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  • Permalink for 'Richard Milgrim and Hiroshi Senju at  the Portland Japanese Garden'

    Richard Milgrim and Hiroshi Senju at the Portland Japanese Garden

    Posted: 28-April-2012, 12:40am EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Meditative Moments at the Portland Japanese Garden (all photos Jeff Jahn)

    Currently, the Portland Japanese Garden is hosting a fantastic dual exhibition, Meditative Moments, consisting of noted Chado (Japanese tea ceremony) ceramicist Richard Milgrim's works along with paintings by “waterfall artist” Hiroshi Senju. It is an inspired pairing. Milgrim is in fact the first and only non Japanese Master Chado ceramicist and though this practice is by definition “traditional” (often a pejorative in the West not so in the East) this is indeed a working and evolving tradition of which Milgrim is one of its chief innovators. Because Chado ceramics are an inherently Zen practice, his unique East meets West approach (with studios in Kyoto and Concord Massachusetts) suffuses everything from his penchant for dark brown (traditional Japanese) and creamy white glazes (his primary glaze in the USA). Both glazes being very similar to his dark hair and light skin to the way his name “Richard” translates to with a pictogram of Sen no Rikyu the founder figure of Chado. Similarly Zen in coincidence, I was honored to be given a chance personal tour, concluding with sharing tea with Milgrim (prepared by his wife).

    Richard Milgrim in Portland

    First, it must be noted that a Japanese Garden (of which Portland's is considered perhaps the finest outside of its country of origin) isn't the kind of private backyard playground like European style formal gardens. Instead, it is perhaps best described as space for contemplation, personal cultivation and culture of which the Chado is a very important part. Chado is convivial, where connection between host and guest(s) is catalyzed through the ceremony where each moment is unique or Ichigo-ichie. Thus, it is especially wonderful that you too can have a bowl of Matcha (tea) in one of Richard's works at the exhibition. Holding one of his tea ash glazed works in your hand you feel the irregularities of the surface and as you turn it the ergonomics shift subtly as one of the best kinesthetic art experiences ever devised by man. The intense green of the Matcha or tea with its bamboo whisked bubbles is just as meditative and sublime as the visual and material aspects.

    Tea Ash Glaze Tea Bowl with Matcha

    As Milgrim pointed out, “All of these are meant to be used” in contrast to ceramics by modernist western masters like Getrude and Otto Natzler. In fact, I found Milgrim's ease of discussing the volcanic glazes of Otto Natzler to his own new innovation of tea ash glaze refreshing and unguarded. Clearly, Milgrim is part of a living tradition that will be passed down to others, whereas the Natzler's have a proprietary position in mid 20th century cultural history... being of a certain historic period, whereas Milgrim is part of a continuum and as such his works will likely be used for thousands of years... bringing the works to life again and again through use rather than artifact. Both approaches bring out the extremely fine qualities of the work in different ways. Milgrim and I discussed the work, various collections and homes of Donald Judd who was very influenced by Zen structures.

    Canyon, Konko-Gama (2004)

    Of the works on display the chawan or tea bowl titled Canyon by Gensitsu Sen was among the most stunning with it's oblated square form and dramatic light and dark glazes (not unlike sumi ink drawings or James Lavadour's paintings). It turns out this piece occupies a particularly important place in Milgrim's practice and his chief patron since it was fired in his Concord kiln with a view of canyons (which Gensitsu Sen must have intuited when he named it).

    Of pivotal importance is how Milgrim was taken under the wing of Gensitsu Sen, the 14th Urasenke grand master who became his patron and greatest advocate. Often referred to as Daisosho or Great Grand Master he has been the greatest advocate of sharing Chado internationally, which he prefers to describe as, “The Way Of Tea,” as a way to promote worldwide harmony and understanding. He gave Milgrim's Kyoto kiln the name of Richado-Gama (Nearly the same as his name Richard) and made it possible for him to learn all of the various styles of Chado ceramics, Raku with its irregularities being the one most familiar to westerners. Traditionally a Chado ceramicist chooses just one style to practice but Milgrim being a kind of bridge between worlds spans them all. I particularly like the Daisosho translates Ichigo-ichie as “one time, one chance.” There is a certain immediate intensity to that translation that fits so well with Migrim or any ceramicist’s practice.

    Faceted Water Container (2011)

    I was also particularly taken with the various faceted ceramics on display. There is something about the faceting that reminds me both of weaving and bamboo.

