Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Ken Kelly Rocks
Rake Tonight
Two Short Reviews
Set it off {First Friday in the CEAD}
A Less Modest Proposal
Mountain on the Move
Last Days of Art
July is marvy in June
Blood or Art?
Politicking and the Market
It's No Accident
June Calls for Artists

recent comments

Jane Beebe
Sam Marroquin
Event Horizon
Sam Marroquin
Sam Marroquin



Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Openings & Events
About PORT

regular contributors


Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman



Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us


Contact us






powered by


Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a


Creative Commons License


Thursday 06.30.05

Ken Kelly Rocks

Skull (detail)

I've always liked aspects of Ken Kelly's work, probably because of its non-western use of arabesques and attention to surface. Yet, his earlier works seemed to be too intentionally oriental and antiqued in ways that I found equally troublesome.

No longer.

Kelly's latest show at Pulliam Deffenbaugh dubbed, Babble, is just as meticulous as before but now sports a Spinal Tap like twist that is more nostalgic, humorous and ambitious. The work is inspired by 80's metal, proving once again that abstraction, like some great imulsifier can appropriate pop culture and give it new freedom. In fact, none of this newfound rock and roll undermines the work's seriousness and artists like Philip Taaffe, Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella all have some relationship to Kelly in that intense patterns threaten to extend beyond the painting's surface. Such intense pattern is simply too much to fully take in and makes the painting behave like things seen out of the corner of one's eye, even when we are looking right at it.

Skull (left), I.D. #1 (right)

A good example is the twelve foot wide painting, "Skull." The work in many ways is dressed in shiny black like Rob Halford of the band Judas Priest. "Skull" is larger than life, suitably decked out in...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 30, 2005 at 22:49 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 06.29.05

Rake Tonight


Rake is yet another arts collective in Portland, adding to a list which starts with the internationally active Red 76 arts group, but also includes Telegraph Arts and The Most etc... Yes, Portland is a close knit place and PORT supports these endeavors. It represents yet another wave of young artists in a crowded scene but the question of their seriousness needs to be raised?

Will Rake amount to something more than a party? That said there will be a party and you can check them out at Palla (a new fashion, music, lounge venue) June 30th at NW 3rd and Couch. I like their snappy diamond logo with various aircraft but I've yet to see anything really serious in terms of art. Sometimes, these groups need to do a few events to get it together and this is event #2.

These fine fresh fellows took over a house last month and there is also talk of a loft show in July. Good luck.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 29, 2005 at 23:41 | Comments (4)


Two Short Reviews


Blue Sky Gallery is currently showing a display of photographs by Douglas Lavere and Berenice Abbott. Side-by-side scenes of New York City are visuals of what the city looked like 60-plus years ago and in the much more recent past. Lavere made a project of repeating the point of view photos that Abbott took in the 1930s, replicating time of year, time of day, photographic equipment, and film type to show the changes that the city has undergone in the past six decades.


It doesn't hurt that Abbott's original shots were compellingly composed and developed images of city life, both intimate and grand. The before and after scenes of a bakery storefront show how a small business can stay in the same hands over the years, serving the same kinds of bread, the staple of life, while at the same time the superstructure of the city changes dramatically. When we see the location of the World Trade Center, minus the twin towers, next to the same vista with the iconic citadels, we can't help but envision them missing again in the imagined photo taken in the future. New York Changing remains on display through July 2.

And now for something completely different: english.jpg

At Utrecht's Wall Gallery, between 11th and 12th on N.W. Everett, Tamara English shows a series of oil paintings, Ishk , which are representations of details of oriental carpets. English sees these as "interpretations of interpretations of what is found in the natural world," reflecting her interest in flora and fauna used in the man-(or often woman-)made. The paintings, with titles such as Kashmir and Mahavalla, are of varied sizes and dimensions. English uses a heavy impasto, and incorporates expressionistic drips, splashes and slashes to add a personal, painterly note. Whether she was creative with her palette or directly reproduced the colors of her models, the colors range from intense jewel-tones to pastels and are coordinated beautifully. This exhibit ends tomorrow, June 30.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on June 29, 2005 at 13:44 | Comments (0)


Set it off {First Friday in the CEAD}

newspacebrett.jpg Josh Sanseri at Newspace

I hope that Newspace is getting the press and collectors they deserve because not only is Chris the nicest guy, he keeps putting on amazing shows. This week they open a new exhibition by Josh Sanseri, Individual Dignity. A project that began in 1999, this series documents small business owners from around the globe, including Oregon, Illinois, New Mexico and Tennessee. His portraits are vibrant and sincere, capturing the creativity and community behind entrepreneurship, "With these photographs, my intentions are to document the character and sense of pride that I have found to be a common thread among small business owners and non-existent in large, corporate chains." Should be a good 'un.
Through July 31• Opening July 1st, 7 to 10p
Newspace • 1632 SE 10th Ave • Tel. 503.963.1935

At NAAU Joe Macca's Flotsam offers a wild ride with his collection of deconstructed Artforums, mail art and a video piece featuring Jeff, Jane, Joe and a collector making chocolate chip cookies in Joe's kitchen. Joe usually exhibits his soft color field paintings at PDX but crosses the river for a more experimental exhibition.
Through July 30 • Opening July 1st, 7 to 10p
NAAU • 922 SE Ankeny • Tel. 503.231.8294

Jacqueline Ehlis
continues at Savage through the 9th.
That's right, only nine more days to catch the exhibition that everyone, like it or lump it, has been talking about. Read PORT's review here.
Savage Art Resources • 1430 SE Third Avenue • Tel. 503.230.0265

The fine folks at Holocene, the Eastside's Danish Modern-inspired non-smoking music venue, have begun hanging art on their lofty walls. This month, they present the photographs of New York artist Gavin Stevens. Custom Fit is a series of twelve color prints documenting the artist's work as the manager of San Francisco’s notorious gold front retail outlet, “Mr. Bling.” Grab a gin and juice to go with your gold caps to top off the night.
Opening July 1st, 6 to 9p • Music by DJ Sew What
Holocene • 1001 SE Morrison • Tel. 503.239.7639

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 29, 2005 at 10:56 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.27.05

A Less Modest Proposal


I've said it a hundred times and it's still true, culture is a growth industry on the West Coast. (I even said it on CNN last year.)

Also, I think that art.blogging.la and zerodegreesart are onto something by proposing a stronger California Biennial, but I don't think they are thinking big enough. The west in general is getting itself together with major museum expansions in the works in Mexico, LA, Portland (October 2005) and Seattle (2007). Also, San Francisco just opened the new de Young.

Instead, I believe a bigger triennial taking the strongest art from west of the Mississippi (the area most neglected by the Whitney Biennial) along with Mexico and Vancouver BC would be very difficult to ignore. Then again maybe focusing on coastal lands west of the Mississippi is the way to go(including Texas).

The problem with the California Biennial, Oregon Biennial and Bay Area Now shows is they aren't broad enough thought bombs to galvanize discussion outside of their respective zones. The regional biennials are vanity shows that do some good but don't launch things on a larger scale like the Whitney often does. It is an ambition issue and there needs to be something that takes things to a higher level. For example the "Thing" show at the Hammer was a nice tight regional survey. Although excellent for what it was, "Thing" didn't stamp its foot quite loud enough. It wasnt designed to be the the West Coast's coming out party.

The regional biennials like the California and Oregon ones seem a tad quaint in the same way the latest Greater New York felt mostly junior varsity and solipsistic (except Yuken Teruya). At GNY the artists were already too familiar to that scene and it felt picked over. The Whitney's advantage is it covers a huge area with a bias towards New York (it has been weakened by too much bias though). I think the Whitney Biennial would actually benefit from being challenged.

