On Tuesday, I made the pilgrimage to the Portland Art Museum to see the first Contemporary Northwest Art Awards exhibit, which is the replacement for the Oregon Biennial Show
The curator, Jennifer Gately, picked 5 Northwest regional artists that are under represented on a national scale to showcase at the museum, and there is a cash award. The common denominator between the artists seemed to be that all of them moved freely though multiple media.
The primary draw for me was to see Marie Watt’s work because I adore her and want to worship at her feet.
Watt works in natural materials and common objects like blankets to tell the stories of beginnings and endings and the life in between. She calls herself half cowboy and half Indian, but hews to her roots in the matrilineal Iroquois traditions.
Since I saw her show several years ago at PDX gallery, and was blown away, I always make a point to see her work whenever I can. I was thrilled to hear that she was chosen for this exhibit.
Her tour de force, Forget Me Not: Mothers and Sons, was up in the museum sculpture court. This powerful piece is a remembrance of mothers and the sons and daughters who went off to war. It consists of sewn portraits hung on a web made of blankets hung on a circular frame. To stand inside it is to wonder about and consider each of these individuals and the sacrifices they have made for all of us.
Dan Attoe, the son of a forest ranger, painted outdoor scenes in oil on board and then continued or annotated each piece with graphite drawings done on the gallery’s walls. I especially liked his piece Remember This, a painting of a family on vacation at a scenic overlook (just like that snapshot we all have) with the cars from the parking lot overflowing out of the painting and onto the gallery walls drawn in graphite. He pokes fun at himself and shows a great love for the outdoors, so how could I resist his work, which is witty and sentimental all at once? This exhibit is my introduction to his work, and I will be watching to see what he does in the future.
I couldn’t really connect to Whiting Tennis’s work, although he was the one awarded the Arlene Schnitzer prize. He draws, paints and builds structures that deliberately look ramshackle and poorly crafted. He feels that architecture is shorthand for the human figure, which I see directly in his work, especially the sculpture White Nun.
I really liked some of Tennis’ pieces as objects, but I also felt that the only reason I was looking at them and trying to think of them as Art was that they were in a gallery. They seemed too much like the faux rustic decorations available in any current home décor catalog for me. I liked the idea of his work better than the work itself, which is unusual for me.
Jeffery Mitchell’s work seemed to be trying too hard. It called to mind a combination of childhood whimsy and your great aunt’s living room crowded with totchkes. The only piece of his that I even kind of liked was a rather ordinary geometric painting, Black Star, consisting of alternating concentric lines of black, done in oil and charcoal. The difference between the ways the two media caught the light appeared to be the point of the painting. Mitchell is the technical master of many different media working in printing, ceramics and I felt like I should enjoy his work because most light hearted and fun, but it just didn’t grab me at all.
The final artist is Cat Clifford whose photos, video and drawings told the story of place and time passed in rural western landscape. I was really drawn to her work, and how it all seemed to be of a piece, even when rendered in different media. Her drawings seemed almost storyboards for videos I could imagine her yet to make. Her short videos were simple and compelling. Everything felt cool and serene. I could feel the place where she was and understand why she was drawn to it, why she had to move through those particular places.
I also caught the museum’s exhibit of glasswork by Klaus Moje, which I will write about later. My eyes were exhausted by the time I left, but I was really glad that I took the time to visit this show.
Both shows will be up all summer.
For even more, you can listen to this podcast with all 5 of the artists in the show.
Very detailed doodles are often drawn by people who have an obsessive nature, and who simply will not let go of their ambitions or loved ones. They are also likely to be jottings of highly introverted people
Ouch! I might be hurt, if I make absolutely every single kind of doodle mentioned. And then some. So what does that mean? Multiple personalities?
Have you ever heard of a Droodle? It is a riddle drawn as a doodle.
Q: What is this doodle?
A: A whale about to floss.
If you feel the need to interpret your doodles, I tend towards interpretations that make me laugh.
I don't feel the need to figure them out any more than I feel the need to have my dreams interpreted. I am content to allow them just to be, and to enjoy them on a visual level.
But it is fun to check it out, just like reading your horoscope. And you do that too don't you?
I sketched these bird shapes from the book African Majesty, The Textile Art of the Ashanti and Ewe.
I have been visiting the reference copy at the Central Library. Now that I have discovered the library catalog on line, I found a lending copy over in deepest darkest SW, where I never go, and had it sent to St Johns, where I go all the time. Isn't it funny how you can live in a city and not ever visit certain parts?
I have spent days poring over this book, drawing the motifs in the cloths and oogling the fabulous color combos.
Putting all the motifs together like that, on a few pages of the giant pad, is really fascinating. The weavers have really sophisticated abstraction going on.
The abstraction is particularly noticeable when you put all the bats with the bats, all the birds with the birds etc, etc, etc (™Yul Brenner in The King and I).
It allows you to see how some of the images got abstracted to the point of pure geometry. I might not have noticed if I was not already thinking about that shape.
A drawing of anything is a symbol of something that exists. Even the most realistic depiction is not the thing itself. I think the ability to see in a shape the abstracted image of something is amazing.
I went to see Raina Imig and Dan Bronson's show at Talisman Gallery. Both of them are friends of mine, so it was a show I couldn’t miss. Neither should you!
Raina is from India, and she draws on her native country’s folk art for inspiration. She recently returned from India where she studied rangoli, a beautiful and fascinating ephemeral art form practiced by the women of India.
This exhibit, perfectly timed for Portland’s June Glass Month, showcases her work in fused glass. Raina has worked in many mediums while exploring the Mandala. I think that the round glass plate or bowl is a wonderful vehicle to showcase the circular form.
I wish I had imagery, but you can take a peek here. I love the spiral galaxy plate, and the cracked earth looking plate in the third row. Raina always does wonderful things with blue.
Raina seeks “to show the organic processes of nature and spirit in moments of time. There is a sense of movement and dynamism in all my art, as if the process has been captured in transition.”
This show is holds many delights, because photography by Dan Bronson is also on display. I am a flat out fan of Dan's work.
Dan’s primary subject is the female form. This show features new work based on the feminine in myth in which Dan revisits what I think is his favorite subject celebrating Woman as Goddess.
Buy a Goddess for your Dad for a Father’s Day. He will be thanking you for it! This lovely is Blodeuwedd.
You can see more of Dan's work at his website. Be sure to check out the gallery of dancers, these are some of my favorite photos ever.
This show runs through June 22nd at Talisman Gallery in the Alberta Arts district.
This kind of rectangle to free form doodling has been a feature of my recent pages. I seem to I have decided (Decided? Like I seriously think at all while I am doodling!) to break free of the box or something.
As you all know by now, I think doodles are the drawing version of dreams, so it follows that I must believe that dreams are the sleeping version of doodling. Here is the scenario: you are on the sofa and, suddenly someone says you are asleep. But you are just awake enough to object, so you deny that you are/were asleep.
I am sure there is some sort of special scientific term for this, but around here at the Circle B, we call that state you are in just before falling asleep "Pre-sleeping".
This link all about pre-sleeping was emailed to me by a friend (thanks Jo!). It is a series of short pieces of what people think about right before they fall asleep. I have no idea where it comes from, or what this project is about, but you should go and watch it. It is very creative, original, and a real treat to watch.
What do you think of before you fall asleep? I watch patterns form and dissolve. Red, yellow and orange in a field of black.