Chamber Music Northwest Lincoln Recital Hall Portland State University Portland Oregon

VizArts Monthly: Innovation and Representation

Lindsay Costello highlights February's not-to-be-missed art offerings. Possibilities include visual explorations of identity construction, the potentials of cast-off materials, and imagined worlds.

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Innovation is the name of the game this month, with artists working to expand viewer expectations while emphasizing vital issues of the moment. GLEAN’s Artist-In-Residence Exhibition demonstrates just how much can be achieved with materials gathered from the Metro dump, and at PCC’s Paragon Arts Gallery, animations from a VR experience aim to increase awareness of tech addiction. High Desert Museum focuses on the history of “ideal” communities this month while spotlighting Native artists contemplating Indigenous futurisms.

Increased LGBTQ+ representation is also a theme within this month’s exhibitions. Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU has To Survive on This Shore focuses on the histories and portraits of older transgender people, while Eugene Contemporary Art presents a group show of works by Tropical Contemporary’s Transformation Residency participants. Read on for more information on these compelling, boundary-pushing events.

Work by Brianna Spencer, image courtesy Stephanie Chefas Projects

Modern Folk
January 22 – February 19, 2022
Stephanie Chefas Projects
305 SE 3rd Avenue, Ste 202, Portland (Thurs-Sat 1 PM – 6 PM)

This group exhibition centers the works of five West Coast artists who voice their cultural identities through folk art practices. Briana Spencer, Deedee Cheriel, Gina M. Contreras, Kellen Chasuk, and Lisa Congdon draw on a range of influences for Modern Folk—California street art, punk rock, 90s DIY culture, Chicana culture, modern lowbrow, and humor—to create an exhibition that feels graphic and vibrant.

Work by Sarah Wertzberger, image courtesy Holding Contemporary

Winter Formal
January 14 – February 12, 2022
Holding Contemporary
916 NW Flanders Street, Portland (Fri-Sat 12 PM – 5 PM)

Winter Formal gathers works by Emily Bixler, Jovencio de la Paz, Kassandra Howk, Kellie Romany, Stacy Jo Scott, and Sarah Wertzberger to accentuate the formal elements of each artist’s practice. Materiality, shape, color, and mark-making are brought to the forefront here, shown through the diverse mediums of each featured artist. Sculptural works, prints, paintings, and hung textiles demonstrate the ways in which distinct aesthetics can convey deeper intent.

Work by Olivia Faith Harwood, image courtesy Fuller Rosen Gallery

Olivia Faith Harwood: Possessions, Possessions
January 29 – March 13, 2022
Fuller Rosen Gallery
1928 NW Lovejoy Street, Portland (Thurs-Sun 12 PM – 5 PM)

Portland-based Harwood’s solo exhibition at Fuller Rosen delves into the complex constructions of identity in adolescence. Harwood’s painting series constructs a paranormal world through imagery pulled from the occult and feminist horror, plus plenty of creepy-crawly creatures. Dreamlike yet still anchored in reality (many of the objects seen in Harwood’s paintings are from her own collections), Possessions, Possessions considers the inner and outer realms of selfhood during a perilous time.

Work by Yang Fudong, image courtesy Zena Zezza

Yang Fudong: from Yejiang/The Nightman Cometh to Dawn Breaking
October 23, 2021 – February 26, 2022
Hallock-McMillan Building, curated by Zena Zezza
237 SW Naito Parkway, Portland (by appointment Thurs-Fri, 2 PM – 5 PM; Saturday screenings at 3 PM and 5 PM)

Zena Zezza’s latest Artist Project Season, showcasing the works of Shanghai-based artist and filmmaker Yang Fudong, ends late this month. This programming, comprised of an installation alongside three short films, marks the first presentation of Fudong’s works in the US. Additional Saturday screenings throughout the season have included other film works by Fudong, who references his formal education in Chinese landscape painting to engage with complexities of Chinese history, identity, and modernity.

Work by Jess T. Dugan, image courtesy Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults
February 8 – April 30, 2022
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU
1855 SW Broadway, Portland (Tues-Sat 11 AM – 5 PM)

Photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre collaborated on this exhibition to highlight representations of older transgender people, a demographic often hidden or obscured in modern culture. Dugan and Fabbre documented the stories of their photographed subjects, gathering diverse accounts spanning the last 90 years of trans experience and activism in the United States. This collection of portraits and stories aims to illustrate the nuanced, complex journey of aging while trans.