I believe a western rodeo of an art show of... lets say 30 artists would also probably be LA biased but it would give validity to LA's strength as an international art city with a network of connections that East Coast museums probably are not aware of. The only way for LA to become Rome is to make more roads lead to it as a way to identify peripatetic talent that may or may not reside there. The argument is cosmopolitanism 101.

Yes, 2 years ago the Baja to Vancouver show attempted to do this but it purposefully avoided taking stock of both Los Angeles and Portland (two of the most active US coastal art cities). Because it was mostly focused on Vancouver it felt out of touch and both Art Forum and Modern Painters (penned by yours truly) gave it pretty crushing reviews. Still, I believe it opened the discussion and pointed out a few pitfalls. First of all, it had too many curators on its committee (6) and a project like this would work better with only 3 or possibly two autonomous teams of two? Also, including some critics in with the curators might make it stronger?

Tyler Green has made a good case for why biennials are dead but I believe the root of their malaise is their predictability. A western roundup would be something new and therefore more unpredictable. Things are still young and a bit untamed out here in the west. Why not put on a show that presents that as a strength? New York's weakness is it's lack of vacuum and breathing space.

Yes, museum politics are an issue but if it takes place in one location it minimizes that issue.

Lastly, this is obviously a difficult, possibly unlikely idea but it can't hurt to bring it up. It would require a real budget to truly make it happen too. Any additional thoughts?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 27, 2005 at 23:43 | Comments (5)


Sunday 06.26.05

Mountain on the Move


Those who live elsewhere might not know that Mt. St. Helens is currently erupting. In fact the "minor" eruption that took place march 8th was the most impressive thing I saw this year...ok any year (pictured above). The volcano is 65 miles from Portland and is quite visible on clear days in the city. For those who lack their own volcano you might enjoy Mount St. Helens: Photographs by Frank Gohlke, which opens June 29 at MOMA.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 26, 2005 at 23:01 | Comments (0)


Saturday 06.25.05

Last Days of Art

D.E. May's Untitled

…someone is always making the claim that art (or art writing) was better in days past. The sheer ubiquity of that Chicken Little statement through the ages undermines its argument. Sure, it might look that way because art from the past has been filtered through the passage of time. Time is the litmus test, sifting out the good stuff. For example there is a touring retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat going on right now (next stop LA July 17th), possibly making us think the 80's were so much better than today. Whereas I suspect being subjected to a touring retrospective of Julian Schnabel's 80's work might leave me hungry for the iffy mess of Greater New York Part Deux. It depends on what you focus on.

Still there is no time like the present, so try and catch at least one of three Portland related shows that come down today.

In Chelsea @ Pavel Zoubok gallery, D.E. May's Template-Grid-Inset has its last day. I like his free standing cardboard towers better than the wall works.

In Portland, it is also the last day for Gallery 500's Habitat. It's a refugee camp as an art happening that some lucky person will have to clean up. Stop in and see how the art slum has changed in the last month.

Also in the Rose City, right next to the Burnside bridge Sean Bracken has an open studio sale at 77 NE Burnside 9-7PM, June 25th and 26th. No it is not a soup kitchen, and it is probably worth a trip just to see who else has studios in the building.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 25, 2005 at 9:42 | Comments (3)


Thursday 06.23.05

July is marvy in June


This is old news to Portlanders….but the secret connection between Miranda July and Carrie Brownstein is (besides the article in Interview Magazine's July issue)… Portland of course. No one city can really lay exclusive claim to an artist though. Instead, artists are peripatetic gifts and this fact only makes miss July's first feature film's critical success even more marvy.

July called Portland home until 2002 and we still see her around quite a bit. Brownstein of course is part of the Portland based rock group Sleater Kinney. July's multiple media talents are old news to the art world but that makes it kinda fun to see her catch on amongst the Ebert enclave. (Also, why do people tolerate the kind of pompous hand jive he is doing in the picture below?)


Overall, the article is decent, if a little brief and it highlights both the seriousness of intent and the anti-focus group aesthetic decision making process that one finds a lot amongst Rose City citizens. (Could it be ambition without prefabricated outcomes?) In terms of July's career it's a mark of strength to take this sudden mass media momentum on her own terms. (it is also very Portland, other cities have pockets of this vibe too but practically everyone here has it) Here are some more Miranda July links: in the NYT, here, there and everyone else we know.

In Portland, artist Jacqueline Ehlis continues her art coverage onslaught in the WWeek. All froth and saturation aside, her's is a very deserving show. Speaking of serious content, her interview with Eva Lake for Art Star Radio has now been transcribed here.

To round out other Portland links it looks like the Portland Mercury has found itself a new art critic? We noticed there was no review last week, good to see a review with so many good June shows.

Around the blogosphere Edward Winkleman makes some very provocative points about China and art fair/biennials. His point about China being so widely accepted is very interesting. I suspect that the Chinese, who impressively have had a large scale bureaucratic government for over 3,000 years found it easy to sway the allegiance of the neophyte art world's bureaucratic system. ....am I wrong? Yes, some of the Chinese stuff is good, but by and large the city of Los Angeles deserves at least as much attention. At least Ed Ruscha is getting the credit he is due. He is in the July issue of Interview too.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 23, 2005 at 23:04 | Comments (1)


Wednesday 06.22.05

Blood or Art?


It isn't always an easy choice and I'm certain Tim Dalbow is kidding, but this little email excerpt is too good:

"Thanks for. . . .the mention of my blue balls (civic art project), but I'm already on to a new project designed for the nonprofit bleeding of poor artists for donations. If you haven't already heard I want to supply solicitation with pints (ouch) of my own blood. It costs me no money and it's a renewable resource!" -TSD

It does touch a nerve regarding Portland's now too frequent tendency to raise money for nonprofit organizations through art auctions. It is as if the artists are some eternally milkable cow. Yes, like Rumplestiltskin, artists are capable of spinning straw into gold but that colorful character didn't fare too well in that bargain either.

We should note that most of the auctions are noble and help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for good causes but at best it is getting tired and at worst it seems vampiric. I think auctions should be rare and for emergencies, not long-term funding strategies. Any thoughts?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 22, 2005 at 20:24 | Comments (5)


Politicking and the Market

Tyler Green's got a great post this morning that touches on two recurring discussions (replete with lots of links). First, debunking the myth of the merit-based major art fairs a la Basel or Biennale (we all know it has been a politicking game all along). And secondly, that art criticism (and I would say also the perceived "value" of art) is no longer about content, intention, social relevance or technical innovation, but rather, the market. These two issues are far from resolved but it seems timely to begin a serious dialogue about their cause and effects.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 22, 2005 at 9:56 | Comments (0)


It's No Accident

Be sure to check out Joseph Gallivan's article in Tuesday's Portland Tribune profiling collector Sylvia Engelman. Despite its title (an unfortunate editorial decision), the article provides a rare look into the motivations and activities of one of Portland's more important collectors, whose collection reveals an astute eye that is anything but accidental. Portland's collectors are notoriously shy, many accruing their collection with relative anonymity, most reticent to reveal their collection or ambitions in a public fashion. Engelman, who has proved her reputation for seeking out rising talent early on (Jacqueline Ehlis, Michael Oman-Reagan, Jesse Durost) as well as for collecting work by key international artists (Sol LeWitt, Damien Hirst) shares with refreshing candor the finer points of how and why she collects.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on June 22, 2005 at 0:39 | Comments (2)


Tuesday 06.21.05

June Calls for Artists

Lots of great opportunities out there this month. Now, get a move on...

