phile under: art

Portland2010 Closing-ish Weekend

By Lisa Radon April 23, 2010

Portland2010 Biennial wraps this weekend with performances, a curator talk, and gallery hours in spaces across the city. At least one show continues after the weekend: Heidi Schwegler at Alicia Blue Gallery, a new gallery on Alberta.

After Tahni Holt’s Culture Machine at 6 PM at Disjecta (8371 N Interstate), Oregon Painting Society performs "WitchAngel" with Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner from 9-9:30 PM with a performance in OPS’ installation "HexenHouse" at the Templeton Building (230 E Burnside). Oregon Painting Society have been invited to be a part of No Soul for Sale: A Festival of Independents at the TATE MODERN next month and so will be selling the printed boxes from their installation (and t-shirts too) at the show to raise funds for the trip. Tomorrow, there’s a curator’s talk by Cris Moss at 3 PM at Disjecta, and another performance of Culture Machine.


There are two things you should not let slip away from you before the end of the weekend. By hook or crook you should see the work by numerous artists at the Templeton Building and the Springfield-based Ditch Projects’ "Are You Ready for the Country?" at Rocksbox (6540 N Interstate). Ditch Projects is a play on the soon-to-be-late Deitch Projects. Like Deitch, Ditch does exhibitions, environments, and eyelash-searing performances.

Here, the Ditch crew—Julie Berkbuegler-Poremba, Mike Bray, Jared Davis-Haug, Damon Harris, Tim Meyer, Donald Morgan, Dave Siebert, Robert Smith, and Jesse Sugarman—address, obliquely, a Portland-Springfield relationship…or not…celebrating "the urban center’s…submission to the rural margin," displaying, "the trappings of this neo-rurality, creating a buck hunter’s trophy wall of crude plaza monuments and high-tech folk art" I love that last description almost as much as the show itself. Sculptures of crystal chunks suspended from hot pink cord and bent black acrylic sheets in the mylared interiors of white boxes are about sensationalizing the natural, in the form of the crystal, in a most unnatural way (the white boxes not unlike white box gallery spaces, I read it as comment on romanticized, nature-inspired art in the gallery). The black light suspended in a lean-to of tinted car windows is possibly the best element of the show, making Larry Bell-like minimalism of the discarded. Best is a video of a tree-shaped car air freshener hanging from a rearview mirror…in flames as the Eagles play on the radio.

Meanwhile at the Templeton Building, that beautiful, abandoned building that opens onto the east side of the Burnside Bridge, David Eckard’s sculptures eerily promise old fashioned performance of the puppet show or oratory variety while John Brodie’s "Westworld," populates a landscape of oversized collages with a crowd of heads, taking off from the 1973 movie by the same name (Yul Brynner!). The real story, though, is installation, with Oregon Painting Society’s sprawling "Hexenhouse," a small house alive with sound (some generated in response to viewer movement) set in a landscaped garden where pathways lead through tiles of flower petals and sand. Both Damien Gilley and Jenene Nagy move their practices forward in big leaps. In the dank basement, Jenene Nagy’s "Destroyer" is jagged hot pink planes plunging through rents in the walls lit by a tangle of florescent tubes, a far more violent take on the kind of work Nagy is known for. And Damien Gilley takes his black tape wall drawings that typically comment on the architectural features of the space into three dimensions, building a frame of a structure that is then represented on the walls in a distant, abstract landscape leaving us looking both at the walls and through them.

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