With a decidedly Victorian twist, Olex Oleole puts together images that don’t quite fit together. A phonograph emerges from a heart while what look like animals behinds are sliced off and held together by two strings. Eventually, themes begin to emerge. A Nike logo appears over a cryptic figure with the snarky title Throw caution to the wind and just do it. Another shows a woman’s head turned into a vintage camera with the words Maybe you should consider keeping your selfies to yourself? Each piece feels surreal even while it looks familiar. The juxtaposition of human and machine or modern logo and mysterious character feels like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Once you put the pieces together — mostly with the help of each biting title — the other little details make the joke that much funnier. The conflation of time works just right, as the men and women in Victorian dress remind us of the age-old folies of vanity, consumption and more.
In its second year, Forest for the Trees, curated by gallerist Matt Wagner and artist Gage Hamilton, brought together 20 international and local artists in Portland for a few days of mural painting intended to encourage the growth of public art in a city already known for its creative flair. Unlike other street art festivals around the world, Forest for the Trees had a notable presence of artists you wouldn’t necessarily put in the street art or graffiti camps.
Eric Petersen is a methodical, calculated artist. He opts to work digitally to remove any personalized evidence of the human touch. He chooses the colors of his works like a scientist dropping carefully-measured chemicals into a vile: The intended effect of these contrasting, bright shades, says Petersen, is one of unsettlement. He sets up compositions that are at once harmonious and jarring. Geometric shapes appear to slice through his planes with razor sharp precision of placement. Yet their rhythmic arrangements give his work a sense of harmony, even while the electric blue, neon yellow and sunset orange hues simultaneously vie for viewers’ attention.
Those who follow in the footsteps of the Old Masters would gasp at Seth Alverson’s raw depictions of the human body. From the Renaissance’s advancements in rendering the idealized anatomy to today’s Photoshopped magazine covers, Western culture has an ongoing obsession with depicting the nude figure in ways that few of us can actually live up to. Alverson throws these conventions out the window with his oil paintings.
American artists — from the painters of the Hudson River School to the influential Andrew Wyeth — have long depicted this country’s vast landscape as simultaneously a place of lonely desolation and of awe-inspiring grandeur. Following in this tradition, Andrea Kowch creates gorgeous and eerie acrylic paintings of open-skied pastoral landscapes. Inspired by a deep fascination with the natural world, Kowch’s works also tap into a common feeling of uneasiness many of us have toward the American rural – a place that is iconic for its beauty but that is also often associated with tedium, isolation and a clinging to negative aspects of the country’s past.
On August 30th, CHG Circa will showcase some of their favorite artists in their second installment of “Art Collector Starter Kit”. The show was first created in 2013 to give emerging artists a platform to express new ideas, while creating a smaller-sized ‘starter kit’ of sorts for new collectors. This year highlights new faces to Circa’s walls like Yosuke Ueno (above), Yukino Fukumoto (covered here), Hikari Shimoda, who debuted last month, and So Youn Lee- paired with Circa regulars Brandi Milne, Shag, Lola, Natalia Fabia, and more.