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 21, 2005 at 16:08 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.20.05

Portland gallery hopping

Jacqueline Ehlis at Savage

To the un-initiated the art scene activity in Portland is a bit daunting and (without a guide like PORT) sometimes tough to locate outside of the Pearl District, which typically shows less experimental work (but even that isnt always true). Every month there are new galleries, artist groups, itinerant warehouse shows and at least three major art walks to confront. The bankers havn't driven the artists out… some of these artists even own homes before age 35, although housing is a very tight market. Grads from Columbia, CCA, UNLV, NYU, Rutgers, Brown, Alfred, RISD and Art Center litter the scene but refreshingly talent is the only real currency. Trust funders although plentiful, don't dominate the pecking order either. Basically, if you've got it… it gets noticed here fast.

So to help here is a bit of a travelogue or diary review starting with cocktails the night of May 31st. Then we go right into the First Thursday and First Friday openings. Also, for every show I mention 5 others are skipped. For our local readers this means you have a week and a half (at the time of this post) to catch anything you missed.

On Tuesday night (may 31st), before the Wednesday previews part of the scene was ensconced at Le Happy, a crepe place and bar in "The Bucket" neighborhood tucked under I-5. It is near the Pearl District and NW 21st . Artist John Brodie (and manager of the band Pink Martini) owns the place. Much of the scene was there; Joe Thurston, Bob Wilcox, Brad Adkins, Marne Lucas, Leah Emkin, Laura Fritz, James Boulton and Bruce Conkle. PORT's own Jennifer Armbrust is at another large table and I give her a nod and eye contact. Big gestures in crowded rooms aren't my thing, private bookish art-nerd that I am. She was gruntled I didn't wave but hey if I waved at her 20 people would logically think I was waving at them too… or drowning.

Wednesday June 1st previews:

This was PORT's launch day and many thanks to Tyler Green who is the MAN when it comes to art blogging. Also, big thanks to longtime blogger Carolyn Zick of Dangerous Chunky too.

The best show by far was by UNLV Dave Hickey alum Jacqueline Ehlis, who seems to have combined the Marfa aesthetic with Willy Wonka, Jo Baer, Tuttle and a little Alfred Stieglitz to pull off 5 distinct but related bodies of work in one strong show. Hanging out with Robert Storr and Hickey never hurts but she is very independent minded. Now she seems to have moved beyond grad school predictability into something that even those who hate Hickey are grooving on. Sales are great, major non-local contemporary museums are in aquisition mode and there is a general sense she's done something special here. The show has kept me off balance and Im still processing the loud minimal weirdness. Read Katherine's PORT review here.

Tim Dalbow at Laura Russo Gallery

First Thursday June 2nd:

It was a bit chilly and overcast but Tim Dalbow (a young painter who is always impeccably dressed) had his opening at The Laura Russo Gallery. But clothes don't make the art. His show here is a surprise because this...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 20, 2005 at 0:48 | Comments (0)


Saturday 06.18.05

John Singer Sargent at PAM

In Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children, the Portland Art Museum has put together a comprehensive look at the career of the famous portraitist as exemplified by his paintings of children.

The exhibit, which continues through September 11, might be seen as an historical record of the changing views of childhood and the developing personality from infancy through adolescence. It might also be seen as the wistful imaginary family life of the never married, childless artist. Or, as an object lesson in how talent, drive, and commercial sensibilities combined to create one of the leading icons of nineteenth century art.

Sargent, perhaps best known for his Portrait of Madame X,1884, is also famous for one of the best-loved images of children, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, 1886. He found a revival of commercial success often hinged on images of children. After the scandal of Madame X took him into self-exile in England, he was able to charm the British upper-crust, and divert their attention from his sketchy, controversial impressionistic style, with images such as Garden Study of the Vickers Children, 1884.

Garden Study of the Vickers Children, 1884

Sargent began his career as a portraitist by drawing the models closest at hand: his siblings. Some of these images are included in this exhibition, as is the type of painting that caused him to finally abandon portraiture in favor of landscapes and murals. Little Ruth Bacon's mother was so emotional in both praise and condemnation as the painting progressed, and Ruth as uncontrollable as any toddler, that the artist took advantage of Mom's absence one day to hastily sketch in the background, call it good, and depart.

Portrait of Ruth Sears Bacon, 1887

Adolescents challenged Sargent to see beyond their often veiled emotions. Sometimes, it seems he didn't try, but only painted the veil as it was shown to him. Elsie Palmer might have been a model for Edvard Munch, with her almost depressive stare and pale complexion. Also known as Young Lady in White, this painting draws one in with fine brush work and classical symmetry, but hidden emotions. It is also an example of how Sargent continued to alternate academic finesse with impressionistic painterliness, as in the Vickers scene.

Portrait of Miss Elsie Palmer, 1889-90

Overall, this show is successful on many levels: as cultural history, with examples of portraits in the grand tradition, as well as genre scenes and examples of the use of professional child models; as art history, as seen in the progression of one successful career; and as a chronicle of child psychology, and the changing role of the child within the family. It exemplifies the phrase "Great Expectations," as one can see a visual representation of the potential that is inherent in every child.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on June 18, 2005 at 15:35 | Comments (0)


Fortress Munch

As reported in today's NYT, the Munch Museum in Oslo has re-opened ten months after the embarrasing heist of "the Scream" and "Madonna". With $5.2 million in new sercurity measures, getting into the museum promises to be as fun as boarding an airplane ("Could you remove your shoes and belt please..."). The anti-theft measures involve bolting artwork to the walls (why this wasn't already in place I have no idea, even hotels and corporate towers are smart enough to bolt their generic originals) and mounting thick glass panels over each piece. To the shagrin of some administrators, the previously unadulterated views of the original artwork are now intruded by Windex streaks and dust particles on the glass preventing a good view of the brushstrokes. Oh the sacrifices!

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 18, 2005 at 12:23 | Comments (1)


Last chance...to die

Resurrectory Performance Photo by Basil Childers

Tonight is the last night of The Resurrectory by the Liminal performance group at the brand new Portland Art Center.

This is PAC's second show, an interactive theater performance based around the famous Burke/Hare serial murders. It was a provocative choice, especially for an institution that has devoted its main gallery space to installation art. This is a time when Portlanders are a little sensitive to visual arts programming being cut to focus on performance art. ...bait and switch...grumble...

So is it theater or installation art? Good question….but you simply have to see legendary local filmaker Jim Blashfield's video projection work.. Blashfield did those great Peter Gabriel videos in the 80's.

One tip, definitely be there early (they were turning em away last night) for the performances (8-10PM) and use it as an impetus to discuss the different demands of installation art and set design. They can be the same but not always. Yes, PAC is doing some solid (if perplexing) things… but their plans for an expanded space in Chinatown and the critical appointment a new board of directors make this a young institution with a future.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 18, 2005 at 11:50 | Comments (0)


Friday 06.17.05

Danzine at the Whitney


The ISP Curatorial Program at the Whitney is currently running At the Mercy of Others: the Politics of Care through June 25th. Part of this exhibition includes a Danzine Retrospective, curated by Teresa Dulce and Marne Lucas. This retrospective offers some much deserved attention for an organization that provided a decade of critical support for workers of Portland's booming sex industry. From the press release:

"The 'Danzine Retrospective' is an important show celebrating ten years of health care and art through the efforts of the non-profit organization Danzine. The success rate of Danzine's outreach progams stems from the grass-roots design: need based, reality based, risk reduction services that reach a stigmatized population. Danzine mission statement 'Danzine was created by and for sex workers and it is our goal to provide the information and resources we needed to make more informed decisions, personally and professionally.' While the agency served needs of colleagues Portland, Oregon from 1995-2005, the risk reduction mission is timeless and its energy resurfaces as health organizations nationwide take cue from its efficacy and sensitivity to those it served."

