September Art Happenings
Welcome to the September 2019 edition of Critical Viewing, compiled by Lindsay Costello. This online feature includes events happening this month, but we recently published a printed version of Critical Viewing for Fall 2019 that highlights exhibition and events throughout the season.
Since our printed publication of Summer Art Happenings was a success, we wanted to put together another printed issue for Fall. We hope it serves as a guide and keepsake for our friends and followers to enjoy.
We’d like to extend a big thanks to the following people and art spaces who supported this publication by pre-ordering, without you printing this publication would not be possible. We’d also like to extend a big thank you to Kate Bingham-Burt for helping us off-set the cost of printing by donating 50% off towards our publication. Special thanks as well to Colin Davis & James Casey with their printing assistance at Outlet.
We hope you enjoy this month’s #criticalviewing and find something compelling to attend this September! You’ll be able to find copies of Critical Viewing - Fall 2019 Art Events at the following locations:
c3:initiative, 412 NW 8th Ave. Portland, Oregon 97209
Blue Sky Gallery, 122 NW 8th Ave. Portland, OR 97209
Fuller Rosen Gallery, 2505 SE 11th Ave Suite 106, Portland, OR 97202
Upfor Gallery, 929 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209
Ash Street Projects, 524 SE Ash St. Portland, OR 97214
DISJECTA: Portland2019 Biennial, various artists.
The Portland Biennial program is a major survey of works by Oregon visual and performing artists who are defining and advancing Oregon’s contemporary art landscape. The exhibition will be supported by artist and curator talks, performances, and a catalog documenting the exhibitions and events. Portland2019 will focus on the nuanced subjects of site, cultural evolution, and multifaceted histories of the Pacific Northwest region as told in eighteen projects. Participating artists include Jovencio de la Paz, Demian DinéYazhi with R.I.S.E, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, and the Harriet Tubman Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice. August 24 - November 3, 2019.
CARNATION CONTEMPORARY: |||Thunderstruck|||, various artists. Curated by Jessie DiTillio.
This collaborative exhibition was created by Jessi DiTillio, Rosana Aviña-Beam, Robert Collier Beam, Katherine Spinella, Michael E. Stephen, and John Whitten. Meeting in the desert outside Albuquerque, these five artists and one curator visited the Very Large Array, an astronomical marvel and epic material expression of the human desire to know the universe. Primed by this encounter to experience the earth as a small orb in a vast space, they then visited Walter de Maria’s 1977 work The Lightning Field. This exhibition represents the aftermath of that trip. Forty-one years after the completion of The Lighting Field, these six individuals ponder questions about the current relevance of land art alongside considerations of material, history, embodiment, and indigenous heritage. September 7 - September 29, 2019.
THIRD ROOM: Nuestra Identidad Social, Vanessa Alonso-Sierra and Daila Galicia Zuniga.
This exhibition includes photographs and time-based media exploring the policing of female bodies, identity and youth culture, and recreations of iconic images from Lotería, a traditional Mexican game combining cards and bingo, as a way to discuss broader political and social experiences in 2019. This exhibition is the culmination of an independent study summer course with Amanda Leigh Evans (The Living School of Art) through Portland State University. August 21 - September 26, 2019.
PICA: Time-Based Arts Festival, various artists.
PICA’s 17th Annual Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) gathers artists and audiences from around the world for ten days of contemporary performance, music, visual art, film, workshops, lectures, food, drink, conversation, and celebration. A cultural mainstay not to be missed. September 5 - 15, 2019.
WOLFF GALLERY: The Allegories, Jen Brown.
TheAllegories is solo exhibition featuring a series of narrative paintings by self taught painter Jen Brown. In her dramatic yet detailed oil paintings, the artist confronts issues facing our society, including climate change, political divisions, and the role of the artist. Her combination of contemporary themes with a Baroque-inspired aesthetic invites discussion. September 4 - October 27, 2019.
FULLER ROSEN GALLERY: A Change of Light and other observations, Sammie Cetta.
