Local Color

I recently did a quick, completely unscientific, bit of internet research to find how many artists live and work in the Portland area. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive source for that information but, I did find a few interesting factoids:

  • A “Citylab” article written in 2017 says Portland/Vancouver had the 3rd highest “Location quotient” (that’s the artist to regular human ratio) in the country.  Los Angeles and New York City topped the list.
  • The Portland Open Studios Tour  has a substantial number of artists (as many as 100) who open up their workspaces to the public on 2 weekends each fall. https://portlandopenstudios.com
  • And according to the artists’ resource website, “Artists Network”, Portland is among the top 10 “leading art cities conducive to an artful life”

I’m not certain what “artful life” means, but presumably there is some quality drawing creative people to the area. And given the relatively large numbers, I wasn’t surprised to find a show of 2 local artists worth mentioning, when I visited  Elizabeth Leach Gallery  this week.

“Erosion”, by Christine Bourdette includes sculptures and drawings. Ryan Pierce’s “Hot Hex” has his latest large scale paintings. Both artists address issues of environmental degradation. https://www.elizabethleach.com/exhibitions

Christine Bourdette

Christine Bourdette – “Tectonic Shimmy”, 2019 – Vellum, pigment-based ink, wood and gesso

Christine Bourdette 1

Christine Bourdette – “Rift”, 2019 – Paper, pigment-based ink, sand, sawdust and gesso

Broudette_Erosion_Install08_e

“Erosion” also includes Bourdette’s graphite and colored pencil renderings of geologic formations.

Ryan Pierce

Ryan Pierce’s “Prospect (for David Buckel)”, done in 2018, is one of a number of paintings in his exhibit, “Hot Hex”.

More information about Bourdette and Pierce can be found at their websites:

https://www.christinebourdette.com

https://ryanpierce.net/home.html

 

What’s Making Me Happy

What is making me happy? Among other things, the recent work of 3 artists. Here they are, in no particular order:

Ruth Ross

5 Headache.jpg

Headache   2018

Ruth Ross worked  in the publishing industry in New York City before moving to Portland in 2000. This extraordinarily versatile artist makes prints, paintings, collages, photographs and jewelry.  http://ruthrossart.com

She is one of 3 artists whose work will be included in “Beauty Untethered”, an exhibit at Gallery 114.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dr8bQxxwsro

David Hockney

Image result for david hockney "spring

May Blossom on the Roman Road   2009

Hockney’s blockbuster show at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, “Hockney/Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature”, pairs his landscapes of the Yorkshire countryside with those done by Van Gogh when he painted in southern France. In an article from the Independent, he says, “When you look at the world, there’s so much to see”. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/vincent-van-gogh-david-hockney-exhibition-amsterdam-joy-of-nature-art-a8802441.html

Jasper Johns

Related image

Untitled   2018

The New York Times Style Magazine recently did a long interview with Johns. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/t-magazine/jasper-johns.html
He currently has a show at the Matthew Marks Gallery in New York and in 2020 will have 2 shows split between the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is 88 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artsy Neighbor

An article in the Sunday NYT Arts section  (12/16/17)  profiled art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody.  Her Bunker Artspace is located in a residential area in West Palm Beach and is just 2 miles down the road from Mar-a-Logo.  She believes that “art should be provocative” this is borne out by exhibits that include an x-rated area, a controversial image of the crucifixion and a doll-sized sculpture of Charles Manson on a playdate.  Quite an outlier institution in an otherwise conservative community.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/15/arts/design/mar-a-lago-has-a-feisty-new-neighbor.html?_r=0

One of the pieces I found most interesting was by Jeff Colson. I mistook it for a big luscious trompe l’oeil painting, but it is actually a sculpture.  This video of him building it is worth a look.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDg8p53NZJA

 

 

 

 

 

Museum of Glass

Last week I made a day trip to Tacoma to visit the Museum of Glass. It’s in a striking 75,000 square foot building completed in 2002.  I had plans to walk across the adjacent Chihuly Bridge of Glass, but the museum’s demonstrations and exhibits were so engaging they filled all the time I had. Hopefully the walk can happen during another visit and on a warmer, drier day.