The installation itself is a recreation of "Switzerland", the lounge at the Danzine space, packed with ephemera from the organization's archives including a large collection of artwork, publication covers, event posters, pamphlets, postcards and t-shirts. Participating Artists include a number of Portland prolifics: Fishy, Dawn J., Christina LeBlanc-Stanley, Lara Lee, Scott Nasburg, Arnold Pander, Leslie Peterson, Bryan Pollard, Suzanne Shifflett, Stosh, Sean Tejaratchi, Melissa Tremblay, Ernest Truely, Gina Velour, Kristin Yount and more. A video installation by Teresa Dulce includes news footage from live performances at City Hall in 2000, and the Portland Bad Date Line.
Art Gallery of The Graduate Center, City University of New York • 365 Fifth Avenue, NYC • Tel. 212.817.7386 • Tues through Sat 12-6 p

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 17, 2005 at 15:43 | Comments (0)


All in the Family

Margaret Kilgallen's retrospective, "In the Sweet Bye & Bye" opened at REDCAT in L.A. on Wednesday. A gifted and compelling young artist, Kilgallen died of breast cancer 4 years ago (at age 33) and, to a certain extent, has been mourned ever since. Her distinctive style was informed by the traditions of sign painting and folk art and her work embodies a compassion and craft that has touched the hearts of many. Portland punk photographer and filmmaker Bill Daniel was on-hand at the opening with a screening of his new film, "Who is Bozo Texino?". I won't be making it to L.A. before the show's closure so I welcome any comments of the exhibition.

Speaking of influence, the NYT writes about a public art endeavor spearheaded by ESPO (there "Mr. Powers") in the name of art, commerce and community at Coney Island. Artists and business owners are collaborating to develop new signage on the boardwalk, resulting in some unexpected and enriching alliances and what might be called a minor revitalization. The article mentions but doesn't elaborate on the Dreamland Artist Clubhouse which celebrates their 2005 grand opening tonight, featuring a formidible roster of rising art stars. Something about this just warms the cockles of my heart.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 17, 2005 at 9:36 | Comments (0)


Thursday 06.16.05

Jack Pierson's Teenstar


One of my favorite art objects in Portland is Jack Pierson's "Teenstar", which is nestled away in depths of the Portland Art Museum. (on loan from a private collection)

There is something ornery about a good object which confounds and exceeds its original context, like a great idea with baggage. Or is "Teenstar" a contemporary totem of things that never seem to change?

"Teenstar" can be found downstairs outside the PGE auditorium and across from the large Frank Stella protractor work. I usually dislike word art and much of Jack Pierson's production seems too contrived... yet "Teenstar" stands out because of its pervasive, practically insidious subject matter.

Constructed of found signage, the materials coerced into a word work together to emphasize both the ubiquity of youth and the corruption of the aging process. Teen stars never seem to go out of style and the phenomena probably started with Mary Pickford. Then came Annette Funicello, Sally Field (the pregnant flying nun, wow), Danny Bonaduce, the Backstreet Boys and Lindsay Lohan. For many good reasons (like being too inexperienced to be jaded) the power of precocious youths won't go away and neither will this Jack Pierson. "Teenstar" is a combination of roadside Americana and celebrity teenage road kill that has found its way to a museum, for now. This is Pierson at his best.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 16, 2005 at 21:20 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 06.15.05

Art Talk and More

As we swing into the weekend, there's plenty of great art chatter including lectures, talks, a reading and even an auction...

Thursday, June 16th

blumenfeld.jpg Blumenfeld at PICA

Erika Blumenfeld Lecture @ PICA
Blumenfeld's piece in the Landmark show is one of the most captivating and enchanting. In a dark side room, her white light projections shift slowly, catching the shadows and silhouettes of her onlookers. During the fall of 2004, Blumenfeld worked in an astronomer's house at the the McDonald Observatory's main peak where she created the video work Moving Light: Lunation 1011, now on display. Thursday night she talks about this project and her unique and delicate process of capturing light on film by by hand.
PICA Annex • NW 13th & Flanders • 7pm • free to PICA Members / $2 general

Pinball Publishing Book Release with Vladmaster performance

922 SE Ankeny Portland
Local champions of the small press, Pinball Publishing, release their second poetry title, "Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms" by Joshua Marie Wilkinson. This book-length poem emerges from the author's exploration of Egon Schiele's work, region and era. Also joining in the festivities is local indie-film rock-star Vladimir, presenting one of her classic Viewmaster performances. If you haven't seen one of these before, you are truly missing out.
at NAAU • 922 SE Ankeny • 7:30p to 9:30p • free

Friday, June 17th

Andi Kovel & Justin Parker Reception at Contemporary Crafts
You may be most familiar with the work of these talented two as Esque functional glass objects and home accessories, gracing the tables of Clarklewis and GBT. At CCG they bridge art, craft and design, each presenting site-specific installations revealing their technical skill and conceptual wit. Sure to be playful and voluptuous. Also on view, works by ceramist Ted Vogel. See Saturday for accompanying lecture.
Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery • 3934 SW Corbett Avenue • 5:30 to 8p

Saturday, June 18th

pfeifer.jpg  Hilary Pfeifer on the panel at CCG

Panel Discussion: Making a Living Through Making Art: Bridging Craft & Design
Hello young artists (and older). This one's for you! In this day and age there's nothing more formidable than a business-savvy artist. Listen up as Andi Kovel, Hilary Pfeifer and Tom Ghilarducci discuss working as a professional artist in a variety of arenas: museum exhibitions, fine craft shows, design shows, galleries and interior design. They will discuss the merging of studio practice with aesthetics and business and the challenges of making your living through art. I just might have to sneak in a tape recorder for this.
Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery • 3934 SW Corbett Avenue • 1p

Art on the Block @ Disjecta

Andrew Dickson wanders back from sunny L.A. to grace us with his auctioneering expertise and City Commissioner Sam Adams joins in for Disjecta's action packed fund-raiser. I'm certain there will be a lively crowd and perhaps some festive shenanigans as Disjecta makes a run for phase two of their development. Who knows, you could walk out with a steal of a deal from Brad Adkins, Damali Ayo, Chandra Bocci, Troy Briggs, Bruce Conkle, Harrell Fletcher, Kim Hamblin, Sean Healy, Chris Johanson, Jesse Durost, Ericka Kohr, Marne Lucas, Melody Owen, Bonnie Paisley, Joe Thurston, Terry Toedtemeier... Need I continue?
Music provided by Clampitt, Gaddis & Buck
Disjecta • 230 E Burnside • 7 to 10p • $?

One Min Film Festival + Themed Art Show @ Holocene
And the theme is... "pockets"! Over forty short-shorts, art on the walls and then a DJ. Participants are a mystery but with 40 to choose from, there's sure to be some gems. Then you can dance your little heart out.
Holocene • 1001 SE Morrison • doors at 8p, show at 9 • $3 to $10 (sliding)

Also opening Saturday is the John Singer Sargent exhibit at PAM.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 15, 2005 at 21:53 | Comments (0)


Currently at IFCC

Through June 23, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center is presenting the paintings of Katherine Pappas-Parks, and the sculptures and drawings of Junko Iijima.

Enchantment with the Observable World, Meteora III, 2005

Pappas-Parks is an accomplished artist who is shown and collected nationally and internationally. Her Greek heritage informs this series of six paintings called At the Edge of the Sky. These are landscapes with various organic elements, ephemera and cultural icons in the foreground. One includes the waist-up nude figure of a lovely young woman.

Enchantment with the Observable World, Meteora I-IV is a series of four paintings of variations of the same landscape: otherworldly Devil's Tower-like mounds in a flat vista. In the foreground of each is a red shelf or ledge containing a glass or vase, plants such as lilies, and a book or other culturally significant object. Aphrodite's Gift From Paris, which has the nude figure, gives us two green pears rather than one golden apple. All of the paintings have edges of gold leaf which reference Greek Orthodox or Byzantine religious artifacts.

