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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | February – March 2016

By Allyn Cantor

INTERSECCIONES: HAVANA/PORTLAND Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery, Portland, Thru Mar 1 Six Cuban artists have considered the particular history of Portland in their work for this exhibition. Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo’s works address the troubled cultural space for people of African ancestry. Reynier “El Chino” Novo’s objects reveal the depleted energy of true political action. Elizabet Cerviño’s performances draw from the haunted contradictions in historic spaces. Adriana Arronte’s installations complicate spaces of personal consumption. Rafael Villares’s landscapes create tensions between desire and reality. Yornel Martínez’s alternative magazines provide manuscripts for artist exchange.

BETTY MERKEN: ILLUMINATION AND ILLUSION Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, Mar 3-Apr 2 In her rich process-oriented works, Seattle artist Betty Merken uses seductive swaths of colour to create nuanced abstractions. Her signature oil-on-paper monotypes read like pure chromatic studies in which minimalist compositions and formal considerations are balanced by subtle gesture and luminous hues. This less-is-more approach allows underlying emotion and intuition to shine. In another series – inspired by ancient stairways she photographed in Italy – Merken incorporates photo silkscreen, assemblage and painted paper into her masterful printmaking.

JAMES LUNA: PERFORMAGRAPHIC Blackfish Gallery, Portland, Feb 2-27 James Luna is one of the foremost contemporary Native American artists around. His work deals with themes such as the objectification of Native American cultures in museums, and the idea that Natives are artefacts of the past rather than contemporary members of society. Through performances and installation, Luna challenges the mainstream perspective. The show includes images and objects related to his long career, and a series of events and public appearances.

CHARLENE LIU: STONE, CLOTH, FLUSHED CLOUD Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Feb 4-Apr 2 Charlene Liu, an Oregon artist who received her MFA from Columbia University in New York, blends aspects of printmaking, painting, collage and papermaking in her unique mixed-media pieces. In this new body of work, Liu creates a world of pattern and memory derived from photographs of textiles recovered from her mother’s restaurant. Through digital processing and hand-printed CMYK techniques, she achieves warm compositions that embody intergenerational heritage and the joyful side of acculturation.

FOR MYSELF: NUDES BY IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM, 1906–1939 Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem, Feb 13-May 1 This survey of photographs by the celebrated Modernist photographer Imogen Cunningham (1883–1976) focuses on the artist’s nude studies of herself and of various models, friends and family. During her lengthy career, Cunningham shifted her subject matter from stunning sharp-focus botanicals to portraiture and street scenes. The internationally recognized artist was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and had her first museum exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in 1914.

Rafael Villares
Rafael Villares

Betty Merken
Betty Merken

James Luna
James Luna

Charlene Liu
Charlene Liu

Imogen Cumningham
Imogen Cumningham

 Sun, Feb 7, 2016