By Joseph Gallivan
ANNA VON MERTENS: NATURE AND OTHER RELATIONSHIPS
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland. Jul 2 – Aug 1
Anna Von Mertens has taken text conversations with her daughter and erased the words, leaving only the overload of emojis that little kids love to send when they are new to the medium. Known for her aura portraits (think northern lights for energy people) and work in fabric, here Von Mertens replaces the screen slickness of emojis with the unique marks of the colored pencil artist. As she put it, “Emojis are cartoonish stand-ins for feeling, fired off with a flash of the thumbs. Drawings are intimate, personal, pulling you in. My emoji drawings interrupt this polarity.”
JIM DENOMIE: PAINTINGS
Froelick Gallery, Portland. Aug 4 – 29
Known for his Fauvist style, Jim Denomie offers stark views of the human form with a van Gogh–like energy. He often mixes the paints right on the canvas, giving the works a bold texture. He calls his work metaphorical surrealism and had a portrait-a-day-for-a-year streak to increase his productivity. Denomie often takes on historical subjects as well as current events, such as the protests near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Blue lips, horned heads and stark shadows dominate the imagery, as his people seem disfigured by the medium with which he chooses to represent them: oil.