February is finally over, which means we’re one month closer to spring and at least a brief reprieve from the soul-sucking gray that has become our day to day. We’re one month closer to the day when a warm sun reminds us that suffering through the repetitive drizzle and drunk of winter is a small price for the 20 minutes of Prozac-laden natural light we call June. Oh, and it’s First Thursday. So that’s something.
Amy Ross ?” “Unnatural World”
Motel, 19 N.W. Fifth Ave.
After taking a month off, Motel comes back with the haunting work of Amy Ross. Ross subverts the practice of scientific botanical drawings by creating work where genetic engineering is commonplace – a 19th century form – and imbeds a whimsical and frighteningly current topic. Ross’s work has a soft, exacting feel – her unnerving subjects morph gracefully into the precise natural beauty surrounding them.
Group Show ?” “Connecting the Dots”
Mark Woolley, 120 N.W. Ninth Ave.
“Connecting the Dots” is a show of ceramic works from artists here in Portland as well as New York and Tucson, Ariz. Ceramics are real hit or miss; the medium has the opportunity to be really dynamic and visceral, but can fall easily into the grounds of trite and crafty. Knowing the caliber of work Woolley usually champions I’m leaning toward the latter, but it never hurts to hope.
Stash and Sense
Compound Gallery, 107 N.W. Fifth Ave.
Stash is a fucking legend. His story is pure graf history. A major New York figure, he’s been aiming at gallery work since the early ’80s, his work showing up alongside Kaws and Futura 2000. He designs clothes, does large graphic installations and has a definitive New York style. His work has become progressively more professional, slick and absolutely designed in the last half a decade or so, but it never loses the N.Y. graf aesthetic, remaining bold and intensely graphic.
Jeffry Mitchell ?” “New Ceramics”
Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery, 929 N.W. Flanders St.
March must be the month of ceramics in the Pearl. Woolley, Laura Russo and now Pulliam Deffenbaugh are all rocking the glazed glass. Jeffry Mitchell does work that is at times subversive (at least to the world of ceramics) and occasionally painfully whimsical. His past work has played on the blue and white aesthetic of grandma’s dishware and Chinese food restaurants, infusing it with mocking homoeroticism. His baroque and amorphous blobs are both natural looking and specific in their ornamentation. A bold shift from the Northwest’s other ceramic offerings.
Genuine Imitation Gallery, 625 N.W. Everett St.
Meredith Dittmar creates a whimsical hipster folk-sculpture world populated by what are called her “Guys” – a series of cartoony characters sculpted out of what she refers to as Polymer Clay. To those uninitiated into the world of suburban crafts, polymer clay is better known as the oven-bake craft clay Fimo, a popular medium for teenage girls and hemp jewelry enthusiasts. It’s unfortunate Dittmar can’t admit the “craftiness” of her medium in writing (or piece price) because this heavily shown and represented artist does awesome work.