Pulliam Deffenbaugh recently snatched up Oregon Biennial darling James Boulton, providing them with a cool hat trick of gallery artists who represented in the big show. On top of that, throw in Anna Fidler, whose abstract paperscapes were in the last Biennial, and you've got to tip your hat to Pulliam Deffenbaugh for being on top of things locally. Pay attention to the colors here--these four artists know how to work it. Although this is just a small show in the back of the gallery, odds are it's the best abstract painting show you'll see all month.
Gallery Bink, Shepard Fairey's Obey, 1416 E. Burnside
The staying power that the Andre the Giant Has a Posse/Obey the Giant phenomenon has enjoyed is astounding. I programmed a video about Shepard Fairey into an exhibition three and a half years ago, and feared it was passé then. Years later, it's still picking up momentum, and Fairey is riding it for all it's worth. To his credit, the lowbrow design guru has been working on other prints and images that aren't totally Andre-centric, which are on view here. Looks like Andre is here to stay, and this will undoubtedly be a huge smash for Gallery Bink.
Augen Gallery, Jennifer Bartlett, 817 SW 2nd Ave.
It's hard to come down too hard on Shepard Fairey for mining the same image over and over again while Jennifer Bartlett has become an internationally recognized artist for painting simple houses for thirty years. Just like Chuck Close paints all those faces and Susan Rothenberg perfected her horses, Bartlett has used the childish square-and-triangle house as a constant motif for exuberant explorations in oil painting. Thanks to a reductive, focused subject matter, Bartlett has been able to develop as one of the liveliest painters out there. Augen Gallery is showing 25 new prints of--guess what?--houses, houses, and more houses.
Liminal Space, As In the Attic, So in the Bunker, 403 NW 5th, Aug.16
How much does it suck when something comes along that makes you embarrassed to be part of the visual arts community? I got that rare, sinking feeling this month when I received the announcements for this mid-month one-night-only bash. The image on the flyer is of a digitally altered Anne Frank looking like she has three eyes and a huge head. A handwritten note requests that we please "print this info" and points to the only text on the page. A sample: "A psychedelic, Anne Frank, alchemical, occult happening. Name: Anne Frank. Last Seen: The Secret Annex." Sophomoric rebellion? Fine. Taboo breaking? Fine. Base level stupidity? Not so fine.
Autzen Gallery, Rose McCormick and Joe Macca present Alias, Neuberger Hall, Portland State University
Artist's guilty pleasures and sleuthing viewers come together at Alias, where well known local artists display their unknown, oddball work under assumed names. A big, burly painter whose identity I've sworn to uphold keeps a female alter ego so that he can continue to make lovely, delicate glass sculptures. In this spirit, Alias attempts to reveal secret artworks that would otherwise be relegated to the dustbins of someone's studio. Put on your best Sherlock Holmes hat, pay special attention to who shows up at the opening, and let the guessing games begin.
Columbus Real Estate, Ann Ploeger, 1010 SE Water Ave.
OK, so we don't usually pay much attention to the art hanging in real estate offices, but this show looks pretty sweet. Ann Ploeger makes color photographic portraits of all the people in her life set in their own bedrooms and living areas. With her subjects set dead center, the work recollects the portrait tradition that began with August Sander and continues through contemporaries like Thomas Ruff and Rineke Dijkstra.
PDX Gallery, Christopher Harris, 604 NW 12th Ave.
Perhaps in response to the digital revolution, pinhole photography is making quite a comeback. When I first saw Harris' gauzy, dreamlike abstract landscapes several months ago, I thought they were digital prints by local Color Field painter Joe Macca. Turns out they were photographs made with pinhole cameras--the most rudimentary mechanic optical recorders out there. With these melting, warm toned landscapes, Harris returns romance to the genre of Western photography, which has mostly been depicted as a barren wasteland of broken dreams for the latter half of the past century. CHAS BOWIE