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Monday 02.13.06

« Monday Night with Dan Attoe | Main | Josh Mannis at small A »

ESL and cafe's 1, would be institutions 0

February in Portland has been filled with a number decent quality to strong shows. It's been a weird month and the combination of seemingly relentless drizzle has been broken up with unbelievably gorgeous, sunny days… where Mt St. Helens and Mt Hood gleam off in the distance like a giant white dog food bowl and a giant shark tooth respectively.

Tilt.jpg
Stephanie Robison at Tilt Gallery

Thus, the shows have serious visual fireworks to compete with. Also, it must be said none of the big solo shows have the punch that the big months May, June, September and October often have in spades. Still, for the first time in years though the Everett Station Lofts and cafes rather than the numerous would be institutions that keep popping up had the strongest block of shows outside of the Pearl District, indicating another new wave of talent has hit the scene.

Let's just say Stephanie Robison's "Paper Fences" at the new Tilt Gallery sets a bar for these would be institutions who continue to fundraise with never ending art auctions. Still, despite the work in "Paper Fences" being professional, the final product amounts to promising mixed results.

Robison's installations are derived from illustrations and this is both a strength and weakness to the work. It seems too compact, planned and anecdotal like something in a department store window. For installation art they just feel a tad discreet here but she's definitely talented and if the installations get a little less precious and cloying and replace it with mystery she's got something.

That said, "Paper Fences" is an auspicious start for the Tilt Gallery and while talking with co-director Jenene Nagy I mentioned that quality means a lot more than bad shows in giant spaces. Nagy gave me a quizzical look and stated, "doesn't everybody know that." I wish…

Ameyers.jpg
Andrew Myers at Ogle

Another solid effort was at the Ogle Gallery (also in the Everett Station Lofts block). It features Andrew Myers and Holly Andres as part of the Portland Modern publication's exhibition program. Andres photographic work is just the sort of Gregory Crewdson lite work one see's at every art fair but Myers is someone special. His moody, large scale drawings of heads and birds definitely have psychological punch. Birds are typically symbols of freedom, risk and morality. Also, these birds definitely seem to grow out of the human heads much like Athena springing from the head of Zeus. Art in America reviewed these last year and I agree, this is some of the strongest drawing I've seen in years. I want to see a solo show of new works from Myers but until then check this out.

sequential.jpg
Sequential Gallery in the ESL

Also in the Lofts the new Sequential Gallery will highlight comic book art… putting the art scenesters who think they are comic book artists to shame. The current show, "Tales of Hotrod Horror," was dedicated to three artists (Devon Devereaux, Sean Hemak and Justin Nitz) who recently published in graphic novel of the same name on cackling imp press. I like how the gallery has been painted to look like sequential frames with heavy black on the support beams.

Nearby at Backspace, there was Joshua Dommermuth who has some interesting photos of people in their bedclothes. The young men and women in these shots vary a great deal between actually looking like they are asleep to just faking it. Some of this is just too typical, but a few rise above the fray. In fact I was surprised to notice one of the best shots is of a PORT staffer but I'll let you figure out which one. Amusing how people look more angelic when asleep. Also, Backspace basically creates a sprawling exhibit every month further highlighting the lack of need for this from would be institutional plans.

JenColossusRhoads.jpg


Lastly, at Anna Bananas [on NW 21st between Overton and Northrup] coffeehouse a mini retrospective of Jennifer Rhoads' paintings is on display, she curated one of Core Sample's best shows, Flush, back in 2003. She's real good and the Richard Tuttle-ish one is masterfully done. It just goes to show that a serious artist can make even less than exemplary conditions look coherent, seek this out.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 13, 2006 at 23:35 | Comments (6)


Comments

...and what "would be" institutions might be inferred herein?

Posted by: TJ Norris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2006 11:42 AM

wherever the shoe fits

and there are plenty... my point is simply, well presented shows are what we should expect and these smaller privately run exhibition spaces seem to have the right idea. I'm giving these shows credit for a job well done.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2006 12:00 PM

Agreed. Did you happen to catch the show at Rake?

Posted by: TJ Norris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2006 01:36 PM

yeah I saw it... and I told them what I thought in person because they asked.

They just sent me an email about their mission but Ill wait to see how they manifest it next month. Words are cheap.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 14, 2006 01:59 PM

have you seen the past few shows at valentine's?

Posted by: thomas3 [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2006 11:00 AM

yup saw the current Yeti one... a group show. I really wanted to focus on solo or 1-3 person shows in this post. Big group shows are inherently messy affairs... even the Ovitz collection show at Reed.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 15, 2006 11:10 AM

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