Jon MacNair opens windows into cryptic worlds with his monochromatic pen-and-ink drawings. His work has a decidedly vintage, if not medieval, feel. The artist renders elaborate depictions of self-created myths and legends, but rather than being grandiose, the tone of his work is self-aware and humorous. Demons and shamans mug for the viewer while performing rituals and spells. Some of his drawings show gratuitous, cartoon violence akin to that of heavy metal album art and skateboard graphics. MacNair has a solo show opening at Portland’s Antler Gallery this Thursday, August 28, titled “Age of Enigmas.” In addition to his own work, the exhibition will feature MacNair’s collaborations with five other artists he admires: Jennifer Parks, Trudy Creen, Mark Burt, Ian Anderson, and Michael Hsiung.
Partners in art and in life, Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall collaborate seamlessly, almost out of necessity. They work in close proximity to one another in their studio, switching between parent duty to their two young children and working on their paintings. Elements of Plock’s blocky, geometric style end up on Tunstall’s softer, more painterly canvases and vice versa. The couple, sometimes known by the monicker KeFe, currently has an exhibition at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery titled “Floating World: Part One” on view through August 9. Part two of this body of work will open at Antler Gallery in Portland on July 31, creating a visual dialogue between two cities.
Though Nicomi Nix Turner’s subtle graphite work resembles an intricate examination of the natural world, one would be surprised to learn that the artist uses absolutely no reference material. The skinny, springy mushrooms and horned beetles that often appear in her drawings are not modeled after a particular species. Instead, Turner enjoys playing god, in a way, and seeing what an ecosystem of her own creation would look like. People often tell her the human characters in her work resemble someone they know, said the artist, but perhaps the beauty of their faces is that they can evoke different memories for each viewer.