PCAC at the Holman Building, 49 SE Clay (& Water), 236-5200, open Sat-Sun 12-8 pm, through November 30
"Arare glimpse at the creative process." It may sound like a teaser for a new IMAX film or an OPB series, but instead this is the tagline for the second major outing from the Portland Center for the Advancement of Culture. Process comes on the heels of last summer's sprawling Modern Zoo, and is more restrained, focused, and traveler-friendly. However focused, though, Process' concept is pretty convoluted. PCAC invited six artists each to select a documentarian to record the creation of a singular artwork, and now the whole kit and kaboodle is on display.
Suzanne Twining set up a stop-frame animation console in the studio of painter William Park. Anytime Park would make a single brushstroke, a still photo of the canvas would be made. After however many thousands of brushstrokes, the stills were animated into a vibrant, energetic biography of the painting. The banal labors of art making are brought to the forefront by Tracy Olson, who cataloged the residue of Kim Hamblin's art production. Presented like lab specimens, Olson collected sawdust, candy wrappers, empty Krazy Glue tubes, receipts, parking tickets, and pizza crust from the period in which Hamblin made the work in the show. Hamblin's synthetic painting/collages represent "invisible" men and skinless hands, so it was appropriate to see the "guts" of her toils.
Overall, it would have been nice to have more diversity in the artists chosen. Five of the six artists worked in painting or painting-related media. How about spicing it up with a video artist, a sculptor, a performance artist, and a large-scale public artist? Also, the caliber of artists could have been much stronger. The work of several participants was downright collegiate.
Not having a permanent home or full-time exhibition schedule, PCAC doesn't get too many chances to wow us, and their every move is under close scrutiny. So far they have proved adept at organizing warehouse exhibitions with a considerable sense of risk-taking and adventure. What I haven't seen yet, however, and anticipate most eagerly, is a well-conceived, solid, and handsome art exhibition. CHAS BOWIE