    Hiroshi Senju, Kakejiku Sky #3 (2010)

    Richard Milgram, Sun Rays(2002)

    Although all of Hiroshi Senju's works on display work well with the ceramics I was most struck with the way Kakejiku Sky #3 (2010) related visually to Milgrim's Sun Rays (2002). Shenju's work calls to mind a meteor shower or a rainstorm but I like how it relates to the streaming sunlight of Milgrim's bowl. Once again very Zen.


    Still, it was the handling of the juicy looking tea tree ash in a shallow bowl (for warmer days) that was a highlight. Looking for all the world like the sap from plants... the fact that Milgrim developed this innovative new glaze from the ash of the highest grade tea plants is incredibly poetic... almost as if he's fossilizing tea plants and by fusing it with the clay, much the same way that drinking Matcha fuses the tea with the drinker. At Milgrim's request I turned it in my hand and felt its weight shifting. If there was ever an very visual art form that could be translated into braille... this would be it.

    I left this experience feeling calm, reflective and intensely attuned the way art affirms life by separating itself from the daily grind by savoring the moment. Similarly because the exhibition ends this Sunday. I suggest you experience it.

    Portland Japanese Garden Through April 29th 2012
  • Permalink for 'Mayoral Candidate's Forum at PNCA'

    Mayoral Candidate's Forum at PNCA

    Posted: 27-April-2012, 12:32am EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Saturday from 3-5PM at PNCA, the Pacific Northwest Science and Technology Foundation and the MFA in Collaborative Design program are presenting a forum with three mayoral candidates; Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, moderated by Peter Schoonmaker, Chair MFA in Collaborative Design. Question is, will these three finally distinguish themselves from one another for the likely pivotal cultural community vote? (not that THAT vote is one monogenic group. Their first forum on the subject was without Smith so I'm curious to see how they've distinguished their positions from one another since the first rather incomplete panel.) Also, if I didn't know better I'd say PNCA itself was trying to run for Mayor of Portland for the past decade. Here's the PR:

    "Portland has a reputation as a center for creativity, technology, and design. From software to apparel to green technology, the opportunities for developing a vibrant creative economy are expanding. What specific actions can the City of Portland and our next mayor take to support and enhance Portland?s science, technology, and creative communities? Join the Pacific Northwest Science and Technology Foundation and the MFA Collaborative Design program at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) for a forum with mayoral candidates Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith. MFA in Collaborative Design Chair Peter Schoonmaker moderates a conversation on what Portland's next mayor should and can do to support the science-tech-creative sector in Portland."

    Mayoral Candidates Forum | Swigert Commons (free)
    PNCA | 1241 NW Johnson
    April 28th 3-5 PM
  • Permalink for 'Ditch Projects presents Mike Pare'

    Ditch Projects presents Mike Pare

    Posted: 26-April-2012, 1:15am EDT by Jeff Jahn

    New Mexico based Mike Pare is interested in subcultures and creates paper-based works that expand the narrative of such intense but fringe movements.

    For his first solo show titled New Believers at Springfield's Ditch Projects Pare has chosen the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Movement, which famously usurped the small Oregon town of Antelope, as his starting off point.

    "In this work, constellations of Rajneesh's narrative expand beyond rational investigation, and mutate into entirely new forms.

    Rajneesh Things is an artwork in the form of an open edition tabloid Newspaper. The twelve page black and white tabloid contains articles, artwork, and designs based in investigations of the material culture of the Rajneesh Movement. Modeled after the original movement publication Rajneesh Times, Pare's newspaper visually mimics the style of underground press publications of the 1970s and 80s. The work functions as a platform for art making and journalism, but also serves as a coded fictional text and an object of material culture itself capable of everyday dissemination through its expendable form as a free paper. Free copies will be available at the exhibition.

    The body of work entitled Devotional Goods is an exploration of material anomalies and the potential of art practice transcending a topic. working with the familiar drawing materials of graphite and paper, Pare creates large dark tie-dyed pieces that hint at melancholy and decay even as they radiate intense acid-drenched colors."

    Ditch Projects: Mike Pare | New Believers
    303 S. 5th Avenue #165 | Springfield OR 97477
    Exhibition dates: April 28 - May 19, 2012
    Opening reception: Saturday, April 28, 7pm - 10pm Gallery hours: Saturdays 12 - 4 |
  • Permalink for 'Elena Buszek Lecture'

    Elena Buszek Lecture

    Posted: 24-April-2012, 10:10pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Marianne Jorgensen and the Cast-Off Knitters, Pink M.24 Chaffee 2006. (Photo Barbara Katzin)

    Craft has definitely become an integral part of the contemporary art lexicon and I'm always fascinated by where the sometimes tense border lines between craft and serious art are drawn. Elena Buszek's lecture on April 25th at MoCC should fire off a few shots in every direction or is this discussion so 2006? What new developments have there been since craft stopped becoming a dirty word in serious contemporary art? (Hint: it coincided with the realization that art from Los Angeles has been the equal if not superior to New York since the 60's and last year's PST... or we can blame Dave Hickey's The Invisible Dragon essays for making "beauty" as an intellectual construct supportable again).

