Evolution is the process by which Genuine Imitation moved to north Portland–they are contemporary artists adapting to the changing market. At the Genuine Imitation grand opening last weekend, the gallery was filled with artists who are also small business owners.
Evolution is the process by which Genuine Imitation moved to north Portland–they are contemporary artists adapting to the changing market.
At the Genuine Imitation grand opening last weekend, the gallery was filled with artists who are also small business owners. Formerly of the Everett Station Lofts, Genuine Imitation is called a design studio as well as a gallery, which means that they sell prints and inexpensive goods designed by artists. Those items include printed T-shirts and postcards, in addition to work priced traditionally, or according to the artist’s experience and popularity.
The event celebrated Genuine Imitation’s move from the Lofts to St. Johns in north Portland. The neighborhood still feels quite closed off and distant from neighboring areas in the north and northeast, despite the abundance of newer businesses and extensive waterfront construction, which all still seem expectantly hopeful for a rejuvenated life. The gallery’s mission is promoting a sustainable community for the arts and avoiding elitism, a point expressly noted in the announcement of their move.
The change represents the gallery’s stability and commitment to community, as the Lofts are a transitional space, and investing in a neighborhood far from the sure popularity of downtown is a serious statement about shaping the future.
Artists in the opening group show are a motley collection of favorites from the gallery’s past in the Lofts, functioning as a showcase of the gallery’s history and collection of friends. Technicolor, messy paintings by Bwana Spoons and Trish Grantham’s easily recognizable bubbly-transparent characters on glossy boards papered with the pages of small yellowed books share a look that seems as at ease in knick-knack shops as on white walls.
Tactile rather than cartoon-laden work makes the show more involved. Jason Greene’s Across the Street from Human Resources, just ahead of the gallery’s entrance, is immediately arresting. The long painting details a pile of wood, clothing and junk in the foreground with black lines drawing the eye from left to right. Greene’s two other contributions are close studies of the green water towers visible from most parts of north Portland. The realist copper greens and surrounding browns and grays are intersected with a burst of hot-pink spray paint in Cyclops and a quick yellow crown in The Crown, creating a contrast that evokes the tower’s urban residential environments.
Andrew Jones’ gently moody colorscape with embedded found photos on a psychoanalytic diagonal is an absorbing picture that does not rely on the horned characters or outlined birds of some of his earlier work. The welcome difference is also a brave one, considering, as one patron noted, “anything looks great if it has birds on it.”
Meredith Dittmar’s polymer sculptures grow wupward from their rectangular mounts, creating multidimensional environments as much as the characters within them.
The show’s variety suggested that newcomers to the St. Johns location should expect more of what they liked downtown, and perhaps some more serious work as the gallery evolves with the slower pace of the community.
Genuine Imitation’s new home is 8926 N. Lombard St. in St. Johns. Currently open by appointment. Contact [email protected] or call 503-241-3189 for opening times and information.