Portland Opera Puccini

VizArts Monthly: Spirit lifters and tech experiments

January's art offerings are the perfect antidote to the gray skies. Lindsay Costello surveys what's on view in this month's VizArts Monthly.


January may conjure images of balled-up wrapping paper and Christmas trees chucked in the trash, but artists understood the assignment this month—prepare for spirit-lifting hues and expansive, tech-driven work. And if your New Year’s resolution is to see more art, you’ve come to the right place. This month’s roundup includes everything from Botticelli (yeah, that one!) at the Portland Art Museum to site-specific video sculptures at Oregon Contemporary. Are art talks and workshops more your speed? Scroll to the bottom of this article for a list of community offerings, interactive events, and more.

Work by Faig Ahmed, image courtesy Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Weaving Data
January 24 – April 29
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Portland State University
1855 SW Broadway, Portland (reopens January 24)

Beloved regional textile artists like Jovencio de la Paz, Kayla Mattes, and Shelley Socolofsky will strut their tactile stuff alongside art stars like Joan Truckenbrod and Faig Ahmed for this exhibition, which lays bare the amazing advancements in weaving technology over the last few centuries. From the Jacquard process of the 19th century to the contemporary TC2 loom, weavers have endless options for tech-driven self-expression. Whether or not you’re a fibers fan, don’t miss the complex woven works in this exhibition—you’ll likely come away amazed by the variations in process.

Work by Fernanda D’Agostino, image courtesy Oregon Contemporary

Fernanda D’Agostino: Chrysalis (Generativity)
January 27 – March 5
Oregon Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave, Portland (Fri-Sun 12-5 pm)

Inspired by the nests of tent caterpillars(!), Fernanda D’Agostino’s Chrysalis (Generativity) uses innovative coding and MadMapper to create video projections alongside tactile sculptures created with netting and found branches. The solo installation exhibition comes as part of Site, Oregon Contemporary’s ongoing series of “site-specific large-scale solo exhibitions by artists of the Pacific Northwest.”

Work by Deborah-Joyce Holman, image courtesy Oregon Contemporary

The shape of memory
January 27 – March 19
Oregon Contemporary
8371 N Interstate Ave, Portland (Fri-Sun 12-5 pm)

Victoria Anne Reis and manuel arturo abreu (aka home school) present the second exhibition in their curatorial residency at Oregon Contemporary this month. The shape of memory, featuring works by Portland Backyard Art Group, Portugal-based artist Dozie Kanu, Johannesburg-based artist Nkhensani Mkhari, and several others, investigates “the slippage between symbol and sigil,” probing the potent topic wirth found materials, audiovisual collages, and portals.


Seattle Repertory Theatre Fat Ham

Work by Amirah Chatman and Douglas Burns, image courtesy Well Well Projects

Amirah Chatman and Douglas Burns: Water Sky
January 7-29
Well Well Projects
8371 N Interstate Ave #1, Portland (Sat-Sun 12-5 pm)

New Zealand-born creative Douglas Burns (aka Bug Durns) and Black queer artist Amirah Chatman (aka Bottled Star) join heads for this two-person exhibition, which draws from their experiences in organized religion to explore the idea of the afterlife. The pair share site-specific sculptures, wall works, songs, and rituals to “[blur] the lines between liquid and air…above and below…seen and unheard.” (You know you’re intrigued.)

Work by Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos), image courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos): looking for the land///found the weather
January 5 – February 25
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
417 NW 9th Avenue, Portland (Tues-Sat 10:30 am – 5:30 pm)

Hanis Coos artist Sara Siestreem presents looking for the land///found the weather, which expands upon her ongoing multimedia practice with installation works, paintings, sculptures, and more. Recently awarded the 2022 Forge Project Fellowship, the artist and educator’s exhibition fills the gallery space with 3D-printed “wayfinding” baskets, installations of sweetgrass braids, and paintings with metaphoric titles that both hint at and safeguard their stories.

Work by Charlie Salas-Humara, image courtesy Nationale

Charlie Salas-Humara: Carts Behind the Jewel Osco
December 3, 2022 – January 15, 2023
15 SE 22nd Ave, Portland (Mon and Thurs-Sat 11 am – 6 pm, Sun 12-5 pm)

Portland-based self-taught painter and musician Charlie Salas-Humara presents this thoughtful solo exhibition, which includes a series of abstract paintings with hints of color that feel like glimmering jewels ready to be excavated. Salas-Humara’s messy aesthetic is rooted in humble memories of Americana; paintings with titles like In the Denny’s Parking Lot and Endless Illinois seem familiar, yet maintain a meditative, subtle quality.

