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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | June–August 2011

By Allyn Cantor

RICHARD BARNES: ANIMAL LOGIC Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, June 2-July 3 New York-based photographer Richard Barnes documents the way natural history museums organize, preserve and present collections in order to give the public an experience of the “wild”. Barnes views museums as “containers” for remembered and forgotten aspects of a culture’s history. For a number of years he has produced large-format colour images that are hauntingly beautiful and surrealistically contemplative; they remind us just how unnatural it feels to view vistas of the natural world in the context of an institution.

ROSS PALMER BEECHER: AMERICANA Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, June 4-July 31 Mixed-media works created by Seattle-based Ross Palmer Beecher over 25 years reflect the Americana theme in this mid-career retrospective exhibition. Found objects and reclaimed aluminum cans, combined with elements of pop culture and traditional American folk art, are woven and stitched together to form bold sculptural assemblages of flags, quilts and portraits of famous folk. Her iconic compositions and innovative use of material positions her as a contemporary authentic Americana.

ANNE SIEMS: SAINTS AND OTHER FOLK Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, June 2-July 1 In her most recent series of paintings, Seattle artist Anne Siems continues to explore attributes of the figure through alluded-to symbolism rather than a more direct narrative. Renderings of ethereal youthful subjects in mythological settings are inspired by an ongoing interest in vintage photographs, works by European Masters, and Early American Folk Art. Her romanticized tableaux, filled with floating fanciful creatures, are meticulously detailed allegorical renderings of an enchanting imaginary world.

SANG-AH CHOI: FAB:TOPIA Chambers@916, Portland, through June 25 The playful imagery in Sang-ah Choi’s artwork blends references to her native Korean culture with her experience of living in America. Her new exhibition combines an “idealized” American landscape with traces of the traditional Korean utopian-landscape style, “Shib-Jang-Sang-Do”. Her large-scale piece, Garbage Mountain, speaks with purpose to the excess and demands of our consumer-driven society. A section of her Pink Shelf installation shows a female figure who appears to be eating strands of her own innards while sitting yoga-style – another witty take on inexplicable over-consumption.

KIRK BOTERO: CHROMATIC DREAMS Blackfish Gallery, Portland, May 31–July 2 Botero is an abstract painter concerned with the process inherent in the non-representational, where gesture, atmosphere and form are in a constant shift to be resolved. He describes his process in relation to the “infinite ways color and form can be arranged to convey meaning” in which he “boils ideas down into a few simple elements”. The painterly works in this, his first solo exhibition at the Blackfish, are colourful, feel grounded in their assertive shapes and tangible sense of form, and speak to a struggle between the conscious and subconscious.

Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes

Tom Cramer
Ross Palmer Beecher

Anne Siems
Anne Siems

Sang-Ah Choi
Sang-Ah Choi

Kirk Botero
Kirk Botero

 Sun, Jun 5, 2011