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 Back  Vignettes | Oregon | November 2013 – January 2014

By Allyn Cantor

LUCINDA PARKER: ALL CLOUDS CHOOSE THE LOFTIEST PEAK TO PILE THEMSELVES Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, Nov 7-30 Lucinda Parker continues to use natural forms as the basis for dynamic abstractions. The well-known Portland painter builds energetic relationships of figure and ground with a signature palette of earth tones contrasted with vibrant yellows and ochres. In this new show, Parker recalls the large volcanic mountains dominating the Northwest’s skylines. With her intersecting shapes, textural brushwork and layering of colour, she shows that the physical attributes of painting remain central in her bold canvasses.

BEN BUSWELL Upfor Gallery, Portland, Dec 5-Jan 25 Portland artist Ben Buswell offers a meditation on loss and mourning in his new series We Live Only Through Ourselves. A response to the passing of his grandfather, Buswell’s photographs and sculpture become a vehicle for expressing universal reverence for this very human experience. Buswell emphasizes materiality in his work. For him, the accumulation of marks and gestures creates seemingly complex systems and sensations, echoing the emotional complexities of life itself.

QUALITY IS CONTAGIOUS: JOHN ECONOMAKI AND BRIDGE CITY TOOL WORKS Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Aug 16-Feb 8 John Economaki was a highly respected furniture maker until he developed a severe allergy to wood dust, which ended his career in 1983. This skilled studio artist then turned to making elegantly designed, heirloom-quality hand tools for woodworkers. Bridge City Tool Works was born. This retrospective exhibition looks at Economaki’s work of the last 30 years, with products, sketches and tools from the innovative Portland company on view for the first time.

MEDITATIONS ON EQUILIBRIUM: WORKS IN GLASS AND PAPER BY ALEX HIRSCH Oregon Jewish Museum, Portland, Oct 9-Jan 5 Suggesting an internal life in dialogue with the natural world, Portland artist Alex Hirsch reflects on practices of dance and meditation in creating delicate works on paper and subtle images in glass. The properties of her materials are carefully considered to create a fragile balance in which no component overcomes another. As Hirsch states, “My body of work utters complex tensions between darkness and light, singularity and multiplicity, solemnity and levity.”

ROBERT DOZONO: GARBAGE PAINTINGS Blackfish Gallery, Portland, Nov 5-30 For roughly 20 years, Portland artist Robert Dozono has been using consumer waste as an energetic contemporary medium to form multi-textural paintings. Within his richly coloured, irregularly shaped canvasses, Dozono organizes a plethora of objects that would otherwise (one hopes) end up in the recycling bin. Plastic lids, random containers and the odd toothbrush handle form the relief surface of these dense and lively compositions which stem from the artist’s deeply felt sense of environmentalism.

Lucinda Parker
Lucinda Parker

Ben Buswell
Ben Buswell

John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works
John Economaki and Bridge City Tool Works

Alex Hirsch
Alex Hirsch

Robert Dozono
Robert Dozono

 Sat, Nov 9, 2013