By Joseph Gallivan
ADAM SORENSEN: SKELETON
PDX Contemporary Art, Portland. To Feb 29
Skeleton, a solo exhibition of paintings by Adam Sorensen, brings mountains of candy-colored lumpy lava with cartoon-white waterfalls and rainbow-reflecting lakes. Juxtapoz magazine said of Sorensen’s work: “These expansive vignettes are influenced by Adam’s interaction with the natural world, as well as his enthusiasm for old reference books. Ambiguity is an important aspect of Sorensen’s earthly allusions, and at their core, his paintings are built on abstract emotion, rather than an explicit narrative.”
CARRIE MAE WEEMS: THE USUAL SUSPECTS
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene. To May 3
Portland-born photographer Carrie Mae Weems’ latest show focuses on recent events since the rise of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. She uses photography, video and installation to examine contemporary life and the African American experience. She asks, “How do you measure a life?” Some works pair police charge sheets with blurred photos of people in hoodies with their eyes blanked out. Other works include videos with chanting, Greek chorus–style, of named lives lost and poetry written by Weems.
DUNCAN BERRY. GYOTAKU: JAPANESE FISH PRINT MAKING
Astoria Visual Arts, Astoria. Feb 8 – Mar 7
Duncan Berry’s monoprints are taken directly from fi sh, birds and plants from the Northwest coastline. In Japan in the 1800s, such prints were made with sumi ink and washi paper. Gyotaku originated so fishermen could record their catches, but it has also become an art form of its own. Inspired by the tradition of 14th-century naturalists in Europe and 18th-century court artists in Japan, Berry’s images take the viewer on a journey from 5,000 feet down in the Pacific Trench to kelp beds near shore to the cliff side nests of shorebirds.
COREY ARNOLD: FISH-WORK THE ARCHIVES
Imogen Gallery, Astoria. Feb 8 – Mar 10
Corey Arnold’s stunning photography looks at life on a commercial fishing vessel with a frighteningly sharp focus. Massive dark-green waves spit spray like white sparks. An eagle glares at the camera. A man holds a pink cephalopod in his arms, his eyes hidden by the drooping hood of his orange waterproofs. Arnold, who lives in Portland but often fishes in Alaska, finds beauty in a pile of ropes and in the frozen railing of a ship’s bow.
ART AND RACE MATTERS: THE CAREER OF ROBERT COLESCOTT
Portland Art Museum, Portland. Feb 15 – May 17
Robert Colescott (1925-2009) reintroduced the figure into his abstract work under the influence of Fernand Léger in Paris and found his voice after seeing the works of ancient Egypt in the flesh. He was championed in Portland by gallerist and philanthropist Arlene Schnitzer in the 1960s and ’70s. He reworked masterpieces such as Pablo Picasso’s 1907 Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by blackfacing some of the female figures. His provocative focus on casual racism of the 20th century has aged well; now his work is an easy lesson for the dominant class to see the errors of their parents’ ways.