Cetta’s work provides a quiet place for the viewer to imagine their own potential. True to the artists preoccupation with the sky, the space for possibility begins at the horizon line, where the earth and sky dissolve into one another. In a series of 12 letterpress prints, Cetta appoints text written by Julio Cortázar as a jumping off point filled with hope and discovery. The works included in the exhibition were produced during Cetta’s time as an artist-in-residence at the Personal Libraries Library, a subscription-based lending library that recreates and reconsiders the personal libraries of thinkers and makers. September 14 - November 8, 2019.
YALE UNION: The Dope Elf, various artists, curated by Dena Beard and Hope Svenson.
The Dope Elf is a comedic play and performance environment about housing, power, and magic. Commissioned by LA-based playwright Asher Hartman, the project will transform Yale Union into a makeshift mobile home park inhabited for five weeks by Hartman’s company, Gawdafful National Theater. Through online and IRL involvement in performances and live-streams, the program will catalyze individual and collective agency by creating interactive opportunities for audiences to change the theater piece during the course of its production. September 14 - October 20, 2019.
ASH STREET PROJECT: Emerging Artist Mentorship Program Solo Shows, various artists.
Participants in Ash Street Project’s Emerging Artist Mentorship Program will present solo exhibitions of their works throughout September and October. Janet Williamson’s murals are inspired by the domestic, Madelynn Dubin will be showing minimalist ceramics and textiles, and Ian Wieczorek will display elaborate ceramic sculptures with intricate glazes. Opening dates: September 12 and 26, and October 3, 2019.
STEPHANIE CHEFAS PROJECTS: Slow & Steady, Ryan Bubnis.
Bold, graphic and deceptively simple, Bubnis' imagery lives on the threshold between the abstract and representational. Pared down shapes, intuitive patterns, and vivid colors combine to a beautifully calm effect, imparting feelings of both introspection and interconnectivity. Slow & Steady investigates themes of patience, progress, perseverance, vulnerability, and mindfulness. The title of the show makes reference to the artist's own methodology and unique visual language, which evolves and expands at a purposefully gradual pace. Employing a restrained palette, Bubnis allows himself to play, interpret and explore. September 7 - October 5, 2019.
HOMEBASE: NI DE AQUÍ, NI DE ALLÁ, Heldáy Benjamín de la Cruz.
homebase will present its second exhibition featuring new work by Heldáy de la Cruz. The artist will transform homebase with an exterior mural and a series of illustrations inside the gallery that expound on the themes of home, environment and bicultural identity. For de la Cruz, whose artistic practice is onterwoven with his Mexican, queer and undocumented identities, this exhibition is an appreciation for a fluctuating sense of place and stability, stretching from El Volcán de Colima in México to Wy'east in the Pacific Northwest. September 14 - October 26, 2019.
UPFOR GALLERY: PAST | PRESENT, Rodrigo Valenzuela.
In September, Upfor will present a selection of Valenzuela’s prior work; in October, these will be replaced by a new body of monochromatic photographs. Valenzuela’s works often involve narratives around immigration and the working class. Rooted in contradictory traditions of documentary and fiction, his staged scenes manipulate codes of representation to affect viewers’ perception of logic and reality. September 5 - November 2, 2019.
BLUE SKY GALLERY: The First Years, Josh Smith and Testament, Jennifer Thoreson.
In The First Years, Josh Smith documents the changes—both monumental and subtle, internal and external, and positive and negative—that come with parenthood. Acting as a “family historian,” he uses photography as a tool to examine a new way of being and to explore the many contradictions that can exist within a family.
Jennifer Thoreson’s Testament is an exploration of resilience, dependency, the burdens we carry as human beings, and the yearning for release. Set in a house that Thoreson rented for a year, the images manifest psychological struggles as vast, crawling sculptural masses, which the artist fabricated using materials such as wool, linen, clay, and human hair. Conceived through a spiritual lens, the photographs borrow symbolic language from the Bible. Both September 5 - 29, 2019.
