Tanya Batura, Sourire en Bois, 2007. Clay and acrylic. 10 in x 17 in x 10 in. Portland Art Museum.
The Portland Art Museum's latest contemporary acquisition, Tanya
's Sourire en Bois
is on now display on the 4th floor of the
Jubitz Center for Contemporary Art. The title translates as, "to smile
out of wood." The double entendre is probably intended, but it also references
how the sculpture has a wooden texture where the torso normally would start.
I first became familiar with Batura's work several years ago in the usual cascade
of indistinguishable art fairs but her work always stood out ghoulishly. The
work is exaggerated like Franz
and our own Storm
, but Batura's work is both somewhat blissed out and mortuary in appearance
in comparison. The effect is unsettling, as is the slight bruise of color on
the lips (in this case purple) that one often finds in her work suggests that it is or was somehow alive.
This deathlike fetish of pure white ceramic with living color on the mouth heightens the latent
grotesque sensuality of the work. Batura even gleans her source material for
these faces from headshots of burn trauma, pornography and plastic surgery so
the sense of constant alteration is in keeping with the LA mindset (where she
lives and works).
Though we are keeping the Batura there are also lots of other great things on loan to see at PAM right now if you
want to do your own little Easter Egg hunt.
Here is a list find them all (all private collections unless otherwise noted):
Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (757), 1992, Lent by the James B. Tananbaum
and Dana S. Tananbaum Family Trust (4th floor Jubitz Center)... this is probably
the best Richter on display north of San Francisco right now and it's interesting
how it looks next to the Tim Bavington, both are stripe paintings.
Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, (one of the gold brocade paintings, which I love)
Lent by the James B. Tananbaum and Dana S. Tananbaum Family Trust (4th floor
Richard Pousette-Dart, Imploding Light Number 2, 1968-69 (1st floor, Jubitz
Center). This is probably the best Pousette-Dart I've ever seen and worth the
Morris Louis, Arcturus, 1961(2nd floor, Jubitz Center) Finally a Louis in the
Hans Arp,Concrétions Enlacées, c. 1958 (Entwined Concretions),
(3rd floor, Jubitz Center)
Andy Warhol, Campbell's Beef Noodle (crushed), 1962, Graphite and watercolor
on paper, (3rd floor, Jubitz Center)
Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1965 Location: Discovery Center, 2nd floor, Hoffman
Wing, Belluschi Building
There are also a couple of wonderful David Smith sprays, an Arshile Gorky and
a very cool Louise Nevelson if you hunt around. I don't want to make it too
easy... I found all this stuff by wandering around the hard way (I wonder how many POrtland artsts, curators and critics actually visit the museum just to look?)