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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | April – May 2014

By Allyn Cantor

JORDAN RATHUS: FERNWEH (FARSICKNESS) Upfor Contemporary Art, Portland May 1-31 New York artist Jordan Rathus uses wit and humour in her video-based works, which satirize narrative culture and popular forms of entertainment (like reality television). In this exhibit, she plays on the experience of tourism and exploitation. Using footage from recent travels to Panama and the Arctic Circle, she creates a pseudo-documentary travelogue that deconstructs the visits with parody. Her cunning videos and photographic works both critique and activate the genre through a lens of absurdity well balanced with realism.

LEE KELLY: PAVILION Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland Mar 13-Apr 26 Lee Kelly is known throughout the Pacific Northwest for his large-scale modernist public sculptures. His work has been highly influenced by his extensive world travels. For this exhibition, the Oregon artist interweaves forms and narratives from Nepal, showing evident inspiration drawn from architectural elements. He also revisits his early interest in the medium of painting, creating new works on canvas for the first time in 50 years.

HEIDI PREUSS GREW: INTO THE WILDERNESS Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Salem Apr 12-May 11 In her figurative-based sculptures, Heidi Preuss Grew expresses the vulnerability of the human condition. Through the sensuous process of porcelain sculpture, she merges human and animal forms to convey a fundamental psychological state somewhere between reality and fiction. Grew reflects on the fleeting details of life’s experiential side – a close conversation, the hand gestures of a friend, the detail of a painting. Her sympathetic ceramic sculptures capture the downtrodden or pathetic side of life while revealing the hopeful, beautiful and simply heroic.

CRAIG HICKMAN: OXIDE Blue Sky Gallery, Portland Apr 3-27 In this exhibit, Craig Hickman, a founding member of Blue Sky, creates an imaginary town dubbed Oxide. It reflects our known world of accumulated ideas, successes and failures, yet conveys a fantastical version of reality. Forming his imagery as composites, Hickman uses both camera and Photoshop to generate fictional scenes that seem historically familiar. His innovative approach accentuates a time-laden archaeological perspective while touching on the fragility of modern life.

VANESSA RENWICK: LAYOVER The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Marylhurst Apr 14-May 17 Portland artist and filmmaker Vanessa Renwick is known for installations that combine video and sculpture. Her two new large-scale works in this exhibit are based on birds in flight. One is a mixed-media light installation, in which she depicts a different bird on each of the Art Gym’s big windows. The other is a single-channel video piece of the Vaux’s swifts that roost in the chimney of a local elementary school every fall.

Jordan Rathus
Jordan Rathus

Lee Kelly
Lee Kelly

Heidi Preuss Grew
Heidi Preuss Grew

Craig Hickman
Craig Hickman

Vanessa Renwick
Vanessa Renwick

 Sun, Apr 6, 2014