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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | September–October 2011

By Allyn Cantor

NIKKI McCLURE: CUTTING HER OWN PATH, 1996-2011 Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Aug 18-Oct 29 Nikki McClure's sculptural papercuts seamlessly balance delicate craftsmanship with provocative graphic design reminiscent of the bold wood-cuts and silk-screens of the WPA era. Armed with an X-acto knife and sheets of black paper, McClure carves detailed imagery by removing sections of paper so that narrative illustrations unfold in web-like configurations. Her best-known work has been self-published on calendars, album covers and other printed material.

SEAN CAIN: NEW PAINTINGS Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, Sep 1–Oct 1 Scenes of lone figures in dramatic settings are the subject of Sean Cain's paintings. The personal, moody tone of the enigmatic figures seems to symbolize the internal landscape. Shapes draped with lengths of fabric convey psychological states that provoke a sense of isolation with an undercurrent that speaks of solitude or a dialogue with the self. Some of his figures appear to have been caught in the act of moving across the composition while others rest in melancholic positions as if taking refuge under protective cloth.

DANA POPA: NOT NATASHA Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Sep 1-Oct 2 Romanian-born Dana Popa traces the lives of damaged of young woman and girls from the Republic of Moldova who were caught in the cruel net of human trafficking for prostitution within Europe. The title for this exhibit refers to the use of the name "Natasha" which is given to prostitutes who have a certain Eastern European look. Popa captured images of these tragic women, after they had returned to Moldova, in a series of compelling colour photographs that are poetically haunting and filled with foreboding.

MALIA JENSEN: SALTY Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Sep 1-Oct 1 Malia Jensen is known for the metaphorical content of her sculptures and representations of animals. For her new video project she exploits the instincts of cattle by placing enticing objects in their pasture in order to record the resulting behaviour. For example, depositing a carved salt lick shaped like a human breast to provoke responses. The sculpture is visually elegant unto itself, yet the seduction of these animals based purely on an impulse to move toward the salty substance becomes a witty mockery of our own human impulses, routine habits and mundane behaviours.

FRANK A. RINEHART: PHOTOGRAPHS Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, Portland, Aug 31–Oct 1 Frank A. Rinehart (1861-1928) is primarily known for his sensitive, dignified portraits of Native Americans. In 1898 he was commissioned to photograph the Indian Congress in Omaha, Nebraska – a large gathering of American Indian tribes held in conjunction with the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition. Rinehart subsequently travelled West to photograph those unable to attend the Congress and the resulting portfolio of images are regarded as some of the best documentations of these tribal leaders from the turn of the last century.

Nikki McClure
Nikki McClure

Sean Cain
Sean Cain

Dana Popa
Dana Popa

Malia Jensen
Malia Jensen

Frank A. Rinehart
Frank A. Rinehart

 Mon, Sep 5, 2011