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VizArts Monthly: Prints and strands

November sweeps in the wet and cold but there is plenty to relish in this month's offerings. Jason N. Le introduces a vibrant array of art to encounter.

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Well readers, fall is officially here. As I write this, I’m glancing out the window of my workspace in northeast Portland at what may be the last bit of sun (which jestfully masks the cold wind!) before days of gray and rain are upon us, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. But despite the rain and cold weather, fall brings us so many wonderful things– fiery and fierce splashes of reds, oranges, and yellows as leaves on the tree turn; constant and persistently good excuses for always having warm, fresh baked goods at the ready; and endless opportunities to enjoy being cozy. Which, for me at least, involves surrounding oneself with one’s favorite things. 

Maybe I’ve subconsciously started preparing for the height of fall with this month’s listings. That is, they seem to involve a lot of my personal favorite things. The Stone Path at Archer Gallery and Mundos posibles / Possible Worlds at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU, for example, remind me of my background in printmaking that originally brought me to Portland, especially my training in traditional lithography. Once upon a time I had a dream of being a Tamarind Institute printer, and secretly I don’t think that dream ever left me! Darryl Baird’s photography of the Oregon coast exhibited this month at Olive Street Gallery and Yellena James’s Weightless at Chefas Projects remind me of how stunningly powerful the ocean is, how sublime it is to see the land meet the sea and be reminded of just how big the Earth is. The 2023 fellows of the Drinking Gourd Fellowship, who are exhibiting work at Oregon Contemporary, echo the joy of community building, mutual uplifting, and celebration.

And so, readers, with that I hope you also surround yourself with your favorite things to keep you cozy as we go further into fall!

Work by Natalie Ball. Image courtesy Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts.

The Stone Path
Natalie Ball, Demian DinéYazhi’, Vanessa Enos, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Lillian Pitt, Wendy Red Star, Jeremy Red Star Wolf, Marie Watt
November 15, 2023 – January 24, 2024
Archer Gallery
1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663 (Mon – Sat 11am – 5pm) 

The Stone Path, a touring exhibition presented by Art in Oregon and curated by Selena Jones, Owen Premore, and Tammy Jo Wilson, makes a stop at Archer Gallery of Clark College. The exhibition features eight former Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts artists-in-residence, each of whom collaborated with CSIA’s master printer to produce unique editioned lithographs. The exhibition’s title, The Stone Path, references the large slabs of limestone traditionally used for the printing matrix in lithography. Works from each artist’s general body of work will be on display and complement the CSIA print work. Additionally, Archer Gallery will host virtual artist talks with participating artists Ka’ila Farrell-Smith on Monday, November 20 at 11am and Demian DinéYazhi’ on Tuesday, November 21 at 11am.

Documentation of Imprenta móvil (2010-ongoing), Nuria Montiel. Photo by Diego Pérez. Image courtesy the artist.

Mundos posibles / Possible Worlds
Nuria Montiel
October 12 – December 2
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU
1855 SW Broadway, Portland (Tues, Weds, Fri, Sat 11am – 5pm; Thurs 11am – 7pm)

Since 2010, artist Nuria Montiel has pushed a self-contained, makeshift print studio built into a mobile cart across Mexico City as part of an ongoing participatory project titled Imprenta móvil (Mobile Press)  that invites passersby to create prints reflecting on pressing social and political issues. Curated by PSU professor Dr. Alberto McKelligan Hernández, Mundos posibles / Possible Worlds, presents an extensive body of documentation of Imprenta móvil’s past iterations and projects, including a new series of prints produced in collaboration between students of the Universidad de las Américas Puebla in Mexico and PSU. As part of the exhibition’s programming, a public conversation between Montiel, Dr. McKelligan Hernández, Alejandra Arias Sevilla of Mullowney Printing, and artist V. Maldonado will be held on Thursday, November 16 at 5pm.

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Image courtesy Nat Turner Project.

Drinking Gourd Fellowship 2
hiba ali, bitter camari, Adia Gibbs, Nike Ozaki, Lalo Perez
November 3, 2023 – January 7, 2024
Oregon Contemporary
8371 North Interstate Ave, Portland (Fri – Sun 12pm – 5pm)

Nat Turner Project celebrates its second year of the Drinking Gourd Fellowship, created to support Portland-based BIPOC artists of any age and experience by providing avenues for critical conversations, studio visits, and grant funding. The exhibition serves as the culmination of the 2023 fellowship cycle and is the presentation of the fellows’ work in sculpture, photography, sound, video and other media across varying yet intersecting themes: Lalo Perez explores identity and community through their film documentation of queer Chicanx life, for example, whereas Nike Ozaki considers fantasy and speculation with Afrofuturistic intergalactic illustration.

Work by M. Shoki Tanabe. Image courtesy Salem on the Edge.

New Works
M. Shoki Tanabe
November 1 – 25
Salem on the Edge
156 Liberty St. NE, Salem (Wed – Thurs 11am – 5:30pm; Fri – Sat 11am – 6pm; Sun 12pm – 4pm)

With a series of new mixed media drawings, M. Shoki Tanabe conceptually explores the functional (and perhaps paradoxical) act of sitting– an action that at once offers opportunities for work and rest, all the while forcing the body to halt other activities. The works are bold and unafraid of color and texture, tapping visually into a lineage of abstraction that makes one think of Joan Miró’s drawings mixed with a bit of Fauvist influence (namely in the use of color!). Alongside Tanabe, Salem on the Edge presents a series of mixed media works by Leonard Harmon. Both artists will be at the gallery for an opening reception on Friday, November 3 from 5-8pm.

Work by Jenine Marsh. Image courtesy ILY2.

I am a city of bones
Dylan Beckman, Morgan Buck, Corinne Hamilton, Timothy Yanick Hunter, Juliana Huxtable, Mona Kowalska, Jenine Marsh, Martin Soto Climent, Pace Taylor, Isabel Yellin
November 10, 2023 – January 13, 2024
ILY2
925 NW Flanders St., Portland (Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm)

ILY2’s winter exhibition, I am a city of bones, features an impressive group of ten artists of national and international acclaim. The exhibition takes its name from a poem by Afaa Michael Weaver in which they describe their body as “a city of bones / deep inside my marrow.” The focus here is on contemplations and explorations of the word body in multiple uses–as an abstract concept, a poetic metaphor, or as a singular entity. While some works directly reference and represent the body, others push into pure abstraction, working to expand thoughts on what the body is, does, and contains.

Work by Yellena James. Photo by Mario Gallucci. Image courtesy Chefas Projects.

Weightless
Yellena James
October 20 – November 18
Chefas Projects
134 SE Taylor St., Suite 203, Portland (Wed – Sat 12pm – 6pm)

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Oregon Cultural Trust

Chefas Projects presents Weightless, Yellena James’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery, in which James continues with her signature amorphous, flowing forms in rich color that evoke alien-like abstract dreamscapes. This show’s iteration features two contrasting yet symbiotic approaches in James’s style: the first gallery focuses on deep oceanic blues and greens contrasted with carefully dispersed luminescent marks of white that reinforce an elegant yet ominous atmosphere of deep-sea life. The second gallery takes an airy approach with semitransparent peaches, oranges, pinks, and violets that play lightly with negative space to produce feelings of levity.

Work by Darryl Baird. Image courtesy Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.

The Photography of Darryl Baird
Darryl Baird
November 1, 2023 – January 21, 2024
Olive Street Gallery, Newport Performing Arts Center
777 W. Olive Street, Newport (Tues – Fri 10am – 5pm)

Olive Street Gallery, part of the Newport Performing Arts Center, presents an exhibition of recent photographs by Darryl Baird. Baird served as the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (YHONA) Artist-in-Residence for three weeks in the summer of 2023 and produced a series of photographs inspired by the awe Oregon coast. Baird describes the coast as “the edge of land’s intersection with the sea.” In addition to pursuing his artistic practice, Baird aided in the development of creative projects that would work to promote public stewardship of the area’s natural and cultural resources. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday November 1 from 5:30-7pm, where Baird will speak about his residency and work.

Work by Stephen Hayes. Image courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery.

a democracy of images
Stephen Hayes
November 2 – December 30
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 NW 9th Ave, Portland (Tues – Sat 10:30am – 5:30pm)

Elizabeth Leach Gallery welcomes back Stephen Hayes for a solo exhibition titled a democracy of images. Hayes draws on Google Earth images as his source material to create impressionistic landscapes, each rendered with an almost plein-air-like immediacy. His use of the digital satellite service is not simply a matter of convenience, but the entry point for the exhibition’s concept: images of places such as Ukraine or Kenya date all the way back to 2003, clearly not reflecting these locations’ contemporary states. Through painting these places, Hayes raises questions about relationships between beauty, democracy, truth, and distraction. While you’re there, be sure to check out Malia Jensen’s Look Out, a new exhibition of sculptural ceramic work that considers our formidable oceans and the forces that animate and imperil them.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Headshot of Jason N. Le.

Jason N. Le (they/them) is a Vietnamese American writer, thinker, and curator based in Portland, Oregon. Their academic background lies in art history and critical theory, focused on postwar American art, identity politics, performance theory, and the genealogy of arts criticism. They hold degrees from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland State University, and their other critical arts writing can be found at Art & About PDX.

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