Untitled portrait of the artist, photo by Aaron Johanson

Monica Mitchell: Unos Sitios Escondidos Hidden Places
January 3-28
Blackfish Gallery
938 NW Everett St, Portland (Tues-Sat 11 am – 5 pm)


PPH Passing Strange

Inspired by her familial connection to the Spanish language and a deep desire to reclaim it as an aspect of her heritage, Monica Mitchell created Unos Sitios Escondidos Hidden Places, which collages lines of poetry by Nobel laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez in drawings, paintings, and 3D works. The solo exhibition boasts a lyrical feel, no doubt informed by Mitchell’s other creative practice as a classical violinist.

Work by Lynne Woods Turner, image courtesy Adams and Ollman

Vince Skelly and Lynne Woods Turner
December 10, 2022 – January 14, 2023
Adams and Ollman
418 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Weds-Sat 11 am – 4 pm)

Don’t miss California-based sculptor Vince Skelly and Portland-based artist Lynne Woods Turner’s material explorations before their two-person exhibition closes mid-month. Contemporary mainstay gallery Adams and Ollman spotlights the duo’s exuberant methods of contorting scale and form—the exhibition includes oil paintings on cheesecloth, chainsaw-sculpted furniture, and other works in surprising mediums.

Work by Botticelli, image courtesy Portland Art Museum

Masterworks | Portland: Botticelli
December 21, 2022 – May 14, 2023
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland (Weds – Sun 10 am – 5 pm)

It’s never too late to revisit the greats from your college art history class, and this special loan from a private collector allows Portland Art Museum visitors to do just that. Madonna of the Magnificat, a rarely seen tondo (circular painting) masterwork by Italian Renaissance savant Sandro Botticelli, is now on view—go bask in its round glory, then reward yourself with a cannoli.

Work by Dennis McNett, Kathryn Polk, and Carlos Hernandez, image courtesy Schneider Museum of Art

Pushing the Press: Contemporary Printers Redefining the Medium
January 19 – April 29
Schneider Museum of Art
555 Indiana St, Ashland (Tues-Sat 10 am – 4 pm)

If you find yourself in southern Oregon this month, pop by this exhibition organized by curator Josef Zimmerman. Featuring works by Bill Fick, Kathryn Polk, Sean Starwars, Chuck Sperry, Crystal Wagner, and other master print artists, Pushing the Press: Contemporary Printers Redefining the Medium looks closely at what makes printmaking so powerful—it’s an ancient medium (the earliest woodblock print dates to 800 CE!), yet it continuously evolves.


PCS Coriolanus

Or why not:

  • Listen to a conversation between visionary Mississippi Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson and Navajo curator Kathleen Ash-Milby at Portland Art Museum?
  • Check out the newly named Chefas Projects at its fresh location, where a group exhibition will be installed until January 7?
  • Take part in a community printmaking event with Don’t Shoot PDX in commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights activism?
  • Catch up on the digital exhibitions “installed” on Five Oaks Museum’s website?
  • Find out more about the practices of current resident artists at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology?
  • Take a writing workshop at Sou’wester Lodge with an “eye toward uncertainty”?
  • Welcome the Year of the Rabbit at Lan Su’s evening lantern viewings?
  • Learn what lives in the subnivium environment of the High Desert, including a fungus called “fuzzy foot”?

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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.

CMNW Council
Blueprint Arts Carmen Sandiego
Seattle Opera Barber of Seville
Stumptown Stages Legally Blonde
Corrib Hole in Ground
Kalakendra May 3
Portland Opera Puccini
PCS Coriolanus
Cascadia Composers May the Fourth
Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante
OCCA Monthly
NW Dance Project
Oregon Repertory Singers Finding Light
PPH Passing Strange
Imago Mission Gibbons
Maryhill Museum of Art
PSU College of the Arts
Bonnie Bronson Fellow Wendy Red Star
PassinArt Yohen
Pacific Maritime HC Prosperity
PAM 12 Month
High Desert Sasquatch
Oregon Cultural Trust
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