Portland Independent Salon
Bollenbach Art Lab
630 SE 3rd
Through June 30
If you have to cancel dinner with your mom, leave your girlfriend, or sneak out of grandma's basement sometime this month, mosey on down to the Bollenbach Art Lab. I know it's a little hard to find, but you can dodge trains, watch semi-trucks unload, and share a cigarette while you debate the writing style of Louis L'Amour with a random man you meet underneath the Morrison bridge.
You will arrive at a fairly unimpressive building, where you will wonder if you are in the right place. You will wait and wait, and when you are finally ready to give up and go to the bins to purchase that wig that's been haunting you in your otherwise peaceful sleep, a man will suddenly appear, unlock the door, and silently whisk you inside. Downstairs, an entourage of color awaits, jostling and stacked to the brims of nooks and crannies.
Portland boasts itself on a thriving art scene, yet little attention is given to young, emerging artists who hardly have the money to buy cheap beer. Our galleries still cling to those who are established enough to provide the interest of collectors, thereby insuring that their doors stay open. Enter Jeff Jahn, who has spent the last two years collecting the postcards of his favorite, local up-and-comers. Through word of mouth and collaboration, he has assembled a salon-style show featuring 31 painters, drawers, sculptors, photographers, and mixed media-ers.
The professionalism of the exhibit is impressive; throwing a bunch of artists together in one room can easily resemble the back room of a junk shop. Instead, the work compliments itself, isn't cluttered, and looks like a gal-darned genu-ine gallery. They got name tags and everything.
Although the work varies in strength and individual progress, there are many artists that emerge successfully. Marcello Munoz's gestural ink drawings teeter between renderings of body parts and swaths of texture. Laura Fritz's sculpture titled "Disposition" is a humorous and creepy pun on sexuality à la sperm and pubic hair. Matthew Fleck analyzes the negative space between power lines. Natalie Davis constructed latex zippered sheaths for a variety of objects titled "essentials." She even made a latex version of her bedroom. Timothy Dalbow contrasts photo realism with gyrating abstract colorscapes in his oil paintings. Miles Histand's linocut prints have the swirling energy reminiscent of that one famous painter guy sporting one ear. Ben Hobson's skulls and music boxes recall gypsies and la dia de los muertes.
It's kind of like a carnival. After you leave, you feel a bit like a weasel in a blender. At least there's no cotton candy and clowns (thank God). Word on the street is that this show is only the first of more to come, so get off your kiester, miester. Support local young artists and wander among the dumpsters. (Like you have anything better to do.) Bring your wallets, too. Black dots are already swarming name tags.