Visual Arts 

grey/area
Of the 26 pieces in grey/area, none stand out as head and shoulders above the rest; rather, they work together as complements, strengthening the experience of viewing the body of work as a whole. Part of this coherence can be attributed to the highly controlled color palette. With few exceptions, the works are rendered in white, gray, and black. Curator TJ Norris has organized a show that successfully cultivates an even and atmospheric aesthetic. (JM) Guestroom, 128 NE Russell, through July 29

Great Painters in Bres­cia from the Ren­aissance to the 18th Century
Brescia, located just to the northwest of Florence and Venice, was upwind of the great Renaissance, and produced a wealth of masterful altarpieces, frescoes, and devotional paintings. Thirty-five works from Brescia are on view now, at their only appearance in North America. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park, 226-2811, through Sept 17, $6-10

Introducing
Catch this emerging artist showcase before it closes: It features recent PNCA grad Meg Peterson, self-taught Vancouver artist Justin B. Williams, and Julianna Bright, formerly of San Francisco band the Quails. Motel, NW Couch between 5th and 6th, through July 1

Paul McCartney: Onstage, OffStage, and Backstage
Photos of Ringo Starr. Photographic Image, 240 SW 1st, 224-3543, through July 9

Lawrence Robbin
In the mid '70s, Lawrence Robbin was a photographer at the underground newspaper the Los Angeles Vanguard. During his stint there, Robbin did his best to capture the zeitgeist, photographing everything from fleeting street scenes to intimate portraits of Charles Bukowski. Robbin never became a household name, but now 15 of his photographs are in Portland for the first time ever. Yes, 811 E Burnside #116, 236-77881, through July 3

Michael Ensminger
In his challenging and provocative series "What's Your Sign," photographer Ensminger posed convincingly as a homeless panhandler, holding up cardboard signs with handwritten messages like, "Need to know what Julia Roberts wore to the Oscars" and "I lost 35 pounds. Ask me how." Ever since Gillian Wearing's "Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say," images of people holding handwritten signs has become an overused cliché in art and advertising; with Ensminger's series, the possibilities are made fresh all over again. Blue Sky Photography Gallery, 1231 NW Hoyt, 225-0210, through July 1

The Vision Vessel
Fledgling nonprofit group Public Media Works' inaugural project is the ambitious, roving Vision Vessel, which lands at the Portland building this week. Part podcast booth, part confessional, part civic census bureau, the Vessel solicits input and opinion on Portland's future from citizens age 17-35. Step right up and let yourself be heard-or at least marvel at the ingenious design of it all. Portland Building Lobby, 1120 SW 5th, July 5-7

Panamerican Fiction
Earlier this month, Mexican artist Pablo Helguera stopped in Portland on his trek from Anchorage to Tiero del Fuego. In a grandiose plot to encourage dialogue amongst English, Spanish, and Portuguese speaking countries, he's traveling around, doing lectures, holding performances, and staging exhibitions toward that end. Helguera has moved on to traverse North, Central, and South America, but he's sending treasures from his journey back to PNCA, where they'll be shown for most of the summer. Philip Feldman Gallery, PNCA, 1241 NW Johnson, 226-4391, through July

Yarn
damali ayo (lowercase sic) resurfaces with an exhibition of four short animated videos and a suite of 12 stills in Yarn. Themes of national and racial identity dominate the work, whose title derives from the tall-tale implication as well as the image of distinct strands forming a stronger, cohesive whole. Mark Woolley Gallery, 120 NW 9th Suite 210, 224-5475, through July 1

Milton Wilson and His Peers: 1960s and 1970s
Shit's getting old skool this month with a throwback to Northwest painters of yesteryear. I smell "earthy palette and responses to nature." Pulliam Deffenbaugh, 929 NW Flanders, 228-6665, through July 1

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