"SO HOW WAS First Thursday?" you ask. "I saw that it fell on the first, like January 1, and I wanted to go, but I was too hungov... um, busy starting CrossFit to come out." Well, join another club, because knowing that no one would rally to a New Year's Day art walk, the Portland Art Dealers' Association postponed the event to January 8. That's right, Ebenezer, you haven't missed it!
Without further ado,you can start your new year:
Puzzled, and possibly intrigued (?) by Victoria Haven's gray-scale woodblock prints at PDX Contemporary Art (925 NW Flanders). Like oversized paint chips, sets of side-by-side rectangles holding text propose pairs of ideas from which it's hard to spot a pattern: mystic/comma, north/madly, vanquish/blueberries. Take what you will from this ode to "fleeting sensations, energy fields, and severed space."
With lightsabers! Okay, maybe not exactly. But the long, tall, colorful LED sculptures of Hap Tivey's Surface of Light at Elizabeth Leach (417 NW 9th) certainly conjure a galactic showdown, or if you prefer, the tempting glow of late-night neon, the gradient haze of the aurora borealis, or the play of a prism's rainbow against a wall. Bask in it, babies—there's no natural light 'til May.
Doing your math homework, by gazing at white-on-gray aquatint prints of equations compiled by Dartmouth College's professor of mathematics and computer science Daniel Rockmore for Concinnitas, also at Leach. Should you observe that they look a lot like Haven's pieces, shame on you. It's not about looks. "An exploration of artist Sol LeWitt's belief that the idea is the most important aspect of an artwork, not the actual execution," this show is about the maths' meanings, which are explained by the mathematicians and physicists who provided them.
Reverently, or irreverently if you please, either bowing your head or flipping the bird at Duplex Collective's (219 NW Couch) group show, which features modern interpretations of religious icons, presented on a small scale that's theoretically better for prayerfully clutching. Contributing LA-based artist Roni Feldman will also read from his sci-fi novel, The Creator's Eye.
Back at the Crawdaddy—and if you don't know where that is, ask Jaik Faulk. It's the name of his show at Nationale (3360 SE Division), up now, with an opening reception scheduled for Friday, January 9. Inspired by the portrait painting traditions of his native Lafayette, Louisiana, Faulk's attempted to escape "the sterility of art school abstraction" and make the most of his recent month-long residency at FalseFront gallery. The result? Painterly abstraction with a sizzle of (Francis) Bacon.