June 20, 2011

"Equine" at Froelick Gallery

Equine, open through July 16th at Froelick Gallery in the inner Pearl, is a juried group show that explores the symbolic meanings of the horse across cultures and through history through the eyes of (mostly) contemporary artists.

Maximilio Pruneda, Blood Storm, Froelick Gallery

Catherine Haley Epstein, Pony Ride 2, 2011, Froelick Gallery

Over 30 artists are represented in Equine, and the form of the horse (or part thereof) is portrayed in paintings, drawings, photography, prints, textiles and sculptural works of various media. Although several pieces contemplate the horse in a natural setting, most of the works spark thoughts and emotions about how horses have played and play in history, myth, society and personal experience.

Christopher Rauschenberg, Marche aux peuces, 2010, Froelick Gallery

Dorian Reisman, Holy Horse, 2010, Froelick Gallery

With so many pieces, the show is able to encompass a broad range of work by well-established artists, such as Rick Bartow and Susan Seubert, and lesser known local and 'hip' artists like Dorian Reisman (21st century pop) or Emily Katz (DIY handicrafts go fine art) next to historical works such as those of Tom Hardy (1950s) and a famous photographic collotype of the horse in motion by Eadweard Muybridge (19th century). Yet, while bringing together quite disparate artists and media, the show remains tight and true to the subject of the show, with the horse remaining the poignant and central subject in almost every piece, and an overall curatorial flavor stays intact.

Susan Seubert, Bridle, Blinders, 2011, Froelick Gallery

Rick Bartow, White Shadow (Homage to Little Beaver Fry), 2004, Froelick Gallery

Froelick Gallery, on NW Davis between Broadway and the Park Blocks, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30am to 5:30pm and by appointment.

June 10, 2011

Object Stories at Portland Art Museum

As technology enhances the access that people have to art, history, culture and entertainment, museums attempt to keep up with virtual collections and exhibitions, new technologies to accompany in-house exhibitions and innovative education programs. Over the past several years, the Portland Art Museum has expanded their education program to bring a new generation of art viewers through their doors.

In 2010, PAM partnered with Portland State University for "Shine a Light," a night-time party inside and outside the museum that featured food carts, beer and music, in addition to new ways of viewing art. Art-related activities included "marrying a work of art," touching art

object replicas (called "You Can Touch This") and watching nude performances of wrestling in imitation of Greco-Roman statuary. “We want people to be open-minded about what can happen in a Museum, ” Education Director Tina Olsen commented about the event. She added, “We are suggesting that visitors view art as something that is happening right now—that isn't in the past—but that is directly related to their life today.”

More recently, PAM has installed a new permanent exhibition called Object Stories. Fashion Buddha, Ziba Design and Eyelevel collaborated to create a sound-proof recording studio inside the museum where visitors share their personal story about an object that is particularly meaningful to them. This could be anything from a favorite stuffed animal, to heirloom jewelry, to a favorite piece of art. The story sessions, which must be reserved ahead of time, last about 20 minutes and can be recorded in English or Spanish. Professionals then edit the story down to about 2 minute.

Image from Museum 2.0

Each visitor is photographed with their object and must share a "six word story" (a la Twitter) that explains it all in a nutshell. You can view the photos and short stories, such as "Roaring kissing dragon, don't be scared" or "A house has an aging soul" or "Middle school thesaurus thief" on the

Image from Portland Art Museum's ObjectStories.org.

Object Stories website. The exhibition aims to involve the public, rethink the meaning of objects, and engage audiences on new levels. Learn more about the installation.

May 28, 2011

NW Reuse Art Highlights

The ReStore, a Washington nonprofit that resells used building materials, hosts both a trash fashion show (see our post from the 2010 show in Seattle) and a creative reuse art exhibition in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington each year. Here are some highlights from the 2011 art show:

Andrew Hamill's "Cup Installation" in Bellingham.

Basket by Miriam Gray in Seattle.

Michelle de la Vega in Seattle. Image by Ruby Reusable.

