to create new works that incorporate collage, painting, and 1970s pop culture icons like David Bowie and Blondie’s Debbie Harry. The result is vivid and cool. The show is accompanied by a screening of Jones’ films at Yale Union on Sunday, October 6, at 7pm.

Takuichi Fujii: Self Portrait

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii
October 19, 2019 through January 5, 2020
High Desert Museum
58900 US-97
Bend, OR

The illustrated diary of the late Washington artist Takuichi Fujii, on display this month at Bend’s High Desert Museum, is a moving personal document of the Japanese-American experience during World War II. Fujii was one of the many Americans who were imprisoned in internment camps by the United States government without charge simply because of their heritage. During his three years in the camps he wrote and painted over 400 pages that detail both despair and strength. This exhibition also includes examples of Fujii’s surreal and abstract paintings from both before and after his time in the camps, providing a fuller picture of this talented artist whose life was profoundly affected by the mistakes of those in power at the time. 

example of textile work by Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, featured speaker at the Symposium

Textile Connections Symposium
October 26, 10am-6pm; October 27, 12-4 pm
Pacific Northwest College of Art
511 NW Broadway

October is Textile Month in Portland, and the festivities come to a close with the Textile Connections Symposium, a gathering of international fiber artists and makers. The first day features panel discussions and keynote speakers, including Palestinian embroidery experts Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim and Wafa Ghnaim. Sunday is “community day” which means a makers market with dozens of local and visiting vendors, demonstrations of textile tools and techniques, and plenty of opportunities to meet fellow fiber-arts lovers. This event aims to bring the regional textile community together to celebrate their achievements while fostering innovation and collaboration in the future.

Whatever gets your synapses firing, July’s got you covered. This month is packed with shows that run the gamut, from a rare exhibition of the the father of Japanese Conceptual art to the Salem Art Fair and Festival. If you’ve only got one day to peep some art and can’t make it to Salem, the annual open studios at the NW Marine Artworks studio will have the most artists under one roof in Portland. And if you’re hungry, head on down to Carnation Contemporary on July 6 for their opening that features a Culinaria event at Disjecta – sandwiches and art together! Honorable mentions for this month are the Paris 1900:City of Entertainment exhibit at PAM and the Recent Grads show at Blackfish.

Psi, the glyph used by Yutaka Matsuzawa as a calling card
Yutaka Matsuzawa: Curated by Alan Longino and Reiko Tomii

Through August 18, 2019
Thursday – Sunday, 12–6pm
Yale Union
800 SE 10th Ave

Considered the father of Japanese conceptual art, Yutaka Matsuzawa was born in 1922 in Shimo Suwa in central Japan. Matsuzawa studied architecture during World War II; the devastation caused by the firebombing of Tokyo in March of 1945 made a significant impression on him. Proclaiming that he wished “to create an architecture of invisibility,” he gave up architecture and became a poet an a painter. His desire to express the invisible brought him to the realm of conceptual art, but he “transcended” it in ways that were not fully appreciated by Western audiences. Influential in his time, he was rarely exhibited in the West. This will be the first major exhibition for Matsuzawa in the US, accompanied by an edition of 500 copies of his QUANTUM ART MANIFESTO. This exhibition was curated by art historian Alan Longino and Reiko Tomii, a scholar and curator who worked with Matsuzawa before his death in 2006.

Joe Rudko, Rising Tide, 2019, found photographs on paper, 30” x 22”
It’s Summer

Through August 31
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders

This two-month long group show is a veritable who’s-who of the Portland contemporary art scene. Eschewing a theme, PDX Contemporary has instead asked the participating 28 artists to submit work that reflects the current moment in their studio – what they’re thinking and making in the summer of 2019. Expect a wide range of ideas and approaches from the following artists: Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen, Natalie Ball, Tina Beebe, Nick Blosser, Iván Carmona, Amjad Faur, Bean Finneran, Jacques Flechemuller, Ellen George, Peter Gronquist, Victoria Haven, Elizabeth Knight, James Lavadour, Nancy Lorenz, Jeffry Mitchell, Megan Murphy, Jenene Nagy, Georgina Reskala, Joe Rudko, Tad Savinar, Adam Sorensen, Barbara Stafford, Andy Stout, Storm Tharp, Molly Vidor, Nell Warren, and Heather Watkins.

Robert Pokorny, Note to Self (Orange), 2019, Acrylic on linen, 36 x 28 in.
Dialogue: Robert Pokorny

Through August 11
Ampersand
2916 NE Alberta Street

These 24 new paintings by Robert Pokorny pop with color and energy while retaining a sharp sense of control. The show’s title, “Dialogue,” refers in part to the relationship between these paintings and Pokorny’s book, Drawings. Raw linen takes the place of his signature Kraft Muscletone paper. This show means to “glimpse the flow of creative energy, the conversation between a book of sketches made over the better part of a year and the paintings that refine their message.” Beyond that, the show represents the dialogue of collaboration between the artist and the gallery – exploring how the books published through Ampersand’s imprint can stir new creation, not just record existing work.

