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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | April – May 2012

By Allyn Cantor

MELINDA THORSNES: SHE Blackfish Gallery, Portland, Apr 3-28 On exhibit is a new series of dramatic portraits of women painted in oil and drawn in charcoal. Thorsnes has reduced her compositional elements to minimal facial features which, when placed in certain ways, become storytelling platforms not dependent on props and settings. Powerful facial expressions resonate with unspoken innuendo and emotional depth in works that are vibrant, colourful depictions of mood, personal struggle or inward reflection.

JAMES FLORSCHUTZ Breeze Block Gallery, Portland, Apr 4-28 This introductory exhibition by an artist new to the Portland scene includes milestone works stemming from his long career in Vermont. Driven by an impetus to give order to our wasteful consumer-driven society, Florschutz arranges his meticulous assemblages, made of organic debris and discarded materials, in fundamental grid or matrix structures. In their entirety, the forms are quite simple – a carefully construed pyramid or compact beehive shape beckons one to gaze much deeper to consider the origin of the many parts of his puzzle-like pieces of art.

EMILIO LOBATO: NOCHE Y DIA Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Apr 5-28 Prominent Denver-based contemporary artist Emilio Lobato draws inspiration from the San Luis Valley area of southern Colorado where 16 generations of his family have worked as farmers. Noche y Dia is a formal exploration of colour relationships referencing cycles of illumination/darkness, or night/day. Minimalist, refined and subtle geometric compositions become mediations on the need for spiritual, physical and aesthetic balance and are informed by historical influences, personal narrative, and Southwest traditions.

CRYSTAL SCHENK: ARTIFACTS OF MEMORY Linfield Gallery, Linfield College, McMinnville, Apr 2-May 5 Artifacts of Memory is an ambitious room-filled installation of suspended organic pod-like shapes made from silk flower petals that appear to float, with no defined centre, from floor and ceiling within a plane of empty space. Held in place by magnets, they are elusive sculptural re-creations of impressions, memory and sentiment which emerge from a labour-intensive process that gives much importance to material choices, detail, and craftsmanship and further enhances the emanating beauty of her installation.

JENNIFER ZIKA: EASTERN EUROPE – CLOSE UPS Annie Meyer Artwork Gallery, Portland, April 3-30 At the heart of Zika’s work is a strict study of photography free of complications available in the digital age. She first began to work with her uncle’s 35mm Yashica and some inspiring black and white family photos from the 1960s, and still prefers the simplicity of the darkroom and to concentrate on moments of unique visual findings. The series of work on exhibit was photographed in 2006 during a visit with relatives in Bratislava, Slovakia when her discoveries of everyday life in a foreign country were recorded in unmanipulated images that capture a sense of architecture, place and time.

Melinda Thorsnes
Melinda Thorsnes

James Florschutz
James Florschutz

Emilio Lobato
Emilio Lobato

Crystal Schenk
Crystal Schenk

Jennifer Zika
Jennifer Zika

 Fri, Apr 6, 2012