Photographer Minh Tran captures the raw, gritty nightlife of Portland in his series Nights, Camera, Action! The images simultaneously surprise with their intimacy and reflect what one might expect in a Portland night out complete with some PBR cradling. It’s a fun, seemingly endless scroll of people who just look like a real good time. When you make it over there, make sure to keep an eye out for a Stevie Wonder cameo.
Portland artist OBLVN recently closed a show at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco. The show, entitled “Different Strokes, Different Folks”, was positioned in the project room, while Ryan Travis Christian’s solo exhibition, “The Second Banana” took the main gallery space. OBLVN brings the clean brushwork of vintage animation design with a clean eye for interesting character work honed through a background in graffiti. I was seriously impressed with the artist’s “100 Paintings” show last spring at Klughaus gallery in NYC. It seems like he’s pushed further since then, as this show features some larger works on wood and canvas.
Ralph Pugay‘ is a Portland artist who makes awesome, lighthearted paintings. His colors and content is all comic, but his style reminds me of a combination of Waldo and Pieter Bruegel–a million things going on with lots of different characters all in one big flattened space. One of the thing i love about this, Waldo, and Pieter, is that you can spend a whole afternoon staring at and finding new, funny things in them. Confused hunters, dancing office workers, spiritual gymnasts; I can’t get enough. Check out the rest after the jump, then go look at the other 42 on his website!
Amsterdam artist Cari Vander Yacht just closed a show at Nationale in Portland. The show, Breaking Bad, consists of cartoonish paper mâché masks and ceramic bling renditions (above). I can’t exactly put my finger on the subtle insanity involved in each mask. There’s something about those guys. And sure, the lampooning of excess through altered/exaggerated gold chains and bling isn’t exactly new, but Vander Yacht’s earthy ceramic work makes them feel that way. She also sets up a nice interplay by installing the sculptural works against patterned digital prints. Would’ve really liked to have caught this one in person. Portland why are you so far? See more from the show after the jump.
Ron Ulicny is a Portland-based artist who creates “viscurrealistic fabrications”, sculptural works that draw their impact from surreal change-ups in material selection. A vintage bowling pin is sliced open, and a nocturnal forest is inserted into its midsection. A hand saw’s blade is replaced by multiple paintbrushes. I wasn’t necessarily surprised, when going through the artist’s portfolio site, to find quotes from Jasper Johns, Magritte, Duchamp, and Rauschenberg, each of whom are pretty clear influences on Ulicny. But, even in emulation, Ulicny’s work is completely singular. He knows his materials so well (where does he find some of these things?), and his execution might be a little cleaner than some of his heroes. You’re gonna want to check out more of the artist’s works, so find a selection below, but hit up his website and tumblr to get the full picture.
I first got into Zach Johnsen’s work a few years ago when he lived in New York. But for a while now, he’s been in Portland, and it looks like he’s making his raddest stuff yet. He always incorporated fantastic characters into his mixed media work, and he’s continued to do so, creating more wooden cut-out installations and a series of graphite drawings infused with explosive watercolor elements. Johnsen’s always done a great job of rendering the darker side of life. His characters are full of dark eyes and yellowing teeth. Seriously awesome stuff from this dude, always.
Portland artist Meg Adamson’s work is delicate without coming off as forced or mechanical. This dynamic reflects her natural, organic subject matter very well. She is participating in PangeaSeed’s Great Artist Migration benefit tour, which begins in July.
Portland artist Josh Orion Kermiet creates mixed media, collage, and video/animation works that provide a sense of being right on the brink. With swirling, interwoven texture and color, Kermiet illustrates that transient, awesome “breaking point” period when we are able to sense both planes of existence; when the tangible material of earth is propped right up against dark matter and shadows. The artist creates images that testify to the beauty of the moment right when everything begins to fall apart. Perhaps it is only in such moments that we are able to experience the clarity derived from simultaneously envisioning what things once were, and what they are going to become.
In 2011, Kermiet released Free Spirit, a collaborative zine with Jeff Kriksciun and Raf Spielman (of Portland label Eggy Records) through Container Corps.