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VizArts Monthly: Photographs in new light

Lindsay Costello has the scoop on July's art offerings in Portland and around the state.


It’s officially summer—let’s dig into some invigorating exhibitions that’ll get us out in the sunshine. This month, photography is the name of the game, but unconventional methods and fresh themes push the medium forward. Bean Gilsdorf’s photo-based sculptures look closely at society’s constructions of archetypes, while Ricardo Nagaoka‘s rich black-and-white compositions examine patriarchy and masculinity in domestic realms. Nicola López’s cyanotypes blend organic and architectural forms, and Perspectives, a survey of work by BIPOC photographers who documented Black Lives Matter protests, opens at Portland Art Museum this month.

If you like your visual art with a heaping dose of context, don’t miss PNCA’s Low Residency Visual Studies (LRVS) Lecture Series. On Tuesdays in July, PNCA will present public visiting artist lectures as part of their LRVS program, including talks with Hmong photographer Pao Houa Her, field recording artist Aki Onda, critical writer Amber Husain, and local favorite Jessica Jackson Hutchins. You can attend in-person or catch the lectures livestreamed on Zoom.

Work by Lori Damiano, image courtesy Stumptown Coffee

Lori Damiano: Terrestrial Broadcast
April 28 – July 26
Stumptown Coffee
128 SW 3rd Ave, Portland (daily, 7 am – 5 pm)

Lori Damiano’s narrative-driven paintings celebrate humankind, but her process of drawing inspiration from humans “out in the wild” was hindered during pandemic isolation. Terrestrial Broadcast pulls from the unexpected experience, imagining new ways that figures might experience solitude with a sense of pleasure. Damiano’s paintings are heavily inspired by her animation practice, suggesting movement and chronology in stasis, and the place-based prints shown alongside the paintings for this exhibition can be activated via augmented reality.

Work by Bean Gilsdorf, image courtesy of the artist

Bean Gilsdorf: Some Women
July 8-30
Nine Gallery
122 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Wed-Sat 12-5 pm)

In the past, multimedia artist Bean Gilsdorf has worked with imagery of sociopolitical icons, sewing the idols of American exceptionalism into slumping soft sculpture forms. This time around, Gilsdorf gathered imagery of women convicted of violent crimes, creating photo-based sculptures to develop a complex, layered relationship between object and image. The results are archetypal of society’s strange, problematic relationship with these women—we’re disturbed, yet can’t look away.

Work by Andrea Joyce Heimer, image courtesy Schneider Museum of Art

Indie Folk: New Art and Sounds from the Pacific Northwest
June 17 – August 13
Schneider Museum of Art
555 Indiana St, Ashland (Tue–Sat 10 am – 4 pm)


Washougal Art & Music Festival

Informed by the Pacific Northwest’s diverse art ecology, which encompasses Indigenous, rural, folk art, and craft practices, this exhibition blurs boundaries between fine art and functional forms in a nod to an “unpretentious” handmade aesthetic. The regional artists featured—including Marita Dingus, Warren Dykeman, Joe Feddersen, Blair Saxon-Hill, Whiting Tennis, and Cappy Thompson—bring a wide range of viewpoints to the exhibit’s make-do feel, and Mississippi Records’ curated playlist fills the gallery with local indie-folk sounds.

Work by Ricardo Nagaoka, image courtesy Melanie Flood Projects

Ricardo Nagaoka:⁣⁣⁣⁣ at last, I see you
June 25 – July 23
Melanie Flood Projects
420 SW Washington St #301, Portland (Fri-Sat 12-5 pm or by appointment)

Curated by Yaelle S. Amir, Ricardo Nagaoka’s first US solo exhibition delves into Asian representations of masculinity and patriarchal structures in domestic spaces. A descendent of Japanese immigrants, Nagaoka has lived in Paraguay, Canada, and the US. The artist’s works often grapple with tangled concepts of home and selfhood.

Work by Emery Barnes, image courtesy Portland Art Museum

July 16 – November 13
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland (Wed-Sun 10 am – 5 pm)

Perspectives zooms in on the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, paying homage to a critical moment in social justice history and spotlighting Portland’s role in an ongoing struggle against white supremacy. Over 60 works by local BIPOC photographers are on display for this exhibition, including deeply impactful images by Emery Barnes, Joseph Blake, Linneas Boland-Godbey, Daveed Jacobo, Mariah Harris, and Byron Merritt.

