YU

VizArts Monthly: Big news in various forms

Converge 45 returns for its third year, Cathy Wilkes at YU, tarot art at Union Knott

The big, big news in the Portland arts community is that soon-to-be defunct Marylhurst University’s Art Gym isn’t gone forever! According to the press release issued by the Oregon College of Art and Craft, “all Art Gym operations, collections, and upcoming exhibitions will move to the OCAC campus,” effective October 1.

That’s not all. Next, we’ve got Converge 45 entering its third year, with its first site-specific installation and the return of KsMOCA. Cathy Wilkes comes to the YU, and a whole bunch of good shows are opening at smaller galleries. There’s lots to see this hot August–stay hydrated, stay curious, stay cool.

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Missing the Sun? Here’s some Art!

Abigail McNamara at Duplex, Alaskan Fisherman Photography at Hartman, Terry Atkinson at YU and more...

Now that Portland has entered the time of year when we rarely see the sun’s light or feel its warmth, I thought I’d bring to your attention the installation by Abigail McNamara at Duplex Gallery. Over the past few weeks she’s been installing her site-specific work directly onto the gallery walls, and her imitation gold leaf has the same sheen and malleability as the real deal. Gold has long been a sacred material. First recognized for how the metallic qualities resembled the sun, its symbolism expanded to include heavenly realms and divine figures, and its meanings continue to grow to fit contemporary life’s needs.

The artist at work

The artist at work

A graduate of Lewis and Clark College, McNamara’s early work reflected her interest in natural processes. Nowadays she’s more likely to investigate the boundaries between natural and human patterns through maps of suburban sprawl, charts of population shifts, and the binary language of data. Her use of gold, as a natural material with deep cultural significance, is an appropriate medium to explore how nature mediates culture and vice versa.  These themes of growth and decay combined with a meticulous craft techniques create the foundation for her time-based art.

Her creative practice has moved into the realm of performance as she’s installed her work over the past month while the public has been able to stop by, watch, and ask questions. The time and resources for this ambitious, interdisciplinary project have been made possible thanks to a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. A First Thursday reception, November 6 from 6-9pm, will mark the end of the artist’s creative process, and the start of when viewers can bask in in her completed work. Abigail McNamara will be on view at Duplex Gallery, at 219 NW Couch St, through November 21st.

 

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Roger Kukes, Land Labyrinth (Green).

Roger Kukes, Land Labyrinth (Green), acrylic on paper.

Augen – For dystopian landscapes full of ecological destruction, nuclear warfare, and the clash between native and colonial cultures, look no further than Theater of the Land. Roger Kukes will fill that quiet hole in your heart and make it swell with doubt as to whether civilization as we know it will survive the converging crises you’re mostly content to ignore day in and day out. I could make some comparison to the hellish landscapes of Hieronymus Bosch and the manifest destiny of 19th century American Landscape painting, but you don’t need art history to know we don’t live in an ideal world. Then again, maybe it’ll give you some hope to see your nightmare looking back at you.

 

Katherine Mead, Kite Craft, mixed media collage.

Katherine Mead, Kite Craft, mixed media collage.

Gallery6pdx – For lighter but still stimulating looking, check out Field+Frame. Katherine Mead’s mixed-media collages use architecture motifs to frame landscapes in ways that play with perspective. Though less content driven, Mead’s compositions demonstrate the power of juxtaposition when handled by a mature artist.

 

Corey Arnold, Fight or Flight, archival pigment print.

Corey Arnold, Fight or Flight, archival pigment print.

Hartman – In coining utopia as “no-place”, Sir Thomas Moore located our “good-place” on the farthest fringes of civilization.  Corey Arnold’s newest body of work, Wildlife, is a series of compelling images of life on the edge of the Alaskan wilderness. Arnold has long been captivated and continues to be influenced by the natural world in his work as a fisherman and a photographer.

 

 

APAK, Secret Sanctuary (detail), gouache on wood.

APAK, Secret Sanctuary (detail), gouache on wood.

