By Allyn Cantor
SHANE MCADAMS Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Sep 7-30 Combining seemingly disparate concepts and divergent styles into a singular composition, Shane McAdams’ scenes are rooted in the possibilities of landscape painting and the broadest sense of how landscape permeates reality. Using inventive techniques and mundane materials such as ballpoint pen, the artist is interested in oppositions that merge the traditional language of painting with illusionistic space to create sublime, otherworldly scenes. McAdams’ paintings consider what looks like nature, what symbolizes and idealizes nature, and what is nature.
BILL WILL Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Sep 10-Dec 10 This site-specific installation by Portland artist Bill Will transforms the Hoffman Gallery into an interactive art environment in which the visitor activates the art. Fun House requires participants to follow a circuitous marked course where mechanical devices start and stop, objects become illuminated then fade. The dramatic effect of sculptural contraptions, both static and kinetic, is enhanced by sound recordings, theatrical lighting and ambient breezes, creating a multisensory experience that crosses the boundary into theater as viewers become part of the live art piece.
MARIE WATT PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, to Sep 30 Marie Watt is well known for her use of reclaimed wool blankets to construct art, exploring individual and communal human stories through this commonplace yet deeply personal material. She uses histories and oral traditions from around the world, Indigenous design principles, and her own Native traditions to convey ideas. The exhibition Companion Species draws from the Native concept of animals as the first teachers of humans and uses the inspiration of the Etruscan she-wolf nursing Remus and Romulus to look at the reciprocal responsibility between humans and nature, and at how cultures view their relationship with animals.
ALEJANDRA LAVIADA Blue Sky, Portland, Sep 7-Oct 1 The vibrant geometric forms in Alejandra Laviada’s photographic prints appear to be suspended in space, yet the images are constructed entirely without digital manipulation. Laviada’s work explores the intersection between painting, sculpture and photography. Her approach of composing and layering images inside the camera lets the process of film photography reveal abstracted realities invisible to the naked eye. The Mexico City artist carefully stages each exposure, altering vantage points and employing filters to affect scale, color, shape and transparency.
(SELF) Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, to Oct 1 Part of Portland’s Time-Based Art Festival, (SELF) engages artists and collectives to address “one’s own person” in an evolving exhibition context supporting the poetics of self-reflection. Two bodies of work by Nona Faustine & Paige Powell are central. Faustine’s series Mitochondria focuses on her familial bonds with her mother and daughter as three generations of African American women living together. Powell’s installation of photos and ephemera from her vast archives captures artists and social scenes in New York in the 1980s. Works by the Nat Turner Project, home school, R.I.S.E and more amplify this exhibition.