VizArts Monthly: Flatness, roundness, and everything between and beyond

The hot days, long nights, and spontaneous trips to the river are here. It’s summer in Portland, no doubt about it. As is tradition, everything happens all at once and there’s no time for anything. First Thursday falls on the first of the month, so why not start your busy summer schedule with an art crawl? If you can’t make it out then, there are a few good shows opening later this month, particularly Stephanie Simek at Melanie Flood.

image courtesy of Private Places

Eclipse: Kelly Akashi and Cayetano Ferrer

July 26 2019 – September 14 2019
Private Places
2400 NE Holladay Street Portland OR 97232

Private Places, a small gallery in the Broadway district known for innovative shows featuring early and mid-career contemporary artists from beyond Portland as well as local talent, describes this show with a sort of poetic materials list:

Terrestrial epiphyte sprouts, screen negative. Steel roots, planular log, silicate stems.
Interlocked breath and pressure—molten glass conformed to a heat-shocked mold of sand and lime. Fissures recomposed under weight of a reclining bell bubble.
Folded furniture and mimetic prosthetic. Compartments and platforms for pattern-impressed vessels, located and rotated, inset and offset.
Orbiting lights, bell body lens, refracting an envelope of rays.

All the pieces in the show are collaborations between artists Kelly Akashi and Cayetano Ferrer. An undisclosed, offsite location houses the second, appointment-only half of the show. Eclipse looks to be both intriguing and cerebral.

Brandi Kruse, File Bluff White

Flat Out: Brandi Kruse

July 20 – August 10
Book launch + poetry reading August 10, 2019 from 6 – 8 PM
Fuller / Rosen Gallery
2505 SE 11th Ave Suite 106

Brandi Kruse’s exhibition is preoccupied with imagined spaces, physical absence, and a unique observation: very few things are actually, truly, flat. Her sculpture and poetry are filled with “compressed and expanded” light, memory, and reflections. Kruse says:

I flatten things every day: my face in mirror images, my body in the shadows, the world through photographs. I have flattened ideas by recording them on pages, in words made of letters, made of lines, shapes without form; seemingly non-dimensional. But they are not formless and they are not without dimension.

The exhibition includes the launch of Kruse’s book of poetry from the show, flat out. You can pre-order the book from Fuller/Rosen now or get a copy at the launch where Kruse will be reading on August 10 from 6 – 8 pm.

Ryan Whelan, Life the Sky soft pastel, acrylic, and casein, 20 x 24 inches

Summer Collective Group Exhibit

July 27 – August 24
Stephanie Chefas Projects
305 SE 3rd Avenue, Suite 202

This group exhibition features new work from nine contemporary artists: Ben Willis, Carissa Potter, Jeffrey Cheung, Laura Berger, Leslie Vigeant, Mako Miyamoto, Maxwell McMaster, Mia Farrington, and Ryan Whelan. Vibrant, sometimes breezy, sometimes funny pieces that overlap with the sensibilities of the design world fill this show. Mako Miyamoto’s photos of a dirtbiker wearing a wookie mask play well with Maxwell McMaster’s LA-sunset-pallette acrylic paintings on found record covers. Meanwhile, Laura Berger’s cut-out style figures and Carissa Potter’s sumi ink paintings accompany the humbly small but beautiful paintings by Ryan Whelan and minimalist abstractions by Mia Farrington.

Tangle by Myra Clark

My Word is Hard to Hear: Mami Takahashi | Pilgrimage: Myra Clark 

July 30 – August 31
Blackfish Gallery
420 NW 9th Ave

Takahashi describes her current project as part of an “ongoing investigation of veiled communication within public space.” “Listening circles” on the floor delinate spaces where listeners to can hear a voice reading poetry in hushed tones that might otherwise be lost among the hubub of a busy gallery. Two different voices read the same poem in different listening circles inviting careful attention from the listeners.

New Blackfish Member Myra Clark will be exhibiting work at the same time. Clark draws on Byzantine icon painting methods, contemporary styles, and found objects to engage with the stories her mother has recounted as she develops dementia. This intimate show reflects on family, spirituality, and aging through its eclectic materials and methods.

One Afternoon in Your Next Reincarnation

Aug 1 6:00 PM – Aug 16 4:00 PM
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
511 NW Broadway

PNCA’s low-residency MFA program is something of a hybrid between a residency program and a traditional MFA. Combining distance-learning and a flexible schedule with intensive residency periods, the program is a different take on the often-costly Master in Fine Arts programs (MFAs) that drive the art world today. Portland artist and curator Srijon Chowdhury has curated the thesis work of the 2019 class for this show. It should be an interesting chance to see work made with Portland in mind while carrying the imprint of sensibilities from beyond the city.

Anne W. Brigman, Infinitude, (1915) platinum print

Toughened to Wind and Sun: Women Photographing the Landscape

Aug 10, 2019 – Mar 8, 2020
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue

Drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition celebrates an exceptional and underrepresented part of photographic history: nature photography by early-twentieth century women. Pictoralist Anne Brigman regularly hiked into the Sierra Nevada mountain range with her medium-format camera to produce some of the most haunting images of the show. “I slowly found my power with the camera among the junipers and tamarack pines of the high, storm-swept altitudes,” said Brigman.
PAM notes that “although women were active in photography from the medium’s earliest period, the terrain beyond the home was the purview of male photographers. Images of hard-to-reach scenic wonders made by men continue to influence our understanding of landscape photography and punctuate its history.” The photographs in this show reveal an important, broader history of outdoor photography. Sara Cwynar, Wendy Red Star, and Penelope Umbrico’s contributions to the exhibition show how women continue to push the boundaries in this field.

Artist Jessi Queen

La Strada dei Pastelli

Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11 from 11:00 am-6:00 pm
Cedar Hills Crossing Shopping Complex
3205 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97005

This is the inaugural event in what the 2D4D arts organization plans to be an annual outdoor chalk drawing festival. With a mission statement that specifically calls out the importance of “bridging interaction between the arts and non-arts communities.” The August event, La Strada Dei Pastelli or “Street of Pastels” is named in honor of the 500-year old tradition of Italian street painting and features fifteen professional chalk artists drawn from around the country who were invited to complete large-scale drawings on the street in 48 hours or less. Free and open to the public, the festival also features musical performances including Portland Opera A La Cart. This is sure to be a family-friendly, fun outdoor event full of art and music.

Stephanie Simek

Stephanie Simek, Installation Detail

August 17- September 14
Melanie Flood Projects
420 SW Washington St., #301

Portland- and Seattle-based artist Stephanie Simek brings her multidisciplinary, sculptural, and scientific experimentation to Melanie Flood Projects later this month. Magnetic phenomena, holograms, lasers, growing cystals, and handmade sound devices are just as likely to appear in Simeks’s shows as are intricate sculptures or succulent plants. Astute gallery-goers might recall her delightful urn that held a crystallized key that could only be viewed in hologram via a convex mirror at the recent PDX Contemporary group show, Speculative Frictions. Don’t miss this chance to see more new work by this talented Northwest artist.

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