Hellion – November is your last month to catch a show at Hellion before they take a two month hiatus from exhibiting. So hurry over to see In the Toy Box and Dreams within Dreams before the month is out. Remember the awkwardness of middle school? Well Ikumi Nakada does and creates soft, illustrative style images of boys and girls on the onset of puberty. These works will help sooth your shameful memories of that time. For lush, imaginative paintings of a magical far-off word, husband-wife team APAK has you covered.

 

Image not available for Terry Atkinson, Greaser, mixed media and oil.

Image not available for Terry Atkinson, Greaser, mixed media and oil.

YUTerry Atkinson is an exceptionally influential British conceptual artist who founded the artists group Art and Language. Without a doubt you’ve seen derivative works by PNCA grads for years. After enduring all that you might as well go see the internationally famous version at Yale Union this month so you can say you did. On display are early works fabricated for the first time on site. Atkinson calls them Greasers, but most people understand them as paintings. Be sure to bring a rigorous class analysis of the art world with you for their opening reception on Saturday, November 8th from 3-5pm.

 

 

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Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have great shows beyond the scope of this humble guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

The ArtsWatch September First Thursday/Friday gallery guide

Accessing Park McArthur at YU, Ellen Lesperance's debut at A&O, and more...

I hope you all had a happy Labor Day weekend, what with your camping, and beaches, and bbq’s, but now it’s back to the art galleries. There are more than a few significant shows this month so here’s my totally biased gallery guide: September Edition!

Park McArthur recently exhibited a collection of work at Essex Street, NY, under the title “Ramps.”  An arrangement of platforms built to allow her access to places she’s been invited to work were laid out in a minimal composition that directed the spatial concerns of minimalism and the social dialogue of institutional-critique to examine access to institutions professing values of equality. Hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to see this work here in Portland during McArthur’s upcoming exhibition at Yale Union, a center for contemporary art in Southeast. Opening Friday, September 5th, Park McArthur: An Exhibition will present new and recent work through Sunday, October 18.

Yale Union Stair Access

Yale Union (YU) 800 SE 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

During the several visits I’ve made to Yale Union I’ve had to walk up a flight of narrow, exterior stairs to access the main gallery, which is located on the second floor of the iconic Yale Laundry building on SE Morrison St. Despite having friends who would find ascending those steps laborious, if not-outright improbable, I had taken for granted my physical ability to scale the architectural situation, to access art that was of interest to me, and to interact with a community of like-minded people, for the simple fact that I had not attended with those friends. Until I went about the business of researching Park McArthur’s work, I had not reflected much upon how much access to art spaces I have is due to my able-bodiedness. McArthur attends to disability, care, and correspondence through institutional critique, installation, and new-media.

In addition to McArthur’s new and recent work the exhibition will include a sound piece by Alex Fleming and a collaborative performance piece by Vanessa Place and Fleming. The image on the exhibition page also suggests there will be an alien film screening. Hopefully there are points of access in addition to the stairs I’m familiar with so everyone who wants to see this uniquely powerful art can do so. Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon to 5pm, Park McArthur: An Exhibition opens Friday, September 5, with a reception from 6-8pm, and runs through Sunday, October 19th.

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Harpists assembled for “Postcards from Heaven”/Courtesy of YU and FearNoMusic

For John Cage’s “Litany for the Whale,” YU, the contemporary art center, and FearNoMusic, the contemporary music ensemble, situated us in the garage of the Yale Union Laundry Building, Friday night, a large and resonant space, its lighting augmented by stage lights.

We sat on simple, rather flimsy upright chairs painted silver, two long rows on each side of a corridor. Before the performance began, that set-up, spare and expectant, was rather beautiful all by itself.

Then the crowd assembled for “100 Years of John Cage,” which featured 10 different works of the composer spread throughout the old building, sometimes simultaneously, started filtering into the space, filling the chairs quickly, and the late arrivals started weight-shifting in the area closest to the door, maybe two or three in hundred in all, a healthy fraction of the total number of us who’d arrived for the event.

Baritone Robert Ainsley, who conducts the Portland Opera chorus and has a degree in mathematics from Cambridge, found his way to one of the long corridor and stood with his music in hand, waiting for Kevin Walsh, a fellow baritone who is called upon to sing in a variety of contexts, from Bach’s St. John Passion to David Schiff’s “Gimpel the Fool,” to begin.

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