Pappas-Parks calls her work "Painterly Realistic" and lists as influences Surrealism and Magic Realism. She was also influenced by the 20th Century writer Nikos Kazantzakis, who wrote of "beauty in an object as simple as a rock." Though indeed painterly, her technique results in a softness that, were it not for its intensity, might remind one of watercolor or airbrush. Her colors emphasize the painterly effect.

Hybridization, Object Study, 2005

Junko Iijima's installation, Hybridization, uses its small space dramatically, with 24 black and white drawings in black lacquer frames, and 12 red pedestals on which sit small dark bronze sculptures. The carpet in the room is grey, and the walls off-white. The simplicity of the effect is distinctively oriental.

Iijima, who grew up in Japan and currently lives in the U.S., has achieved a melding of cultures with these works. The bronze sculptures are small, heavy, nonfunctional interpretations of Nanbu Ironware. The forms are influenced by "contemporary American pop culture, creating hybrids of new and old, East and West." Some of the sculptures have a shape reminiscent of teakettles, while others, and most of the drawings, have an organic, diatomaceous look. This is where the modern influence is most keenly observed.

Iijima includes with her statement on this exhibit and biography a "brief history of Japan and America" that emphsizes the trade of physical goods, leading to a cultural blending. Her explorations lead her to examine her heritage in the light of her current environment. The result is a formal elegance imbued with an anime kick.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on June 15, 2005 at 15:21 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 06.14.05

2005 Oregon Biennial on Saturday


...according to Art Forum's Art Guide the postponed Oregon Biennial is taking place this weekend at an alternate site...the lovely state of Maine (scroll down). The greatly anticipated survey of Oregon art will be the most radical ever since only Maine artists were chosen.

All kidding aside, the real one is rumoured to happen in 2006 and thankfully none of the last 2 biennials (although disappointing compared to the pool available) looked as underwhelming as the one in Portland Maine does.

There has been talk that the yet to be hired Arlene & Harold Schnitzer Curator of NW Art will be involved. The format really deserves a serious re-appraisal too. Oregon artists are making real strides nationally and internationally and a more focused show of 6-9 artists makes a lot of sense to me.

What do you think? Do you prefer it be more focused with less artists? Is jury by slide just too limiting? Should the museum simply commission works, especially considering the number of installation artists we have here? Does the thing really matter now that Portland artists are increasingly using the place as a base for national/international activity? The biennial's contentious nature does keep things interesting.

Yes, there is a sense of catching up that needs to be addressed but some museum's move slow and the Portland Art museum is based on the venerable Metropolitan Museum's "better late than never" model. Fact is the biennial is an inexpensive blockbuster for the museum in this art crazy place.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 14, 2005 at 19:08 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.13.05


Stump Cozy by Shanon Schollian

Ok it is a bit of a tired cliche; but there is a lot of tree art in the Pacific Northwest. Then again, why not when half of Brooklyn is faux forest happy. It's a tad ridiculous but there is something about not having the thing in a gallery that works wonders. Shanon Schollian's Stump Cozy project took place way back in 2002 and now the stumpmeister general himself, Michael Brophy, currently has a show at the Hallie Ford Museum. Malia Jensen also did some shirts for trees a while back too. Ok, lets just say the Lorax is a very influential character around here.

The Portland Art Museum even has a serine but menacing Ernst Ludwig Kirchner depicting some Douglas Fir trees which I dearly love, but we have to wait until October to see it again due to construction.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 13, 2005 at 22:57 | Comments (0)


New Work From Brad Adkins


At PDX's Summer Group Show, Brad Adkins sets out to prove why he's just gained gallery representation by this Pearl District standby with a convincing new body of work. Adkins, who has done much of his most noted work in collaboration with Chris Buckingham as Charm Bracelet, moves away from social art interventions and instead offers the viewer a more intimate aesthetic experience.

Among works in the main gallery space are a group of Adkins' altered plastic water bottles, a target-like form fashioned out of colored painters' tape and a stack of 25 one dollar bills, faces blacked with a Sharpie. I learned from Adkins that this group of work both signifies the closing of one project and the beginning of a foray into a new kind of art practice.

The series of dollar bills began as a way for Adkins to make gifts for friends. Adorning each bill with a rectangle of solid black, Adkins obliterates all of the official markings that provide proof of value, but because of his viability as an artist, imbues them with greater market value. Adkins informed me that this was the last of these types of pieces he would create. This final large stack of bills is intended to be given away by its purchaser, which would of course put Adkins' currency back in the market, a sort of mini-experiment about value in the art market.

The other works on display mark a focus on object making that uses common materials as its source. One of the first thoughts I had upon seeing these pieces was that Adkins must be a fan of Tom Friedman. As it turns out, not really. He doesn't have much interest in the sort of rarified experience of bringing an object into the studio the way Friedman does, nor does he hold the same interest in positioning the artist and the artists' process within each work. Adkins is more interested in the outcome of the completed work and in giving the viewer simple aesthetic gratification...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on June 13, 2005 at 9:25 | Comments (0)


Sunday 06.12.05

Landmark at PICA

Richard Klein's Cocktail

Last Night's landmark event for PICA's 10th birthday is certainly the best of the many warehouse shows up in Portland right now. With a gala event on Friday night and a general opening Saturday night it does say one thing about PICA. They have been important for the last 10 years despite the rootlessness they have experienced since January 2004 when visual arts programming lost its curator and programming seemed to be run by the staff.

Now they make a bid to continue that tradition despite some recent and very serious image tarnishing that cannot be swept under the TBA rug. There remains a huge question looming over their real commitment to visual art exhibitions, which is the one thing Portland absolutely needs. Instead of stepping up to bat they chose a performance festival over art exhibitions and closed their space. Nobody will let them forget it.

The money excuse doesn't work since the Portland Art Museum raised nearly $40,000,000 at the same time. It says something about development priorities and a local PR problem that no amount of sass from PICA staff has counteracted. They simply were not where the action was (there is money not affiliated with PICA or the museum that is just waiting for something serious and Kunsthalle).

Basically when Portland zigged one way; PICA zagged to what they were most comfortable with, performance. The itinerant warehouse of Landmark is a symbol of that black eye but they wore that shiner well last night! Obligatory gripes aside, let's raise a toast! We should also thank Stuart Horodner whose vision was not entirely appreciated at the time but now in retrospect seems to have given this landmark show most of its sizzle. The sizzle of the increasingly crazed local scene has at times overpowered PICA's auslander (but noble) focus.

Landmark is an art party as a 10 year PICA programming recap, featuring work by Dana Schutz, William Pope.L, Din Q. Le , Alain Bublex, Tony Tasset and Xu Bing. I saw all of these but the Le show in the last 6 years and it was a trip down memory lane.

In fact, I had a hilarious conversation about Foghat, Tom Petty, a cooly loach named Spazz, Emil Nolde and fried string cheese with Schutz as she was making the monoprint on display here. She's very important, not because of Saatchi or...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 12, 2005 at 15:58 | Comments (2)


Friday 06.10.05

D.I.Y. Saturday


Part of Portland's charm is its Do It Yourself ethic. This weekend offers great events from two prominent underground groups, Red76 and the Handmade Bazaar. Break out your flip-flops and let the summer begin!

