Tag Archives: First Thursday

Visual Wednesday: First Thursday in September


Fortunately, First Thursday this past week fell on another pleasantly mild weather day in Portland. Next month I anticipate excessive amounts of overflowing puddles and zippered waterproof raincoats to be worn in true Oregon form. No umbrellas allowed. We shall see once the tumultuous fall weather arrives.

Weather aside, First Thursday was refreshing for other reasons. My highlight was the exclusive show at the Daily in the Pearl District featuring George Perrou. A prolific artist in Portland and the larger area, Perrou’s paintings are featured in the Daily as part of a collaboration with Amy Caplan of Caplan Art Designs based in Portland, Oregon. In the space, Caplan displays various Perrou paintings in his unique style that lends a vibrant mood to the Daily space.

Each canvas boasts flatly painted backgrounds, and compositions of high-contrast lines and shapes. Subjects range from purely abstract, while other paintings are abstractions of otherworldly landscapes. Watch this video for an in-depth look at the artist’s process.

Perrou refers to his “Retro Modern” style as derived from a range of influences such as mid-century industrial design palettes (think green ovens and pink toasters) and productions by Hanna-Barbera cartoons, as well as artists like Joan Miro, Wassily Kandinsky, and Alexander Calder. While he doesn’t operate on the same theoretical basis as the aforementioned artists, it is refreshing to view paintings that echo the lighthearted approach of the painter George Perrou.

The following images are a side by side comparison of Four Flowers by George Perrou (left image source) and Catalan Landscape (The Hunter) by Joan Miro (right image source). George Perrou’s paintings will be on view for the next few weeks of September at the Daily located here. Give the paintings a look and brave the puddles if the weather is soggy because it is worth it.


On another note, I plan to review a different event in the Portland area next month in an effort to switch it up a little. Presently, it’s a question to review the ever-quirky, and mostly low-brow art event Last Thursday off Alberta Avenue, or the east side’s First Friday event.

Any recommendations for another art event in the area?


Visual Day: Scale and Review of August’s First Thursday

On the subject of my experience at First Thursday this August I have a confession. I didn’t go! Don’t fret, I did visit a number of galleries that participate in the event, just not on First Thursday.

Yes, yes, but Elya how could you write a proper review when I didn’t attend the event? Well, a few things are certain. The event still happened without my attendance, and I also had a different viewing experience by going on another day.

In terms of the First Thursday event, I can guarantee that many galleries were open later than normal, that some offered wine, snacks, or hosted musicians to play live music. Also,the open market on 13th street was filled with the booths of jewelry makers, wood crafters, painters, photographers, and so on. Lastly, there were a lot of people.

Sometimes viewing art shows in this environment is helpful to my viewing experience. I may notice certain art more than I may have when people congregate around it, or I glean an interesting perspective through a nearby conversation for example. This isn’t always the case.

Other times, I am swept up by the movement and general mood of other viewers. I find myself lingering for less time, than if I were in a room filled with fewer people and a more serene environment. Or hunger pangs make the snacks and drinks very appealing. I am distracted.

My two highlights for shows this month are from galleries that live on the same block together. The two spaces are PDX Contemporary Art and the Elizabeth Leach Gallery.

Through August 31st, the work of Kristen Miller, in the show Passing Through, will be on view at PDX contemporary art. Each composition stands alone with an intricate and balanced design. Yet together each piece serves as part of the whole in Kristen Miller larger oeuvre (or the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively, as in, “the complete oeuvre of Mozart”, from dictionary.com). There are framed pieces as well as a paper and beadwork installation mounted on the ceiling.

In an expansive white-walled space, Miller’s relatively small-scale art acts as well placed punctuation in a sparse poem.  The compositions are balanced using a zen-like pallet of black, white, and grey.  The titles of the art seem to recall the physics of our world with names such as “Gravity”, and “Rising and Settling”. The materials include glassine paper, tiny glass beads, thread, and found objects such as fruit wrappers. More information on the show and extra images from the show are here

On view, until September 21st, is Funeral: Photographic Constructions by Isaac Layman at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. These photographic constructions are a combination of large-scale, hyper real images as well as Layman’s selections of everyday materials. The subject matter is everyday objects such as an empty cabinet or empty sink, and the curated pieces are foam board in a white-framed support. Each curated piece or photographic construction is empty and in a state of disuse.