Portland's Recology transfer station, an operator for Metro, has initiated a new program, inspired by the success of Recology San Francisco's Artist-In-Residence program. The Pacific Northwest Art Program is a collaborative effort of Metro, Recology and Cracked Pots. A panel of arts and environmental professionals have selected five artists to turn trash to art, by recovering discarded materials in one of our city's "dumps" and transforming them into new creations. The artists have six months to collect their goods, and will present their work in September this year. Learn more on the Cracked Pots website.

Christina Mazza and Erik Otto at San Francisco's Recology exhibit of their work.
See more Recology artists in residence.

Other local organizations regularly exhibit reuse art in a variety of materials. ReDux, a boutique on Burnside that features environmentally conscious arts & crafts, is currently showing Greg Brendon elephantthe work of artist Greg Brenden. Brenden transforms empty plastic milk jugs into fun and familiar animal forms, like chickens and bugs.

SCRAP Creative Reuse Center, in NE Portland, has a gallery devoted to art made from at least 75% reused or reclaimed materials. SCRAP's Re:Vision Gallery emphasizes the variety in materials and the innovative work of artists in the reuse field. Re:Vision Gallery will host twelve fiber artists in July and August.

Images: (left) Greg Brenden, (right) Amy Conway, "Big Pink."

May 26, 2011

Sensual Fibers at Blackfish Gallery

Walking along NW 9th Ave. in the Pearl, it's hard to miss the sensual and delicate work provocatively displayed in the window of Blackfish Gallery. Sally Hayden Gilmore's sculptural pieces are funny in an innocent way, and yet complicated in an evolutionary biology kind-of-way, like a flora-fauna creature from a fantastical and colorful world.

Her work is a playful interpretation of sexuality, but, as Gilmore expresses it, "not in terms of political correctness or social structures, but as the natural world knows it: a wondrous force too powerful and beautiful to ignore." With bulbous protrusions and soft, feathery patterns, Gilmore evokes the ways that nature seduces itself.
The window beckons the visitor to come inside in hopes of seeing more of Sally Hayden Gilmore's work, and perhaps getting closer to it without the glass cooling and distancing the warmth and gentleness of the fibers. But alas, Gilmore is a guest artist and this teaser of her work is all we get. Perhaps we will see more of this Portlander's work in the near future.

Blackfish Gallery (420 NW 9th Avenue) is a cooperative gallery run by thirty artist members, who show in the space throughout the year. The gallery also offers one of its external exhibition windows along 9th Avenue, "Fishbowl 2," for the work of guest artists. There is an ongoing open call to artists for submissions for the Blackfish Window Project. Blackfish Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm.

Both images are from Sally Hayden Gilmore's website, where you can see much more of her work.

April 20, 2011

DIY: Hanging Notepad from Reclaimed Materials

On behalf of SCRAP Creative Reuse Center, the makers of L.a.r.k. Magazine had the opportunity to share a creative project idea on Etsy's How-Tuesday blog. Learn how to make a hanging notepad from recycled and reclaimed materials for your grocery list, as a message board, or to remind yourself of important rendezvous!

April 01, 2011

The Graceful Envelope Contest

Each year, the Washington Calligraphers Guild hosts The Graceful Envelope Contest, a contest in which contestants turn a regular old envelope into a mobile piece of art. To be entered, envelopes must be mailed in, resulting in a deluge of crafty mail for postal service workers to enjoy!

This year, the theme is "Time Flies," and there are three age groups for contestants. Envelopes must be postmarked by April 30th. Check out the Graceful Envelope website to see the work of winners from years past!

Written by: Eleanor Williams

March 13, 2011

Crafty Underdog Wants You!

Spring is here and you only have moments left to submit your handmade wares for the Crafty Underdog Show. This time around, the art show and sale will be at the Mission Theater on Saturday, April 9th. Apply to be a vendor by March 18th at midnight!

If you are not interested in being a vendor, come on by anyway for the art and entertainment. Some of Portland's finest local bands will be on stage throughout the day, and the Mission Theater McMenamins restaurant will be open! Want to know more? Learn all about The Crafty Underdog on their website.

Art, Food, and Fun!!!

Written by: Kim Maruska

ADX: Filled with Tools

By Eleanor Williams

The same folks who brought Portland the Art Department, the fairly recently established (summer 2010) gallery and event space in the Central Eastside Industrial District, are now introducing an even bigger project. ADX is a membership-based collaborative workspace with tools and resources for professional creative thinkers and doers.

