VizArts Monthly: Connection amid isolation

November's art offerings explore connections with the natural world, both the familiar and further flung

Julia Cameron, author of the quintessential creative recovery book The Artist’s Way, prescribed a steady diet of “artist dates”—time set aside to nurture one’s inner creative by “filling the well” with new stimuli for inspiration. This month, art institutions in Portland and beyond offer up virtual and in-person opportunities to fill your visual well. As skies go gray and temperatures cool, cozy up at home with Malia Jensen’s Worth Your Salt, or venture out for Edward Jeffrey Kriksciun’s OUT OF BODY at Lowell. Artists featured in this month’s exhibitions find human connection amid isolation, and the natural world while still indoors.

Work by Angela Saenz & Laura Camila Medina, image courtesy Carnation Contemporary

ACROSS TODAY’S TOMORROW: IPRC 2020 BI/POC Artist & Writer Residency
October 24 – November 22, 2020
Carnation Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave (open Fri-Sun 12-5 or by appointment)

This group exhibition showcases works by seven Independent Publishing Resource Center 2020 BI/POC Artist & Writer Residency participants. Salimatu Amabebe reimagines the convenience store as a space of Black celebration through installation, while Angela Saenz and Laura Camila Medina use stop-motion animation and wheat-pasted screenprints to contemplate the relationship between body and environment. Common considerations across the works include patterns of erasure, archived histories, personal narratives, and potential futures.

Work by Chase Biado, image courtesy Helen’s Costume

Growth: Jackie Stewart, Chase Biado, and Shannon Anderson
November 9 – December 7, 2020
Helen’s Costume
355 NE 78th Ave (by timed appointment only, masks required)

New gallery Helen’s Costume presents Growth, their second exhibition in a modified domestic setting in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood. The gallery, inspired by pageantry and artifice, is named after a now-shuttered nearby costume shop. Growth features the work of Jackie Stewart, a collage artist whose visual work parallels her sound performances, as well as works by Los Angeles-based artist Chase Biado and Portlander Shannon Anderson.

Work by Edward Jeffrey Kriksciun, image via @jeffeykitchen

Edward Jeffrey Kriksciun: OUT OF BODY
October 31 – November 29, 2020
Lowell
2419 NE Broadway (limited entry, masks required, Fri-Sun 12-4 or by appointment)

Kriksciun’s latest exhibition of drawings and paintings at Lowell continues his ongoing presence at the shop-gallery as a creator of clothing, sculpture, and collaborative pieces with Lowell owner, Maya Rose. In OUT OF BODY, Kriksciun asks and responds to the question, “In these seriously serious times, do you find it difficult to continue being your freaky self? Here’s to trying to be through the malaise.” In the process of reclaiming this freakiness, Krikscius locates humor, playfulness, loneliness, and the natural world.

Work by Laura Hyunjhee Kim, image courtesy Archer Gallery

Living Lab: a virtual exhibition by Laura Hyunjhee Kim
November 19, 2020 – February 6, 2021
Archer Gallery at Clark College
Virtual (artist talk on November 20, artist workshop on December 2, closing reception February 5, 2021; all via Zoom)

In Archer Gallery’s latest digital exhibition, Laura Hyunjhee Kim considers the moments when language becomes unclear to reroute toward the instinctive and spontaneous. Pop, kitsch references, and internet culture often blend into her practices. Living Lab is an ongoing, practice-based research project concentrating on the body as an art-making tool and site. Spontaneous Lab experiments require a practice of unknowing and thinking through making.

Work by Sasha Zirulnik, image courtesy Nationale

Sasha Zirulnik: Young Hearts Run Free
November 19 – December 27, 2020
Nationale
15 SE 22nd Ave (open Thurs-Sun 12-5, masks and distancing required)

Brooklyn-based artist Sasha Zirulnik’s paintings and sculptures were all created this year, making the context of the pandemic and racial justice uprising intrinsic to the work’s interpretation. Using found objects and self-portraiture as a form of creative survival, Zirulnik’s debut exhibition at Nationale includes seashells, symbolizing liminal space and the mythology of water. The works serve as a potent reminder that when times are difficult, our potential for relationship with the natural world endures.

