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Tuesday 06.24.08

« Opportunists | Main | Information Studio »

The New Scene on NW Broadway

For the nearly 9 and a half years I've lived here The Everett Station Lofts have been the best incubators of local talent introducing Portland to the likes of Jacqueline Ehlis, Brenden Clenaghen, Laura Fritz, Jenene Nagy, TJ Norris, Roxanne Jackson, Stephen Slappe and Stephanie Robison etc. Consequently, everytime I hear some all-talk no art background person declare how they are going to change Portland I kinda chuckle because "the Lofts" (currently in resurgence mode with Igloo, The Life, Sequential, Tilt, Pip and now Tractor and the soon to open On gallery…) so routinely change the up and coming scene that no one entity could hope to change the ever-changing. True even the best of these galleries typically last only a year or two but they provide an important blueprint to others aspiring to create live work spaces for Portland's scene… the lofts are located in Chinatown so it's all location location location + a little well placed energy and some post art school knowledge = a formula for success (though there is a glass ceiling).

TractorBeam.jpg
Crushed Orange A19-7 at Tractor Gallery

A great example is the inaugural exhibit at Tractor gallery in the Everett Station Lofts by Mackenzie Shubert and Charles Olson. Titled Crushed Orange A19-7 it reminds me of Mark di Suvero and Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau. I particularly liked the reference to construction sites, alluding to all the condos, construction cranes and the human hive's generally busymaking building efforts. This is a good start in what has been home to some of Portland's best galleries like Nil and Field. Ends June 28th, watch this space.

THEfunk.jpg
Detail of Steven Funk's "Pilgrimage"

Another standout this month is Steven Funk's installation Pilgrimage at Tilt (closes June 28). His Haight Ashbury meets Hieronymus Bosch like imagistic underworld is populated by celebrities and demons who together create a riot of visual activity and metaphor. You want Sonny and Cher? You want a Kraken? Well, they are all here as quasi dark ages objects of veneration and ridicule. On view through June 28th. You are definitely gonna see more of this guy… ;)

ShigetaIcebergs.jpg
Shigeta at Augen Gallery

Also make certain to check out Naomi Shigeta's new paintings at Augen Gallery's Desoto location this month (which closes today). In particular her series of white and blue paintings suggest a field of icebergs or mountains in a Delft pottery color scheme. The other paintings are more hit or miss as individual islands of visual delight… but as a deft installation just inches above the floor the white and blue paintings signify a sense of poetic continuity and a coherent installation that anchors the show.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 24, 2008 at 10:59 | Comments (3)


Comments

"Every time I hear some all-talk no art background person declare how they are going to change Portland I kinda chuckle"
It seems to me you are the only person that matches this description. Most people I've meet just do what they do and don't worry about after their dead. In fact the only person I have ever heard say they are concerned with this is you JJ. So are you talking shit about yourself?

Posted by: art background [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 09:40 AM

Art Background: Any quote can seem absurd when you take it out of it's context. I believe you may have misinterpreted some of what he was stating.

I am sure he will respond back to clarify.

Posted by: Calvin Ross Carl [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 11:21 AM

Nice try AB, but the facts don't support this kind of playground level argument. Let's just debunk it for education's sake... thanks for the opportunity to address the misconception.

First off, I have a post graduate level art background enhanced by over 16 years of continuous professional level involvement with museums, galleries and publications. In fact, all of PORT's writers have serious art backgrounds.... true it isn't absolutely necessary (Peter Schjeldahl being the best example) but 99.9% of the time it really makes a huge difference.

Second, if you were paying attention you'd notice I never claim to be by trying to "change Portland." I lack that kind of arrogance/naivete and I consider such talk to be cheap... a bit like political grandstanding and PR posturing for a position that doesnt exist. Instead, I have simply pointed to the state of flux that Portland is in and given it some context relevant to the situation, while challenging it and sometimes taking action. Frankly, I'm amazed that any of it has worked at all... the odds are against it, yet here we are in a pretty vibrant art scene with increasing international relevance. Sure I prompt, but rather than just talk I have a track record of helping others reach their potential. Relevant criticism is a part of the mix in an interesting scene, strong exhibitions are another and because there is a lot of work to do I work to empower others.

Thus, you are focusing too much on me.

In the end I'm just one person connected to many who aggregately have already changed the city. Change isn't some thing that one person needs to declare... it's simply better to just do it (and it really helps to know something about what you hope to alter).

There are several who do fit the description that provoked you and for the record I have nothing in common with those types. I care about the work first, parties and PR bore me. All I want to see good shows and interesting art. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for the opportunity to re-state the obvious.

(*note: because PORT is not a forum for ...or an inquisition for its staff this line of discussion ends here)

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 25, 2008 11:33 AM

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