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Wednesday 09.20.06

« Embroidery and the Prairie | Main | Round Up »

A resurgence in the Everett Station Lofts

ESL1.jpg

With so many artists and a lot of new spaces popping up in unexpected locales there is a wild-westness and an equally pervasive camaraderie to the Portland art scene. Over the years the Everett Station Lofts have been the most important breeding ground and networking zone in the scene. Current "names artists" like Brendan Clenaghen, Joe Macca, Jacqueline Ehlis, James Boulton, Brad Adkins, Laura Fritz, TJ Norris and Red 76 all have a history with the Lofts. Even newer to the spotlight names like Paul Fujita and Scott Wayne Indiana were recently ensconced there.

Mcgovern.jpg
work by Mike Mcgovern at Zeitgeist Gallery this past summer

Physically, the lofts are a collection of 15 artist run galleries and two larger spaces on the block bordered by NW Broadway, Everett, Flanders and 6th street. After 3 years in the doldrums as the scene expanded outward from the downtown they are surging once again.

Sure, lots of places are competing for bragging rights as the epicenter of the scene these days but to these eyes no space in the city is as diverse, weird, and crackling with energy as the Everett Station Lofts. A few of them are regularly producing the best shows in the city. Yes, many are novelty acts that are more social or attitude driven than serious but there is a place for such diversions, especially when some artists develop more serious programs like they are now.

One space I always try to hit is a Ogle (310 NW Broadway). It isn't an artist run loft; instead it's a largish hybrid eyewear/optometrist/gallery space that occasionally has very interesting shows. This month the work of Philip Iosca (below) from the latest Portland Modern publication fits that bill.
Iosca.jpg


This month Zeitgeist Gallery (the longest running of the ESL spaces) features Philadelphia based and former Zeitgeist proprietor Tyler Kline. Since moving to Philly in 2003 Kline's work has grown, becoming more haunted while stripping out unnecessary imagery (see below).
kline2.jpg


Kline1.jpg
(detail of Kline's Zeitgeist installation)


mansonhamburglar.jpg
The Sequential Gallery focuses on comic book artists, these works are from Ryan Alexander's show "The Prisoner" last June. No doubt Manson thinks the hamburglar is his cell mate, rubble rubble...


Tilt1.jpg
Tilt Gallery co-founded by PORT staffer Jenene Nagy and Josh Smith has become the most consistently well programmed non-profit contemporary space for up-and-coming artists in the city. This month features the LA based (and former Portlander) Aili Schmeltz. I liked her earlier ergonomic installations a bit more than this body of work, but for once her paintings are overshadowing her installations.


hernadez1.jpg
Another notable gallery is Genuine Imitation. This month's show features Nike designer Michael Hernandez's Rise & Fall, a show which addresses one of Portland's pet subjects, real-estate development.


Sugar1.jpg
Sugar Gallery's Roxanne Jackson exhibition was one of the best shows in Portland this month. Her ceramics are strange, disgusting and walk the line between uneasy subject matter and exquisite skill.


MuscleMemory-detail.jpg
Detail of Roxanne Jackson's "Muscle Memory"

I haven't been able to wrap my head around Hovercraft's programming (#114 right next to Sequential) but I enjoyed this show last June featuring Justin Oswald's Roller derby team "Guns N' Rollers."
Hovercraftjustin.jpg


Vorpal Space often focuses on the kinky and last June featured a show of Suicide Girls photography.

ThefaceSGVorpal.jpg
(detail)"The Face" by London Lunoux at Vorpal Space June 2006


Another newish and large addition to the block is the Rake Gallery. From butoh performances like last 1st Thursday to fashion shows and art exhibitions the space is a bit unpredictable expereince-wise but worth a look. Like Ogle, Tilt and Sugar they have regular gallery hours too and art viewing will be better than on 1st Thursday.
JoshKimDeltaDart.jpg
Joshua Kim's "Delta Dart II" at Rake Gallery last June


If more spaces decide to develop a serious curatiorial program like Tilt has I think the lofts might just birth a whole new batch of "name" artists.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 20, 2006 at 12:08 | Comments (5)


Comments

I like what little i've seen of Everett Station Lofts -- but unfortunately, I can't go in because my wife, a professional print artist and photographer, is not welcome there. She uses a wheelchair, and most of the lofts are not wheelchair accessible -- thresholds at the door are not to code -- despite the fact that it would require very little expense to make most of them accessible. They also host a big party and sale on the roof that also excludes people with disabilities.

This is unconscionable, especially for a place that, due to nonprofit status, receives tax breaks (a kind of public subsidy) and was financed partly by the Portland Development Commission. It's also short sighted and stupid, as it excludes people like us who would likely want to buy some art.

Until those spaces stop discriminating against people with disabilities, we won't be buying any art there. When we and our art-loving friends and visitors go art-browsing, we go to places that welcome us.

In future reviews of these and other inaccessible spaces, PORT would do readers a favor by noting that they're not accessible to all. That would spare us a trip to places we checked out based on a review, only to show up and find that we couldn't get in.

Posted by: brett [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 21, 2006 02:04 AM

Brett,

Thanks for reading, you make excellent points and it is important to bring these things to Portlandís attention. Maybe pointing out the need will increase arts funding in some way?

Also, itís true some of the shows we recommend are very difficult to get to and we can certainly point out accessibility issues more in the future.

Thanks
Jeff Jahn

PORT

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 21, 2006 10:16 AM

Brett - Having formerly worked for VSA Arts (six years) I realized before opening my space at the Lofts (now three years hence) that accessibility was important for me as a programmer, as were issues of fire code, so it was a balancing act. I was so honored when folks of all abilities had access to my space. I will never forget one of my regulars, Callahan, who came to most shows. And there were a good handful of others. In these days of mandatory particulars in and around the ADA I cannot agree with you more. The issues you bring up only skim the surface of the often too lax ideologies around access, across the board, in the cultural realm. I must say I was happy to see the provisions PICA made for ramps, etc, into funky, otherwise normally inaccessible spaces. When not all events can be for all audiences (historical spaces, lighting particulars) we can all be more conscious and proactive.

In New England, back in the late 80s I helped pioneer a cultural access guide to museums, performing art spaces and other institutions which detailed physical and other access (see: http://www.accessexpressed.net). As spaces change and develop, it is important to be an active spokesperson for yourself and those in your life at every turn. I would assume that David over at the Everett Lofts (503-222-3425) would want to hear from you about your concerns - as would the directors of ArtSpace USA (http://www.artspaceusa.org/about/staff.htm).

Best, TJ

Posted by: TJ Norris [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 21, 2006 03:17 PM

Tying two Port features together Mahaffey Fine Art got its foothold in Portland at the Everett Station Lofts back in 1992. Back then the lofts were filled with creative people coming into town from other places in the country, most of us finding it very tough to make a go of it here in Portland.
Rae Mahaffey

Posted by: raema [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2006 10:42 AM

just so folks know i went by everett to see if there had been any progress on the ramps that were promised to be in place by 5/3. my quick glance didn't show anything new. my attempt to reach their manager have gone unanswered. curious if anyone else has inside scoop?
carolezoom

Posted by: carolezoom [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 15, 2007 12:11 AM

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