    Her lecture Wednesday at the Museum of Contemporary Craft is part of the CraftPerspectives Lecture Series and the 2011-2012 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

    "Maria Elena Buszek is a scholar, critic, curator and associate professor of art history at the University of Colorado in Denver. Her recent publications include the books, Pin-Up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture and Extra/ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art. She has also contributed to the anthologies It's Time for Action (There's No Option): About Feminism and Blaze: Discourse on Art, Women, and Feminism and Contemporary Artists. She has written for the popular feminist magazine BUST since 1999."

    Presented by Museum of Contemporary Craft and the MFA in Applied Craft and Design (PNCA + OCAC).

    Lecture: April 25th | 6:30 - 8:30 PM
    Museum of Contemporary Craft

    The Lab | 724 NW Davis St. | 503 223-2654
  • Permalink for 'Monday Links and a List'

    Monday Links and a List

    Posted: 23-April-2012, 8:15pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    In case you missed it:

    DK Row actually did a nice job interviewing the three mayoral candidates about the arts in a 4 part series. This is what we expect the Oregonian to be doing, but sadly this sort of eye for relevance is rare and it's generally just gratuitous conservative "shrug pieces". PORT will have something even more targeted and incisive to help you separate these 3 candidates.

    Eva Lake's first solo show in New York City seems to be going over well. I knew it when I saw this show at Augen... Eva was definitely onto something.

    Jerry Saltz picks 10 artists to save the art world. He's wrong of course because he didn't pick any Portlanders... we are the "Capital of Conscience" as I penned in the Tribune's Op Ed a few months ago after all. So if I picked 10 Portlanders (who haven't already been in a Whitney Biennial) who would they be? I won't make too big a deal about this list but just off the top of my head these 10 are all ready and doing original, high level work with impressively sustained intelligence:

    Zachary Davis, (The most developed of the Appendix gang, he impressed me at the foreGround show I curated last year by bridging the gap in digital/real world)

    Matt McCormick, (Portland's "Filmmaker Laureate" and very talented video artist... MoMA has heard of him, you should too Jerry)

    Corey Arnold (photographer/fisherman extraordinaire... probably tougher than any photographer has a right to be)

    Patrick Rock (installation, video, performance, attitude)

    Oregon Painting Society (installation group, Tate Modern has heard of them, you should too Jerry)

    Philip Iosca (an incredibly fine mind for installation and its execution)

    Laura Fritz (admittedly we are dating, but that has no bearing on the fact that it's difficult to find another artist who brings such originality to every single show. At the end of the day results speak. I'd be lying if I left her off the list.)

    Ryan Pierce (Yes he's written for PORT but he's also a fantastic painter and sharp mind, very impressive)

    Eva Speer (probably tied with Pierce for having the sharpest "painter's mind" in town she's coming into her own)

    Jesse Hayward (often the most radical and adventurous abstract painter in Portland)

    Of course there are others like Arnold Kemp, Modou Dieng, Eva Lake, Joe Thurston, Ethan Rose and Midori Hirose... etc. The list can go on and on but I feel pretty safe stating that those 16 would make up an incredibly strong survey of Portland art now. Generally though for a survey one doesn't always pick the best, instead one picks a few surprises to gage potential and shake up expectations (knowing how to install it is another trick).
  • Permalink for 'Saturday Openings and Happenings'

    Saturday Openings and Happenings

    Posted: 21-April-2012, 10:12am EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Lorna Bieber at Reed's Cooley Gallery

    It's been up for a few weeks but it's time for a reception with the artist for Lorna Bieber's, Image Myths at Reed's Cooley Gallery tonight.

    Bieber produces her images through; collage, paint, copier and computers, as well as traditional and non-traditional photographic techniques. She describes this as altering the "root" picture to create new "branches" whose archetypal narratives are completely changed from the original, yet due to their sources and treatment appear as a kind of memory. Carl Jung's collective unconscious comes to mind, except Bieber is the archetypal intermediary and filter here.

    Artist's Reception: April 21st 5PM
    Lorna Bieber, Image Myths | April 10 - June 3rd
    Douglas F. Cooley Gallery | Reed College
    3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.

