Art. Art is inherent to our human experience, and while I don’t know much about art in general, I know that I’d like to be more involved with the “art scene” in Portland. So yesterday, after lunch with a friend, I made a pilgrimage to check out some of the current installations in the Pearl District.
I ended up visiting seven galleries, and my second stop provided more of what I was after; inspiration and awe. Chambers@916 is presently showing work by Scott Johnson that plays with light and illusion, which was interesting, but quickly dissolved into the “um, ok” category for me. Better yet is this amazing installation by Ethan Jackson called strait.
strait is an unconventional video work in which distorted images swirl together on a pedestal’s surface. Viewed in the accompanying cylindrical mirrors, the images resolve into paired elemental landscapes.
So, what does it look like? It’s best to view it, really:
Next stop was the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, which provided this very large, white space full of hand stitched, hand dyed quilts, called Portraits, by Anna Von Mertens. Each piece reflected a famous persons “aura”, and are named with titles like “Marilyn Monroe’s Aura After Warhol”.
Also here is Folded Light sculpture by Hap Tivey. An all around great space, but beware of gallery dealer types in all black with serious, various looks over pushed down glasses.
My favorite stop of the day was completely spontaneous. As I was strolling down the street, amazed and grateful for this beautiful and leisurely Thursday afternoon, just me and the city to do as we pleased, I noticed this unfinished space that looked like a construction zone with pictures of homes taped to the windows. It was hard to see in, but one of the huge windowed doors was wide open, beckoning passers-by inside. I happily took the invitation. Standing in the middle of this huge space was artist Curtis Speer, surrounded by his beautifully raw photos, a perfect fit for the unfinished and highly texturized environment.
I’m naturally drawn to photos of decay – I love the texture, and there’s something eerily peaceful to seeing decomposition frozen in time. Curtis Speers’ dwell is described as “a visual story telling of the places we reside and the things on which we fret.”
Speers’ bio explains:
Portland photographer…shows us the power that the past can have and that we can change our present situation if we just change our perspective…Abused as a kid, Curtis knows the importance of stopping the cycle…”
Curtis has also made several short films, one of which coincides with his current exhibit, both called Dwell. Visit his youtube page to view all of them, and check out his Facebook page for upcoming info and to connect in that sphere.
I had the pleasure of rapping a bit with Curtis about his photography, what brought him to Portland, and what he’s got on the horizon. I suggest you stop by and meet him yourself, perhaps for “First Thursday” next week if you’re in Portland? You can find Curtis and his work at 411 NW Park at Flanders in Portland.
My final parting note is that if you find yourself in need of inspiration and your vessel needs a fillin’, head out to your city’s art spaces and catch the creative spirit.