Work by Nicola López, image courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Nicola López: Neither There nor Here
July 13 – August 27
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 NW 9th Avenue, Portland (Tues-Sat 10:30 am – 5:30 pm)

New York-based artist Nicola López shares drawings, works on paper, cyanotypes, and a 4-channel video installation for Neither There nor Here, an exploration of landscape and architecture that layers imagery to create fresh concepts of “place.” López’s ten-foot LandForm drawings are graphite rubbings that feel spontaneous, yet familiar; in her cyanotypes and stop-motion video projections, she blends natural and architectural forms to create lively hybrid compositions.


Washougal Art & Music Festival

Work by Molly Alloy, image courtesy Fuller Rosen Gallery

Molly Alloy and Arielle Zamora: Held Tight
June 4 – August 7
Fuller Rosen Gallery
1928 NW Lovejoy St, Portland (Thur-Sun 12-5 pm or by appointment)

Molly Alloy and Arielle Zamora’s dual exhibition is also Fuller Rosen’s last—they’re hitting the road to reopen in Philadelphia. (We’ll miss their thoughtful offerings to the Portland art ecosystem!) In Held Tight, Alloy and Zamora take radically different approaches to form; Zamora is exacting and intricate in her painted responses to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, while Alloy’s driftwood and leather sculptures are inherently naturalistic and contemplative of “collective queer immortality.”

Work by Bill Traylor, image courtesy lumber room

fore x four
July 16 – September 24
lumber room
419 Northwest 9th Ave, Portland (Fri 12-6 pm or by appointment)

Guided by a year-long, creative conversation between artists Diedrick Brackens and D’Angelo Lovell Williams, curator Ashley Stull Meyers, and collector Sarah Miller Meigs, fore x four is an addendum to Brackens and Williams’s The Quick, further exploring concepts of support, caretaking, and love. This exhibition isn’t one to miss. You’ll find major artists like Etel Adnan, Christo, Lonnie Holley, Ana Mendieta, Pipilotti Rist, Bill Traylor, and many others represented here, and psychedelic instrumentalist Laraaji will perform for the evening opening on July 16.

Work by Renata Cassiano-Alvarez, image courtesy Eutectic Gallery

Renata Cassiano-Alvarez: Siempre Voy a Volver
June 3 – July 15
Eutectic Gallery
1930 NE Oregon St, Portland (Tues-Fri by appointment)

Informed by her Latin American heritage and the work of her archaeologist parents (cool!), Renata Cassiano-Alvarez views objects as artifacts with the potential for deep significance. Her approach to objects honors their dual nature—they can be emblematic of endurance or vulnerability, permanence or ephemerality. In Siempre Voy a Volver, Cassiano-Alvarez continues to think about dualities; her ceramics practice honors both the transformative and grounding nature of the medium.

Image courtesy Chehalem Cultural Center

Northwest Woodfire Conference and East Creek presents: A Retrospective of East Creek, Landscapes, and Platters
June 3 – July 29
Chehalem Cultural Center, Parrish Gallery
415 E Sheridan St, Newberg (Tue-Sat 9 am – 6 pm)


CMNW Summer Festival SB FIXED #1, TP, Top

This exhibition honors the exciting work made at East Creek, a community art studio and retreat in the coastal mountain region of Oregon. What makes the community special? Well, their traditional Japanese anagama kiln is a standout—the first of its kind west of the Mississippi, the kiln was built in 1983, bringing wood-fired ceramics education to the West Coast. Stop by the show to view works by East Creek artists, plus juried selections of landscapes and platters.

Image courtesy Performance Works NorthWest

Linda Austin: 3 miles of possible (the first 2 miles)
July 18, 20, and 22
Performance Works NorthWest
4625 SE 67th Ave, Portland

Begun in fall 2021, Linda Austin’s 3 miles of possible continues with a second set of performances. In a world where fluctuation and change are the norm, the lauded movement artist explores “the possible” through this series of durational solo performances wherein she travels along spiral paths, tracking her mileage along the way. The paths are marked by moments of choreography, text, sound, and visual interventions, each developing Austin’s utopian vision.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

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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