08 January 2009

Vol. 0, Issue 3 | 1st Thurs - May 2004

[originally written 06 May 2004, ‘tween 8 & 9pm, from a barstool at the Magic Gardens…]


Back again for my monthly dose of Portland’s version of “art” at the Everett Station Lofts. As usual, there are pearls to be found amongst the filth.

(Hmm… is “Filth” too strong a word for bland art? No, wait… one gallery actually had ART that incorporated DIRT. Artistic Dirt, I’m sure. I digress…)


First off, I must BUY this woman’s art. I’m thinking about robbing a bank if necessary. At least I’ll have exquisite art to look at when I get out.

Sarah Cosman, whose pieces I’ve come to admire merely for the consistency of her work, her craft, has outdone herself with this new show. I was stunned. Painted pieces on wood (approximately 2ft wide x 3ft tall), chronicling her life as an adolescent and youth, and the environment that shaped it. My favorite piece of the show (the one that will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine…), entitled “MELODY’, is a painted collage piece depicting a young, smiling girl. Layered into the painting are scraps of sheet music. Ultimately, it’s the girl’s face that captivates me. The smile, the exuberance and innocence of her age shines out from across the room. The artist’s statement talks of how the subject was confined to her room by her imposed, early bedtime. In the dark, she could hear the children playing, the siren call of “Ollie, Ollie, Oxen-Free!” and laughter igniting her imagination. She may have eventually drifted off to sleep, but her mind remained awake. And still does.

Don’t remember the title of my other favorite, but it was as melancholy as “MELODY” was cheerful. Another girl, eyes sideways with an almost sullen look, with her robe flowing in the wind. The girl and her robe are clothes-pinned to a laundry line, belying her static existence while yearning to be set loose in the wind.

Again, I must secure the means to bring home one of these pieces.


Mike Newman’s “ICONS”, born from the belief of… some orthodox Judeo-Christian order, that visual iconography (read: religious art) translates into prayer. Bollocks. Now I’m going to have to go back and reread the artist’s statement so that I get my fucking facts straight. Feh… amateur move on my part. Anywho, Newman’s pieces, mixed media on wood, attempt to create modern interpretations of these visual prayers, from the standpoint of a non-believer. Individually the pieces are intriguing. Taken as a whole, they do convey a message of beliefs clouded by doubt and insecurity. Worth my time, but I’d want the whole damn collection rather than a single piece.


I don’t often spend much time here. The gallery is very “hip” and I can only take so much “hip” in an evening. I am glad that I opted to stop in tonight. The featured artist was Claudia Porter, a painter. Her paintings were amazing. The first pieces to catch my eye were three portraits, made of gesture lines. To which I am rather partial. Then I noticed the TEXTURE of the pieces. Layer upon layer upon layer upon layer upon… you get the picture… of paint. I marveled at the added depth achieved by what I presume to be dozens of tubes of paint. Perhaps five-gallon buckets, even. Really stunning stuff. Then there were her landscapes, which I mostly found interesting because of their size. They were big. REALLY big. Huge, even. Two of the three were moderately interesting, but the third, an impressionist rendering of Times Square, was the best. Through her use of line and color, she was able to convey the essence of Times Square completely: vibrant, noisy, ALIVE. Brilliant piece. It would look loverly on my wall… er, that is when I have one.


Another “hip” gallery, but a “hip” I can deal with. Tonight, rather than their usual turning-an-artistically critical eye-back-on-society fare, the Fairy featured the photographs of Kimba Kuzas. For the most part, the photos were artistic but not particularly stellar. Only one piece (used on the show card) amused me: an elderly couple sits on a seaside bench, enjoying the view. Overhead, the descending vapor trail (from what I presume is really a jet) suggests an impending doom in the form of a missile. Very funny.


I end my jaunt with a stop at Frank Miller’s gallery, Ko Do Ku. Frank’s a photographer from Iowa originally. Over the past few months, I’ve been cultivating a familiarity with Frank, originally just because I enjoyed his photographs. I continue to go back because, unlike many of the other gallery owners, Frank chooses to engage his patrons in conversation. Yes, many of his quips and stories are well rehearsed, but at least he is entertaining. Tonight he presented a series of photos under the theme “Silent City”, all taken three years ago in Buffalo, NY. His compositions always seem to strike a chord with me. Haunting is the best way I can describe his work. I should mention that I am the son of a photographer, and as a result I am a picky sonuvabitch when it comes to photography. It takes a lot for me to be impressed by photography. Frank impresses me.

Well, that should about cover it, as there isn’t much more worth mention. Save that a fellow Garden patron at the bar mentions another show I may check out. Oil paintings on steel. Groovy. For now though, I’m going to put away my pen and paper, drink my drink, light up another Carcinoma Angel, and give my undivided attention to the lovely redhead dancing on-stage, working hard to separate me from my dollar bills.

What else is a Rat Bastard to do.

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