Young Demon by William Matheson at Nationale

I know, I know: You can’t close the Twitter app on your phone. You’re chock-full of rage at the clowns running our country. You have a standing phone date with Ron Wyden’s office. You don’t have time to fold your laundry, much less do something as indulgent as go see some art. But here’s the thing, champ: It’s exactly why you need to. And I have good news: There’s no shortage of gallery-based distraction available in Portland right now. Turn off your phone, and go forth and look at something that’ll make you think, not rage. Here’s where I’m headed.

Aleutian Dreams

This is your final weekend to see Corey Arnold’s photography exhibition at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. Aleutian Dreams features Arnold’s signature hyperrealism in photographs of wild animals colliding with human-mediated environments in Alaska, where the photographer works as a commercial fisherman. Think blind bald eagles captured in all their shaggy glory, an emotive fox making sharp eye contact in blue shadow on a snowy road, commercial fishing boats heaving against blackish-blue waves, piled nets, and one image of a person in electric yellow waders, their face obscured by a larger-than-life stingray held aloft like a fleshy sentient bruise. It’s easy to get caught up in Arnold’s earthbound work, his sharp documentarian eye, and his signature juxtaposition of the feral and the domestic. I love his photography for this reason, and if you want a glimpse of the Pacific Northwest’s wilder edges, you will too. Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, 134 NW 8th, open Thurs-Sat 11 am-5 pm, hartmanfineart.net


Animal Laughter

This month, William Matheson’s abstract, ghostly paintings of doll-like humans, disjointed bodies in space, and bright geometric shapes are coming to Nationale for the artist’s third solo show in the space, Animal Laughter. Matheson’s work is accompanied by surrealist-inspired sculpture from Nick Norman. Also notable: Nationale’s print-based offshoot, Le Oui, is back with a new print by painter Annie McLaughlin. Ten percent of the proceeds from the limited run of 100 will go towards the Center for Reproductive Rights, the national advocacy group that seeks legal routes to advancing and protecting access to abortion. Le Oui debuted after the election with Carson Ellis’ indelible “Onward” print, whose sales raised $13,600 for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Nationale, 3360 SE Division, open daily 12-6 pm, closed Tuesdays, nationale.us


What else is a window

Through June 10, Melanie Flood Projects, which focuses on contemporary photography, gives over its space to Canadian artist and curator Carlin Brown’s exhibition, What else is a window. Brown’s body of work is a pleasingly clean, minimalist collection that blurs boundaries between photography, sculpture, and installation practices. In the Melanie Flood show, Brown applies this technique to screens, increasingly ubiquitous in modern life, and reconceptualizes them as windows. The gallery text puts it this way: “Brown’s photographs and sculptural objects use materials which respond to the physical experience of the screen as an entryway’s threshold, a reflective pool of light, or a mediated virtual. The window opens onto a world beyond—it is where surface meets depth, where transparency meets its barriers.” Brown will give a gallery talk on her work on Wednesday, May 24. Melanie Flood Projects, 420 SW Washington #301, open Sat 12-5 pm and by appointment; gallery talk with Carlin Brown Wed May 24, 4 pm, free, melaniefloodprojects.com