VizArts Monthly: Day trips, local favorites, and virtual viewings

April's art offerings brim with the potential of spring embracing topics from collaboration to cultural heritage to much-needed laughter

The cherry blossom trees are blooming! It can only mean one thing: the slow ascent into spring has begun. Let’s brighten our days with some fresh art, shall we? Galleries are remaining COVID-safe, with ample opportunity to set private viewing appointments. For Portlanders itching to ditch the city for the day, this month’s round-up includes must-see shows in Astoria, Eugene, and Newberg. Those who prefer to stay home can still enjoy new virtual exhibitions at Upfor Gallery and Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Common exhibition themes this month include identity, cultural heritage, and shifts in landscape. There’s plenty of opportunity to challenge your perspectives, but Well Well Projects’ What’s So Funny? promises some long-overdue laughter, too. Enjoy, and don’t forget your mask.

Work by James Castle, image courtesy Adams and Ollman

Dear John
March 19 – April 17, 2021
Adams and Ollman
418 NW 8th Ave (by appointment only)

Adams and Ollman’s exhibition Dear John celebrates John Ollman’s half-century career as an art dealer and his role as a champion and scholar of US-based, self-taught art. The exhibition features works by the self-taught artist James Castle (1899–1977), whose pieces were exhibited and supported by Ollman. Castle’s multimedia sculptures and drawings, which cast light on life in 20th century rural Idaho, are shown in conversation with works by 21 contemporary artists including Vaginal Davis, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Jeffry Mitchell, and Dina No. twenty-one several contemporary artists. Domesticity, interiority, and landscape feature as shared themes throughout.

Work by Belkis Ayón, image courtesy Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón
February 6 – May 2, 2021
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art/University of Oregon
Virtual (click here to view)

Nkame, a retrospective exhibit centering the work of Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayón, includes forty-eight of her prints and audiovisual materials ranging from 1986 to her death in 1999. Ayón is renowned for her collagraph technique, which utilizes a cardboard matrix and press; she’s also famous for an intentional, stark, black, white, and gray pallette. Ayón’s work focuses on the history and mythology of Abakuá, an Afro-Cuban brotherhood that came to Cuba in the early 1800s. Nkame means “praise and salutation” in an Abakuá language, which also encapsulates this exhibition’s vision and purpose.

Work by Pace Taylor, image courtesy Upfor Gallery

Partial Permutation
February 17 – April 17, 2021
Upfor Gallery
Virtual (click here to view)

Identity and existence are explored through diverse mediums and subject matter in this group exhibition, which features works made exclusively by transgender and gender-nonconforming artists. Pace Taylor, Tabitha Nikolai, Maya Vivas, and Ebenezer Galluzzo approach the topic of identity from outside the scope of cis-normativity, expanding the visual lexicon of transgender art. Each artist invites the viewer to engage with their works without implicit comparison, thus reflecting on the multi-layered nature of being.

Work by Taravat Talepasand, image courtesy Fourteen30 Gallery

Are You There Allah? It’s me, Taravat
March 20 – May 9, 2021
Fourteen30 Gallery
1501 SW Market St (Fri-Sun 12-5 PM, by appointment only)

Taravat Talepasand’s solo exhibition at Fourteen30 includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, and even neon work. With a title inspired by Judy Blume’s iconic teen novel Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret, Talepasand’s works similarly navigate self-reflection, trust, and belief. Talepasand uses cartoon figures to reflect on the powerful anarchy of innocence and imagination, and as the artist expands spiritually, dichotomies of familiar and grotesque, utopia and dystopia are expressed in her works. Talepasand is Iranian-American connecting to the Iranian diaspora through her art; she now leans toward “becoming the hyphen”, embodying an in-between space.

Unquiet Objects, installation view; image courtesy Disjecta

Unquiet Objects
March 12 – May 2, 2021
Disjecta
8371 N Interstate Ave (open Fri-Sun 12-5 PM; limited entry, masks, and distancing required)

Disjecta’s group exhibition Unquiet Objects, curated by Lucy Cotter, brings into focus a separation between cultural objects and human life. Ten artists and cultural producers, including Kristan Kennedy, Morehshin Allahyari, and Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, explore possibilities for accountability towards cultural objects. Questions considered are informed by “the foundational complicity of art’s notion of discrete objects with an imperialist agenda, the agency of objects as portals into alternate worldviews, genders and subjectivities; issues of institutional restitution and reparations, as well as Quantum, metaphysical and supernatural understandings of objects.” Further, participants extend their reflections by considering object futures in spaces influenced by AI technology.

