MYS Oregon to Iberia

VizArts Monthly: Collaboration and community

Summer is here! Jason N. Le's round-up of July shows features group shows, retrospectives, and solo exhibitions inspired by everything from the otherworldly to the intimately personal.

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I’ve been immersed in the Oregon art scene for nearly eleven years now, and one of my favorite things about this community is how collaborative it is. As I was gathering the exhibitions to feature this month, I couldn’t help but notice how many exciting group shows were opening. Group shows bring together creative minds on multiple levels: typically one or two curators orchestrate a selection of artists but others are more of a group effort. Guava at 1122 Outside is more of a community effort; creatives across visual art, creative writing, and editorship worked collaboratively here to bring forth a shared vision. Something special also emerges when different artists ask similar (if not the same) questions: the bi-coastal roster of artists in Una Palabra de Lucha at Stelo come together to generate deeper complexities and richer answers to questions of identity as individuals and as members of a larger community.

And, of course, collaboration stretches beyond bringing people together. It also means a collaboration between material potentials, exploring combinations that leave us blissfully unable to define what we’re looking at. Solo exhibitions this month such as Rebecca Marimutu’s Portraits, Adhered at Blue Sky Gallery and David Eckard’s Ballyhoo at Scalehouse see multiple disciplines and narratives woven together to make something yet to be understood. Especially thrilling is the cross-disciplinary collaboration between Mary Frisbee Johnson’s ink drawings and Oregon State University’s music composition students, bringing together the sublimity of nature, art, and music. Long live the Renaissance academy days of singular artistic discipline, but we welcome interdisciplinary approaches that generate exciting new thoughts with open arms!

Work by Katherine Ace. Image courtesy Brumfield Gallery.

The Planets and Other Works
Katherine Ace
July 8 – September 3
Brumfield Gallery
1033 Marine Dr., Astoria (Tues – Sat 11am – 5pm, Sun 11am – 4pm)

Brumfield Gallery honors the late Katherine Ace with an exhibition of her in-progress series, The Planets, presented with permission from Ace’s family. Depicting our solar system’s planets through a series of portraits of women, Ace drew from her deep interest in symbolism and mythological associated with celestial bodies to compose Baroque-esque portraits that evoke the magical whimsy of Surrealism. Alongside The Planets, Brumfield presents a brief retrospective of Ace’s previous works from her studio that includes more portraiture and some still life paintings.

Work by Júlia Sodré. Image courtesy Stelo.

Una Palabra de Lucha
June 17 – July 30
Stelo
412 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Thurs – Sun, 12pm – 5pm)

Curators Diana Cuartas and Marcel Fontana bring together members of Neo-Latino Collective, a primarily East Coast-based group creating space for Latinx voices, and Portland-based artists to generate a visual dialogue around the multiplicity and multifaceted nature of Latinx identity. Through an impressive variety of material approaches ranging from sculpture to sound to performance, the participating artists openly contemplate the various histories and realities that complicate a universal Latinidad.

Work by Dan Lam. Image courtesy Dan Lam Studio.

Cosmic Shake
Dan Lam
July 7 – August 5
Chefas Projects
134 SE Taylor Street, Suite 203, Portland (Wed – Sat 12pm – 6pm)

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Dan Lam returns to Chefas Projects for her fourth exhibition with the gallery, bringing a new complexity and depth to her well-established visual lexicon of mesmerizing other-worldly forms. The Texas-based artist employs synthetic materials such as polyurethanes and resin in vibrant colors to create hollow structures that seem to drip and ooze, straddling the line between sublime and grotesque. While you’re there, be sure to check out hands that hold the melting rope by Emily Wise, a stunning series of multi-layered paintings that blend portraiture and (not so) still life also opening in the second gallery.

Photo courtesy Dr. Michael Hammond and The Museum at Warm Springs.

The Museum at Warm Springs (1993-2023): A 30-Year Retrospective
July 26 – September 2
The Museum at Warm Springs
2189 Highway 26, Warm Springs (Tues – Sat, 9am – 5pm)

As part of their 30th anniversary, The Museum at Warm Springs, located on the Warm Springs Reservation, presents a retrospective that chronicles its history since its opening in 1993. Over the past 30 years, The Museum has been a significant contributor to the cultural and social ecosystem of Central Oregon, standing as the first tribal museum of Oregon. The exhibition will explore the establishment of The Museum and its ongoing importance through a survey of archival documents, photographs, architectural models, and artworks from its collection. 

Image courtesy Lumber Room.