    Images from Wayne Bund's Mimesis @ PLACE

    Portland artists continue to occupy Portland's Pioneer Place Mall with several lew shows:

    MIMESIS: Fantasy and Friends - Wayne Bund
    Within the Ephemeron - J. Brown
    The Weighing of Souls - Georganne Watters
    Crying, Feeding, Touching - Heather Zinger
    High School Football Memories - Phillip Bone & BT Livermore

    Opening receptions 5-8pm | April 21st
    PLACE @ Pioneer Place Mall | 700 SW 5th | 3rd floor

    It's your last and only chance to catch Damien Gilley's Data Systems Plaza at PCC Sylvania this weekend from 1-4 Saturday.

    "Data Systems Plaza appropriates and transforms the gallery into a temporary showroom exhibiting sculptural experiences from a fictitious company. Drawing influence from science fiction and technology developments of the early digital era, the works reference an industry that posits advanced, speculative, and futuristic products and phenomena. Within a meandering architectural framework, the works allure the viewer with controlled visual spectacles while rendering the experience of materiality ambiguous. The exhibition aims to expand upon the ephemeral characteristics of information systems through the employment of compartmentalized areas, perceptual structures, and the concept of hidden architecture."

    Special Saturday Hours | April 21st 1-4
    North View Gallery | Data Systems Plaza
    Reception/Artist Talk: Wednesday, April 4, 2-4pm
    Dates & Hours: April 3 - 27 | 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday
    Portland Community College Sylvania | CT Building 12000 SW 49th Ave
  • Permalink for 'Call for proposals for White Box '

    Call for proposals for White Box

    Posted: 19-April-2012, 8:09pm EDT by Jeff Jahn


    The University of Oregon's White Box Gallery (BTW, which isn't a white box) has extended its deadline for proposals to the 23rd of April and it's a chance to show in a series of rooms that Donald Judd has rocked. It's good for 3-5 person group shows too. Here's the PR:

    "The University of Oregon Portland's White Box is currently seeking project proposal submissions for February 2013 ? June 2014. Through exhibitions and related educational and public programming, the White Box is dedicated to creating a laboratory for the exploration of contemporary creativity and critical inquiry. White Box programming aims to reflect and extend the intellectual work of the University, expressed via fine art, new media, interactive video, installation, architecture and design, attracting diverse audiences with a range of specific interests.

    Architects, designers, artists, curators and organizations are encouraged to submit proposals for exhibition programming in the White Box. Preference will be given to original exhibitions, curated for the White Box spaces, exploring contemporary inquiry from unique perspectives, and demonstrating a relationship to Portland's community and the academic mission of the University."

    For more information like proposal forms and floor plans visit their website.

    Due April 23rd 2012

    If you have any questions contact:

  • Permalink for 'Pure Clear closing reception'

    Pure Clear closing reception

    Posted: 17-April-2012, 10:14pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Pure Clear at Appendix

    Although not wholly realized, Alex Mackin Dolan's Pure Clear at Appendix offers up some tantalizing mimesis and outright readymade examples of boho and industrial design tropes that conjure "purity", while inviting in a Smithson-esque sense of entropic infiltration or even outright pollution. He's definitely onto something and tomorrow night is your last chance to catch the show.

    "Using 'clear' as an initial password, Dolan chooses objects based on their deployment of specific color sets and materials, using them to investigate various 'eco-aware' memes and connections."

    Appendix Project Space Closing Reception: 8:00 PM | April 18th south alley between 26th and 27th Avenues off of NE Alberta Street
  • Permalink for 'Monday Links'

    Monday Links

    Posted: 16-April-2012, 10:56pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Will a refurbished Palais de Tokyo bring French art back into the spotlight?

    Finally, an Oregonian article that doesn't make me angry... ironically it is about creative anger. Perhaps anger isn't the right word but a very specific distate for certain things has always been the whetstone for those seeking to sharpen their ideas to a high level of excellence.

    Argentina builds a new contemporary art district from scartch.
  • Permalink for 'Weekend Picks'

    Weekend Picks

    Posted: 13-April-2012, 10:28pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Besides Glen Fogel's show + the unveiling of PICA's new space (more later today) Here are my picks for the weekend:

    Amy Berstein in progress at Worksound

    On Saturday at Worksound for its Perceptual Control (a five artist/writer/curator residency and in process exhibit), PORT's own Warhol Art Writing award winner Amy Bernstein will talk about ''Form and Absence" and Emily Nachison will discuss her process which draws on anthropology, geology, and the decorative arts. In the past 9 months or so Bernstein has become one of the most watched painters in Portland. Here's the PR:

    "'Speech is the replacement of a presence by an absence and the pursuit, through presences ever more fragile, of an absence ever more all sufficing.'- Maurice Blanchot

    Amy Bernstein will discuss the ideas surrounding form as language. Culled from a history of philosophy and art theory, Bernstein will support her ideas through citing examples of the semantics of artistic choices. Form as signifier and as catalyst are the bases of all language, yet the creation of formal language in a contemporary context and within specific cultures becomes culture itself. Are these ideas cannibalistic, self propagating, or revolutionary? What freedoms do we embody in making art that will push culture forward? How free is this freedom? The answer is in the making.