Museum_of_Glass,_Tacoma

My time there started in the Jane Russell Hot Shop (no kidding, real name) where  glass technicians, called gaffers, conjure creations from molten glass. The demonstration alone was worth the trip. MOG has a robust artist-in-residence program and installation artist, Fred Wilson, was directing the creation of large tear-shaped pieces intended for inclusion in a piece similar to one of his earlier works, Drip Drop Plop.

wilson-sculpt-004

Drip Drop Plop    2001

 

An exhibit of paintings, drawings and sculpture, Every Soil Bears Not Everything, by Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace, is in the galleries. These 2 artists have worked collaboratively for more than 30 years using blown and cast glass, fabricated wood and bronze.   http://www.kirkpatrick-mace.com

 

Carry-Land,-Carry-Water

 

Brian Dettmer’s Intricate Work

While trolling Google Images for places where printed media and 3 dimensional art might intersect, I stumbled upon the work of Brian Dettmer.  According to Wikipedia, “as a student, Dettmer focused primarily on painting. When he began to work in a sign shop, his work began to explore the relationship between text, images, language, and codes, including paintings based on braille, Morse Code, and American Sign Language. He then began to make work by repeatedly pasting newspapers and book pages to canvas and tearing off pieces, leaving behind layered fragments. In 2000, Dettmer started to experiment by gluing and cutting into books, the medium for which he is now best known”.  These books are what most captured my imagination.

maxresdefaultbrian-dettmer-book-art

In 2014, he gave a TED Talk about his process:

An Influence

In 1985, my brother-in-law John gave me a copy of “Rhapsody” for Christmas. This beautiful book is a catalog of Jennifer Bartlett’s seminal work of the same name. The piece, comprised of hundreds of 12” x 12” painted metal tiles, was originally exhibited at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York in 1976 and then again 30 years later, at the Museum of Modern Art.

BartlettRhapsody

1985 was coincidentally, the year I finished my graduate program in painting. When I received the book, I was chagrinned to realize that despite 3 intensive years of study, I had never come across her work. This was due no doubt, to my sloppy and somewhat random research skills. But, I also hold my professors responsible for thoroughly examining the work of her contemporaries, artists like Jim Dine, Robert Rauschenberg and Alex Katz, while failing even the slightest mention of someone referred to as “one of the most successful artists in the 1970s” by Klaus Ottmann, a curator at the Phillips Collection in Washington DC.

After I saw the images in “Rhapsody”, Bartlett immediately became and continues to be a major influence for me. I strongly relate to her inclination to combine many small elements to achieve a coherent whole. Additionally, her iconic “child-like” house motif as well as her garden images touch on the theme of domesticity – something I value deeply as content. In the late 1980s, while in New York, I saw drawings and painting from the garden series and found the work to be unforgettably luscious and painterly. She has been working for the better part of 50 years and a Google image search yields, I think,  a remarkably diverse and rich cross-section of what she has accomplished.

tumblr_m0l3uuCign1r6lkk1o1_1280

Art as Therapy and so Much More

I recently listened to a segment from one of my favorite podcasts, “To The Best of Our Knowledge” (Wisconsin Public Radio), and was touched to hear Alain de Botton’s beautifully articulated ideas on the topic of looking at art. http://www.ttbook.org/book/art-therapy-alain-de-botton

Even though the word “therapy” is in the title, his thinking about how we might relate to art is anything but clinical. I’ve seldom heard a more passionate or succinct description of the relationship between artist, art and viewer.

                                         E. Manet   Asparagus

Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883). Bunch of Asparagus, 1880. Oil on canvas. 46 x 55 cm (18 1/16 x 21 5/8 in.). Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, Köln