Doll Head William Matheson
Antigen: William Matheson

Through July 30
Nationale
3360 SE Division

William Matheson’s fourth solo exhibition at Nationale meditates on loss, memory, and the desire to preserve aspects of life when faced with personal loss and the threat of societal collapse. After the 2016 death of a close family member, Matheson started collecting photographs and ephemera, gathering objects that went on to inspire this set of paintings. The photos that became subjects remain as images in a larger world, framed by glowing computer screens or the yellowed borders of an old photograph, accompanied by a deep indigo which Nationale likens to the “nocturnal haze of memory.” The show seeks a conversation with deep-seated fears and death, rather than running from them.

Installation Image from Bloom Tomb
Bloom Tomb: Jessie Weitzel Le Grand

Carnation Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave

July 6–July 28
Special event July 6 6-9pm

Jessie Weitzel Le Grand presents her work as artifacts imported from the imaginary town Ny By (pronounced knee-bee). As the sole Ny By importer, Le Grand ups her game for this show to include sandwiches and bouquets in the culinary and floral traditions of Ny By. Bloom Tomb coincides with a Culinaria event at Disjecta, with which Carnation Contemporary shares a building. Culinaria is an ongoing series that “pairs artists and chefs to create unique community events, providing opportunities for collaboration, creative risk-taking, and the exchange of new ideas between two very different creative realms.” On July 6, Le Grand’s work will be paired with food and drink in Disjecta’s Gallery 2 space, with both the art and the food centered on themes of layering and stacking (making sandwiches the obvious choice).

Midori Hirose, WSFN1, Recycled Polylactic Acid, 2019.
Trash Hackers

July 17 – August 17, 2019.
Paragon Arts Gallery at PCC Cascade
815 N. Killingsworth St.

Trash Hackers is a collective of local artists who attempt to disrupt the ongoing flow of products and materials into landfills, taking what would otherwise be considered plastic waste and pushing it to form what they call “atmospheric, otherworldly expanses.” Utilitarian and abstract sculptures made entirely from recycled plastic will fill the gallery forcing viewers to reconsider the use of discarded material. Interested in “solution oriented strategies,” the collective will invite the public to collect and donate clean, recyclable plastic to the space. They will also present ShredCore, a demonstration of shredding plastic to prepare it for recycling on Saturday, August 3. The exhibition is presented by the founding members of Trash Hackers Collective: Darcy Neal, Midori Hirose, Emma Prichard, Francesca Frattaroli, and Alice Rotsztain.

re:Presence, a solo exhibition of Portland artist Collin Richard will be happening in conjunction with the Trash Hackers show. Richard’s work centers on what Paragon calls “an exploration of environmental epistemics.” His interdisciplinary approach includes includes sculpture, performance, printmaking, video, photography, and language. The work in this show will address our relationship to nature and what alienates us from it.

Opening Reception
Friday, July 19th, 2019 @ 4 – 7 p.m.

Artists Talk:
Saturday, August 3rd, 2019, at 2 p.m.

Salem Salon 100 installation view
Salem Art Fair and Festival and Salem Salon 100

Friday July 19th–Sunday July 21st
Bush’s Pasture Park
600 Mission St. SE
Salem, OR 97302
$10 for full pass, $5 for single day pass

Salem Salon 100
July 5 – August 24th
Bush Barn Art Center & Annex
600 Mission St. SE Salem, OR 97302
Free Admission

The 70th annual Salem Art Fair will fill our state’s capital with activities, exhibitions, and music later this month. Featuring more than 200 artists and two performance stages, the festival’s ticket price helps support the arts in Salem and beyond. While you’re there, you can also catch the Salem Salon 100 show at the Bush Barn Art Center. A non-juried exhibition, it celebrates the work of artists of all levels working within a 75-mile radius of Salem. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a higher concentration of the arts in Salem at any other time of the year.

NW Marine Artworks Open Studios

2:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Saturday, July 20, 2019
NW Marine Art Works
2516 NW 29th, Portland, Oregon 97210

This is the third annual public event for this large, private studio space occupied by more than 100 local artists working in most any media you can think of including painting, ceramics, photography, sculpture, dance, theatre, jewelry, and textiles. In addition to the resident artists, visiting artists will be present from the North Coast Seed Building, River St. Studios, and the Carton Service Building in an effort to represent a broad selection of Portland’s current fine art community. Family friendly activities will accompany the art-crawl, including live music, minigolf, a kids’ painting table, and food carts.

