It’s cold. It’s dark. What better time to engage with some abstract art?! If you’re anything like me, you find this premise exciting. (Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you just want to sip hot cocoa and browse booths of pretty handmade artwork this month. I hear you. Scroll to the bottom of this article for a list of holiday art markets at museums, galleries, and local studios.)
But back to the art exhibitions! We’ve got some challenging ones this month, folks. We’ve got Graham Collins’s “histrionic minimalism” at SE Cooper Contemporary; we’ve got Jess Perlitz’s explorations of emptiness at HOLDING; we’ve got Will Rawls’s print meditations on the politics of movement at Adams and Ollman. We’ve got PNCA’s graduate symposium on DIY aesthetics and politics. And if you’re in need of some color, never fear—Rainen Knecht at Melanie Flood has you covered. Read on.
Rainen Knecht: Total Catastrophe Living
November 19 – December 17
Melanie Flood Projects
420 SW Washington St #301, Portland (Fri-Sat 12-5 pm and by appointment)
Rainen Knecht brings her beguiling aesthetic of “dread and delight” to new heights in Total Catastrophe Living, a solo exhibition of large-scale paintings that stay true to her ongoing themes of motherhood, destruction, folk figures, and pop culture. Knecht’s elongated figures are engrossing, gruesome, and delightful, like reading a story about a witch you secretly love.
Graham Collins: Scenics
November 5 – December 10
SE Cooper Contemporary
6901 SE 110th Ave, Portland (Sat 11 am – 5 pm or by appointment)
DC-born artist Graham Collins’s “histrionic minimalism” takes center stage in Scenics, a solo exhibition of paintings on ceramic supports covered in hemp linen and casein paint (a nod to scenic painters and the history of prop-making). Collins’s nuanced works must be seen in person to appreciate their embedded content, ideally from multiple angles–he makes use of the sides of his canvases to develop a sense of “forensic architecture”. Don’t miss the artist’s large-scale textile piece adorning the gallery’s entryway; dyed with marigold flowers, the work shirks rigidity in a reference to the ebb and flow of painterly process.
Graduate Symposium 2022: Do-It-Yourself/Do-It-Ourselves
Pacific Northwest College of Art
511 NW Broadway, Portland
Don’t miss PNCA’s three-day graduate symposium this weekend, which will center all things DIY culture and look closely at themes of anti-capitalism, queer and trans DIY scenes, Indigeneity, punk, social practice, DIY in counterpublics, and more. Explorations will include an art exhibition, workshops, a zine fair, and keynote talks with Mohawk multimedia artist Skawennati and Navajo transdisciplinary artist Demian DinéYazhi’, with an eye toward DIY in the Pacific Northwest in the wake of the pandemic.
Jess Perlitz: Glory Glory
October 28 – December 17
916 NW Flanders St, Portland (Fri-Sat 12-5 pm and by appointment)
Portland-based sculptural artist, Lewis & Clark professor, and trained clown(!) Jess Perlitz thinks carefully about the body in social space in Glory Glory, her second solo exhibition at HOLDING. In a twist on her penchant for works that engage the body physically, Perlitz’s new pieces “never directly engage but rather always imply,” exploring notions of emptiness, erasure, surrogacy, and prosthesis. (Expect holes!)
What’s Past is Prologue
November 29 – December 31
938 NW Everett St, Portland
To inaugurate their new Everett Street location (which is walking distance from their old haunt on NW 9th Avenue), Blackfish will present this retrospective exhibition of works by longtime collaborators Barbara Black, the gallery’s current owner, and former owner Angela Passalacqua. Inspired by mythology, surreal imagery, and gestural immediacy, the duo will share career-spanning works alongside sculptural artist Barbara Conyne.
