Thursday, April 02, 2009

April 2 Westside Art Openings

We are all amateur ethnologists finely attuned to identify. We respond to reflexive similarity and difference in others intuitively. While Edward Curtis' work with indigenous North Americans has been critiqued from many angles, photographs of Africans have not. They still fascinate easily. If the intent of art is to move the viewer emotionally, powerful ingredients are a method. But they must be balanced by narrative and idea. Photographers Beckwith and Fisher operate well within a documentary context with shadings of idea in a focus on major life rituals. I believe contemporary art can do more, and should.

Tonight Oregon photographer Thomas Miller presents his portraits of Africans. This is a great opportunity to respond, considering not only your own ethnographic experience, but its role in art. At Augen downtown.

Amy Archer is master of the repeating pattern. It is almost the texture of knitting large. At Augen on Davis. 817 SW 2nd and 716 NW Davis

Terry Toedtemeier is laughing with us all from the afterlife, and will be as we visit with his 1975 portraits of quotidian life with infrared film. Infrared is radiant energy with longer wavelength than red. Infrared wavelengths span from visible red light, about a hundredth of the diameter of a human hair, to microwaves, less than a third of an inch. Common infrared films respond to wavelengths very close to red. They show a soft monochrome image with some things shifted, tree leaves are white. There is also magic to be made using an infrared flash to make portraits in very dark places unobtrusively. Terry's artistry is taking the ordinary and transforming it into art, from geologic phenomena, to the personal.

Alexis Pike makes landscape photographs of the West. His selective lens captures the dream West painted onto buildings. It is a reassuring reflection of culture and Western culture. Perhaps some of these pieces are public art in their home habitat. In that sense they are charming and unexpected for being so straightforward; surreal too.

At Blue Sky Gallery 122 NW 8th

A Hunter's Return To The Good Country is a show by by Jessie Bean, Amy Chan, Rachel Denny, Jessica Polka, Brieana Ruais, Michael Russem, and Wesley Younie. Fontanelle wins the copywriting award for the month: "These seven artists offer unique insights into our most primal instincts as hunters and gatherers through a variety of mediums including sculpture, embroidery, painting, drawing, assemblage, and installation. The works on view have all been created with a common passion for collecting, cataloguing, displaying, and questioning elements from our natural and physical world.

After leaving Earth's ancient forests, man suffered the loss of connection to the woodlands it once considered so sacred. In an attempt to patch the gap created by the transition between rural and urban environments, man sought to bring the magic home with them. Some displayed their "hunting trophies" out of pure lust for the beauty of the physical and natural world. Others could not contain their instinctual curiosity and began to examine their gatherings further. They started cataloguing the seemingly dull with an appetite to reveal the wonder of the universe and our place in it. They intuitively knew that through examining even the smallest component, something glorious and new would reveal itself.

The exhibition will appear as a curious reliquary, presenting the artists' nostalgic attempts at exploration by showcasing reinterpreted antiquities. Influences of Victorian era fascination with the natural world can be observed in Rachel Denny's modern version of domestic "taxidermy" wall ornaments made from recycled sweaters. Jessica Polka honors great 18th century scientific discoveries and illustrations with her crocheted and embroidered "specimens", reminiscent of those found in Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. Michael Russem's delicate graphite renderings of antique postage stamp collections pay homage to some of the most important contributors to 20th century book and letter arts. In addition to other work, Wesley Younie will present the findings of a fictional naturalist in a special diorama installation".

There is music opening night 7PM-9 and later in the month a collectors' night - Show & Tell. Bring an object from your own collection! That is April 23rd at 7. At Fontanelle Gallery 205 SW Pine

Chris Rauschenberg shows his landscape photos. Rauschenberg has been making landscape photos, sometimes spanning negatives, showing a Europe ancien, Cuba, and the Souths of this continent with a fresh eye. At Elizabeth Leach 417 NW 9th

Pulliam gallery has a great representative group show including Linda Hutchins, Jeffry Mitchell, Laurie Reid, Heather Larkin Timken. In one of those which is different from the similar puzzles, Mitchell's ultrabaroque work provides a contrast. At Pulliam Gallery until 8

Musician and artist Phil Elverum shows a series of photographs, Dreams. In music he is The Microphones and Mount Eerie and this work is consistent with that. Photos by moonlight with expired film in old cameras touch lowfi romanticism. In time of rapid change it is just what is needed. In addition to music and photography, Elverum has also published a book Dawn chronicling a winter spent alone in a remote Norwegian town near the arctic circle bearing his name. At Stumptown 128 SW 3rd

The Everett Lofts are always recommended for your viewing pleasure. Start at NW Everett and NW Broadway.