January First Thursday Picks

Father/son super duo Robert and Christopher Rauschenberg at Leach, Hillerbrand+Magsamen make their mundane home life mythological at Blue Sky, and a gaggle of local stars unveil prints at PDX Contemporary.

By Aaron Scott and Jonathan Frochtzwajg January 2, 2013

Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Robert Rauschenberg: Selected Prints
Christopher Rauschenberg:

Likely the greatest local father/son show pairing imaginable, these exhibitions unite the Rauschenberg senior, the wide-ranging giant of modern American art who playfully questioned the demarcation of art and non-art, with the Rauschenberg junior, a photographer and local arts giant who co-founded and currently co-curates Blue Sky Gallery, co-founded Nine Gallery, and taught for many years at Marylhurst College.

Robert is probably best known for his “Combines,” pieces that blur the line between painting and sculpture and incorporate found objects such as clothing and street trash. This exhibition includes an eclectic selection of the artist’s less-known adventures in printmaking, including large tapestries, many of which are unique, even within an edition, as he welcomed chance variations. Christopher’s Museum exhibition explores the bold and sometimes absurd moments in the reverential space of the museum setting during a recent journey to St. Petersburg, many using photostitched panoramas.

Blue Sky Gallery
Stephan Hillerbrand + Mary Magsamen

Influenced by the Fluxus practice of integrating humor, performance, video, and everyday objects in their work, the artistic (and marital) duo Hillerbrand + Magsamen turn their cameras (video and photographic) on their own household for a different kind of family portrait: one that shows the typical suburban American family’s loaded personal dynamics and rampant consumerism through a surreal, darkly funny filter, creating a contemporary mythology by fusing Greek legends and Shakespearean tragedy with the utterly mundane. In “The Fall of Icarus,” Magsamen, covered in laundry, holds her daughter like the fallen Greek hero; in “The Touch of Midas,” their son looks stricken in a bathtub surrounded by cheap plastic toys; and in “Babel,” the family literally piles on top of each other, forming a tower in their living room.

“Home, family, belongings—nothing in our life is left undeconstructed in our art—often quite literally, as sofas, bedroom walls, and dinnerware come under physical attack,” write the artists. “We draw no line between our lives and our art. We are the photographers and the photographed; our home is our canvas, our family is our subject, and our actions are our content.”

PDX Contemporary Art
Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts Golden Spot Award Print Release and Exhibition

This exhibition showcases six of Oregon’s most accomplished artists—Pat Boas, Arnold J. Kemp, Eva Lake, Susan Murrell, Jenene Nagy, Storm Tharp—who received Golden Spot residencies to collaborate with Crow's Shadow Master Printer, Frank Janzen, to create lithographic editions. The works range from Lake’s psychedelically striated prints using the “rainbow roll” method to Kemp’s minimalist line work.

Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts, founded by artist James Lavadour and known for its world-class printmaking studio and traditional arts workshops, is located on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeast Oregon.

Charles Hartman Fine Art
Camera Work: Vintage Photogravures 1903-1917

Alfred Stieglitz, the titan of American photography in the early 20th century, strived to lift photography's status to that of a fine art. Besides his work, perhaps his most successful attempt was the magazine Camera Work, which published 473 photographs from a range of artists during its run from 1903 to 1917. Individual issues now sell for anything from $3,000 to $10,000. Hartman's exhibition includes gravures from Stieglitz, Eduard Steichen, Heinrich Kühn, Clarence H. White, and other early masters, with the images depicting everything from celestial dirigibles, to gritty street scenes, to George Bernard Shaw.

Gallery 6 PDX
Eunice Parsons: Treasured Collages 

Eunice Parsons is fast approaching centenarian status—in more than one sense. The 96-year-old Portland artist, who has been painting, printmaking, and, primarily, collaging for more than 50 years, shows no signs of slowing creatively. Indeed, Parsons’s prolific past decade is the purview of this Gallery 6 retrospective.

p:ear Gallery

Kim Hamblin is trying to nail down the entire natural world—literally. In her mixed-media work, the Oregon artist uses cut paper and paint to detail the structures undergirding life—roots, hives, muscles—as fastidiously as any biology textbook, then rivets the illustrations with actual nails. P:ear’s homeless and transitional youth will exhibit their work as well.




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