Seriously, where is everybody? Wow, this was one of the slowest first Thursdays ever! Where are you, fleet footed denizens of the art world? Has your formerly relentless desire for visual culture finally been satiated? Are you sitting at home writing thank you cards? Its really warm out tonight! Luckily you have your little Isaac to do an extensive photoblog for you...
I started from the PNCA highschool academic awards event...
Then on to Blackfish for some nervy and scintillated figurative oil paintings by Harry Widman, and a crushing, paternal embrace from Paul Missal. The Jazz duo seemed incongruously relaxed with Widman's nervous, vigorous work throwing fits in the background...
Next I went across the street to Elizabeth Leach, where Hap Tivey's work seemed to function as an impromptu theatre set. Patrons were bathed in dramatic, emotionally loaded colored light while they made casual conversation and meandered around. I kept expecting one well dressed patron, perfectly illuminated in a 3/4 profile in electric blue, to suddenly fall to the ground screaming "Medea, what have you done?" But he merely stayed where he was, scanning the crowd, sipping white wine, utterly aloof. I can't help the comparisons to Rothko and others of the Ab-ex citadel Tivey titles his pieces for. In the best Rothko, the work requires a meditative state in the viewer, which allows the viewer to enter the psychological, emotional and spiritual space of the painting. Tivey is much different in that the work imposes a Rothko-like spiritual space on the gallery! It is difficult for me not to see the gallery as a stage, and the opening as a performance, one in which the attendants are not even participating! I really did not understand or like Don Flavin until I finally saw it in person last year with my (now ex) girlfriend. And I have to say, a huge part of understanding or appreciating Flavin is going to see the work with another person especially someone you are close to. Much of the light is diffused in the gallery, but to see someone walking through it, you suddenly understand the dynamics Flavin creates. I would like to be able to really see a single work by Tivey, with nothing else around it, with the same true theatrical considerations Flavin gives his sculptures...
Oh, and thank goodness Nan Curtis and MK were there!
Gustavo Ramos Rivera's work at Elizabeth Leach was awesome! Authentic old school bay area abstraction. It has that fearless child-like directness that ties it to the Bay Area in the 60's, and that so often seems like simulation in abstract painting today. But this is the real thing, a great, audacious and warm Bay Area abstractionist who I had never heard of. The color structures are nuanced and compelling, using dissonance and harmony to the perfect degrees to make something loud, rich and resonant without losing its balance.
After piquing MK's formidable brain for curriculum advice for a protracted period of time, she finally changes the subject and tells me this video showing continually in Elizabeth Leach's front window is a veeeeery important piece by a veeeery important artist, but being an incredibly inept journalist, I forgot to write down the name of said veeery important artist, and my research staff can't seem to locate it (mainly because it is 1 am and they have gone off to bed, leaving me to blog in solitude). If someone else (MK, Jeff?) would like to comment and fill us in on this veeery important artist, please feel free....Oh wait, I've found it by reading PORT....Alix Pearlstein's "Forsaken" but still, any comments or insight would be appreciated! I didn't have time to watch it!
On to PDX Contemporary for Victoria Haven's The Lucky Ones some really elegant linear drawings which I shall have to write about tomorrow, due to the fact that my research staff seems to have the right idea, I'm falling asleep! I'll give you part two of my first first Thursday photoblog tomorrow... Oh but before I go to sleep... At PDX I ran into my two favorite, coolest students at PNCA, Emily Wolfer and Claire La Mont! (I suspect Claire of being the one who left the plastic Narwhal under the Christmas tree at PNCA for me) People are finally coming back from vacation! I can't wait for school to start again, I miss all the kids so much!
Yeah that was a funny one, really sparse... I suspect about a tenth of the 10,000+ artists in town were getting their Oregon Biennial entries together (due today). Then there were all the various colds and flu attacks.
Also, Ike beware... I suspect the students are sweetening you up so they can cook you and eat you for some pagan feast when the sun reappears. Oh wait cannibalism was sooo 2003, no fear (at least if you hang out with the trendy). We will have a much larger photoblog with some of the younger places next week too.
Isacc here is the info about the piece MK curated for the ELeach Window... I learned of the project from this here site-and clipped it from jen's info re: first thurs. I thought last night garnished a great crowd maybe i was roaming in an alternate universe?
? Also, MK Guth presents Video Window, a showcase of different video works by national, international and local artists. Each month, a new video will be presented in the window of the gallery on opening night, after which the monitor will move in the gallery for the remainder of the month. The project kicks off with Alix Pearlstein’s “Forsaken”.
Isaac, that very important video artist Alix Pearlstein was one of my thesis advisors at NYU. I have admired her work for several years and I am happy that Elizabeth Leach is presenting her work this month. Alix's videos involve what she discribes as "speculative narrative." Saul Anton's discribes her videos as "fictions of intimacy." I find Anton's discription more to the point. Pearlstein's work often revolves around social relationships and how group dynamics evolve and effect the personal. If anyone wants to know more about Alix Pearlsteins work her website is
http://www.alixpearlstein.com/. This is the second time Pearlstein's work has shown in Portland. Morgon Currie
included her work in a screening about 2 years ago.
Video Window will be on going at Elizabeth Leach Gallery presenting different video work each month. So stay tuned, there is more to come.
yeah don't miss your deadlines my precious disorganized little artists.... you have until the museum closes today.... at 5 or 6?
Also, my students have tried those cannibalism tricks already... I constantly ask myself, "Wait a minute, why is this hot-tub full of vegetables?" but having seen the entire catalog of Bugs Bunny cartoons, I'm always well prepared...
Museum is open late tonight ... till 8:00PM. I heard the staff was a bit overwhelmed and needed yet another mail bin to put entries into earlier today.
Yes! I'm all a-tremble with excitement.... I mean, more than usual....