Red76 hosts the Little Cities Build Yr Own House Party and Barbecue. You bring the grillables and they'll provide the building supplies (cardboard, sharpies, paint, tape, etc.). Make your own miniature abode and then reconvene on Sunday for the homesteading of the Little City. It's fort building for adults!
Red76 • 916 SE 34th st. (just off Belmont)
Saturday, June 11 • 5:30 to 9pm

The Handmade Bazaar has been going strong for the past three and a half years, supporting young artisans and the handmade community. Meredith and Katie have created a tradition with these events, offering free space to local crafters of any skill level twice a year. This is a great place to find young innovators of new craft. Plus, there's always music and vegan treats. In the past it's been in their backyard, this year it moves to the Liberty Hall.
6th Annual Handmade Bazaar • Liberty Hall • 311 N Ivy St
Saturday, June 11th 10a to 4p • Sunday, June 12th, 10a to 5p

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 10, 2005 at 21:00 | Comments (0)


Picton makes an impression in LA


One of Oregon's very best artists, Matthew Picton has made his mark in LA today with a review by influential LA Times art critic Christopher Knight (scroll down it is the second review). This pretty much renders the asinine Oregonian review he received in February a moot point.

To answer Knight on Picton's aesthetic relationship to Calame, the two arrived at their strategies around the same time and he isn't derivative of her. Back in 1997 Picton was using double-sided tape to pick up loose paint chips to make drawings. Knight's astute point about their relationship to Richard Long is right on though.

Needless to say Picton's new drawings are even more successful. In Portland you can see his next major work in a show I am curating late September.

Congratulations Matt!

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 10, 2005 at 11:28 | Comments (0)


Greetings & Salutations

Since PORT has been up and running for over a week, I suppose it's time I introduced myself. This online arts journal was an idea I had last year after being inspired by the other regional art blogs popping up around the country, especially the fine folks at art.blogging.la. I had mentioned the idea to Jeff on a couple of occasions and at the beginning of the year, he pressed me to pursue the idea more seriously so I enlisted him as a collaborator. Six months and three additional staff writers later, viola!

The vision of this online arts journal is to catalyze critical discussion and disseminate information about art as lensed through Portland, Oregon. Using weblog functionality we are able to deliver you up-to-the-minute news, reviews and events. User comments are encouraged and easy to post (commenting requires a simple one-time registration, allowing us to weed out spammers and maintain transparency). You are invited to join in the discussion and interject your own supporting or dissenting ideas. Portland has a thriving art community which can only be strengthened by critical and sometimes firey discussion. So, play fair and don't be shy!

As this endeavor unfolds I'm sure there will be changes, revisions and improvements. If you notice any technical problems, please email us and we'll fix it. I will be handling the announcements of openings and events and the calls for artists. These will be centered around events in the Portland-metro area or exhibitions of Portland-based artists in other locales. To be considered for our calendar, please visit the Contact page for more information.

My day job consists of running Motel, a gallery in Portland's Chinatown showcasing up-and-coming artists and independent designers from around the country. I also work occasionally as a freelance graphic and web designer. Stop by and say hello if you're in Chinatown (we're on Northwest Couch between 5th & 6th). For more about me and the rest of the contributors, visit the About PORT section.

Thanks and welcome!

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 10, 2005 at 10:56 | Comments (0)


Hello, Congress?

Over at MAN, Tyler Green calls for accountability among non-profit heads, hilighting lavish expenditures by Barry Munitz at the Getty (citing the LAT). $6000 shower curtains, baubles, Cuban vacations all on his expense account? And yet, he's only accountable to the hand-picked board that funded this lifestyle. Time for some legislative intervention?

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 10, 2005 at 10:03 | Comments (0)


It's a Throwdown

Tonight Disjecta does what they've always done best, performance, with a double-dutch jump-off between SF-based Double Dutchess and Seattle's On the Double. Expect costumes, choreography, camp and sass as these teams go head-to head (feet-to-feet?) to prove who's the best of the West. Also on the ticket is Daniel Addy's aerial dance group, Aviator, who defy the laws of gravity by walking on walls, suspending beneath bridges, and dancing in mid-air.

Disjecta • 230 E Burnside • Friday, June 10th • 9 p • $8

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 10, 2005 at 9:41 | Comments (0)


Thursday 06.09.05

"First Person" A Juried Exhibition of Self-Portraits at Froelick Gallery

Burke.jpg Smithfield Lake by Jesse Burke

From the traditional to the surreal, from the abstract to the literal, from the humorous to the sublime; it can all be found this month at Froelick Gallery's "First Person."

This juried show of self-portraits includes 50-plus images of artists, mostly from the local area, and mostly recent. One notable exception is a 1975 Cindy Sherman as Lucille Ball. (Since Sherman's oeuvre consists of images of herself as other personalities, I wonder what a portrait of Sherman as Sherman would really look like.) Some artists are represented by more than one image. Almost all imaginable mediums are used.

This is an eclectic mix, indeed. Fine technical skill and draftsmanship drew me immediately to Julia Ann Smith's "Restraining Influence." With her Caravaggesque sideways glance Smith invites the viewer to speculate on what would happen if the entwining vines released her.

Jesse Burke's "Smithfield Lake" has an air of uncomplicated honesty about it. Yet there is more to this than just wondering who's minding the barbecue. Look in his eyes.

Shawn Ferris goes surreal, using somewhat obvious (and very humorous) metaphors in her "Getting Ready for the Big Dance."

More than one artist uses the completely, and mystifyingly, abstract. Tudor Mitroi's "Wandering Staff 2" and "Wandering Staff 7" are maps imposed on imaginatively shaped wood bases.

Does the self-portrait really show us the soul of the artist? Is it a glimpse into the psyche or merely a snapshot of a moment? These images answer those questions and many more, depending on the viewer's knowledge of the artist and perception of his or her self.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on June 09, 2005 at 15:51 | Comments (0)




This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of PICA. Yes, it's been a whole decade.

LANDMARK: PICA'S 10th Anniversary Visual Exhibition celebrates the artists that have left their mark on PICA and Portland over the past ten years, including a "cover version" of Francis Alys "famous" Portland walk by Brad Adkins, a series of commissioned photographs by Mike Slack documenting the exhibition and new work by William Pope.L, Kate Shephard, Jeffry Mitchell, Carol Hepper, Nan Curtis, Joe Sola, Malia Jensen and Erika Blumenfeld {for a complete list of participants, visit PICA's website}.

Head out Saturday night for the LANDMARK party and exhibition opening.
Artwork by 32 artists + a DWR lounge + nibbles from Bluehour, Ripe, Masu (and more) + adult beverages + DJs = a bona fide fancy-pants birthday party. And they even promise surprises and cake, cake I tell you!

Birthday Party and Exhibition Opening • Saturday, June 11th • PICA Annex: NW 13th & Flanders • Tel. 503.242.1419 • $5 PICA Members, $10 General
LANDMARK runs through July 16 • Wed - Sat, 12-6 pm • free to PICA Members, $2 General

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 09, 2005 at 13:05 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 06.08.05

Art Wars?

The Willamette Week (our Pulitzer Prize winning weekly) has this image plastered on boxes throughout town depicting Sean Healy and Jacqueline Ehlis mock Kung Fu fighting. Visual art is the big game in Portland and this generalist paper is trying to suss out the aesthetic agendas of the over 10,000+ artists in this city of 2.1 million. With new artists arriving each day good luck! Read the doomed thing here. (I apologize in advance, I'm mentioned).

Needless to say I disagree with a lot of the silly particulars and the flakey absolutism of it all but its existence contributes to the general sense that there is something going on here (it could be compared to the music scene in Seattle in the 90's, not 1994 either).

When I took the quiz I polled as a post-mod... so silly, frankly history is cyclical and we aren't post anything.

Actually, the cover story in the same issue about live/work space is very good.

I do think one can sift through artists by determining those who aren't satisfied with the morass of everyday life and do something about it. It's an existentialist...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 08, 2005 at 23:47 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 06.07.05

Jacqueline Ehlis at Savage


An arc of glossy semi-spheres are loosely configured around the entrance of Savage Art Resources. These seductively colored orbs appear to push out from the wall, violating the boundary that separates gallery from the outside world. It's a fitting introduction to Jacqueline Ehlis' show, at once giving the viewer a playful wink while slyly indulging in formal exploration of the relationship between painting, surface and the white box.