ADX's 10,000 sq. ft. facility offers metal and wood shops, co-working desks, a digital media station and vintage travel trailers that serve as artist studios. The space will also host classes, exhibitions and additional art- and design-based programming. Members pay hourly, daily or monthly fees for affordable access to ADX's resources and tools.

ADX will host a "Creative Community Open House" on March 23rd from 6-8pm. This preview will give Portland's creative community members a chance to tour the facilities, learn about the resources and opportunities ADX has to offer, plus sign up for a special introductory membership. Ninkasi beer, Townshend's Dr. Kombucha and Lonesome's Pizza will be at hand.

ADX is located at 417 SE 11th Ave., between Oak and Stark.

March 06, 2011

Growing Together

By Julietta Randles

Owning a gallery in Portland is about as mysterious as a procumbent fern growing on the side of a cinder block. I wanted to see how a gallery, whose art I have consistently identified with, got on in this art-strange and "strapped" city of the Northwest.

It is impossible to hate any of the shows the Together Gallery puts on. I spoke with Timothy Karpinsky, the artist and man-o-war who connects solid ideas with great artists who contribute perennially. My main questions: What was the genesis of the well-oiled machine that you and fellow co-owners run? and, how do you function as a successful gallery when no one is really buying much art in Portland?

Timothy has meandered through Portland, occupying numerous spaces dedicated to design and art. Originally, he was downtown in an over-sized studio doing more design than art (design continues to be his "day" job on the side) to pay the bills. During the 6 years that Timothy had lived in the Alberta Arts District his house functioned as the focal point of an art community, while he showed work at local coffee shops with friends. Slowly, the ratio of art become dominant to the design and Timothy wanted a new space to work in outside-of-home and in which to show art. "It was just an idea," he remarked about the loose search for a working gallery.

While skating by a building in the Alberta Arts District, Timothy noticed an older couple moving furniture in and out. He asked if he could help them move some things and checked out the space, which was flooded with storage and claptrap and owned by a Yugoslavian couple. Timothy made an offer of $800 a month for the space, for work and for exhibiting art. The man said he would think about it; within an hour the Yugoslavian called him to make the deal. The first show in this building opened on a last Thursday 4 years ago.

At first, Timothy and friends showed their personal works in the gallery while working in the back. Despite the well-received showings and the seriousness that ensued, the building had its issues: there was only one electrical outlet, the roof leaked and there was no heat. The conditions edged on miserable. Timothy recalled that while working, they wore blankets to keep warm and they could see their breath. Despite all this, they decided to tough it out for 2 years, producing art, zines and books as well as showing work in the gallery.

The good things said about Together Gallery circulating around got back to Timothy and friends of Together gallery. Submissions started coming in every day. With backgrounds in design, the group created a strong logo design and a killer website that brought definite attention. Having established regular hours and created a welcoming environment Together Gallery was turning into the real deal. In response to artist friends from Los Angeles and San Francisco who saw the development wanted to participate, the Portland gallery began showing a mix of out-of-town and local art. The co-op has since churned out consistently good shows.

Meanwhile, as the gallery's first painting for $1,000 sold online the Together Gallery participants were floored. Even now, half of their business survives with online sales originating mostly from L.A. and San Francisco.

When the current and more traditional gallery space, with a workshop in the back, became available, Together Gallery decided to take the risk--and it was well worth it. After completely gutting the interior and building out the new gallery/workspace to their liking, the second goal was to go after bigger artists. "It's not hard anymore now, we just choose who we want to show," said Timothy. Nonetheless, friends, volunteers and fellow studio mates' partners have all shown their art in the gallery at one point in time. Everyone gets their fair share of real estate. Everyone chips in here; this is an honest portrait of a hard-working co-operative at its best.

Still, Timothy comments that selling art in Portland is hard to do. Together Gallery would have gone out of business a long time ago if they solely relied on Portlanders to pick up the art slack. It seems like everyone here wants to be an artist, but they cannot contribute financially to the community. Timothy spoke about the fact that there's money in Portland, for sure. Yet people are willing to spend money at IKEA on cheap mass-produced art prints and spend an absurd amount of money on gastronomical eats and drinks. The art-mind in Portland is a "slow on the uptake" kind. It doesn't take long to save up for a piece that someone invested so much time and emotion in, it's well worth the micro-fortune. There are not many places to show art of this certain genre and it's a mystery still how blue chip galleries survive here with such costly works of art.

