Sept. First Thursday Gallery Guide

A new gallery launches in the Pearl, PNCA gets uncomfortable, TBA spreads the art around, and the art museum showcases Oregon's most significant photographer.

By Portland Monthly Staff Edited by Nathan Tucker September 5, 2013

From Frances Stark’s “My Best Thing”

Frances Stark: My Best Thing
Get ready for a new Pearl District gallery (not just for tourists), founded by former Rand Corporation think-tanker Theo Downes-Le Guin. Upfor, specializing in new and digital media, debuts with LA video artist Frances Stark’s “My Best Thing,” which premiered at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Read our Q&A with Le Guin about his background and his new gallery.

Feldman Gallery
A.L. Steiner: Feelings and How to Destroy Them
A.L. Steiner wants to make you uncomfortable. Her work spans across diverse mediums from photography to performance and installation, but her goal remains consistent: she aims to confront notions of both normativity and activism, and to complicate definitions of queer and feminist art. Steiner’s work is featured in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and this survey, presented in conjunction with the Time-Based Arts Festival, offers an expansive view of both her solo projects and collaborations.

"On" by Michael Lazarus

Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Opening: Michael Lazarus: Recent Works
Isaac Layman: Funeral
The paintings on display in Michael Lazarus' Recent Works make use of found items such as commercial signage and lettering, repurposing these discarded canvases into works that immediately lure the viewer and complicate the dualities found in everyday life.


"Sink" by Isaac Layman

Isaac Layman has staked a place on the frontlines of digital photography with his large-scale composite images of the most mundane household items: the inside of the oven, a sink full of dirty dishes, a piece of rubber stair tread he slipped on (he once referred to himself as “an anti–National Geographic photographer”). Shooting the objects from multiple focal depths and vantage points, he compiles the many photographs into single images that are simultaneously blurred and sharp, making almost abstract magnifications of crisp domesticity. Yet whereas in the past, his cabinets and sinks have been full of items, in Funeral, a meditation on mortality and rememberance, he revisits them after removing their contents, depicting empty containers that are void of life or caskets to be filled. Several works manage to transport the viewer in their emptiness. Sink, in particular, possesses a depth in its unblemished porcelain fold that enwraps the eye in a certain peaceful solitude grounded by the drain—almost a circular infinity that holds everything and nothing. But some of the other works feel flatly hollow without the counter-textual knowledge of his previous works. Hopefully his works in the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Contemporary Art Awards exhibition opening in September will add some depth to the emptiness.

"Ribbon Confection Grande" by Matt Cosby

Image: Matt Cosby

Augen Gallery
Matt Cosby: Paintings and Prints 
Local painter and silkscreen artist Cosby presents his latest series of works: a study of mesmeric wave patterns in repetitive chains of shape and color. “I’m looking for a system, much like a sine wave, a mathematical construct used to predict cycles,” notes the artist about his work. “Repetition and consistency tend to be my thing.” 



Laura Russo Gallery
Eric Stotik: New Work
Local artist Stotik generally paints on a smaller, more intimate scale than most, manifesting images of eerie beauty that suggest feelings of loss, desolation, and discovery. His delicate creations depict people and places, raising questions about identity, interconnection, and the human condition. But in this show, he presents a single painting five-feet high and 45-feet long—the result of two years of work. Paintings by Seattle artist Anne Siems are also on display. 


Guardino Gallery
Steve Winkenwerder and Shannon Weber
The new works on display from Winkenwerder are the first in which his drawings, collage, and assemblage have been merged into single pieces, allowing him further exploration of his fascination with the discarded and the thrown away. Oregon artist Weber is known for weaving singular, spellbinding works from a variety of materials, including plants, discarded household items, and flotsam that washes up on the beach. It is in the latter set of material particularly that her work invokes themes of archaelogy and past nomadic traditions.


Museum of Contemporary Craft
John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works: Quality is Contagious 
John Economaki founded Bridge City Tool Works in 1983 to design and produce timeless tools for woodworkers and collectors. Proving that the local, small batch Portland ethos works for basically everything, the company uses digital technology to produce made-to-order tools in extremely limited production runs. For the first time, the past thirty years’ of the company’s products, tools, and sketches will be on display at the PNCA Museum of Contemporary Craft, accompanied by interactive programming. 

Other September shows to see:

Cooley Art Gallery
Jamie Isenstein: Will Return
Thru Oct 20, Public reception and catalog release party: Sept 19 at 6
Rising New York artist (and Portland native) Isenstein puts herself into her work—literally. Many of the installations in this survey show, done in collaboration with PICA's TBA, involve her sustained presence in feats of artistic endurance, such as remaining hidden in a wall for hours with only her hand protruding. When she’s not there, she hangs a “will return” sign. We suspect we will return, too—several times.


Adams and Ollman
Acharya Vyakul, Chris Johanson, Chris Corales
Sept 6–29
Philly transplant Amy Adams’s Central Eastside gallery, Adams and Ollman, specializes in self-taught artists who reflect intuitive influences. The year-old gallery continues its strong run of form (the Oregonian called it "rookie of the year") with this three-person exhibition highlighting the meditative qualities of art for both the artist and the audience. Enjoy the cracks and crashes of the savvy, internationally known sometimes-Portlander Chris Johanson. The late Indian painter Acharya Vyakul, who uses plants, cow’s urine, clay, and flowers to ignite his “tantra-folk” watercolors. Corales' work uses a variety of mediums to emphasize more personal meditations.

Portland Art Museum
Robert Adams: The Question of Hope
Sept 7–Jan 5
The Portland Art Museum hosts an exhibition of 70 prints by Robert Adams, a 76-year-old artist and Astoria resident widely regarded as the most influential landscape photographer of his generation. Throughout his career, Adams has crafted his work as an invitation to ponder the future of the western landscape by examining what we’ve done to it so far. This exhibit, The Question of Hope, marks the first time Adams has directed that call to his fellow Oregonians. Learn more about the reclusive artist in our feature on Adams.


"El Despoblado" by Stephen Hayes

Hoffman Gallery
Sept 10–Dec 15
Stephen Hayes: A 30-Year Retrospective
This homegrown painter and printmaker gets and gives his due with 30 years of evocations of people and landscape, aptly titled Figure/Ground.


Gallery 6 PDX
Playing with a Full Deck
Thru Sept 26
Playing with a Full Deck is a unique mail art project that was launched in June of 2010 by Liz Cohn, as an experiment in freeform collaboration between collage and mixed media artists via mail. Now in its third year running, the resulting collection of cards boasts over 238 participating artists and more than 2000 playing cards. 


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