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Monday 01.02.06

« Happy New Year from PORT | Main | Jan 6th deadline for Oregon Biennial »

Looking to 2006 and looking back at 2005 in Portland art

So what does 2006 hold for Portland Art? For Bruce Guenther Chief Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art (Portland Art Museum), "2006 will be a year for building the collection and the endowments... so the resolution is to 'buy more art'"

Artist With The Biggest Year in 2005: Matthew Picton. He sold well in LA and San Francisco but sold only one piece in his February 2005 show in Portland. Later, he was added to the new De Young museum's collection. Other projects are in the works. With great reviews from the LA Times' Christopher Knight and most everyone else he is Oregon's hottest artist.

Big Year Honorable Mention: Damali Ayo (had a hot year nationally from museums, books and websites), Ellen George (shows from Texas to Washington and was hot at Miami's Aqua Fair), Matt McCormick (included in a prestigious young Americans show curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Daniel Birnbaum), Sean Healy (has lots of things cooking in Houston), Red Shoe Delivery Service did great in Melbourne and Nottingham England of all places, Laura Fritz who recieved devastatingly good reviews in Seattle, Michael Knutson with an Art in America review, Jacqueline Ehlis (lots of media attention and sales), Marie Watt (received the Betty Bowen award), Bruce Conkle had successful shows in Boston and Seattle (Iceland in 2006 and in 2007 it is Brazil), Michael Brophy (numerous museum shows and an Art Forum review) and lastly Tom Cramer who remains at the top as Portland's artist laureate by selling ridiculously well while garnering a review in Art News. Of course Harrell Fletcher and Chris Johanson continued their success too.

Picks for Best Solo Show of 2005:

Ehlis at Savage

My pick for best Portland solo show: Jacqueline Ehlis, Vigor at Savage Art Resources, I consider it a thorough and superbly executed show of photography, paint slabs, stainless steel, airbrush and even some traditional stretched canvas works. Somehow it all worked together in a rigorous challenging way that felt like a Dia show instead of a gallery show. The WWeek picked Ehlis and Cramer in a tie but Cramer's show was a bit more predictably excellent. Ehlis' show was full of unexpected twists and most all of it worked. Note Cramer and Ehlis are the two best selling artists in the city under the age of 50 so lots of people are palpably jealous of them.

Our readers included Ehlis and Cramer frequently as well. There were votes for Matthew Picton, Jaq Chartier, Pat Boaz, Zach Kircher, Charles Goldman, James Lavadour, Mel Katz, Doug Morris, TJ Norris, Port's own Katherine Bovee & Philippe Blanc, Ellen George, Roy Lichtenstein at PAM , Randy Moe and even Joe Macca's riotous show at NAAU.

Most Ubiquitous Artist: Justin "Scrappers" Morrison… From Powell's to cafés around the city you couldn't miss him. He doesn't let us miss him, which means he might start getting taken for granted.
Art ala Scrappers

Most interesting development: in November Chandra Bocci was commissioned by Bonnie Serkin to create an installation in their home. Nearly every dealer, critic, artist and collector in town thinks Bocci is ultra talented but she has received little support. The fact that a collector didn't wait for the more conservative gallery system should be telling people something. Bocci was in Zing Magazine in November too.

Young artist most admired by older stars: Jesse Hayward. This CCAC MFA grad's fan club includes Sean Healy, Tom Cramer and Bruce Conkle. All agree… if only the non artists knew how much good new work this guy had (besides one piece at my Fresh Trouble show nobody's seen it).

Best New Discovery: Jesse Durost … our readers apparently agree with me on this. His debut at the CEID show then triumph in the Bent show absolutely put him on the map. Some of our readers felt it was Daniel Kaven, he is certainly one to watch.

Best Photography show: Diane Arbus Family Albums at the Portland Art Museum … like anybody else had a chance! Actually, Justine Kurland's show for PICA could have been a contender had they cared enough to put the show in a dedicated exhibition space instead of a highly inappropriate corporate lobby.

Worst Show Title: "Natura Naturans" a.k.a. pretentious pretences (three other readers came to the same conclusion independently). Personally, I don't care if it's a latin phrase or not, it is pretentious in a bad way. I'd link to it but very little on the web references the show. It's like everyone wants to forget it happened.

Most Improved Gallery: Pulliam Deffenbaugh. Since the move away from the awful carpeted space their shows not only look better but are more ambitious; from the School of Becher to Anna Fidler. One of our readers (a collector) felt it was Mark Woolley.

Most improved artist(s): Katherine Bovee & Philippe Blanc. Their show at the PCC Northview gallery was so nicely executed and sustained. Runner ups: TJ Norris & Brad Adkins (his bottles and tape are good but a bit overexposed, can't wait to see if he gets good enough to pull off a sustained show… his performance art was very hit or miss and he needs to be more careful now). Our readers agreed with my 3 picks giving each an equal # of votes.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 02, 2006 at 21:06 | Comments (0)


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