The Rose
July 29 – October 28
Lumber Room
419 NW 9th Ave, Portland

After a brief closure for renovations, Lumber Room reopens its doors with The Rose, a group exhibition curated by Justine Kurland featuring an impressive roster of artists from across several decades. Surveying collage work from the 1960s to present days, The Rose borrows its name from Jay DeFeo’s legendary sculpture-painting completed in 1966, whose process taught DeFeo about the circularity and iterative nature of art-making. The exhibition proposes what Kurland describes as a “circular genealogy of collage,” connecting artworks through associations of similarities and differences in concept, image, materiality, and process. 

Image courtesy 1122 Outside.

Guava
July 1 – July 16
1122 Outside
7629 SE Harrison, Portland (By appointment only)

Kicking off a quick summer season of one-weekend-only exhibitions called The Summer of Short Showings, 1122 Outside (formerly known as 1122 Gallery located in Montavilla, now at a new outdoor space in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood of Portland!) presents Guava, a group show. Curated by the editors of local imprint Bunny Presse, Guava brings together the visual works of Zach Ozma, Kristen Diederich, Robert Fernandez, and Ashley Yang Thompson, a delightfully contemporary lineup of artists that effortlessly juggle theory, humor, history, and pure aesthetic pleasure. As part of the opening reception on July 1 from 6-10pm, the exhibition will also host readings by Jessie Carver and Arda Collins in addition to Diederich and Yang Thompson.

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Work by Rebecca Marimutu. Image courtesy Blue Sky Gallery.

Portraits, Adhered
Rebecca Marimutu
July 6 – August 12
Blue Sky Gallery
122 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Wed – Sat, 12pm – 5pm)

Ever since the refinement of the daguerreotype in the 19th century made photography more practical and accessible, artists and thinkers have interrogated the philosophical nature of photography and the photograph itself. Rebecca Marimutu continues this critical lineage with Portraits, Adhered, an exhibition that challenges the conventional notions and applications of the medium. In examining images of herself and the way they are literally and conceptually produced, Marimutu searches for new modes of expression and introspection that straddle a blurry line between photograph and sculpture. Be sure to also check out Erik Östensson’s exhibition Tjärnen, opening alongside Marimutu’s.

Work by Tatyana Ostapenko. Image courtesy Multnomah Arts Center.

Tatyana Ostapenko
June 15 – July 22
Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland (Mon – Thurs 9am – 9:30pm, Fri – Sat 9am – 5pm)

In a solo exhibition of new and recent paintings, Ukrainian American artist Tatyana Ostapenko depicts scenes of Ivana Kupala, the Slavic midsummer celebration that coincides with the Feast of Saint John’s Eve and the summer solstice. Drawing from her own experiences growing up in post-Soviet Ukraine, Ostapenko’s paintings work to preserve and protect personal histories from erasure or silencing, all the while exploring the enriching mutual exchange between the collective and individual, the past and the present. To supplement the exhibition, Ostapenko will be painting live in the gallery on July 7 from 6-7:30pm, and will also present an artist talk on July 8 at 11am.

Work by David Eckard. Image courtesy Scalehouse.

Ballyhoo
David Eckard
July 7 – August 26
Scalehouse
550 NW Franklin Avenue, Suite 138, Bend (Wed – Sat 1pm – 6pm, or by appointment)

True to his style, David Eckard’s new work for Ballyhoo, a solo exhibition presented by Scalehouse, continues to raise more questions about reality, the human body, and the imaginary than it answers. Loaded with surreal and almost indefinable imagery, Eckard’s objects blur any boundaries of strict definition– are they sculpture, drawing, painting, or some combination of the three? Or none at all? Are you supposed to wear them? Are you supposed to touch them, caress them, or perform them? Regardless of the “correct” answer, the vast variety of materials and techniques come together to create sensual approaches to exploring the body as a site of many narratives, desires, memories, and potentials.

Work by Mary Frisbee Johnson. Image courtesy The Arts Center.

Pacific Waters
Mary Frisbee Johnson
June 8 – July 22
The Arts Center
700 SW Madison Ave, Corvallis (Tues – Sat, 12pm – 5pm)

Sponsor

All Classical Radio James Depreist

For Pacific Waters, artist Mary Frisbee Johnson worked with students of Oregon State University’s MUS 443 music composition course to create a truly collaborative exhibition on many levels. Johnson, who currently lives on the Oregon Coast, created a series of large ink drawings that contemplate the ever-changing nature of water, to which the OSU composition students responded with their own string compositions. To experience the two together, The Arts Center is providing headphones and iPods so that visitors can listen to the students’ music as they view the work that inspired it. ArtsWatch writer Gabe Braukman provides a more in-depth review here.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Headshot of Jason N. Le.

Jason N. Le (they/them) is a Vietnamese American writer, thinker, and curator based in Portland, Oregon. Their academic background lies in art history and critical theory, focused on postwar American art, identity politics, performance theory, and the genealogy of arts criticism. They hold degrees from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland State University, and their other critical arts writing can be found at Art & About PDX.

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