At Together Gallery, most people buy the affordable handsome zines--practically no money is made from those sales. And yet, Together Gallery aims to sell affordable art, ensuring that at least half of the art is under $500 so even starving collectors can afford works at every show. The majority of works featured on a project space on the back walls of the gallery are affordable and 99.9% local.

I asked Timothy about the artists that he seeks out and what he looks for. He is a skilled self-taught businessman that finds reliable, professional artists that he knows will be consistently good. The great thing about Together is that anything goes. The artist Doodles slept in the gallery for a week during his show. In an upcoming show called SCUBA, artists will have free range over the whole gallery. Timothy hopes they cover every square inch of the gallery with art: "We don't have the same rules that other traditional galleries do."

Together Gallery is located at 2916 NE Alberta, Suite A. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 12-7pm, or "By appointment of chance." For a complete listing of artists, see the Together Gallery website.

February 26, 2011

Photo Book Works at 23 Sandy

By Eleanor Williams

Through March 12th, 23 Sandy Gallery is exhibiting "Photo Book Works," features national and international books, selected by Mia Semingson and first shown in Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, that "incorporate photography as a primary image medium." The books range from one-of-a-kind hand-held artist books accented with photographs, to photographs of a large scale outdoor book sculpture ("Book Man" by Stewart Harvey from Burning Man, 2000), to the finely printed and professionally letter-pressed limited edition books of photographs.

Although the "Photo Book Works" offers a variety of pieces showcasing contemporary explorations of the book as an art object unto itself, the worth of this show is in several of the more traditional books which provoke thoughtful contemplation of time, aging and mortality. A number of the stronger pieces featured in this show are by female artists self-reflecting on existential feelings of loss, nostalgia, aging and mortality though image and journey (journey on a road, journey within, journey through time, journey through the book). Among these books is a breadth of experience and perspective.

Mia Semingson's work, made up of snapshots of her every day life with her family during her 40th year, draws the viewer in with colorful and approachable images, and it is easy to sympathize with her self-reflective project about aging and living. Ginger Burrell's "The Heaven Project" communicates through digitally manipulated black and white photographs different descriptions of heaven. Slowly turning the pages of this book, the viewer is inspired by the unique visions of individuals' utopia while being subtly led to questions of one's own views of mortality and the mystery of what happens in the hereafter.

Several other book works also allow us to take a journey along with the artist. Sally Waterman's "The Journey Home" is a "visual diary documenting a repeated journey" of the artist on the train to visit her family outside of London. From afar the small black and white images of the many small accordion books look alike, contrasts, lines and perspectives of industrial England inside and outside the train. But upon close examination, each day becomes its own world with keen observation of fellow passengers and the ever-changing passing landscapes. Time is elapsed and extended; change is apparent but still somehow things are the same. Heather F. Wetzel's photo book explores "nostalgia for childhood memories" during a road trip made up of intentional decisions to repeatedly get lost.

Lauren Hankin's Displaced, her first book, is a careful assemblage of eerie yet romantic richly printed landscape photographs within a beautifully bound and letter-pressed structure (printed by the artist, with letterpress by Inge Bruggeman of Textura Printing and bound by John De Merritt Bookbinding). The images are evocative of the sadness, distortion, transformation, nostalgia and loneliness of the artist as she journeyed by herself into the countryside of Northeastern North America and also into herself as she experienced the loss of a marriage's end. In Part I, the photographs depict a freedom and hope. "My senses were re-awakening. I began to see again- beauty I had been blind to for a long time: clear sparkling rivers, beachfronts dimpled by boulders, shrouded in fog," Hankin comments, and the images are full of a nostalgic bliss, a hopeful commentary. The photographs of Part II carry on a soft and innocent beauty, but also exemplify the artist's transformed emotions and her feeling of suffocating fear. The artist writes, "I believed that the only way I could overcome these fears was by documenting them; by imprisoning what terrified me most onto a small frame of film, and eventually transforming them into beauty." Hankin's photo book expresses the transfiguring and convoluted power that emotions can have on our view of the world, while offering images of timeless and serene beauty.

