The following is a list of May exhibits that should be at the top of the list in one's First Thursday tour.
PDX Gallery presents "Arrangements," an exhibit of sculptures by Ellen George. The installation of works in plastic is characteristically bio-morphic and as the artist explains, "the configurations expand as I examine an association, mood, or moment, seeking an interpretation that speaks with quiet sounds." The gallery also unveils another PDX Window Project created by Geraldo Valerio. The display of self-portrait photographs explores the artists discomfort with such close self-evaluation and exposure. Opens May 7 and runs through June 13. 604 NW 12th, 222-0063
Alysia Duckler Gallery displays "The Cotton Club," an exhibit of new paintings by Arvie Smith. Through this body of work, Smith explores themes of race, using the famous Harlem club as a backdrop. Opens May 2 and runs through June 1. 1236 NW Hoyt, 223-7595
S.K. Josefsberg offers up the "Expeditionary Series" (example above), a selection of photographs by Tseng Kwong Chi. The collection of images capture the photographer dressed in a Mao uniform, standing at attention in front of various tourist destinations, including the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge. In each scene, Tseng postures himself as an odd Asian ambassador, inserting a taste of the Cold War into the saccharine settings. The exhibit runs through June 1. 403 NW 11th, 241-9112
Blue Sky Gallery jumps on the photography bandwagon with the inclusion of work by two East Coast photographers. David Hillard of Boston, Massachusetts presents large-scale, multi-paneled color photographs. The portraits of sorts work to expose the physical and emotional tension between men and women. Pittsburgh photographer Jessica Todd Harper, also displays color portraits, but her work specifically targets the female demographic. Images of Todd Harper, her sister, and her cousin chronicle each woman's journey from girlhood to womanhood and as such, they speak to larger cultural issues surrounding femininity and other themes attached to arriving at adulthood. Opens May 2 and runs through June 1. 1231 NW Hoyt, 225-0210.