Image courtesy High Desert Museum

Imagine a World
January 29 – September 25, 2022
High Desert Museum
59800 US-97, Bend (open daily 10 AM – 4 PM)

High Desert Museum’s new exhibition explores the history of “ideal” societies in the American West and encourages interactivity by inviting viewers to contribute their own concepts of utopia. The exhibition considers specific ecological, spiritual, and communal philosophies around intentional communities, including Oregon’s infamous Rajneeshpuram. Imagine a World also highlights Native artists working through the lens of Indigenous futurism to intertwine science fiction, cosmologies, oral traditions, and more.

Sponsor
Cascadia Composers Music Concert Portland State University Lincoln Hall Portland Oregon
Work by Mariam Ghani, image courtesy Schneider Museum of Art

Mariam Ghani: Partial Reconstructions
February 1 – March 19, 2022
Schneider Museum of Art
555 Indiana St, Ashland (Tues-Thurs 10 AM – 4 PM)

Filmmaker, writer, and artist Mariam Ghani creates work that examines the places in which sociopolitical and cultural structures take visible shape. She often engages in long-term collaborations, including ongoing critical, curatorial, conservation, and creative work with national film archive Afghan Films. Her first feature-length film, the critically-acclaimed documentary What We Left Unfinished, premiered at the 2019 Berlinale. To learn more about Ghani’s work and Partial Reconstructions, tune in for her Creative Industries Zoom Discussion on February 3.

Month of Sundays
January 15 – February 27, 2022
Eugene Contemporary Art
245 W 8th Ave, Eugene (Sat-Sun 12 PM – 4 PM)

Tropical Contemporary’s innovative Transformation Residency Program has helped enhance resources and opportunities for transgender and gender-diverse artists since 2020. While the program was planned pre-COVID, the residency and its participants were bound to challenging pandemic constraints. Now, the ten artists who participated in the program—Carina Borealis, Princess Bouton, Francis Dot, Irene June, Remy Malik, Oliver Myhre, Julia O., Eel Probably, Pace Taylor, and Ty Warren—assemble to present works together for the first time. Themes include meditations on rural gay identity, intimacy, and queer touch, explored through varying mediums like assemblage and installation.

Work by Jeremy Rotsztain, image courtesy Paragon Arts Gallery

Jeremy Rotsztain: Walking a Turtle
January 19 – February 28, 2022
Paragon Arts Gallery, Portland Community College – Cascade Campus
815 N. Killingsworth St. Portland (window exhibition)

Artist and software programmer Jeremy Rotsztain’s Walking a Turtle explores awareness, attentiveness, and digital distraction via a window exhibition at Paragon Arts Gallery. The exhibition consists of animated screen recordings taken from Rotsztain’s Walking a Turtle VR experience, which transports participants to 19th century Paris, where they go on a walk with a turtle in a nod to flȃneur practices of the time period. In the full VR experience, the participant must increasingly avoid distraction while on the walk with the turtle. In this way, Rotsztain emphasizes the “dark UX patterns” of pervasive technologies that encourage addictive, reward-seeking behavior. The full Walking a Turtle VR experience will be available on commercial VR platforms in Spring 2022.

GLEAN Artist-In-Residence Exhibition
January 21 – February 25, 2022
Maddox Building
1231 NW Hoyt St. Suite 102, Portland (Fri-Sun 12 PM – 5 PM)

Each year, juried art program GLEAN invites five artists to spend five months contemplating consumption habits, waste, and discarded resources by making artworks with materials collected from the Metro Central Transfer Station (“the dump”). GLEAN’s current Artist-In-Residence Exhibition highlights works created by the program’s 2021 cohort, including Caryn Aasness, Colin Kippen, Jessica (Tyner) Mehta, Malia Jensen, and Willie Little, and demonstrates how each artist made the most of “dump” materials provided through mediums like video and ceramics.

Lindsay Costello is an experimental artist and 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 Papers, Art Practical, 60 Inch Center, this is tomorrow, and Textile: Cloth and Culture, among other places. She is the founder of 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, ecology, and folkways in social practice, writing, sculpture, and installation.

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Cascadia Composers Music Concert Portland State University Lincoln Hall Portland Oregon
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Oregon Repertory Singers Glory of Christmas Portland Oregon
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