YOU KNOW WHAT, Last Thursday? You're too much for me. I can't process every attraction you spill down Alberta. I'm just trying to find things I like, at gallery galleries. You know, indoor places, with snack platters. I'm on the hunt for baby carrots—I mean water coolers—I mean shoppable modern master-works. (Gosh, it's hot.)
Sidnee Snell's fiber art at Guardino Gallery (2939 NE Alberta, guardinogallery.com)—Think of a splashy abstract painting, and then imagine that pattern in quilted fabric, and you might appreciate Sidnee Snell's process. You can't "splash" a blob of fabric onto a quilt; you must place it flat and wrestle it back and forth through your sewing machine to stitch the tight little peninsulas and dots that look like a paint splash. Then you have to trim off all the edges of the "splash" that's actually applique. It's not easy. There's a reason your granny quilts in straight lines and not crazy paint patterns. Parum Aqua Flora is emphatically abstract, but kind of like a topographical heatmap of a red-orange volcano, bluegreen water, and white ice, with many thinner blips of additional colors. The color draws the eye; the process boggles the mind.
A Frenzied Balance at Ampersand Gallery (2916 NE Alberta, ampersandgallerypdx.com)—Wait... So we have splashy quilts and tidy watercolors? What's the art world coming to? Dan Gluibizzi depicts people as floating busts with neat pencil edges and straight baselines, filled in with bichrome watercolor gradients and isolated by negative paper-space. There's a page of orange-yellow people, another of blue-green ones... a psychedelic leap from the artist's prior work, which used more muted, realistic hues.
Gluibizzi's largest-scale title piece mixes it up a bit more. Beside Technicolor busts, we see nude couples, comic-book star shapes, and a few block-lettered words: "BALANCE. JUST FRIENDS. YEAR. NUDE." Who are these people? Anonymous pictures off the internet. Not sure what it all means? Yeah, neither is Gluibizzi. His statement notes that our online pictures lose meaning even as they maintain visual intensity. People are less individuals than parts of a larger pattern.
HiiH Gallery's Paper Lanterns (2929 NE Alberta)—You've probably seen the shop on NE 29th and Alberta that's full of luminous paper lanterns shaped like flowers, insect wings, cocoons, larvae, and kanji characters, and I know what you're about to say: "I don't call Japanese paper lanterns art unless, like, they're handmade from scratch—even the paper—by an Asian craftsman." Well, shut up, because they are. Lâm Qung has been making these lamps for 15 years, and his wife Kestrel Gates paints them. They glow with self-evident inspiration and appeal.