January is always an odd month in the Portland art scene, usually just a lot of group shows and holdovers with one or two big exhibitions by top shelf local artists that everyone follows very closely. Well we have the group shows and holdovers. Here are my picks:
Cauleen Smith at PNCA's 511 gallery
Well, my first pick is a holdover and I'm not even all that impressed with it but I enjoy the problems it conjures and its only open for a few more days. Here is what I wrote last month: "Recently the list of Whitney Biennial artists came out and Cauleen Smith, whose show Asterisms... currently on display at PNCA
is one of them. Now, Im not exactly wild about the WB list and have my misgivings about this show which according to the artist, "collects, arranges, projects, and draws connections between bodies unrelated, which together, create space and place. Objects from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Craft intermingle with objects from the artist’s own personal collection to create the mise-en-scene for cinemascapes that require an a curious and slow-looking eye." (seems strained and MoCC collection feels strained. Still, I like the fact this is a new media show. Besides, it is a sneak peek at everyone's favorite group show train wreck in the Spring and frankly I like going to shows that I am deeply skeptical of. Art simply isn't about seeing your ideas and values reflected back upon you, though that's part of my criticism of this work so have a look and see what you think?"
Asterisms | November 3 - January 6, 2017
First Thursday: January 5, 6:00-8:00PM
PNCA (511 Gallery)
511 NW Broadway
Here is an interesting first, I have never seen a curator from the Portland Art Museum at the Everett Station Lofts... and I actually brought the museum's Contemporary Art Council down there when I was VP. Hopefully today that ends because Grace Kook-Anderson, the new Curator of Northwest Art is the guest curator for the Portland Pataphiysical Society's Christine Nguyen exhibition titled Constellations. A LA based artist it should be interesting though the lofts have showcased an enormous # of significant artists over the years. True the lofts ebb and flow but seem to be on an upswing with Una and Pataphyscal Society as rents rise out of control in the city.... the lofts can hopefully remain an essential incubator? Will the new curator finally break PAM's earned reputation of being nearly completely isolated from what is really going on in the Portland art scene? (a scene that is very active nationally and internationally)
Christine Nguyen | January 5 - February 18 2017
Opening Reception: January 5, 6-8PM
Portland Pataphysical Society
625 NW Everett St, # 104
More sad news Duplex gallery will be closing after a good run, but at least it is concluding with Emily Wobb. Her exhibition, titled Bad Dreams... seems appropriate and her work has always had an unsettled quality.
Emily Wobb | January 5 - 31, 2017
Opening Reception: January 5, 6-9PM
219 NW Couch St
Donald Morgan, Reader's Tomb
I rarely post openings on Fourteen30 because most of their shows are a bit purposefully undercooked in the way that is fashionable now (or was before Hilary lost and liberal elitism crashed without more radical roots
). That said, I've long followed Donald Morgan and he's better than all that. His latest exhibition Reader's Tomb may be the most accomplished exhibition he's ever mounted (or the gallery for that matter). Channeling lots of 1980's sardonic art like Haim Steinbach along with the general fetish of printed materials, fun house aesthetics and the more difficult topic of reading comprehension and nuance this show looks very complete. Morgan's original reception was effected by bad weather so First Thursday gives him another round, even though it is way out of the way from the normal gallery walk I think it is worth while.
Donald Morgan | December 16 - January 17, 2017
Opening: January 5, 6-8PM
1501 SW Market St