Work by Toddd Molinari, image courtesy Astoria Visual Arts

Toddd Molinari & Francis Dot: apokálypsis: an uncovering
March 13 – April 3, 2021
Astoria Visual Arts
1000 Duane St, Astoria (Fri-Sat 12-4 PM or by appointment, masks and distancing required)

Toddd Molinari and Francis Dot’s apokálypsis: an uncovering is an assemblage installation of multimedia objects that explore space redefined. Our ways of relating to places, objects, and other people shifted with the pandemic in 2020, and continue to shift. In response to these changes, Molinari and Dot think about the “ancient sequence” of apocalypse, negative space, and aesthetic/relational possibilities therein. Catch the exhibition before it closes on April 3! Molinari and Dot also discussed their work with KMUN’s “Arts: Live and Local”; listen here.

Work by Ben Galaday, image courtesy Well Well Projects

What’s So Funny?
April 3 – 25, 2021
Well Well Projects
8371 N Interstate Ave, #1 (open Sat-Sun 12-5 PM)

Well Well Projects’ group exhibition What’s So Funny? breaks silence with a laugh and reflects on the “Lynchian absurdity” of our current world. Featuring eighteen artists based nationwide, the exhibition includes quirky characters and experiments with humor in form, bodily function, wordplay, materiality, and perspective. The nuances of humor are explored in diverse ways by each artist, including Ben Galaday, Jiaqi Li, and Dulce Lamarca.

Work by Kristin Texeira, image courtesy Stephanie Chefas Projects

New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee
April 3, 2021
Stephanie Chefas Projects
305 SE 3rd Ave (by appointment only; schedule here)

New Color in the Times of Slow Coffee is a group exhibition featuring exploratory, collaborative works that Kristin Texeira, Kelsey McClellan, and Michelle Maguire created within a makeshift artists’ residency during 2020 isolation. “Studio space” consisted of snail mail, text messages, video chats, and emails. Inspired by Texeira’s paintings, McClellan and Maguire created a series of photographs, which Texeira then utilized to create responsive paintings. Furthering their collaboration, McClellan and Maguire used Texeira’s resulting paintings to create another responsive series of works. This process of blending works to create a colorful visual conversation helped carry each artist through a year in isolation.

Work by Susan Murrell, image courtesy Carnation Contemporary

If water had its way: Susan Murrell
March 27 – April 11, 2021
Carnation Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave (open Fri-Sun 12-5 PM)

Susan Murrell’s painting-based solo exhibition If water had its way reflects on a charged relationship between water, land, and culture. Viewing water’s potency through the lenses of birth, life, and death, Murrell considers how humans attempt to control water, particularly in an era of climate crisis. Through installations of paintings, she explores inertia, equilibrium, and humanity’s ever-shifting role in the landscape. Murrell is an Associate Professor of Art at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Image courtesy Chehalem Cultural Center and Chachalu Museum

Ikanum: Contemporary Art from the Columbia River and Willamette Valley
April 6 – 30, 2021
Chehalem Cultural Center
415 E Sheridan St, Newberg (Tues-Sat 12-6 PM)

In tandem with the Chachalu Museum in Grand Ronde, the Chehalem Cultural Center will present Ikanum, a group exhibition sharing the stories of thirteen Native artists based in the Columbia River and Willamette Valley areas. Artists featured include Sky Hopinka, a filmmaker whose work was recently featured in the Whitney Biennial, and Shirod Younker, who previously managed the only pre-college Native American Art program for Indigenous teens at Oregon College of Art and Craft.

Image courtesy University of Oregon

Garrick Imatani: Monologue
April 3 – May 1, 2021
ANTI-AESTHETIC
245 W 8th Ave, Eugene (Sat-Sun 12-4 PM; by appointment only, schedule here. Masks and distancing required, limited entry, visits limited to 30 minutes.)

Garrick Imatani’s Monologue examines his own Japanese cultural heritage to consider how perceptions of non-dominant cultural identities are formed. Monologue questions how aesthetics inform assimilation and authenticity within the dominant canon, and looks further at how inclusionary constructs operate in institutional frameworks. Imatani’s interactive, humorous objects encourage a decentralization and multi-faceted reading of varying cultures. A related public program, Making After Melancholia: A discussion between Garrick Imatani, Lynn Yarne and Lu Yim, will consider the cultural representation of each participant’s Asian American identity.

About the author

Lindsay Costello is an experimental artist, poet, and art writer in Portland, Oregon, with an academic background in textile research at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Her critical writing can also be read at Hyperallergic, Art Practical, 60 Inch Center, this is tomorrow, and Textile: Cloth and Culture, among other places. She is the founder of daphne plant poetics, an herbalism project, and soft surface, a digital poetry journal/residency. She is the co-founder of Critical Viewing, an aggregate of art community happenings in the Pacific NorthwestHer artistic practice centers magic and ecology as sources of social and individual strength in textile, sculpture, folkways, and rituals.

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