Love and landscapes in Portland galleries

now- April 30
Medusa Tattoo & Gallery
420 S.W. Washington, Suite 202
(503) 228-1008

now- April 28
Augen Gallery
817 S.W. 2nd
(503) 224-8182

Ralph Rosenborg: Selected Works
now-April 28
Mark Woolley Gallery
120 N.W. 9th, Suite 210

Stephen Hayes: Surroundings
now-April 28
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
207 S.W. Pine Street
(503) 224-0521

You may have noticed that art is on people’s minds during spring, but now that spring is in full swing, their passions are more focused. Out of the many galleries in the Portland area, there are a select few who are blooming artistic bouquets for the community.

Love and nature come to most people’s minds when thinking about spring. Four different local galleries take you there.

Most often, spring conjures up thoughts of love and romance. Like many girls this time of year, Gena Velour has been studying guys, nine to be exact. Her time with these guys hasn’t been for romantic purposes, though. These men have been studied to create “Manwich,” a photographic art exhibit that celebrates the male physique and character.

The photographs of the nine Portland men are nude, creating a detailed exhibit of how Velour sees men as a whole, both physiologically and characteristically. She directed the photography process completely, with artistic direction in the darkroom as well as on the scene. With such involvement in the process, Velour Productions says that it creates “humorous narratives that honor what she loves about men.”

Velour is no stranger to the art of the human body. For the past four years, she has photographed similar portraits of nude women. She is a writer and creative producer, currently serving as curator and co-producer of the Sex By Sex Worker Film and Video Festival. Velour is also active on the other side of the camera, showing off her own body in many magazines, both online and in print.

The “Manwich” exhibit will be shown at Medusa Tattoo & Gallery, a place where the typically disparate worlds of tattoo parlors and art galleries come together in a culturally aware environment.

Medusa will be hosting the “Manwich” exhibit now until April 30. That’s only 10 days to get some man-studying in. Medusa Tattoo & Gallery can be found at 310 S.W. 4th Avenue, suite 230.

The sexual tension doesn’t end there. The Augen Gallery is hosting an exhibit from Chicago curator Michael Hernandez de Luna called “Sextablos: Works on Metals.” The name “Sextablos” comes from the retablo – a painting created in the Mexican Heritage to narrate personal spiritual experiences. The 80 different artists involved in this exhibit created “sextablos,” paintings on metal detailing sexual experiences and taboos, rather than spiritual encounters.

The works included in this exhibit are very sensual, showing the deep attraction between men and women. There are over 100 pieces from these painters, originating in Chicago, New Orleans, Houston and the Pacific Northwest. Some pieces are abstract, leaving the meaning up to you. Others are pretty straightforward, such as the painting of a man and a woman having sex on a bed.

Though each picture seems to have its own style, they all share the common theme: sex. These pictures can be powerful, but it’s probably not a show to bring the kiddies to. “Sextablos” runs now through April 28.

With the flowers blooming and the weather getting better this time of year, more people are getting outside. There are many beautiful moments in nature for artists to capture, and the next few galleries have captured such natural pictures.

At the Mark Woolley Gallery, the work of the late New York painter Ralph Rosenberg is on display now through next Saturday. The work displayed represents 50 years of art. This includes some of the abstract American landscapes that he’s most famous for.

Rosenberg lived in New York City for most of his life, where he made a name for himself with his landscapes. He would travel all over the country, painting the different faces of nature in America. Oregon was one of Rosenberg’s favorite destinations. During his final years, Rosenberg’s wife flew him to Portland because she felt that he would be revived by the Oregon landscape he loved to paint and visit. Eventually, Rosenberg passed away in Portland.

The paintings in the Rosenberg collection contain many colorful abstract landscapes. There are pictures of sunny waters and dark fields. It’s truly a unique view of nature. Catch this exhibit at the Mark Woolley Gallery, 120 N.W. 9th, suite 210.

Artist Steven Hayes shows off some landscape paintings of a different mold, this time at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery. The exhibit is a celebration of Hayes’ 15 years with the gallery. The pieces in this collection by Hayes include some of the local landscapes that have made him famous around Oregon. With the use of a digital camera and his artistic know-how, this Hayes exhibit “pushes the boundaries,” with these new large-scale interpretations of the Oregon landscape, according to the gallery. The Elizabeth Leach Gallery can be found at 207 S.W. Pine Street.

Obviously these exhibits aren’t all that’s out there in the Portland gallery scene, but it’s interesting to search out art that imitates life. With spring here and in full bloom, these exhibits go hand in hand with the season.