In her current show, entitled Vigor, Ehlis delves further into some of the explorations seen in her previous solo show at Savage's former Pearl District space in 2002. In the excellent DVD that was produced in conjunction with this exhibition, Ehlis poses the question of whether or not paint is a sophisticated enough medium in the 21st century. She eloquently answers this question by embracing a studio practice that is as rigorous conceptually as aesthetically. Ehlis, who is one of the most articulate artists I've encountered in Portland, is masterful at combining the depth of her intensive studio practice with more cerebral content in a way that never fails to deliver immediate visual pleasure. A former student of Dave Hickey at UNLV, Ehlis avoids dwelling on the more conceptual aspects of her work, although I find the depth of her formal investigations to be even more rewarding than her very likeable visual sensibility...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on June 07, 2005 at 17:12 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.06.05

Superflat Earth Society

PORT digs Interview magazine's June issue devoted to all things Japanese, including art. Nice to read about Murakami and Yoko Ono seeing, "another world," in a philosophical sense. As expected, nothing too deep or intellectually charged in here but those two really matter and it is probably because they have romantic notions of change. (Portland is very into Superflat and much more recent Tokyo stuff and less so into Fluxus... but it is here too). Add in Yayoi Kusama and Tadao Ando for this issue and you got something. At least it is an American magazine focused on another country.

Yet it is difficult to fathom Yoshitomo Nara being one of, "The Artists To Watch." ….ummm maybe in 1995. One's got to wonder what audience living under a rock (or Okalahoma cornfield) has yet to gain at least casual awareness of Nara? In a true Superflat leveling of commerce and high art Nara has licensed T-shirts, diaries and bookends as well as art. He is pretty much the Peter Frank of the art world. If you are in any kind of large city he is widely available.

Maybe it's targeted at the hapless babies of Gen X'rs… We liked Nara in grad school, now my classmates are putting little Timmy in Nara wear? It's a better move than Louis Vuitton but is it the darn museum gift shop creeping into life? It will be interesting to see which one, Murakami (gone fashion) or Nara (gone Timmy's room décor) will be best remembered by history. It's the age old battle "models vs. babies"…two sides of the same coin.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 06, 2005 at 17:44 | Comments (1)


Friday 06.03.05

"Paint" at Elizabeth Leach

The title of this exhibit says it all. Almost every texture, color and emotional impact that paint can have in abstract works is covered here. In addition, a theme that is pervasive, and could possibly serve as a lesson to all aspiring artists, is the drip, and how it can be used to convey different feelings to different types of work.

The show, which continues through June, includes works by Willy Heeks, Pat Steir, Judy Cooke, Louise Fishman, Tom Lieber and the iconic Joan Mitchell. It could be described as an overview of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and its various incarnations.

Lieber is the only artist who doesn't include any drips in his painting "Amber Ring," a horizontally oriented abstract resembling a landscape. More Color-Field than expressive, it's almost like a neutrally toned Frankenthaler. It is calm, and seems more determined than other paintings here. Everyone else uses the drip more or less intentionally. Pat Steir's "Black and White Double Waterfall" is so well planned, one can imagine the artist saying, "Now let's see...if I do a wash like Morris Louis, then carefully spray drops across it..." The result, though planned, is dynamic. The other extreme of intentionality is Louise Fishman's "Green in the Body." Fishman carefully constructs layers of color in an abstract, brushed design. If a drip of paint happens unintentionally, it stays. The drip does, however, add a note of passion to her work, complementing the underlayers of orange in the overall green design.

Willy Heeks is a delight with his explosive colors, eclectic materials, and energetic textures. How could he not include some drips? They are as inherent as whiskers on a cat. The same can be said of Joan Mitchell's "Quand J.J. Partit Pour New York," a characteristically monumental Expressionistic eyeful. I was disappointed to see only one Mitchell in the show, as she is always fascinating in her textures and color combinations.

Also disappointing is that Dianne Kornberg's naturalistic prints of seaweed was replaced by Kurt Pershke's "RedBall Portland." Kornberg's works show depth, realism, and an innovative process. I wasn't able to see Pershke's project in situ, and hesitate to comment on it from photos.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on June 03, 2005 at 9:30 | Comments (1)


Thursday 06.02.05

First Friday in the CEID

newspace.jpg Julia Sherman at Newspace

Newspace Center for Photography presents "New Photography", it’s 1st Annual National Juried Exhibition featuring 39 photographers from 16 states. Curated by Terry Toedtemeier, Mariana Tres and Chris Bennett, the exhibition includes color, black & white, digital, traditional silver and alternative processes. According to Toedtemeier, “The diversity of images in the 'New Photography' exhibit form a broad survey of the kinds of work being produces by emerging photographers today. The vitality of the show accrues to the richness of styles, humor, and varied traditional and digital media.” For a complete list of participants, see the Newspace website (click below).
Through June 26 • Opening June 3rd, 7 to 10p
Newspace • 1632 SE 10th Ave • Tel. 503.963.1935

After Andy Coolquitt's over-stimulating, down-home, folk-inspired love-fest last month, Savage returns to more traditional gallery programming with Jacqueline Ehlis' "Vigor". Bolder and more confrontational than her earlier work, Ehlis' new paintings assert themselves as sculptural forms in the gallery space. Using a neon palette and abstract gestures, Ehlis' work is both visually seductive and formally challenging. Everybody's been chatting about this show for weeks now...
Savage Art Resources • 1430 SE Third Avenue • Tel. 503.230.0265

My pick of the night is tucked away on Produce Row at the Hall Gallery. "Thrill of it all" feaures sound + video + installation + performance. For those who don't know, Hall has been an artist run space for at least half a decade, showing the artists who house their studios there as well as their friends and collaborators. Literally and figuratively an "underground gallery", I've seen some of my favorite works there. This Friday, they're at it again with a few of Portland's best kept secrets Ryan Boyle and Zach Reno as well as SF-based photographer Tim Sullivan. Also showing are Jeff Kriksciun, Claudia Mendoza, Candice Lin, and Maggie Foster.
Opening 6 to 11p
The Hall Gallery • 630 SE Third Avenue

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 02, 2005 at 23:48 | Comments (1)


Hitting the streets


As Katherine mentioned in her recent post I write something called the critical i, here is the latest. There is a review of Justine Kurland's talk,a few shows from last month and takes Disjecta (a would be institution) and PICA to task.

Also, it is First Thursday in Portland (the largest gallery hop), although tomorrow night's openings with Jacqueline Ehlis at Savage and the Snapshot Chronicles at Reed College might be the best new shows to see. Check out Jenn's list for shows tonight here.

Also, for those not lucky enough to live in Portland you can see some of our best artists elsewhere.

If you are in Chelsea, D.E. May is at Pavel Zoubok Gallery and Harrell Fletcher can be found at The Wrong Gallery.

In LA Matthew Picton @ Solway Jones Gallery is attracting some important press, watch this one.

In Montreal T.J. Norris debuts DK @ Atom Heart

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 02, 2005 at 18:02 | Comments (0)


Going Public

While intelligent critical discussion may not always happen in a very public fashion in Portland, I know it is taking place because I've heard it everywhere from informal conversations with acquaintances to academic lectures. Dialogue is taking place amongst artists, critics, gallery owners and curators based out of Portland. It's also happening by artists and art professionals coming to Portland to find out what the rumors are all about. It's obvious to longtime Portland residents, recent transplants and visitors that something is brewing here, and it's not to be missed.