VizArts Monthly: Art blossoms all over town

The local art scene bursts into action as we mark the last graduating class at OCAC

Spring is upon us, and the art scene is blooming like the cherry blossoms downtown. In the same month, you can see the thesis shows by the 112th and final graduating class from OCAC and PNCA’s first year of MFA students to study in their new location, The Glass Building. If you’re walking around for First Thursday you can catch a high-concept group show at PDX Contemporary or a set of handmade quilts showing the ravages of climate change at Erickson Gallery. Then there’s the massive range of events during Design Week. However you want to divide art from design, you can sort events by either discipline on the festival’s site. If you’re looking for a party, PICA has its Meta Gala at the end of the month.

Takasaki at Nationale

Where did you sleep last night?: Shohei Takasaki

Through April 23
Nationale
3360 SE Division
Portland-based painter Shohei Takasaki’s first solo show at Nationale cast a colorful, abstracted eye on domestic scenes. Geometric forms and color fields intersect with recognizable objects found in the home, like a sock or a cracked egg. A playful intimacy pervades the bright colors of these canvases, filled with impressions of time Takasaki spent with loved ones.

via The White Gallery

When is a bowl of fruit just a bowl of fruit? Hiromi Lee and Prithvi Chauhan

Through April 12, 2019
Reception: Thursday, April 4, 6–8 PM
Littman + White Galleries
1825 Southwest Broadway
This two-person exhibition was curated by Jeremy Husserl borne out of frustration with the expectations thrust upon artists of color to “only create with a social justice meaning,” in the words of the press release. The title comes from a saying favored by the mother of one of the artists, which suggests that sometimes the art can speak for itself. Lee and Chuahan choose to cut loose and express themselves in this show that focuses on “the fantastic, the colorful, the controversial, and most of all the human condition.”

Installation view from Charmed

Echo: Joe Feddersen

Through April 20, 2019
The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
511 NW Broadway
This exhibition features a new series of prints produced by Feddersen while artist-in-residence at PNCA’s Watershed Center for Fine Art Publishing and Research. Working in collaboration with MFA students and program chair Matthew Letzelter, Feddersen produced new, large-scale prints that connect to his 2014 piece, Charmed. Comprised of more than 400 pieces of fused glass, Charmed will be displayed with the new prints. Together they develop a visual vocabulary that is as informed by ancient, mystical glyphs as it is by modern logos and icons.

Game of Skill by Stephanie Simek

Speculative Frictions

April 3 to April 27
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders

The title for this research-centric group show was inspired by poet Joan Retallack’s idea of a “poethical wager on the Experimental Feminine.” Contrasted with the scientific method’s focus on testable propositions, this wager proceeds according to what Retallack calls “a feminine dyslogic.” Artists 0rphan Drift, Caspar Heinemann, Emily Jones, Ranu Mukherjee, Lisa Radon, and Stephanie Simek draw on artistic techniques, writing, “wrighting”, and diverse presentations including video, sculpture, and installation. A show guaranteed to spark some form of insight, even if it can’t quite be put into words.

PNCA MFA First Year Exhibition

April 4 – April 23
The Glass Building
2139 N. Kerby Ave.
First year graduate students in three disciplines (Visual Studies, Print Media, and Collaborative Design) present their work at PNCA’s newly acquired building in a still under-the-radar North Portland industrial neighborhood. The Glass Building also houses the school’s ceramics facilities and graduate studios, and it seems only fitting that students will share the developments they have made in their first grueling year of a master’s degree program in a brand new space.

Landscape: Opium Poppy

Landscape: About Space and Time, Sang-ah Choi

Northview Gallery
PCC Sylvania Campus
12000 SW 49th Ave.
Opening and Artist Talk
Wednesday, April 10, 2–4 PM
Weekend Reception
Saturday, April 13, 2–5 PM
Bursting with energy, Choi’s graphic work on paper combine accident and precision in dizzying patterns that cover the whole visual field. Carefully rendered in acrylic, felt pen, and graphite, the shapes seem to fly across the paper in an all-over blast while at the same time reading like a decorative pattern. Reminiscent of of Takashi Murakami or Julie Mehretu, there’s a lot going on in Choi’s ultimately unique visual style.

Hillside Burning at Night Above Suburban Neighborhood Park, Woolsey, CA

Unraveling World: Quilts of Flood, Fire, Collapse: Amy Subach

April 4 – 29
Erickson Gallery
9 NW 2nd Avenue
Artist Amy Subach is perhaps most well-known for her series Erotic Selfie Quilts which are exactly what they sound like: handmade quilts depicting erotic selfies – and the oversaturated social media landscape to which they belong – with humor and dignity. For this show she turns her eye and her needle to the deluge of images of the frightening effects of climate change, adorning her quilts with images of flooding, the destructive California wildfires, and melting permafrost. Each piece carries a title with the specifics of the time and place of the event depicted.