HOLDING CONTEMPORARY: Untitled no. 10, Michael Lazarus.
Michael Lazarus’s new paintings are absorbing visual contemplations that highlight his interest in concepts of deceleration and slowness. Lazarus scrapes away an earlier painting to begin again, obliterating imagery and meticulously rebuilding throughout his process. Untitled no. 10 highlights the complexity of painting itself and Lazarus includes the confluence of sad, joyful, somber, and funny experiences to create quietly enigmatic portraits that actively engage with the viewer. August 22 – September 28, 2019.
ELIZABETH LEACH GALLERY: Hot Hex, Ryan Pierce.
Pierce’s latest large-scale, vibrant paintings feature allegorical scenes of chaos and beauty. The artist creates psychologically captivating pictures set in a dystopian future. Abandoned sites scattered with broken vessels; face masks and pieces of clothing hint at some kind of bacchanalian revelry, secret ritual, spiritual rebirth, or the political activism of underground societies. This body of work began with Pierce’s research while in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans; he learned about the rich culture of resistance and resilience in that community, civil rights, secret societies, rituals, and masquerade. September 5 - 28, 2019.
C3:INITIATIVE: A Frayed Knot / AFRAID NOT, Cannupa Hanska Luger.
c3:initiative’s Core Residency is a long-term, process-based, artist-driven program that supports residents in the creation of new work from conception to completion. This exhibition of work by Core Artist-in-Residence Cannupa Hanska Luger marks the beginning of his residency, introducing the community to the artist’s depth and breadth of work. Performative action by Luger will tie a physical line from the tools of ar-ti-fa-ct to their task. Luger is a New Mexico-based multidisciplinary artist. Raised on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, he is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian descent. Using social collaboration and in response to timely and site-specific issues, Luger produces multi-pronged projects that take many forms. Through monumental installations that incorporate ceramics, video, sound, fiber, steel, and cut-paper, Luger interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about 21st century Indigeneity. This work provokes diverse publics to engage with Indigenous peoples and values apart from the lens of colonial social structuring and oftentimes presents a call to action to protect land from capitalist exploits. September 5 - October 18, 2019.
PORTLAND ART MUSEUM: Akunnittinni: A Kinngait Family Portrait, various artists.
This exhibition chronicles a history of narrative artistic exchange between an Inuk grandmother, mother, and daughter. Their autobiographical prints and drawings depict pop culture references, difficult memories and historically significant moments. The works are vivid and emotionally nuanced, positioned as a multi-generational reclaiming of the Inuit narrative. Kinngait, the home of these artists, is a remote Arctic community on Dorset Island, a renowned region for Inuit art. Through January 5, 2020.
STUMPTOWN DOWNTOWN: The Presence of Color, Jeremy Okai Davis, curated by May Barruel.
In this collection of large paintings, Davis uses the history of Shirley Cards as a vehicle for the exploration of racial bias and cultural injustices. Shirley Cards were used as a visual reference for calibration of skin tones during film processing starting in the 50s. The typically solitary Caucasian female depicted the “standard” for skin- color balancing. As a result, disregard was shown toward darker complexions being photographed. This bias serves as a platform for Davis’ recent work and as a microcosm of a wider prejudice in the world at large. September 12 - November 6, 2019.
FRYE ART MUSEUM: Dress Codes, Ellen Lesperance and Diane Simpson. Seattle, WA.
Clothing is both a highly personal and socially constructed system of communication: a signifying point of contact between individual identities and collective attitudes, customs, and trends. Dress Codes brings together the work of two artists who perform acts of translation in relation to clothing’s form and ornamentation, pressing images of historical garments—and the values encoded within them—through the interpretive interface of the grid. September 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020.
SOFT SURFACE: softsurface.org
This digital poetry/contemporary art journal, nomadic bookshop, and web residency is curated and edited by Art & About contributor Lindsay Costello. This fall, issue three will be available to read for free online, and poet Justine Highsmith will share her residency work on the site.