Friday, June 5, 2009

June's First Thursday in the Pearl

After 6 months of living in Portland, I finally ventured out to the Pearl for First Thursday. My first stop was to the Everett Station Lofts to meet my friend Audrey. I was really impressed with the spaces and quality of art. I did indeed dream of how wonderful it would be to have a live/work space with a storefront where I could display my work AND play curator. In fact, I picked up a lead for a show here at Last Thursday on Alberta which I think I should probably follow through with.

There were so many amazing artists, it's difficult to narrow them down to a manageable size to write about. Let's start with the mural at SEA Change Gallery made by artist Alec Neal. First of all, I love art that knows no boundaries, so I was very excited to see this mural take over and transform this exhibition space. Somewhere between Graffitti and Art Nouveau on psychedelics, Neal creates ornate and organic patterns that in his own words "embody the incomprehensible vastness of eternal entities."

Moving on... Have I mentioned I love installations? Have I mentioned how refreshing it is to see a non-commercial sculpture outside of a modern art museum? I also love repetitive obsessive work--like this! This is the sculptural component of Grady Clifford's Broadcast at ON Gallery. The mind numbing power of television is not an original theme by any means, but this sculpture is none the less beautifully executed. It miniaturizes the everyday, mundane yet iconic form of the television into a broken down army of relics. Apparently, Grady Clifford is a multi-faceted artist working in photography, painting, installation, video and web. His site mentions an EVENT taking place on June 12th at midnight. There is an ominous countdown on the homepage. I am very curious to see what else he might have lurking up his sleeve, and recommend all my dear readers to take a closer look at his beautiful site and impressive body of work.

We ended the night at THE Elizabeth Leach Gallery. I put a capital THE in front of it because it is the gallery I've heard and read the most about. What I've liked from what I heard, is that even though they are commercial (even artists and art dealers need to eat) they are still open to new media and art that doesn't fit the traditional norms of what sells...and they still manage to make a living at it. As soon as you walk through the doors, you know you've entered an atmosphere of quality. The exhibition is as streamlined as any museum. This month on display are the large-scale colorful works of Gustavo Ramos Riviera in Invenciones de Sol, and Lee Kelly's Reflections of Khajuraho featuring weathered steel sculptures and gold leafed works on paper in response to a series of ancient temples in Northern India.

Lastly, here are few random shots of work whose artists I poorly noted but very much enjoyed: