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Saturday 07.24.10

« Brain Party! | Main | Arty Cinema / Cinematic Art »

Under the radar reviews

Many art scenes shut down in the summer, Portland's doesn't. There are several high profile shows like Ai Weiwei and Sol Lewitt that everyone should make a point of catching but part of the fun of summer is just walking around so here are some very worthy lower profile shows that deserve some attention.

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Laura Hughes' Passed Presence at the Portland Building

Laura Hughes (a recent PNCA grad) has the potential to be one of the most exciting new artists on the Portland scene. Consisting of faux shadows in Michael Graves infamous Portland Building, Passed Presence is Hughes first project after graduation and the work is considerably sparer and more subtle to what I saw from her prior thesis work. It also somewhat rehabilitates the not entirely effective postmodern design with a somewhat modernist reductive move that reintroduces the referent. But the strength in this project can be found in the way she simply shifts and redraws the site specific shadow of a Michael Graves designed stair railing, creating a perceptual puzzle. It is related to the work of Damien Gilley (who debuted in this very same space), Jenene Nagy and Robert Irwin, though less demanding and more ephemeral than Gilley. That it is more digestible is perhaps a good thing allowing us to focus on subtlety rather than designy faux perspective details (which Gilley and Nagy have a greater flair for). Ultimately, it's the immateriality of a fleeting perception that strengthens the viewer's sense space here. Also, the focused consideration for a somewhat under appreciated but important building ups the ante for this outing and it will be interesting how Hughes' further develops in the the near future with and without collaborators. Hughes is worth watching.

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Andre Kertesz Paris (man on bicycle), 1948

Pedaling: Bicycle Photographs from Then to Now at Charles Hartman Fine Art is probably the most perfect summer group show I’ve ever seen in a Portland Gallery. From masters like Andre Kertesz to Elliot Erwitt and vintage press photos of Gary Cooper to young hotshots like Corey Arnold there are a lot of memorable moments. Kertesz is a master of compositional geometry whetting our appetite for his solo show here next month while Corey Arnold's odd scene of two peopl (one a mime) on a single bike displays his keen eye for existential humor. Portland is Americas most bicycle friendly city at a time when bicycles are once again surging in popularity. What many people don’t know is that Bicycles were all the rage at the beginning of the 20th Century just before the automobile took over the middle class imagination at the same time photography was becoming widespread. The net result is that bicycles both today and in the past held a kind of metaphor for self sufficient progress in process. Catch this show before it ends next weekend.

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Calvin Ross Carl at Half/Dozen

At Half/Dozen Calvin Ross Carl's Purple Mountain Majesty feels like an introduction. In it Carl reduces mountains, paintings, chairs and rags to linear graphic elements and standard hazard colors. The strategy resembles several artists from Sean Healy to Anne Truitt as well as being a staple technique of the design industry. Individually, the works that blur the floor to wall relationship are the most successful but as a show it suggests that Carl is looking for a subject. Luckily, the limited edition print which reduces the housetops from a photo of the Vanport Flood suggests that Carl could use design techniques to reduce, flatten and schematize the way we record historic events and possibley create more than prints from disaster source material.

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Tony Hix's The Frog Queen Contemplating Passion and Compassion

At Worksound's Ask The Lonely show there are several worthy pieces Like Tony Hix's The Frog Queen Contemplating Passion and Compassion, Troy Briggs extra tall table setting or Rachel Muldur's skeletonless and gutless lion skin. A good effort from curator Mark Janchar whether its the shadows from Briggs' piece about memory or the flies comprising the shadow of Hix's frog queen there is a poignant sense of isolation and smart installation used to maximize the impact of the pieces.

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18 x 24 by Linda Tross

Linda Tross' The Frame is the Fiction at Gallery 114 is full of those droll jokes about painting that artists were making during the 70's and late 60's. It's almost a time machine, except that the commentary still work today. Everything on the wall here delivers exactly what the title advertises. For example, an 18 x 24 is an 18 x 24 inch painting and Art history quiz is comprised of famous paintings etc. Maybe it's art's way of constantly digging up it's own history and mannerism for contemplation that allows it to remain semi autonomous... as a lexicon of its own moves and strategies?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 24, 2010 at 11:38 | Comments (0)


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