Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante Voices of Tomorrow Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

VizArts Monthly: TBA and Beyond

PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival is the marquee event in the September art scene, but there are plenty of other offerings from watercolors to pen-and-ink drawings to multimedia cairns.


It’s always felt right that PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival should fall in September—as the intensity of summer winds down to cooler evenings. The event always offers an open invitation for increased contemplation, with experimental performances that probe at the sticky depths of my subconscious. TBA is a recurring way to ask myself if I even know what art is, anyway, and a reminder that maybe I don’t. (There are also dance parties and people in chic outfits.)

If you’re also looking forward to your yearly dose of consciousness expansion, read on for more on TBA’s standout offerings—but of course, that’s not all, folks. Other artists are delving deep into their own psyches this month, and surfacing with jewel-toned, dreamlike oil paintings, reflections on digital realms, experimental mark-making, and more. Dig in.

Work by jaamil olawale kosoko, image courtesy PICA

Time-Based Art Festival
September 8-18
Various times and locations

It’s here! PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival, which The New York Times described as “the best contemporary summer festival in the country,” is always an experimental feast for the senses. This year, they’ve added new Night School programming inspired by late-night and alternative educational modes, with dynamic lectures led by artist-educators Pepper Pepper, Zach Blas, Nana Adusei-Poku, and Kite.

One TBA standout this year is Black Feast: Black Imagerial on September 18. Part offering, part celebratory performance, the event blends vegan, gluten-free cuisine by Bay Area chef Salimatu Amabebe and artist Annika Hansteen-Izora with a dance program by movement artists Intisar Abioto and Akela Jaffi. The culminating work honors Black artists, writers, movers, and shakers.

Over at PNCA on September 10, jaamil olawale kosoko’s the hold is another promising work—part performance, part installation, each aspect supports the other for a slippery, somatic experience that digs deep into nuanced aspects of Black life, life cycles, and birth itself (the hold‘s ensemble of performers are referred to as “doulas.”) Hold on tight.

Work by Brita d’Agostino, image courtesy Well Well Projects

Smart Objects and Flattened Images
September 3-25
Well Well Projects
8371 N Interstate Ave #1, Portland (Sat-Sun 12-5 pm)


Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante Voices of Tomorrow Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

Curated by Kelda Van Patten, this exhibition of lens-based work brings together a whopping 51 artists in Well Well’s relatively small gallery space. (I think it’s worth checking out just to see how they pulled off the install.) Each artist, including Nicholas Moler-Gallardo, Todd Molinari, Yuyang Zhang, and Melanie Flood, considers how the artificial and the real intersect and overlap in our disjointed digital age.

Work by Tanner Lind, image courtesy Nationale

Tanner Lind: Riff
September 2 – October 2
15 SE 22nd Avenue, Portland (Mon and Thurs-Sat 11 am – 6 pm, Sun 12-5 pm)

The final installment of Nationale’s trio of Straight from the Studio exhibitions takes a close look at the studio life and contemplations of abstract painter Tanner Lind, whose works suggest iterative rhythms, melodies, and chord progressions through experiments in repetitive mark-making. Never stagnant, Lind’s works are the product of his ever-evolving visual lexicon.

Work by Laura Berger, image courtesy Stephanie Chefas Projects

Laura Berger: Chrysalis
August 27 – September 24
Stephanie Chefas Projects
305 SE 3rd Avenue Ste 202, Portland (Thurs-Sat 1-6 pm)

Laura Berger’s elongated figures remind me a little of Christina Quarles’s lengthy, twisted bodies—but while Quarles’s figures are weighted down and distressed by societal pressures, Berger’s seem to thrive in a restful, dreamlike realm. It’s no surprise that Berger views her art practice as an intuitive and therapeutic—her work hints at faintly spiritual, deeply personal narratives buried deep in the psyche.

Work by Nan Curtis, image courtesy SATOR Projects

Nan Curtis: Cairnatopia
August 20 – October 22
SATOR Projects
1709 SE 3rd Ave, Portland (Thurs-Sun 12-5 pm)

We’re all familiar with cairns—the sweetly stacked rock formations often mark trails, and seem to embody balance and grace. In this solo exhibition curated by Jess Nickel, interdisciplinary artist Nan Curtis stacks found objects and multimedia constructions in cairn-like formations that reference material memory and the artist’s subtle humor. Don’t miss Curtis’s Saturday coffee chats with important voices in the local art scene like Ashley Gifford, Kristan Kennedy, and MK Guth.


Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante Voices of Tomorrow Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

Work by Adam Sorensen, image courtesy PDX CONTEMPORARY ART

Adam Sorensen: Water Color
September 1 – October 1
1825 NW Vaughn Ste B, Portland (Tues-Sat 10 am – 5 pm)

Adam Sorensen’s rainbow-tinged paintings evoke sublime fantasy, but have some very earthly underpinnings—the artist is interested in the ambiguity we still assign to the certainty of climate change. Sorensen’s chromatic exaggerations intentionally reference the style of 19th-century Romantics, another era in which we favored embellishment over harsh truth.

Image courtesy Stelo

Cannupa Hanska Luger and Marie Watt: Gather, Core Residency exhibition
August 13 – November 27
412 NW 8th Ave, Portland (Fri-Sun 12-5 pm)

This exhibition compiles the investigations of community-oriented artist Cannupa Hanska Luger and textile-focused artist Marie Watt during their process-based, multi-year residency with Stelo. Gather includes Luger and Watt’s collaborative embroidery artwork Each/Other, as well as works from each of their prolific personal practices.

Work by Pamela Green, image courtesy Augen Gallery

Pamela Green: Observation and Reflection
September 1 – October 1
Augen Gallery
716 NW Davis, Portland (Tues-Sat 11:30 am – 5 pm)

Pamela Green’s series of small-scale ink drawings is a little eerie, full of desolate landscapes, barren trees, and lone, pensive figures. Looking at them, I’m reminded of Edward Gorey’s stark, mysterious style. With titles like Trees and a Person and Woman in an Abandoned Building, Green does little to illuminate the meaning behind her bewitching worlds. Spend some time with the works in person, and you might begin to construct your own narratives around each piece.

Work by David Cohen, image courtesy Multnomah Arts Center

The Paradox of Curiosity: New work by David Cohen
August 12 – September 10
Multnomah Arts Center
7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland (Mon-Thurs 9 am – 9:30 pm, Fri-Sat 9 am – 5 pm)


Portland Columbia Symphony Adelante Voices of Tomorrow Beaverton and Gresham Oregon

David Cohen’s detailed watercolor paintings are a joy to look at—they’re a little like those I Spy books that were popular in the ’90s, full of unexpected, surprising detail. The artist draws from his own interests in history, science, and collecting for The Paradox of Curiosity, grappling with the role collections play in dislocation and the disruption of ecosystems.

Work by Enrique Chagoya, image courtesy Pendleton Center for the Arts

Enrique Chagoya: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation
August 5 – October 6
Pendleton Center for the Arts
214 N Main St, Pendleton (Tue-Fri 10 am – 4 pm, Sat 12-4 pm)

Lauded Mexican artist Enrique Chagoya, who’s known for his satirical style, will share his signature blend of pop culture and Mexican and American cultural references in this solo exhibition, using subtle irony, absurdity, and familiar imagery to reflect on everything from distant history to recent political events. Some of Chagoya’s drawings and prints will be on display in the style of a pre-Columbian Codex, an accordion-style book form created by Indigenous peoples pre-colonization using amate, a paper-like material. This exhibition includes an amate demonstration and other hands-on workshops.

Work by Pete Hoffecker Mejía, image courtesy Linfield Art Gallery

Pete Hoffecker Mejía: Remainders
August 29 – September 30
Linfield Art Gallery
Miller Fine Arts Center, 900 SE Baker St, McMinnville (Mon-Fri 9 am – 5 pm, Sat 12-5 pm)

With an eye toward the politics of abstraction, representation, and implied hierarchies, Pete Hoffecker Mejía’s structural sculptures reflect on the present-day impacts of colonialism through references to Latin American visual culture, found objects and “high art” materials, and hints at geometric abstraction. These mediums and motifs all coexists together in Mejía’s “compressed” sculptures, forming layered constructions that find a surprising balance.

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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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