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VizArts Monthly: Spring reflections

Art on view in March includes quilts, photographs, installations, paintings, and films. Lindsay Costello previews the shows that will welcome spring around Oregon.


Slowly but surely, the cherry blossoms are beginning to peek out from their hiding places, and as spring emerges, so do fresh art exhibitions. This month, artists continue to reflect on the most critical issues of our time: Don’t Shoot Portland’s archival exhibit explores the role of art in social justice, while Tatyana Ostapenko’s paintings describe the traumatic experiences Ukrainians continue to face.

We also see several exhibitions that turn inward this month, with compelling reflections on experiences of isolation and disquiet from William Matheson, Srijon Chowdhury, and others. Remain optimistic by checking out Ditch Projects’ colorful collection of quilts, or recall the power of collaboration with Conny Purtill’s The Ground.

Work by Tatyana Ostapenko, image courtesy Pacific University

Tatyana Ostapenko: LARGER THAN ME
February 7 – March 4, 2022
 Kathrin Cawein Gallery of Art, Pacific University Forest Grove Campus
Scott Hall, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove (Tue-Sat 1 PM – 5 PM)

Ukrainian-American contemporary artist Tatyana Ostapenko immigrated to the United States in the late 1990s, but her narrative paintings still center the lives of citizens of the former Soviet bloc in everyday situations. Merging realism and abstraction, Ostapenko creates compositions from a blend of photographic and archival references. The resulting paintings emphasize lived experiences of adversity, trans-generational trauma, and empathy. Witness this important body of work before the exhibition closes on March 4.

Image courtesy Holding Contemporary

Feeling Documents: A Liberated Archives Experience
February 17 – March 27, 2022
HOLDING Contemporary
916 NW Flanders St, Portland (Thur-Sun 12 PM – 5 PM by appointment)

Feeling Documents: A Liberated Archives Experience is presented by Don’t Shoot Portland, an organization utilizing art, education, and community activism to create social justice. Installed at HOLDING Contemporary, this multimedia installation assembles a chronology of music, art, culture, and social trends as they relate to political movements and social justice activism, illustrating how varying art forms can contribute to radical social change. Feeling Documents is one aspect of the University of Oregon Center for Art Research (CFAR) program series HABITS OF DENIAL, which includes access-themed research, exhibitions, and programming.

Image courtesy Ditch Projects

Quilt Bloc
February 12 – March 20, 2022
Ditch Projects
303 S. 5th Ave #165, Springfield (Fri-Sun 12 PM – 4 PM)

Created in partnership with the Springfield History Museum, this exhibition presents historical quilts from the museum’s collection alongside the works of seven contemporary artists (Max Adrian, Frances Andonopoulos, Andrew Douglas Campbell, Sonja Dahl, Noah Greene, Irene June, and Sara Siestreem), Quilt Bloc considers the living histories embedded in each textile work and aims to honor the Indigenous craft traditions that predate the city of Springfield.

Image courtesy University of Oregon

Michael Sherwin: “Vanishing Points: Revisiting America’s Indigenous Landscape”
March 3, 2022, 4 PM
University of Oregon Department of Art and Center for Art Research
Lawrence Hall, Room 177, 1190 Franklin Blvd, Eugene (event will also be live streamed)

Multimedia artist Michael Sherwin presents this lecture on Vanishing Points, an ongoing photography project centering sacred landforms, archaeological zones, contested battlegrounds, and other significant sites in Indigenous American culture. This lecture follows the recent publication of a monograph on the Vanishing Points project by prominent German publisher Kehrer Verlag.

Work by Nicole Pietrantoni, image courtesy Pendleton Center for the Arts

Nicole Pietrantoni: The Slow Current
February 3 – March 31, 2022
Pendleton Center for the Arts
214 North Main Street, Pendleton (Tue-Fri 10 AM – 4 PM, Sat 12 PM – 4 PM)

Nicole Pietrantoni’s multicolor paper works and installations consider beauty, loss, memory, environment, and all of the complex relationships running between these themes. In The Slow Current, Pietrantoni’s kaleidoscopic installations search for the possibility of connection and joy, creating a colorful site for reflection and community.

Work by Hung Liu, image courtesy Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Remember This: Hung Liu at Trillium
February 5 – August 28, 2022
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (University of Oregon)
1430 Johnson Ln, Eugene (Wed 11 AM – 8 PM, Thur-Sun 11 AM – 5 PM)

Lauded Chinese-American artist Hung Liu, who passed away in 2021, is honored in this special exhibition featuring mixed-media works she created in collaboration with David Salgado, founder and master printer of Trillium Graphics. Liu often contemplated history, migration, displaced peoples, and social justice in her works, inspired by a tumultuous upbringing in mid-century China. Liu’s characteristic layers of dripping color and Zen ensō-like circles are readily seen in this exhibition.

Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival Portland Oregon
Work by Srijon Chowdhury, image courtesy SE Cooper Contemporary

Srijon Chowdhury: Groundhog Day
February 20 – April 2, 2022
SE Cooper Contemporary
6901 SE 110th AVE Portland (Sat 11 AM – 5 PM and by appointment)

Srijon Chowdhury’s paintings are rife with unsettling intimacy. While capturing senses of existential questioning and powerlessness, they also contain moments of hopefulness. This complex, vacillating theme of interiority is heightened by two steel gates that separate the viewer from Chowdhury’s paintings, which are embedded with words from William Blake’s A Divine Image.

Image courtesy Adams and Ollman

Conny Purtill’s The Ground
February 12 – March 19, 2022
Adams and Ollman
418 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Wed-Sat 11 AM – 4 PM)

This exhibition is the sixth iteration of Conny Purtill’s The Ground, an ongoing series of collaborative shows. Purtill, an artist and book designer, carefully constructs “grounds” upon which exhibiting artists are invited to create a new work. Alongside Purtill, this exhibition will include multimedia work by Adam Horovitz, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Pierre Leguillon, Ari Marcopoulos, Ricky Swallow, Lesley Vance, and many more.

Work by William Matheson, image courtesy Nationale

William Matheson: Dissipatio
February 18 – March 27, 2022
15 SE 22nd Avenue, Portland (Mon and Thur-Sat 11 AM – 6 PM, Sun 12 PM – 5 PM)

Portland-based artist William Matheson’s Dissipatio is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at Nationale. A hazy heat permeates this subtle, still series of works, which ruminates on the disquieting isolation and collective apprehension of these tense times. Dissipatio offers some hope, however; the works reveal Matheson’s practice of continual return to creativity despite anxiety.

Image courtesy Pacific Northwest College of Art

Time In-Between: Temporal Matter(s)
February 21 – March 9, 2022
Center for Contemporary Art & Culture
511 NW Broadway, Portland (Mon-Fri 9 AM – 4 PM)

Time In-Between: Temporal Matter(s) features works by MFA first-year artists throughout PNCA’s Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies, celebrating their development within a time of transition, temporality, experimentation, and intense self-reflection. A public opening reception will take place on Thursday, March 3rd from 5-7 PM. RSVP here to attend this limited-entry event.

Image courtesy Northwest Film Center

2021 Northwest Film Center Sustainability Labs Showcase
March 6, 2022, 12 PM
Northwest Film Center
Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland

This two-part program features NWFC’s five Sustainability Labs fellows: Elyse Kelly, Angela Washko, Keith McQuirter, Jesse Blanchard, and Masami Kawai. The Sustainability Lab offers financial, creative, and personal guidance to artists, directors, and producers working across platforms in cinematic storytelling. For this event, the fellows will present short clips, films, trailers, and live readings; they’ll also answer audience questions.

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.