Though Portland's art scene is one of the few that remains active during the Summer, this year it was mostly a cascade of group shows and frankly almost all of those group shows have been weak on execution for the past 12 months (it takes a lot of care to pull them off and most Portland institutions think more is more and spread themselves amateurishly too thin). So it is exciting that the rains have returned as have the serious solo and duo efforts have as well in September. Here are my picks:
Carol Benson's Regalia at Blackfish
There is an intriguing duo show at Blackfish with Carol Benson's Sewn Constructions
and Michael Knutson's Recent Paintings and Monotypes
. Both explore some timeworn aspects of abstract wall based work but both seem like they are at the top of their game for more than just one or two works each. The energy these two bring to bear reminds us that Clement Greenberg's personal collection lives at the Portland Art Museum
(I think institutionally they may have forgotten... a pity because the local + international scene shows how he does still have legs). In particular, Benson's "physical" recycling of other painters work is intriguing, while Knutson has consistently been one of the West Coast's best abstract painters for decades now.
Carol Benson & Michael Knutson | August 30 - October 1
Opening Reception: September 1 | 6 - 9PM
Gallery Talk: September 10, 1PM
420 NW 9th
Rick Bartow's Dog Dance, 2015
When we lost Rick Bartow earlier this year, many of us took it personally
and I also felt like the local discussion/connoisseurship of his work like most Oregon artists was still underdeveloped. With that in mind I'm glad that this exhibition titled Sparrow Song focuses just on some of Rick's final works. What is more, in his home town of Newport the Visual Art Gallery has extended their Rick Bartow - a Community Collection
exhibition till October 2nd. It is special because a lot of it is comprised of personal gifts and from those who knew him well. The effect is different than the traveling retrospective, with the feeling that we dont fully know his work yet but Im excited to do a little more.
Sparrow Song | August 30 - October 1
First Thursday: September 1 6-8PM
714 NW Davis St.
When You Hold Me I Can Sleep, Maria T.D. Inocencio
At the Nine Gallery Maria Inocenio presents work that is designed, "To begin a conversation about the work that women do, the time that it takes, and how it is valued." It is an important subject though in Portland I feel like a majority of the best artists are women yet most awards that go to them (less than 50% of total btw) go because of the nurturing roles they play in the community and not their work... which is also deeply wrong as Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign seems to be bringing to to the forefront of public discourse. Can't women be seen as whole beings no matter what role they play? Shouldn't they be rewarded for their ambitions just as men are? In Portland in many ways all artists are valued less for personal abilities/achievements than for making a show of how community/service minded they are but it goes doubly true for females. This is particularly disturbing as most of the gallerists and curators are women themselves. Inocencio has been doing consistently solid work for years and perhaps doing it too well... it never looks strained or calls attention to the craft present in the work. Some of the quilts will be auctioned to support a domestic violence support non profit as well but I reiterate that Inocencio's worth as an artist goes far beyond her community service.
Maria T.D. Inocencio | September 1 - October 2, 2016
First Thursday: September 1, 6 - 9PM
Closing: October 2, 2 - 5PM
122 NW 8th Ave (within Bluesky)