Images from top: Judith Hoffman, Mia Semingson, Sally Waterman, Lauren Henkin. All images copyright the artists.

February 20, 2011

Free Grant Writing Workshop with Oregon Cultural Trust

The Oregon Cultural Trust, along with other leading cultural organizations in the state including the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Humanities, is offering free grant proposal workshops a and information sessions in the month of March throughout Oregon.

Representatives from the various organizations will present the types of grants they offer, as well as the best methods to use in writing a proposal. These presentations will be followed by Q & A time and breakout sessions in which participants discuss projects with one another.

Portland's session is on Thursday, March 31st from 11am to 1pm at the Central Library downtown. "Writing Strong Grant Proposals" is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Learn more or sign up.

February 08, 2011

Modified Style - Call to Artists

What: Modified Style is an annual Fundraiser Fashion Show featuring garments made by local artists out of fabric scrap material that benefits local nonprofits.

Each entrant receives a bag full of scraps and has one month to fabricate a wearable creation. Garments are then worn by artist-provided models and auctioned off to raise funds for a local nonprofit. This year, proceeds will benefit Sisters of the Road, Out to Pasture Farm Sanctuary and Children's Healing Arts Project (CHAP).

Deadline to sign up is February 15th. Bags of fabric will be available for pick up from February 19th through February 26th at Modern Domestic. An image of finished creation, blurb and model name are due April 1st. A dress rehearsal will be April 27th, and the full Fundraiser Fashion Show is scheduled for May 1st, 2011.

Where: This year's Modified Style Fundraiser Fashion Show will be held at Disjecta, in the Kenton neighborhood.

Who: Entrants need only have "a creative urge of desire to learn" how to sew.Enter in either the amateur category (no sewing experience necessary) or as a professional (if you have ever sold a garment). Modified Style requests a $25 contribution from amateurs and a $40 contribution from professionals to cover the costs of the event.
How: E-mail info(at)modifiedstyle(dot)org to sign up to participate.

Image from www.modifiedstyle.org.

February 01, 2011

Artist Opportunity:Portland STOCK Dinner

Portland STOCK hosts public dinners in various locations around Portland on a bi-monthly schedule to raise funds for local artists' projects.

The premise: each participant in a stock dinner contributes $10 and becomes a dinner guest. Artists or artist group proposals are then presented to the dinner guests and the guests get to vote on which project should receive funding, a la the evening's proceedings. Hence, all the money contributed by the individual diners is then allocated, as a sort of grant, towards an innovative and community-supported artist project. The winning artists must present their completed work at the next stock dinner. (Portland Stock was inspired by the Sunday Soup dinners of the Chicago-based group InCUBATE.)

The next round of artist proposals, in the category of "culture as a component of sustainability," are due by 5pm on February 4th. This time around, Portland STOCK is hosting a special micro-grant dinner, in conjunction with the Dill Pickle Club, at the Visual Culture Symposium 2011, and the dinner is not open to the public. Rather, the dinner will serve to demonstrate a unique micro-granting process and feature Portland-based artists' projects to the national symposium of arts administrators and educators.

Learn how to submit an artist proposal.

January 25, 2011

Junk to Funk: "Transformation"

“Imagine a world in which there was no such thing as trash; that everything that we ‘threw away’ was perceived as a valuable resource…What if the ultimate measure of coolness was how little you bought and how much you creatively reused?”

Portland-based trash fashion organization Junk to Funk asks these questions, and through a combination of performance, contemporary fashion, and sustainability education tries to inspire answers. From catwalk to classroom, Junk to Funk provides audiences young and old new ways of conceptualizing sustainability, reuse and consumption by creating, teaching about and displaying garments and accessories made out of ‘trash.’

Best known for its annual “Recycled Fashion Show Contest,” Junk to Funk has led the city in showcasing the most sustainable fashion around—trashion. The organization has a solid community and political following (Mayor Sam Adams again expressed his appreciation for Junk to Funk’s eye on sustainability at Portland Fashion Week 2010) and regularly features garments by very talented local designers such as Jen Lamastra, Rio Wrenn, and Ruth Waddy (image at left by OnScreen Imaging, design by Ruth Waddy at Pre-Soiled Couture). Junk to Funk designers assemble their wears almost entirely from recycled or reclaimed materials, such as vintage shoulder pads, Oregonian newspaper bags, bicycle tubes and used coffee filters.

