Savage Art Resources, 1430 SE 3rd, through August 27
A s with big screen blockbusters and summer concert tours, it's the time of year for ubiquitous group exhibitions, and this week takes us to Savage Art Resources, where Paperwork, a drawing salon, is on view. Drawings and summertime seem like a perfect fit--light and direct, there are no darkened screening chambers to enter, no oppressive layers of oils clinging to canvas, no time-based tedium to sit through. Paperwork features one work each from 26 artists, so viewers aren't allowed the opportunity to really explore any artist with any considerable depth. Like the beer festival at Waterfront Park, Paperwork isn't about concentrated study--it's about seeing how much you can fit into one afternoon, one taste at a time, and as such, it's easy to wish that Savage were packed with twice as many works of art.
Like with the Beer Festival, or multiple pass-throughs at Free Cone Day, eventually all the samples start to run together, but standouts make the whole event worthwhile. Michelle Ross, Portland's mistress of the minimalist, abject gesture, steals the show with the petite, unassuming gouache and graphite One of These Things. The drawing sports four pseudo-pathetic spots--a chocolate colored puddle, a pink thumbprint shape with a thin bar drawn through it (a pregnancy test?), a green squiggle, and a decoratively abstract bell figure. A painter friend once told me that he wished he could make small Richard Tuttle-esque gestures and call them finished works, but that he felt too insecure to present such simplicity as a completed thought. Michelle Ross has not only the gumption to pull such a move off, but the eye and sensibilities, as well.
Harrell Fletcher's engaging subtractive drawing reveals information through concealment. The untitled piece is a straightforward photograph of a Midwest Modern house and Ford Taurus taken out of a magazine and glued to a larger sheet of paper. Fletcher blanched out the sky with white acrylic and covered all the grass, trees, and shrubs with lime green paint, leaving only the manufactured elements, the residue of the American dream, in clear view.
Paperwork features other highlights, a handful of disappointments, and plenty of the middle of the road stuff. In short, it's nothing that will bring you and your partner to simultaneous orgasm, but it's still better than half an hour of network television. CHAS BOWIE