Image courtesy PICA

We Got Each Other’s Back by Carlos Motta, in collaboration with Heldáy De La Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez
November 7, 2020 – February 14, 2021
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
15 NE Hancock (Open gallery hours with required face coverings and distancing through December 24, Thurs-Fri 12-6 and Sat-Sun 12-4. By appointment only December 24 – January 3. Virtual symposium February 13-14, 2021.)

We Got Each Other’s Back, a three-part, multi-channel video installation, comes to PICA as one components of an ongoing documentary project by Carlos Motta. This installation is a collaboration with artists Heldáy de la Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez. Works denouncing US immigration policy by undocumented, queer artists and activists are highlighted throughout three chapters of the video installation. The first chapter is a collaboration with “artivist” Julio Salgado, creator of the Undocuqueer project, while the second and third chapters center artist/activist Heldáy de la Cruz and singer/songwriter Edna Vázquez. On the installation’s closing weekend, PICA will host a comprehensive online symposium covering the project’s themes and questions.

Work by Grace Stott, image courtesy Fuller Rosen Gallery

Grace Stott: Ambrosia
October 15 – November 19, 2020
Fuller Rosen Gallery
1928 NW Lovejoy St (Thurs-Sun 12-5 or by appointment)

In Ambrosia, North Carolina-based artist Grace Stott investigates the body in relation to food through spirited, witty, and at times unsettling sculpture. Anthropomorphized fruit-people inhabit Stott’s surreal, luxurious fantasy realm. The artist’s use of fruit as a symbol of sensuality and bounty transforms her figures into mutated fertility statues, while pop culture references peppered throughout the works ground the figures in a familiar reality. Vans slip-ons and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos also add a layer of millennial humor and nostalgia. Ambrosia spotlights the bright, sunny, and strange, a welcome reprieve from pandemic isolation.

Work by Maureen St. Vincent, image courtesy Adams and Ollman

Eartha: Hayley Barker, Amy Bay, Mariel Capanna, Emma Cook, Ann Craven, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, and Maureen St. Vincent
November 7 – December 19, 2020
Adams & Ollman
418 NW 8th Ave (by appointment only)

The artists featured in Adams and Ollman’s latest group show unite in their explorations of natural relationships, using painting as a common medium. Questions surrounding gender, pleasure, representation, and politics are also raised. Ka’ila Farrell-Smith’s works are rooted in abstraction and Indigenous aesthetics, while Ann Craven’s extensive archive of moon paintings explores the celestial body as a feminine marker of time.

Work by Malia Jensen, image courtesy Portland Art Museum

Malia Jensen: Nearer Nature: Worth Your Salt
July 30 – November 7, 2020
Portland Art Museum / Northwest Film Center
Virtual 

Catch the tail end of Malia Jensen’s virtual residency work by viewing Worth Your Salt, a six-hour video available for free viewing 24/7 on PAM/NWFC’s museum at home website. Jensen’s Nearer Nature project began with the creation of six salt sculptures, installed throughout Oregon to encourage animal interaction with the pieces. Motion-triggered cameras then monitored the sculptures, recording wildlife, seasonal shift, and the slow decomposition of the sculptures. The resulting footage became Worth Your Salt, a meditation on mundane and extraordinary aspects of the natural world, and the spaces we occupy within it.

Work by Carla Bengtson, image courtesy Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Every Word was Once an Animal: Carla Bengtson with Darion Smith, Juliet Palmer, and Jessie Rose Vala
March 7 – November 29, 2020
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene
See the museum hours webpage for complete visiting guidelines

Guided by UO Professor of Art Carla Bengtson, Every Word was Once an Animal is a multidisciplinary project exploring relationships between humans, nature, and culture. Bengtson, choreographer Darion Smith, composer Juliet Palmer, and artist Jessie Rose Vala were inspired by the research of Dr. Emilia Martins and the gestural language of Western fence lizards in the creation of this project, which transforms the Schnitzer Museum’s Focus Gallery into a multisensory space. The visitor is immersed in an almost-hybrid, human-lizard world that includes performance, semiotics, olfactory elements, and moments of non-verbal communication.

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