Will Rawls: Amphigory
October 29 – December 3
Adams and Ollman
418 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Weds-Sat 11 am – 4 pm)
Catch the tail end of Will Rawl’s Amphigory (perhaps after stopping by PNCA’s symposium) at Adams and Ollman this weekend. Rawls, who is an assistant professor of choreography at UCLA, presents this solo exhibition to further consider the politics of movement and language, inspired by his decades-long performance art career. Comprised mainly of screen prints with abstracted letters, Amphigory grapples with fluctuation, negotiation, incoherence, abstraction, and the notion of the avatar-like “printed body.” Lucy Cotter reviewed this show for Oregon ArtsWatch.
Nicole Williford: memoir
November 4, 2022 – March 7, 2023
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
128 SW 3rd Ave, Portland (Open daily, 7 am – 5 pm)
At once shadowy and sun-drenched, Nicole Williford’s memoir explores her grandfather’s collection of family photographs, blending representational and interpretive aesthetics to reflect on complicated familial histories. Williford’s style evokes a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era through aged, sepia-like tones and hints of mystery.
November 16, 2022 – January 14, 2023
1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver (Tues-Sat 11 am – 5 pm)
Amplifying the perspectives of female, Black, and Latinx artists, Claiming Space includes works by local heavy hitters Elizabeth Malaska, Jeremey Okai Davis, V. Maldonado, and Michelle Ross. While Malaska channels painting as protest, Maldonado creates abstracted depictions of family members; Ross experiments with spatial disruption and tension, and Davis revisits thorny notions of “sportsmanship” that he recently investigated in A Good Sport at Elizabeth Leach Gallery.
time/space screening series: THE LAND
November 11 – December 8
Eugene Contemporary Art
Eugene Contemporary Art’s time/space artist film and video screening series, which centers moving image works by Pacific Northwest artists curated by Portland-based filmmaker Julie Perini, continues this month. Available to screen via YouTube until December 8, THE LAND compiles seven films that think carefully about landscape and human-land relationships through rich soundscapes and imagery. Featured artists include Melina Kiyomi Coumas, Julia Oldham, and others.
In the Arena: Photographs from America’s Only Touring Black Rodeo
November 19, 2022 – June 25, 2023
High Desert Museum
59800 US-97, Bend (Open daily, 10 am – 4 pm through March 31 and 9 am – 5 pm starting April 1)
Although Black cowboy culture dates back to the 1860s, the rich history of these vital figures in the American West often goes untold. Enter Gabriela Hasbun, a Bay Area photographer who documented the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo. Founded in 1984 as the only touring Black rodeo in the country, Bill Picket continues to help bolster Black cowboy culture and keep it alive; learn more about it through this selection of imagery by Hasbun, which includes snapshots of fashionable young competitors.
cortney morentin: Mujer
December 3, 2022 – January 1, 2023
Well Well Projects
8371 N Interstate Ave #1, Portland (December 3-11 Sat-Sun 12-5 pm; December 17-January 1 by appointment)
In Mujer, artist cortney morentin uses print, textile, video, and installations as mediums to explore soft, fluid, and feminine aesthetics that often go “overlooked or overshadowed.” Curated by Luiza Lukova, the LA-based artist’s solo exhibition invites visitors to bring a printed image of someone in their lives that “embodies the energy” of Mujer for an ofrenda on opening night.
And, as promised, some holiday art markets:
Sitka Center Pop-Up Print Sale
jdc Fine Art, November 4 – December 18, Fri – Sun 11 am – 5 pm
Oregon Contemporary First Saturday and Holiday Art Sale
Oregon Contemporary, December 3, 5-8 pm
Ditch Projects, December 3-4, 12-5 pm
Winter Arts & Crafts Sale
Multnomah Arts Center, December 1-3, hours vary
Mike Bennett’s Snow Day
The Cleaners at Ace Hotel, through December 31
Omiyage Holiday Store
Japanese American Museum of Oregon, November 25 – December 23, Thurs-Sun 11 am – 3 pm
Open Studios and Holiday Market
NW Marine Art Works, December 4, 10 am – 4 pm