"HEDCHEQ: Music," aka Mark Smith makes rock ‘n’ roll art, opens this month at Genuine Imitation Gallery (328 N.W. Broadway #116). More than just his subjects, which just happen to be musicians, HEDCHEQ’s work itself reeks of rock. His portraits are heady layers of psychedelic fields, flat and layered manifesting the peak of screen-printing’s saturation and the finest golden age posters. While his colors are not always dedicated to drench, his ability to dissect and reduce iconic faces is engaging enough for me. Show closes Jan. 27.
Small A Project’s (1430 S.E. Third Ave.) second show, "Getting Through," features the found situations of Will Rogan. From photos to crystal chandeliers to pinball machines, Rogan investigates momentary narratives through whatever means possible. His manipulated photos, "Peekskill" and "Untitled" featuring radiating stones are strikingly nostalgic while still operating on tongue-in-cheek spirituality. Show closes Dec. 23.
Mark Woolley Gallery (120 N.W. Ninth Ave., #210) follows up its extended Tom Cramer retrospective with a show by Sandy Sampson and shows exactly how the implication of "high art" enables self-indulgence. Sampson’s loose color fields and partial subjects reek of personal symbolism and deep inner reflection without a worry about composition or form. This is what happens when artists feel too much and look too little. No one ever accused master of fine arts students of being too humanistic. Show closes Jan. 28.
Kris Hargis’s latest show "Unsettled" at Froelick Gallery (817 S.W. Second Ave.) draws like a western gothic Egon Scheile, and I mean that in a good way. The west has been subject to so much awkward heroic idolization it’s always pleasant to see it subjected to something different. While Hargis’s subjects aren’t always western, his loose staccato lines create a sense of isolation and suffering perfect for the dust. Show closes Dec. 28.
The monotypes of Kim Osgood’s "Abundance" at Laura Russo Gallery (805 N.W. 21st Ave.) radiate natural energy. The energy of the subjects, plants, flowers, small birds, the energy of the medium, deep saturated colors, and the energy of the artist herself. Her imagined still lifes are like single panel time-lapse photography. As birds land and take off, and flowers wilt, we can almost see traces of the artists herself moving among them, moving petals, prompting flight. And while the work borders on self-indulgent or latent impressionism Osgood’s dedication to detail pulls it off. The lines and details are loose and transient yes, but the moments they freeze, are exquisite and expressive. Show closes Dec. 23.
Pete McCracken and his Crack Press Art + Design featured this month at Berbati’s Pan (321 S.W. Third Ave.) have been semi-silently plugging away in Portland for 10 years now. Working commercially and with a list of artists too long to list, this show creates a sampling of the best work Portland has to offer. From rich, amazing screen prints to book covers to posters McCracken uses traditional printing and letterpress techniques in new ways to create work that is more iconic of Portland than anything else you’ll encounter.
His work, which is commercial, personal, and artistic, is all done with the same sense of professionalism and craft. Each piece is accessible yet innovative. Unlike many designers from the mid-nineties, McCracken has developed and evolved, moving on from the stilted typography, so reminiscent of the era taking new directions in the field. From his work with Plazm and Nike to individual collaborations, the whole thing will be up during this retrospective. You’ll be surprised what you recognize.
On Dec. 10 Berbati’s will celebrate Crack Press’s 10th anniversary with Doors of Perception, Rollerball, and Lackthereof. If the final performance of Portland’s favorite Jim Morrison cover band isn’t enough to get you to see this amazing show, then maybe the promised weirdness of Rollerball and a guaranteed slew of surprise guests will convince you.