Untitled 112: OCAC Graduate Thesis Exhibition

April 19th, 6–9pm
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center
8371 N Interstate Ave
OCAC’s final graduating class will show their thesis work at Disjecta this year. The BFA Class of 2019 posted the following as a collective message from the final graduating class of this local institution on their Facebook page for the event:

Celebrate the culmination of our education and our recent body of work.

We are conceptually driven individuals who strive for excellent craft and innovative solutions. We explore our own identities and experiences beyond ourselves to feed our practice and our future.

Our community arrives at this point with a 112–year history of ingenuity and discovery as its source of growth, and now as its foundation going forward. We embrace our futures, untitled and endless in their possibilities with a dedication to our craft.

Remembering D.E. May

A tribute to a much loved Oregon artist

By ANNA GRAY and RYAN WILSON PAULSEN

On February 27th, just a month before his 67th birthday, Oregon lost one of its finest artists: D.E. May. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he was given just months to live but continued working and living among close friends in his native Salem for nearly 3 years. May was an important feature of this region’s artistic landscape and an artist fiercely admired for the things he made and the way he made them.

D.E. May in his Salem studio in 2015. Photo: Sabina Poole

We first got to know May through stories told by Jane Beebe, his longtime friend and gallerist at PDX Contemporary Art. Her anecdotes cast May as a warm and original character. They told of a person living according to his own time, of a workspace like the hidden pages of a pop-up book, of a maker of tender objects, who never forgot to send her (and many other mothers, too) a postcard on Mother’s Day.

When we met him in person, we immediately liked the man as much as the things he made. We felt refreshed by his matter-of-fact approach to art making, as if being an artist was no more mythic than being a carpenter or steel-worker, no less necessary than being a bartender or a cab driver. His humility, dedication, and sureness of purpose were reflected in the things he created. It is as if his drawings and small constructions weren’t made, but evolved over time without the overly conscious intervention of an artistic hand. Because of this, his meticulous abstractions hold a subtle magic. They appear as both documents of the past and proposals for a future architecture–his subtle geometries incorporated with such sensitivity into the found surfaces he collected and used in his work. His pieces remind us of how objects gather energy and meaning, becoming real through their use.

D.E. May, Template Study

D.E. May, Right Isolate (Template Study)
2013. acrylic wash, colored pencil and graphite on paper
21” x 48″

May will be remembered in many different ways. Some will remember him from bright gallery openings, as he nodded and said thank yous to those who’d come to see his collections. Others will remember him as a friend that was always willing to share a drink. Some will remember him as a fixture of his beloved ‘Island Salem,’ where he’d be seen walking, perhaps to the library where he’d go to look at books he says he didn’t read. Many others, still, will remember him by his artworks, their quietness and precision. We will remember him for his sensibility as an artist and his commitment to his life’s work and also for the encouragements he gave us over the years, sometimes in the form of small tokens—a postcard, folded origami figures, a or note—that always seemed to build our confidence in mysterious ways.

Anna Gray + Ryan Wilson Paulsen are mixed media collaborators living in Portland, OR.

D.E. May

D.E. May, Untitled
2011. wood and cardboard
1 7/8” x 2 3/16” x 5 7/16″

May’s work is currently on view at PDX Contemporary Art and the Portland Art Museum. You can read more about his work in a 2011 essay the authors wrote to accompany his show and publication The Template Files.

In Oregon ArtsWatch, Paul Sutinen wrote a review of the artist’s 2015 show at PDX Contemporary Art and Sabina Poole photographed May in his studio and wrote about the experience as part of the Ford Foundation’s Connective Conversations|Inside Oregon Art program.

End of Summer: Absorbing Oregon in August

Matt Jay's August residency program brings Japanese artists to Oregon to work and connect

By BRIAN LIBBY

Yale Union’s End of Summer artist residency concluded on Sunday with open artist’s studios for the six Japanese artists who participated in the program in August. Throughout the massive old building’s three floors, each of the visiting artists seemed to stake out a different corner.

Filmmaker Shu Isaka made use of Yale Union’s cavernous basement, for example, where catwalks extend over a subterranean creek that peeks through the surface. In Isaka’s mockumentary, called “Sprout” and made during the residency, the unique circle-and-squares layout of the nearby Ladd’s Addition neighborhood and the primal geology of Mount St. Helens (which the artists visited earlier this month) combine to provide evidence of some cosmic plan—a disaster or revelation waiting to happen.

A still from Shu Osaka’s film, “Sprout,” made in Oregon during the End of Summer residency/Photo by Brian Libby

Isaka’s film felt like a way of coping with the fact that Oregon and Japan are united by their seismically active zones. The landscape in its beauty and violence always rules.

Continues…