Portland Center Stage Young Americans Portland Oregon

VizArts Monthly: Invigorate with art

The vibrancy of Portland's art scene is the perfect antidote to a gloomy February. Lindsay Costello gives a run down of the many options.


It’s another gray and rainy February, but this month the Portland art scene is overflowing with new exhibitions, screenings, and lectures to brighten the winter gloom. If you’re more comfortable viewing art from home, be sure to catch Yulia Pinkusevich‘s virtual exhibition at Archer Gallery, and carve out an afternoon to watch PICA’s live stream of We Didn’t Arrive Here Alone, featuring US-based undocumented writers and poets discussing mental health topics. Itching for a safe art outing? Make an appointment to view Hannah Newman’s vibrant Pangea, Shelley Turley’s mysterious Sound of Silence, or any of the other in-person exhibitions listed below.

Work by Hannah Newman, image courtesy Carnation Contemporary
Work by Avantika Bawa, image courtesy AGENDA

Avantika Bawa: Constructing Darkness
February 27 – March 27, 2021
4505 SE Belmont St (by appointment)

In Constructing Darkness, Avantika Bawa explores architecture through site-specific installations of once-utilitarian structures. Bawa shifts colors and forms of the structures in response to her surroundings, creating objects that conjure new possibilities. This exhibition is the fifth of Bawa’s ‘Scaffold Series,’ with earlier iterations installed in India and elsewhere in Oregon. In each installation, Bawa responds to the location’s terrain and limitations caused by the pandemic.

Work by Hannah Newman, image courtesy Carnation Contemporary

Pangea: Hannah Newman
January 23 – February 7, 2021 
Carnation Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave (open Fri-Sun 12 PM – 5 PM or by appointment)

Hannah Newman uses rocks, minerals, sound, and sculpture to reflect on opportunities for new relationships between information, community, and consciousness; the result is a colorful landscape of geologic forms intertwined with technology. Performance artist Leah Wilmoth responds to the exhibition through a dance performance in the gallery space, described as “reinterpreting Pangea through movement.” View the performance on Twitch here.

Work by Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen, image courtesy Congress Yard Projects

hard and SOFT
January 24 – March 21, 2021
Congress Yard Projects
Click here for viewing days and to set an appointment.

Congress Yard Projects’ hard and SOFT will be exhibited until the Spring Equinox, making the most of the winter weather by displaying artworks outdoors and exposed to rain and the elements. Pieces may decay and be transformed. Viewing appointments or opening hours will not be rescheduled for rain or lack of daylight. This approach brings up interesting questions around change, loss, and public art. How does time- and weather-based decay impact our impression of artworks?

Work by Yulia Pinkusevich, image courtesy Archer Gallery

Calm Under the Waves in the Blue of My Oblivion: Yulia Pinkusevich
February 19 – April 18, 2021
Archer Gallery
Virtual (Zoom-based artist talk and opening reception on February 19 at 12 PM; artist workshop on March 12 at 12 PM)

Pinkusevich, who was born in the USSR and relocated to New York during the Soviet Union’s collapse, draws on her indigenous Siberian ancestry for this solo exhibition which focuses on the shamanistic practices of the Sakha region. Through visual environments and expansive drawings, Pinkusevich reflects on Sakha spiritual practices that have become fragmented by settler colonization and her connection to this complex heritage.

Work by Billy White, image courtesy Adams and Ollman

Billy White and Bill Traylor
January 9 – February 6, 2021
Adams and Ollman
418 NW 8th Avenue (by appointment)

In Billy White’s first West Coast solo exhibition, the artist shares a series of bold portraits made from 2016-2019. The results are dynamic and lively, yet hold layers of emotion. Billy White works at Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development (NIAD), a progressive art studio in Richmond, California, that supports the careers of artists with disabilities. Adams and Ollman concurrently presents three works by acclaimed self-taught artist Bill Traylor, who was born into slavery and began drawing at age 85 in Montgomery, Alabama. Traylor’s works sheds significant light on life in Jim Crow-era America.

Work by Jade Novarino and Alix Ryan, image courtesy Well Well Projects

Winnowing: Jade Novarino and Alix Ryan
February 7 – 28, 2021
Well Well Projects 
8371 N Interstate Ave (by appointment)

Winnowing is a site-specific installation drawn from the long-term mail correspondence between artists Alix Ryan and Jade Novarino, reflecting on the materiality of time, space, and memory. This is the second exhibition at Well Well Projects, a new gallery located within the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.

Laura Fritz: Mechanisms of Uncertainty
Lecture, February 11, 4 PM – 5:30 PM
University of Oregon
Click here to register.

White Bird Dance Trinity Irish The Reser Beaverton Oregon

Portland-based artist Laura Fritz explores the “cognition of uncertainty” in her work, which includes sculpture, video, and light. In this free virtual lecture, Fritz will consider the borders between science, nature and superstition, seeking understanding in the unknown by finding connections.

We Didn’t Arrive Here Alone
Screening; February 13, 2 PM – 5 PM
Free livestream on PICAtv.org

On February 13, PICA will live stream We Didn’t Arrive Here Alone, a program featuring US-based undocumented writers and poets discussing mental health topics. The event is free, but 100% of donations to this program will be given to Pueblo Unido and Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project. Guest curated and moderated by poet and speaker Yosimar Reyes and featuring Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, this event is presented in connection with PICA’s current exhibition, We Got Each Other’s Back, by Carlos Motta in collaboration with Heldáy de la Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez.

Works by Shiela Laufer and Charlie Salas-Humara, images courtesy Nationale

Things I Have Seen and Don’t Remember: Shiela Laufer and Charlie Salas-Humara
January 22 – February 28, 2021
15 SE 22nd Ave (Thurs-Mon 11-6, masks and distancing required)

Sheila Laufer and Charlie Salas-Humara cultivate an environment of comfort and calm with Things I Have Seen and Don’t Remember, an exhibition of paintings and monotypes. Salas-Humara buries meanings in his liminal-space paintings, while Laufer’s monotypes bear more resemblance to everyday objects and scenes, creating a serene balance that encourages introspection.

Work by Shelley Turley, image courtesy Holding Contemporary

Shelley Turley: Sound of Silence
February 5 – March 27, 2021
Holding Contemporary
916 NW Flanders (by appointment on Fridays and Saturdays)

Shelley Turley’s paintings, ethereal and light-filled, contain serious themes of mourning, spirituality, and dislocation. The artist is inspired by vintage cookbooks, soap operas, pagan rituals, and more, infusing her works with feisty humor. Paintings for Sound of Silence were created during the pandemic and civil rights uprising, adding a layer of fantasy and spirituality during times of unrest.

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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