With Funeral as a show title, I consider the content and meaning to be part of a contemplation on the end of life, although the subjects also remind me of the tongue in cheek ready-made art by artists like Marcel Duchamp, causing me to wonder whether there is any intentional humor in this otherwise somber theme. If you visit or have visited this show, what were your thoughts? There are extra images and more information here also.


IMG_1817Greetings readers!

I will post my monthly review of First Thursday for August later tonight or tomorrow. Posting later than usual is good, trust me, because I am fine tuning the content to be top-notch! I am excited to share my experience with you soon.

Did you go to First Thursday last week? Please don’t hesitate to share your review and thoughts too. Let’s have a conversation.

For now, enjoy this provoking quote by Pablo Picasso. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Another post coming soon!


Visual Wednesday Part: Top 3 & Review of June’s First Thursday


A post shared by Elya Simukka (@elya365) on

Another first Thursday event has come and gone once again. This last “First Thursday” event for the month of June was filled, as usual, with art by some talented, meticulous, and thoughtful people.

I made the effort to visit a number of galleries just off the park blocks in Northwest Portland.  While art abounds in the gallery dense block on NW Park and 8th Avenue, I had a few personal highlights that I will discuss in further detail.

Highlight 1

Edvard Munch prints and drawings at the Froelick Gallery. While Munch’s, The Scream, is surely the most renown, Munch made a prolific amount of prints and drawings as well. See some here and view the rest of the art at this excellent gallery.

Highlight 2

The entire exhibition, “Object Focus: The Bowl”, at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Between a multi-sensory installation and an engaging project named Engage & Use, I was beside myself. Overall, the experience was interactive and engaging, albeit crowded with fellow viewers.

Above, click the image to watch a short video of the installation Transference  by Andy Paiko and Ethan Rose. Concerning Engage and Use, I will post very soon to share my interaction and participation with the bowl project Engage & Use  for another Visual Wednesday post in July. The exhibit runs through September 21, 2013.

Highlight 3

The paper installation, Intersect, at IDL Worldwide is quite a sight. It is a cut paper and suspended installation by Marisa Green. The three-dimensional pyramid shapes remind me of Sol Lewitt‘s conceptual and minimal open cube structures.

Altogether June’s First Thursday event was a complete joy to attend. I eagerly offer my positive review of this experience and recommend a visit to the next First Thursday event in July if you are near Portland, Oregon! It is sure to be a treat.

Visual Wednesday Part 2: Reflections on First Thursday in PDX


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.


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.


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.

Visual Wednesday

A very happy visual Wednesday to all!

I am a true enthusiast of all things visual. Aand I am convinced most people are too, even if it is repressed. My blog musings, interests, obsessions and education background in Art History point to this revelation that is no secret to anyone who knows me.

As of this moment I have two, count ’em 2, brief “Visual Vednesday” points to share. One is local and another is a free-for-all regardless of location.Image

First, tomorrow is the regularly scheduled First Thursday art event in Portland, Oregon … and I plan to go with a friend!

The weather forecast is very favorable so it should be busy. (These events are a way to promote the art scene in the west side of PDX so many art galleries stay open late, offer drinks, and happy hour. Yes, it’s awesome.) It will be an eye-tastic time and we will likely catch some drinks and food. The plan is to hit up as many of the reputable galleries as possible. Review to come, so stay tuned.

Secondly, I recently found an elaboration on the true beauty of Google Images.

To some this may be perfectly commonplace, but the power of Google’s algorithms with images alone is new to me. A post in Apartment Therapy offers a concise explanation here, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/design-inspiration-revelation-lets-call-it-google-decorate-188388. It’s an excellent way to find visually similar images to an image you like a lot and/or find the original source of an image. Basically, take a digital clip from Pinterest for example and drag it to search into Google Images’ search box and wallah! you will have results with the original site and examples of similar images. It’s the little things that delight me.

What visual and art events have you gone to lately? How fantastic or ordinary is Google Images to you?