Visual Wednesday Part 2: Reflections on First Thursday in PDX

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It was the very first First Thursday to occur during excellent weather this past week in Portland, and weather encouraged generous crowds. In fact, the entirety of last week was gorgeous and Summer like so how could one resist getting outside, especially on First Thursday?

The usual First Thursday activities were in full swing by the time I showed up. As normal, restaurants were bustling with the hungry and thirsty, while art galleries stayed open late and a small section of NW 13th Ave. was reserved for foot traffic to stroll through a temporary open air marketplace on the roadway.

Retail spaces channeled creativity too. Here are my highlights. A local coffee roasting company, Nossa Famiglia shared a slideshow in their new space and sampled local beer and their own tasty brewed coffee. Hot & iced, thank heaven. Over at the hip clothing store Lizard Lounge some sweet sounding band cranked out well practiced tunes while beer was served. Lastly, over at Really Big Video Inc. we spied a kitschy Lite Brite rendering of Portland in big letters. Clever.

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On to the galleries!

My highlight for this past week’s event was the Blackfish Gallery on 9th. This is a great industrial space with whitewashed walls, concrete floors, and foiled ceilings in Warhol factory style.

This is a special space to me for two reasons. First, because it is manned in a coop style, with the contributing artists taking turns to run the gallery’s day to day operations. Second, each month the gallery prominently features one or two artists. Prominently. Meaning most of the wall or floorspace is for one or two artists. I consider this a display of deep reverence, and I respect it.

The artists featured in this space for the remainder of May 2013 are Sandra Roumagoux and Greg Conyne. Please don’t ask me to pronounce either of these people’s last names. Ay yay yay. Here is a sneak peek into this space.

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Conyne’s art on display is sculpture. The three dimensional art is intricate and of varying scales. The materials are multimedia and include metal pieces, found objects such as spark plugs and so on, and roughly carved wood. It is abstract work from what I saw, and I’m not sure of the content. I recommend going to it in person.

Roumagoux’s art filled the wall space (aside from a small niche at the back displaying life drawing sketches). Comparing each painting to the other, they were similarly scaled, somewhere between three to five feet on any side. The medium is acrylic on canvas and mostly abstract, although I thought I spied a bridge or two in some of the compositions. Her color palette is earthy browns, greens, and ruddy yellows. She confidently uses large paint strokes throughout this collection of paintings. It is very painterly.

If you are wondering, yes, that’s a word. Painterly describes the apparent brushstroke marks intentionally painted by the artist. Thank you high school art teacher for the lesson on painterliness. All in all I am partial to the impact of viewing these paintings all together. There is a certain synergy about the experience.

Go see these in person if you are able.

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