A new player with all the moves has been added to the Portland art roster. The Dos Mil Gallery opened its doors on North Russell Street on September 30th, directed by up-and-coming artists/entrepreneurs Joshua Cohen and Thomas D. Located near Widmer Brewing Co. and McMenamin's White Eagle, the gallery provides a new component to the burgeoning northern neighborhood.
Cohen and Thomas D. arrived in Portland via the traditional East Coast/West Coast exchange. Cohen, originally from Massachusetts, has been here for three years, spending portions of that time studying at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Thomas D. hails from Brooklyn and spent a brief time at the Museum School in Boston, before locating in Portland about a year ago.
The first exhibit at Dos Mil, which ended last week, showcased paintings and mixed media work by the two sophisticated newcomers. Cohen's paintings are a blending of pop art and advertising with recognizable allegiance to the likes of Andy Warhol and John Baldessari. In a piece entitled "In considering the consequences of their actions they become lost to each other and what no longer was," a male and female figure are rendered in bold red lines, set against a bright blue background. Their heads are obscured by a blast of black spray paint. Within the circle of paint the letters "A" and "B" mark them as opposing forces.
Thomas D. works from a mixed impulse. Architectural space, the working class, and European pop music are all elements that Thomas cites as contributions to the creation of his multi-paneled paintings. In "L'ecole Garcon," Thomas organizes multiple plywood panels into a puzzle of image and text. Panels depicting a white buckle-shoe, a hunting knife, a birthday cake-play off text such as the word "L'ecole" (school) painted in careful cursive.
The duo has also been active outside the confines of the gallery. During November's First Thursday events at the Everett Station Lofts, they presented recent designs at a collaborative runway extravaganza.
Cohen and Thomas D. are also peripheral factors in "Counter Canvas," the current public art project/exhibition at Portland Institute of Contemporary Art. With spray paint in hand, the two added their tag, "Dos Mil," to the public art project by Josh Berger. With quick ease, Cohen and Thomas D. made the obnoxious pink posters spattered around town into interesting urban relics.
The future direction of Dos Mil includes exchange exhibits with East Coast galleries and the introduction of international artists. The next project at Dos Mil is a benefit exhibition for Seaplane, a new boutique opening on Belmont street. During the third week in November, the gallery will host an evening of music headlined by the (unconfirmed) superstar group The Swords Project. The walls will be filled with priced-to-sell drawings of seaplanes created by a cast of artists.