PCS Clyde’s

Visual Arts 2018: The big picture


The visual arts stories at ArtsWatch this year ranged far and wide and – as usual – didn’t even come close to covering all that went on in the world of Oregon art. While some may see that as a failure, we choose to see it as a windfall. We are fortunate to live in such an active arts community. If we could cover everything, it would mean a much smaller everything, and that doesn’t benefit anyone. Here is a neat (and incomplete) encapsulation of visual vrts stories in 2018.

We took you behind the scenes with interviews with Oregon artists that explored origins, processes, interests, and other machinations of established and emerging artists. Paul Sutinen interviewed, among others, Judy Cooke on the occasion of her fall show at Elizabeth Leach and Tom Prochaska on the occasion of his spring show at Froelick. Hannah Krafcik interviewed kiki nicole, and ariella tai about their work with the first and the last, an experimental film/video and new media arts project in Portland. Krafcik was then able to follow up in another interview with Jaleesa Johnston about her screening and workshop at the first and the last.

Judy Cooke, “Pink”, 2018, oil, aluminum, 14” x 10” x 1.5”

Jaleesa Johnston, “Lesson #1: Fractioning Gaze(s)”

Paul Maziar brought us an interview with the painter Stephen Hayes after he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship,. Danielle Vermette interviewed Palestinian fibers artist, Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, about her work and life after she won the prestigious Arts Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, “My Family Tree after the 1948 al Nakbah” (1991)

The new curator for Native American Arts at the Portland Art Museum, Kathleen Ash-Milby, won’t start until July of 2019 but our coverage in 2018 confirmed the dynamic energy of the Indigenous community and interest in concerns of indigeneity in the community at large. Bob Hicks looked at the opening exhibition of contemporary Native American art at the new Elisabeth Jones Art Center: The Condor and the Eagle: Moving Forward After Standing Rock. Joe Cantrell introduced us to a trove of Rick Bartow’s drawings on display in Newport. Stephanie Littlebird, a new ArtsWatch contributor, reviewed a show of Signal Fire alumni at PNCA and the glass show, Not Fragile, at the Center for Contemporary Native Art at the Portland Art Museum.

Yatika Starr Fields’ soft sculptures fabricated from remnants of tents used during the Standing Rock encampments. Part of the exhibition “The Condor and the Eagle: Moving Forward After Standing Rock”
Dan Friday, “Lummi Lightening Bear” (2018). Furnace Sculpted Glass. Part of the exhibition “Not Fragile”

We reviewed many of the exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum. In June, John Foyston considered the summer blockbuster The Shape of Speed, and Paul Sutinen reviewed Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942-1955. Bob Hicks avoided the car-enthusiast crowds and instead dove into the landscape paintings in the permanent collections. Laurel Reed Pavic and Paul Maziar wrote about the two big fall shows: Poetic Imagination in Japanese Art and Modern American Realism.

Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled (1945)
Honore Sharrer, “Tribute to the American Working People,” (1951). 38 3/4 x 77 1/4 inches. “Modern American Realism” at the Portland Art Museum

We had pieces on exhibits at long-established Portland spaces like Blue Sky Gallery (Rachel Rosenfield Lafo on In Transit: From Home to Where) and the Oregon Jewish Museum (Friderike Heuer on the R.B. Kitaj show A Jew, Etc., Etc.) but also on new, alternative spaces. Ním Wunnan wrote about the Killjoy Collective found through a “set of closely-spaced, rattly and slightly-rusty doors on the side of the handsome but mysterious Troy Laundry Building” and Lusi Lukova introduced us to the brand new Fuller Rosen Gallery.


All Classical Radio James Depreist

Gohar Dashti, from the series “Stateless,” (2014–2015). “In Transit: From Home to Where” at Blue Sky Gallery.

Conversations about art are important, even if writing about art is hard. Paul Maziar gave us a beautiful defense of the practice in his review of Flower(s) in Concrete at Fourteen30 Contemporary in April. As Maziar writes, some may suggest that we just “bake some bread…or whatever” but our vibrant arts community deserves energetic discourse from many sources. We are thankful to be part of this community and glad to contribute to the conversation.


Like ArtsWatch? Help us out.

We couldn’t bring you the stories we bring without your support, which is what keeps us going. Oregon ArtsWatch is a nonprofit journalism publication, with no pay wall: Everything we publish is free for the reading. We can offer this public service thanks to generous gifts from foundations, public cultural organizations, and you, our readers. As the year draws to a close, please help us keep the stories coming. It’s easy:



Be part of our
growing success

Join our Stronger Together Campaign and help ensure a thriving creative community. Your support powers our mission to enhance accessibility, expand content, and unify arts groups across the region.

Together we can make a difference. Give today, knowing a donation that supports our work also benefits countless other organizations. When we are stronger, our entire cultural community is stronger.

Donate Today

Photo Joe Cantrell

Laurel Reed Pavic is an art historian. Her academic research dealt with painting in 15th and 16th century Dalmatia. After finishing her PhD, she quickly realized that this niche, while fascinating, was rather small and expanded her interests so that she could engage with a wider audience. In addition to topics traditionally associated with art history, she enjoys considering the manipulation and presentation of cultural patrimony and how art and art history entangle with identity. She teaches a variety of courses at Pacific Northwest College of Art including courses on the multiple, the history of printed matter, modernism, and protest art.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PCS Clyde’s
MYS Oregon to Iberia
Profile Theatre Orange Sky
Mt Tabor Art Walk
OCCA Monthly
PNCA MFA Exhibition
NW Dance Project
Maryhill Museum of Art
PAM 12 Month
Pacific Maritime HC Prosperity
PSU College of the Arts
Oregon Cultural Trust
We do this work for you.

Give to our GROW FUND.