Turning away from 4 years of high profile, in-your-face style production, Junk to Funk has recently unveiled new directions in programming. The reconfigured Trashion Collective will integrate trashion into education (at local schools and a summer camp), into business practice (by offering to custom design a garment from a business’s waste), and into the private sector (with opportunities to rent Junk to Funk garments). Junk to Funk’s upcoming 5th anniversary party, called “Transformation,” on February 5th, will both celebrate Junk to Funk’s legacy as Portland’s largest trash fashion show and reveal Junk to Funk’s plan of action for the future. Fourteen new garments from Junk to Funk’s “House of Trashion” will be showcased up close and personal in a gallery installation.

What: Junk to Funk’s
Anniversary Party

When: Saturday, February 5th, 7-11pm

Where: Boothster, 521 NE Davis St.

If you missed Junk to Funk’s fashion shows in year’s past, there are still opportunities throughout the year to see the garments, at Junk to Funk events such as “Transformation,” nonprofit fundraisers like SCRAP’s Incognito or in installations in places such as the Portland International Airport (see image above right from Junk to Funk). You can also check out photos and video from past shows on Junk to Funk’s website.

January 03, 2011

Heaven's Teas with Paul Rosenberg

The experience of tea with Paul Rosenberg of Heaven's Tea in one word: lifted. In his private tea drinking retreat in the top floor of a SE Hawthorne area home, Paul’s tea sessions beckon the visitor into divine realms. Stepping into the intimate space is like stepping into a Taoist sanctuary: antique Himalayan statues and paintings exude a meditative calmness; cakes of tea and handmade pottery with mysterious labels line dark shelves.

Guests/students sit on cushions, sipping rare teas such as rich dark Chinese aged puerhs and fragrantly floral green oolongs from Taiwan, while Paul shares his deep knowledge about the tea plant (camellia sinensis), its healing properties and the range of effects that teas can have on the mind and body. The art of tea in the West is rarely carried out as professionally and serenely as by Paul of Heaven's Teas.

Heaven's Teas is Portland's very own School of Tea Arts. In addition to tasting sessions (such as tea and chocolate pairings), Heaven's Teas offers tea class sessions with a variety of themes, such as Tea and Ecstatic poetry or Understanding Tea and Chi. In the summer months classes are held in an outdoor tea pavilion. For renewal and inspiration, as well as a rare glimpse into a private collection of Himalayan art, Heaven's Tea is the place to spend an evening.

Visit Heaven's Tea website for the current class schedule or to reserve a private tea session.

Photos courtesy of Heaven's Teas. Bottom photo (c)2010 Terry Asker.

Written by Eleanor Williams.

January 02, 2011

PDX Guide: Independent Publishing Resource Center

Located in a historic building downtown, the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is the place is Portland for D.I.Y. publication, offering facilities, tools and machines for the production of zines, comics and handmade books. Besides offering the resources and tools for self-publishing, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization also aims to help individual adults and youth (especially at-risk youth) explore and express issues of identity.

Founded in 1998, the IPRC facilitates creative expression, identity and community by providing individual access to tools and resources for creating independently published media and artwork. Membership to the IPRC is affordable and well worth the myriad perks. Members to the IPRC enjoy access to:
  • copy machines
  • printers
  • computer workstations with up-to-date software and internet
  • a letterpress print shop
The Center offers self-publication related workshops (including Letterpress Printing, Zinemaking and Design and Publication Software) and houses one of the largest circulating zine libraries in the world. Want to go even more in depth? You can now apply for a year-long certificate program in Independent Publishing with a concentration on fiction/nonfiction, poetry, or comics/graphic novels. Read about current projects of folks involved at the Center now on the IPRC blog.

Anyone can sign up for a live tour the IPRC, and the zine library is open to the public (once you sign up for a library card). Oh- and I forgot to mention that the Center also has a Yeti Research Center. A must-see for the true Portland experience.
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