By Joseph Gallivan
DAVID SELLECK: CATCH YOU ON THE FLIP SIDE
Blackfish Gallery, Portland. Feb 5 – Mar 2
David Selleck’s posthumous retrospective sums him up as a true Oregon transplant and the backbone of the Blackfish cooperative, where he was a member from 1982. His Miró-esque use of line and space, and his affection for certain animals – dogs, fish and monkeys – add a deceptive whimsy to his raw, unflinching eye for politics and human foibles. Viewing paintings such as No Wake Zone we can reflect on his legacy, and whether he left a wake or not.
JOHN DAVID FORSGREN: ANTITHESIS OF LANGUAGE
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland. Feb 7 – Mar 30
This is John David Forsgren’s first solo show at Liz Leach. He works in India ink on canvas to create structured compositions that look like leaves, veins or an aerial landscape. Forsgren is an architectural designer who has returned to making fine art, in particular gestural abstractions that can mesmerize the viewer.
SHERRIE WOLF: FOUND
Russo Lee Gallery, Portland. March 7 – 30
Sherrie Wolf is known for her sumptuous still lifes of living and man-made objects in the Flemish and Dutch tradition. For this series she swerves violently and beautifully, catching the bling of chrome, steel and silver on cutlery and jewelry at London flea markets. The works are acrylic paint on Yupo paper. She was inspired by a retreat during which she painted winter scenes in black and white. We get to enjoy the payoff when she immerses herself in just one aspect of material reality.
BASEL ABBAS & RUANNE ABOU-RAHME: NEW WORKS
Disjecta Contemporary Art, Portland. Mar 2 – Apr 7
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme use sound, image, text, installation and performance to investigate the body and the subject. They are at ease with postmodern themes such as virtuality and “perpetual crisis in an endless present.” They work with ideas of nonlinearity in the form of amnesia and déjà vu, usually sampling image, music and text to make something new. Get ready for masks, projection rooms, wires on the floor and Arabic script.
JAKE SCHARBACH: HAND TO HAND
Froelick Gallery, Portland. Mar 5 – Apr 13
Washington state native Jake Scharbach’s vibrant allegories force ancient and modern into a confrontation that feels both comic and serious. He says he likes to “focus on the materialization of symbols and signs, through an exercise of comparison, to analyze contemporary cultural values.” The series Black Boxes depicts flight data recorders from crashed airliners combined with classical portrait busts. His American hyper-realism feels timeless, the surfaces as seductive as the falsehoods they seek to expose. He may purport to “question the medium itself,” but the viewer will, first and foremost, drool.