First Thursday May Gallery Guide

Arctic Circle pin-ups, aura portraits, empty billboards, and sightings of the Virgin Mary. This month's First Thursday lineup has it all—plus sunshine!

By Aaron Scott May 1, 2014

Steven Goldman Gallery at the Art Institute of Portland
Notions of Beauty: NW Fashion Photography Now
Local fashion photographer Christine Taylor has a long impressive history in the biz. From shooting big name bands all over the country to snapping pics for magazines like Spin and, ahem, Portland Monthly, she could have easily filled a gallery with just her work. Instead, Taylor took inspiration from her city and curated an exhibit, Notions of Beauty, of some of the Northwest’s best fashion photographers (including well known names like Holly Andres, Brendan Coughlin, and Rafael Astorga).... Read about the show on our Look Book Blog.

Upfor Gallery
Jordan Rathus: Fernweh (Farsickness)

With a history in television production, this Brooklyn artist plays with the tropes of reality TV, documentary film, and social media. In the case of Fernweh (Farsickness), she creates an installation of faux-travelogue videos about her recent trips to the Arctic Circle and Panama that plumb the mutual exploitation of tourism to a soundtrack of “My Girl” and “Paradise City.” Rathus’s joyful and refreshingly unironic humor shines particularly bright in a series of pin-up wall calendars where she’s photographed herself in satirical boudoir poses with and animal pelt in a hut in the Arctic Circle.

PDX Contemporary
Johannes Girardoni: Redacted

Girardoni’s Exposed Icon series overlays photographs of empty billboards—objects in opposition to their own nature—to create landscapes of existential emptiness, further redacted by rectangles of industrial paint, that invite the viewer to insert themselves to give meaning and message. Who are we without the pervasive, insidious messages of advertising? The reductive, negative space of the color fields is given physical form in his sculptures of found wood painted in white or black wax.

Charles Hartman Fine Art
Hayley Barker:
Apparition Hill
In 1981, six children in Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina saw visions of the Virgin Mary on what’s known as Apparition Hill. Since then, it’s become a site of pilgrimage and Virgin sightings despite civil war and violence and active opposition from both the Catholic Church and the government. Barker visited the site, painting, drawing, and bringing back altered souvenirs in an attempts to portray the mystical and esoteric. Sarah Sentilles has a lovely piece at Oregon ArtsWatch about the show.


Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Anna Von Mertens and Julia Mangold

Von Mertens shifts from the quilt work that’s made her last year a particularly bright one (a solo exhibition at the Boston Center for Art and inclusion in the Smithsonian’s 40 Under 40: Craft Futures show) to vibrant, dyed fabric paintings of three sorts, the most intriguing being a series based off of the aura photographs of couples standing side by side. (Do we see an aura photo app being the new mood ring in the near future?)

Don’t think Mangold’s move from her velvety charcoal rectilinear sculptures to works on paper is a shift from three-dimensions to two. Her use of multiple layers of paper and grid arrangements of frames give these pigment and graphite explorations of rectangular shapes a marked depth.

Froelick Gallery
Gwen Davidson and Miles Cleveland Goodwin

While both artists’ work here deals primarily in landscapes, they couldn’t be more different. Davidson paints the Columbia Gorge and the Oregon Coast, and then cuts those paintings into strips that she reassembles into dreamy textured collages that feel like composites landscapes of memory as much as geography. Goodwin also uses paint and collage techniques, but his southern landscapes are much darker, like a world coated in tar and coal smoke.

Pickathon Pre-Party at Danner
If you need a break from the art, head to the Danner Union Way story for a Pickathon pre-party with free drinks, pizza, and psych, bluesy rock from local band Houndstooth.


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