cramming a lot of art into a small space.
it up al dente
dinner guests are always commenting on how al dente I cook
my pasta. But hey, I love to eat things that don't yield so easily
to the teeth. I dare say I prefer beef jerky to beef Wellington
and the rarer the better for my steak (last one was in 1998).
Yep, I'm into fresh veggies and variegation of the senses instead
of pudding and consistency.
It's the same for art. I dislike the stuff that panders
to me explicitly with a fine pre-digested surface and an easy saccharine
content. If the work has a candy-esque content, I want to feel compelled
to search for razor blades hidden within. If every work in a show
has the exact same sort of surface and content, or maybe surface
as content, it often signifies a lack of risk. Mark Rosenthal,
formerly of the Guggenheim New York, thinks risk is essential to
abstraction and I have to agree. Nothing risked, nothing gained.
Cacophony of One Hand Clapping
Tyler Kline and Keith Rosson
Zeitgeist Gallery / (971) 544-1365
Everett Station Lofts / 625 NW Everett, #109
at Zeitgeist: open First Thursday and by appointment; click
for a visit.
When I wander around First Thursday, Zeitgeist is
one gallery I can always count on to serve up art al dente.
If you think Portland is too tame, come here. Often wilder than
the whole outsider/insider, low-brow/high-brow distinction, Zeitgeist
crams lots of art into a small space.
Forget about curators who talk about letting individual
pieces breathe, this is an avalanche of art and not for the aesthetically
Previous installations, like an entire wall of lost
pet telephone posters by Dan Ness, have given me pause.
In this show, Tyler Kline and Keith Rosson have taken
three years worth of collaborations and put it up for all to see.
There is a Basquiat-like frantic poetry, which sometimes legitimately
gels into a disjunctive poetry. The work is painted on doors, boards,
broken skateboards and other found items.
There is a lot of raw energy and you can distinguish
Rosson's social-existential poetry and graphic novel cartoons from
Tyler's more expressionistic fury. Only in four or so pieces do
they gel. But when they do, it's spectacular like in "The
hardest thing in the morning," whereby a Franceso Clemente-like
out-of-body Naples yellow floats the other elements. It's a bit
like morning sunshine, and since I've never had a hangover, I suppose
the threatening sunniness evokes a similar sensation of dread.
Other images a shapely woman, a needle and
a martini glass populate a scene dominated by some sort of
flying green pickle that leaves a winding green contrail throughout
the piece. In the words of Keanu Reeves' career, "Whoa."
Too bad more of the pieces just don't hit the mark.
This is often the case with collaborations. Common ground is often
found in the growth that the artists make while working with one
another. Zeitgeist shows new work by the same five or six artists
every month, so this is truly an evolving community.
Zeitgeist is open First Thursday and by appointment.
Portland in 2002
A lot of new expectations are being set in Portland,
and we need to live up to the worldwide buzz. With that in mind,
I'd like to point out a few of the exhibits that I'm expecting something
exciting from, in no particular order.
Tom Cramer, Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery:
He's got swagger, a probing mind and when in top form, he's
the artist who best fuses pop, spirituality, line and ancient hand-carved
craftsmanship into one world. Cramer debuted a new style two seasons
ago, and expanded it last year. He's entrenched in the Northwest,
but will this be the year he reaches a more national awareness by
pushing himself further? There's something about the yellow and
metallic works ...
New in town, Portland Art Museum
(April 2-June 23): Many have wondered whether Bruce Guenther
is going to "coast" in Portland, and apparently he's not.
He's bringing some hot international painters to this strange city
that is still obsessed with painting. Will these guests be simply
light without heat? Or will they help seed Portland's awareness?
I, for one, am pumped! Still, some of the more raucous youngsters
in town may come out ahead in comparison. We shall see.
Climate Control, EAGERWALLY
Gallery (603 SE 3rd a block north of Montage in a nice warehouse
space; Feb. 1): Several artists, including Ed King, will create
installations that explore how marketing manipulates consumers.
WTO comes to the art scene? Come see some of what the younger Portlanders
are up to. Portland isn't just painting.
Melanie Manchot, PICA, (Feb. 6-March 23):
Normally I dislike photography, which seems
by nature. Overall, I still think Steiglitz makes Cyndy Sherman
look like a grad student. But in this rare instance, Manchot's London-based
work is relentless enough in all facets to get me excited. The last
time I got excited in a similar way was Andreas Gurskey's first
U.S. one-man show at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Jacqueline Ehlis at SAVAGE (summer): I'm
biased, but to my eye nobody is as sophisticated, raucous and controlled
with the "now" hot media of wood-grained birch panels.
Somehow, she's got furious Day-Glo fused with baroque control. One
of the few painters who's better with space than the best architects,
she lives to beat expectations
there, that should set the
bar high enough. See three of them in Tracy's office.
Robert Yoder at Froelick Gallery: Signs,
signs, everywhere signs. Yoder's cut-up road signs remind me of
Oregon's freeways elegant post-cubist civil engineering.