Critical discussion about art in Portland reaches far beyond the few measly plots of printed real estate allotted to arts coverage in local print media. For a city of this size, with this much activity, with this many practicing artists and functioning galleries, and now, within the past few years, with the increasing amount of political interest in branding Portland as a city for art and artists, it's only natural to expect critical discussion to grow into maturity with its artists.

It's truly mystifying why much of Portland's art writing has remained corralled by the scant amount of printed space available to the arts. The turf is much larger than that and the discussions go much deeper than that. Fellow PORT writer Jeff Jahn's NW Drizzle column broke away from a dependence on print (and the strictures of diminutive word counts imposed by the economic realities of print). With the launch of PORT, critical discussion now has a public forum that allows for a greater volume of writing with far more immediacy. My particular interest as a regular contributor of PORT is in inciting these discussions and ensuring that the link between Portland and the rest of the world is a two-way conduit for ideas.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on June 02, 2005 at 10:17 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 06.01.05

Contributor Andie DeLuca introduces herself

I don't make art. I don't show it, sell it, or curate it. I simply love looking at it and writing about it. Though I grew up in Portland, I am fairly new to the appreciation of the Portland art scene. The love of art only captured me as an adult, and my years of study did not allow me the leisure to explore the wealth of local galleries and other exhibition spaces. I come to PORT with the desire to explore these venues and report on my findings. Like a newly arrived transplant from a distant city, I want to find the best galleries, artists, and environments. My goal is to draw on my love of the city and the authenticity of the art aficionado's experience to evaluate current exhibitions and trends. From small, out of the way spaces to the established galleries and that grande dame the Portland Art Museum, what is going on in Portland? More than just "knowing what I like," I also want to challenge myself to see new art in new ways, and to write about it fairly, but with an astute critical eye. I look forward to reading other's comments on my discoveries....

Posted by Andie DeLuca on June 01, 2005 at 14:30 | Comments (0)


First Thursday Picks {from West to East}

kenkelly.jpg Ken Kelly at Pulliam Deffenbaugh

Portland's galleries are overflowing this month with fresh young talent. Thursday evening you might as well make a night of it...

Don't miss the recent works of one of Portland's most promising young gems, Timothy Scott Dalbow at Laura Russo (in conjunction with the Carl and Hilda Morris Foundation Young Artist Exhibition). Dalbow's abstract landscapes capture Portland's architecture with a varied palette and a skilled and easy stoke. Also showing are Josh Arseneau (Paintings), Anna Daedalus (Photography), Anne Glynnis Fawkes (Paintings) and Eric Franklin (Glass Sculpture).
Through July 2, 2005 • Opening June 2, 5 to 8pm
Laura Russo Gallery • 805 NW 21st Ave. • Tel. 503.226.2754

Over 50 recent grads present their accomplishments and celebrate their new-found freedom at the reception for PNCA's Focus 2005 BFA exhibition. My picks are Alex Felton's stop animation drawings, Scott Porter's overly precise minimalist installation, Shawna Ferreira's restrained intaglios, Sarah Nordbye's custom commercial interiors and Patrick Meloy's towering neckties.
Through June 18 • Opening June 2, 6 to 9pm
PNCA • Steven's Studios • Corner of NW Johnson & NW 15th • Tel. 503.226.4391

Reminicient of Rorschachs, tattoos, spiderwebs and heavy metal, Ken Kelly presents "Babble" a new collection paintings on canvas at Pulliam Deffenbaugh. Impressive large patterned abstractions.
Through July 2 • Preview June 1, 5:30 to 7:30pm • Opening June 2, 5:30 to 8:30pm
Pulliam Deffenbaugh • 522 NW 12th Ave • Tel. 503.228.6665

Over in the Everett Station Lofts, Martin Ontiveros presents "Mestizo" a semi-autobiographical exhibition exploring the boundaries and borders of culture through a series of superheroes. See his bold, precise, graphic-inspired paintings at Genuine Imitation.
Through July 1• Opening June 2, 6 to 9pm
Genuine Imitation Gallery • 328 NW Broadway #116 • Tel. 503.241.3189

Motel is packed with the luminous large-scale works of local up-and-comer Jesse Durost. Inspired by the color palettes of Baroque painters, Durost works with coffee, India ink and gold paint pen to craft transcendental drawings bursting with fluidity and rhythm.
Through July 2• Preview June 1, 6 to 8pm • Opening June 2, 6:30 to 9:30pm
Motel • NW Couch St between 5th & 6th Aves • Tel. 503.222.6699

Gallery 500 presents "Habitat", the culmination of a week-long on-site endeavor where six artists build their own shelters and inhabit them alongside one another. After Thursday night, the completed art habitats will transition from lived-in community to preserved ghost town, as only one artist remains in the space until June 1. Katrina Scotto di Carlo, Nana Hayashi, Marc Snegg, Jeff Stratford, Liz Harris, and Gabrielle Woladarski.
Through July 1 • Preview June 1, 6 to 8pm • Opening June 2, 6pm to midnight
Gallery 500 • 420 SW Washington, Suite 500 • Tel. 503.223.3951

You thought Disjecta was dead or maybe just sleeping? Not so. They've been hard at work securing a new home and a gradiose vision for contemporary art in Portland. Preview The Donut Shop 9 and Portland Modern's latest gallery installment as Disjecta energizes the Templeton Building with 8,000 (!) square feet of unfettered exhibition space.

Since 2000 The Donut Shop has been a forum for imaginative art in purposefully non-traditional environments with a total of eight incarnations of the yeasty project. Donut Shop 9 features the work of Alex Hubbard (NYC via PDX), Frank Parga (NYC), Melissa Dyne (LA), Jon Harris (Australia), Molly Dilworth and Daniel Heffernan (NYC).

Portland Modern, Mark Brandau's gallery-in-print, presents its second exhibition from the sophomore issue in the same building. Diedrich Dasenbrock offers vibrantly colored nighttime photographs while Don Olsen exhibits humorous improvisational paintings on recycled panels.

Special Preview June 2, 6 to 9pm • Opening reception, June 4th, 6 to 10pm.
Disjecta • the Templeton Building • 230 E Burnside (Under the Burnside Bridge on SE 3rd)

durost.jpg Jesse Durost at Motel

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on June 01, 2005 at 12:21 | Comments (0)


Welcome to PORT


For those in the know, it isn't news that Portland Oregon's visual art scene has experienced a massive influx of artists (over 10,000 according to the last census) that has subsequently redefined the sophistication of this city of now 2.1 million metro inhabitants. This trend has only intensified and has been reported on by CNN, Art News and Modern Painters (by yours truly).

What is so special about Portland is that unlike other major US cities visual art is the big game in town. Many artists have developed in noteworthy ways in the last five years. For context, Portland is a place where mass transit is popular, trees are big, volcanoes blow up, reading is relentless, shorts are nearly always ok, gallery hopping can be blood sport and civic issues like urban development are debated with a ferocity that might seem alien to other ennui drenched places. The art reflects this dynamicism that has been lost in many modern cities.

In 2001 Peter Schjeldahl somewhat accurately called Portland "Sweden with SUV's" and once George Bush (the elder) much less accurately called it "Little Beirut." In other words like all interesting places it is hard to define and Portland artists are probably making those definitions even more difficult.

With that in mind PORT is here to give a forum for the visual art shows, events and critical discussions that are taking place in this most European (yet pioneering) of US cities. PORT will also discuss shows and happenings elsewhere of interest.

Here is a very short list of future events that some Portlanders look forward to and others will dread:

October 1 The Portland Art Museum opens its massive new wing, the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art.

September 30 - October 2 Portland's second annual contemporary art fair the Affair @ the Jupiter Hotel

Spring 2006 AGPS architecture will unveil its one-of-a-kind urban aerial tram for Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 01, 2005 at 2:20 | Comments (8)

s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee