VizArts Monthly: September Frenzy

TBA Picks and September gallery shows

September lands with a bang in Portland – PICA’s TBA (Time Based Art) Festival is always a highlight and this year we also have Portland2019, the biennial run by Disjecta. Elsewhere, Nationale has closed their Division location but promises to re-open soon with more exhibition space at 15 SE 22nd, Adams and Ollman will reopen on September 26 after their short vacation, and the Japanese Garden will be hosting their popular Moonviewing Festival. As always, our fine local galleries will be showing some new, interesting work. Here are some highlights, so get out there!

Rodrigo Valenzuela – Road 1, Courtesy of Upfor

RODRIGO VALENZUELA: PAST | PRESENT

Through September 28
Upfor Gallery
929 NW Flanders St 

Valenzuela’s third solo exhibition at Upfor consists of two separate shows, in September and October. Opening on First Thursday in September, Past will feature selected videos and photos from Valenzuela’s major series, made between 2013 and 2018, some of which are concurrently displayed at at the Philips Collection in Washington DC. If you’re unfamiliar with Valenzuela’s work, this show will be an excellent chance to get to know his multi-media approach to observing and documenting our current world, from videos sharing the stories of Latino immigrants to monochromatic photos of urban decay. In October, return to see brand new work that plays with perspective and scale to further interrogate the artist’s subjects.

Courtesy of Ori Gallery

2nd Annual Youth exhibition

Through September 29
Ori Gallery
4038 N Mississippi Ave

This group exhibition of a diverse collection of local youth artists aims to “facilitate & continue the dialogue in what it means for young folks to cultivate an artistic practice,” according to Ori Gallery. Artists include Markayla Ballard, Kayla Brock, Htet Htet Soe, Christian Orellana Bauer, Tania Jaramillo, Kennedy Boswell, and Aiyana McClinton as well as Hobbs Waters, an ambitious, multi-disciplinary artist and dancer already thinking big at the age of 10. A welcome new tradition, this annual show gives viewers a glimpse of the next generation of artistic voices out of Portland.

Maya Vivas, courtesy of the artist

i have no choice but to suck the juice out, and who am i to blame: Maya Vivas

September 4 – 20
Reception: Thursday, September 5, 6-8 PM
Littman + White Galleries 
1825 Southwest Broadway

Ceramic sculptor, performance artist, and co-owner of Ori Gallery Maya Vivas presents a new set of evocative, sculptural work in this show at Littman + White. The flowing forms spring from Vivas’s interest in “absurdity, elegance, carnality, speculative fiction, and body horror” (from their statement). These beguiling objects often feel strangely organic or on the verge of moving.

Installation View of For the Seventh Generation

For the Seventh Generation

Sept 28th and 29th, 2019, 12–6:30 pm
U.S. Post Office on NW Lovejoy and 8th, Portland, OR
Outdoor exhibition by Elizabeth Jones Art Center

This unique project aims to create a mile-long “panomural” of seascapes by dozens of artists that will allow viewers to walk the entirety of the US Pacific coastline, from Mexico to Canada. Seeking to raise awareness of the environmental issues facing our nearest ocean, the project aims to be “conceptually continuous” meaning that West Coast artists will represent every mile of the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts in one way or another, on canvases two by four feet, arranged sequentially until they stretch for a mile. For the final weekend in September, you can catch one third of the mile mural right in the Pearl District as an outdoor exhibition. 

Image by Lynn Yarne

Portland2019

Through November 3
Disjecta
8371 N Interstate Avenue

The fifth biennnial in Disjecta’s tenure of running the Portland Biennial, this survey, co-curated by Yaelle S. Amir, Elisheba Johnson, and Ashley Stull Meyers, highlights visual and performing artists who are “defining and advancing Oregon’s contemporary art landscape,” according to Disjecta. Unlike some previous years, all of the Biennial events this year will be held at Disjecta’s North Portland headquarters, making it a convenient way to see a lot of art in a single space. Artists include Sara Siestreem, Vanessa Renwick, Dru Donovan, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, the Harriet Tubman Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice, and Lynn Yarne.

Three picks for TBA

Eiko Otake courtesy of PICA

A Body in Places: Eiko Otake

Sept 5th 6–8pm – Performance
Sept 5 – Oct 24
PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art & Culture 511 NW Broadway

A Body in Fukushima: Reflections on the Nuclear in Everyday Life

Mon Sept 9, 7 pm
Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium
1219 SW Park, $8–10

Eiko Otake’s return to TBA is one of the most notable performances in the festival this year (she’s on the cover of the guide). Starting in 2014, she has performed variations of her solo project, A Body in Places, at more than 40 locations including some affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. She will be performing work from A Body on opening night of TBA at PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art & Culture. A screening of the artist’s film A Body in Fukushima will be at the Northwest Film Center and then later in the festival she will reveal new work as part of her The Duet Project. With the anticipation swirling around these performances, it could be easy to miss that there are visual art components to her presence at the festival as well as the film and performative elements. PICA hosts multi-channel video of site-specific performances while PNCA’s 511 gallery will show new print and video work, made in collaboration at a residency at the Institute for Electronic Arts. 

Myles De Bastion, courtesy of PICA

CymaSpace: Myles De Bastion

September 12, 10:30pm
PICA
15 NE Hancock St

If you’re questioning whether this musical performance can be considered visual art, then you’re asking the right questions. Founder of Cymaspace, deaf musician, artist, and activist Myles de Bastion wants us to examine our notion of what music is, and expand our sensory experience. The press release describes their performance as using “visual, vibrational, light-based, and other immersive and multi-sensory interpretations and displays of sound.” The light-based apprach includes big, very bright LED panels that blast frequencies we can enjoy with our eyes to complement the soundwaves from the speakers. TBA goes on to say that “this night of performances will create multiple modes and nodes of access for Deaf and Hearing audiences alike…” Viewers with sensitive eyes take note: consider this a visual version of a rock show, so sunglasses could be both fashionable and practical.

Costume from The Dope Elf, courtesy of PICA

The Dope Elf

September 14–22: Public viewing of “The Dope Elf” performance environment
September 14: “The Dope Elf” premier performance, 8pm–10pm, September 15: “The Dope Elf” performance, 8pm–10pm
Yale Union (YU), 800 SE 10th Ave.
$10 suggested donation

Los Angeles playwright Asher Hartman and his company, Gawdafful National Theater, have come to Portland to occupy the Yale Union as part of TBA – literally. Building a makeshift trailer park, the company will live in their creation for the duration of the show while using it as a stage and film set. The YU describes the experience (and it is more of an experience than a performance) as a “whirlwind” and a “multitude of voices, sensorial phenomena, and slippery points-of-view, the play becomes a space to experience an American landscape of aching laughter and psychic pain.” One of the most ambitious shows at the Yale Union to date, and the YU’s first collaboration with TBA, The Dope Elf is sure to be a highlight of the festival.

Comments are closed.