    Organic/Synthetic is the topic of Emily Nachison's talk. She discusses her making process and influences. Drawing from anthropology, geology, and the decorative arts, Nachison’s sculptures and installations are a hybrid of synthetic and natural accumulation. Mythology and New-Age idealism become starting points for an investigation into the cultural creation of landscape. Her process mimics organic growth and geological sediment, resulting in experiential installations using a variety of materials including glass, wood, cardboard, and foam.

    Artist Talks | Saturday April 14 7-10PM
    Worksound | 820 SE Alder Portland OR.
    Perceptual Control | Residency/Exhibition | February 3rd through May 31 2012

    Michael Reinsch's "AS-IS"

    Also, on Saturday PLACE presents, 34 Years of Whiteness: Race & Ethnicity in the Work of Julie Perini and AS-IS with Michael Reinsch. Here's the spiel:

    "'I have been creating white videos and white films for over fifteen years and I never even realized it. During that entire time, I thought I was just making art. I thought of my works as formal explorations, even as social interventions… Over and over, however, I also have been constructing images of whiteness based on my own experience as a white person living the United States today. Recently I have begun to wonder how this works. This new, exploratory lecture is the beginning of a longer-term investigation into whiteness, white privilege, racism, and racial identity.'

    Michael Reinsch's installation examined the relationship of commerce, materiality, and performance. Reinsch made art on demand creating at the rate of $5 per minute and when not activated as a piece he would keep to himself not interacting with the attendees. He will be discussing intention, process, and the relationship of finance in performance/installation."

    PLACE | Pioneer Place Mall atrium building 3rd floor
    Saturday April 14th | 4:00 PM

    artstar_,macca2.jpgJoe Macca from his show at NAAU

    Joe Macca having a Two Man show with himself at the Art Gym isn't a surprise, it is the the fact that the Art Gym is attempting this at all. As an artist/personality Joe Macca is both incredibly shy and aggressive with zen like abstractions on one side of his schizophrenic oeuvre and hyper-competitive /self-image positioning work on the other. It has never been clear which body of work is better, though his obsession with me (w'eve made cookies together in a video) indicates he has incredibly poor taste and cooking skills in stark contrast to his formal abstraction skills... the boy is fire hazard in the kitchen! I suspect I'm just the kind of older brother he always wanted to have (I play better tennis and rock so much harder) so we'll see if I give him a wedgie at the opening? Props to curator Terry Hopkins for tackling something with a little attitude/inscrutableness here, it is likely not your usual soft edged form of off white academic conceptualism the Art Gym often presents. Here's the PR:

    "Many artists work in several veins, often distinguished by medium—painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture—and sometimes by subject matter. What has puzzled me about Joe Macca’s output is that he works in ways that are polar opposites—hot/cold, perfect/messy, slow/fast, meditative/mad. This is what led me to propose the exhibition Joe Macca: Two Man Show.

    Macca creates paintings that are carefully planned and perfectly executed abstractions that respond to the natural world or, as the artist puts it, that express the "literal and symbolic, ephemeral and transient." In contrast to the pulsating calm or dark interiority of those paintings, the postcards and studio flotsam run the gamut from rude and crass jabs at his fellow artists to mockingly self-aggrandizing promotions of Macca the artist, Macca the man.

    Accompanying Joe Macca: Two Man Show is the P.O.’d Postcard Show, a small exhibition of postcards and other correspondence by Mack McFarland and Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen. Over the years, I have received many interesting postcards, painted envelopes and objects through the mail. For the P.O.’d Postcard show I was looking for mailed art that commented on society or the artworld or both. McFarland’s Ten-foot-pole drawings of politicians and policy makers that he presumably would not touch with a ten-foot-pole fit the bill, as did Gray and Wilson Paulsen’s series of mailed posters commenting wryly on contemporary art practice."

    Joe Macca: | Two Man Show | The Art Gym | Marylhurst University
    BP John Administration Building
    17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy 43), Marylhurst, OR |Phone: 503.699.6243

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