Manga Hokusai Manga at Portland Japanese Garden
The latest show at the Portland Japanese Garden, Manga Hokusai Manga: Approaching the Master's Compendium from the Perspective of Contemporary Comics
, takes a look at the connection of early Manga to today's modern form. This is the US debut for a traveling show, which compares acknowledged masters from all eras. The show takes us from Hokusai to today's best and brightest. I'm personally struck by the way all forms are stylized visual compendiums, like stored visual thinking about basic and sometimes capricious aspects of life that are normally fleeting or nigh impossible to capture in photography or words. One could call it a kind of essential visual theater on the page. There are lots of events set with this show including a scholarly lecture on December 15th
... and a closing panel, which will be announced.
Manga Hokusai Manga: Approaching the Master's Compendium from the Perspective of Contemporary Comics | December 1 - January 13
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Ave
This is your last day to catch Victor Maldonado's Liberation Stories at Froelick Gallery and it is one of the strongest painting shows Ive ever seen in Portland, which is interesting because the artist tends to be more of a conceptualist
. But here he's visceral, engaging the history of street art, Philip Guston, Baselitz, Guggenheim Mural era Pollock and perhaps even Hermann Nitsch? The thing is it all comes from being the city of Portland's most visible Mexican/American artist who is paradoxically "not Mexican enough" and at the same time always summoned to be on any multicultural panel (the essential voice who is always on the panel but never given the award, which makes me furious). The truth is Victor has always walked a tightrope... being a bit of a provocative troublemaker as an artist and as a great ombudsman as an administrator. These paintings just burn through all the stereotypes and their tornadic vorticies coalesce into bodyslammed wrestlers... or are the dead? Always too smart, too nice, too handsome, too considerate and too perceptive to sit into left and right wing political schemas his works are troubling and put the viewers on the ropes in paintings like The Fallen and Ofrenda. I like his newfound confidence, now on display many years after earning his US citizenship, Victor is taking the victory lap nobody seemed to be willing to give him (including himself).
True, he's a friend and I couldnt be prouder of him but ultimately this is a cultural comeuppance. Victor's paintings simply cannot be ignored... and in any other progressive city besides Portland would have been celebrated more. But Portland's institutions do not acknowledge true provocateurs like Victor... yet it is exactly what the smugly woke need. The "liberation" here is the fact that Victor has been crucial for over a decade and somehow despite not really thinking of himself as a masterful painter has become just that. The sheer economy and bravura of works on display arent about revisiting traumas... they are a all in your face testaments to the considered vitality paint can convey. No more hiding, this is the strongest solo painting show in years from the Pacific Northwest (only about half of the recent works are on display).
*He also has an excellent Chapel on Display at the Archer Gallery and today is the last day to see it.
Liberation Stories | October 30 - December 1st
714 NW Davis
Jeffry Mitchell's Tyger! Tyger at PDX Contemporary
Another last day, in this case to catch Seattle's Jeffry Mitchell. He is on a roll and one had better be to intone William Blake's great poem by calling his latest at PDX Contemporary, Tyger! Tyger! What makes this baroque conglomeration of delicate ceramics and wall works the the way the ceramics feel like folk art. Somehow Mitchell's latest works feel like they are pantomiming the often touted schism between western art and the far east rendering the argument moot. I enjoy that and by using folksy spun lathed stools as plinths Mitchell purposefully confuses crockery, mysticism and furniture. He's been doing some of the very best art of his long career lately
Tyger! Tyger! | October 30 - December 1
925 NW Flanders