Eric Rue
PNCA's student gallery hosts an exhibition by Eric Rue, a promising young painter. His Matta-inspired canvases teeter between abstraction and futuristic representation, like some of William S. Burrough's more adventurous prose. Rue's color palette is a little brown for my tastes, but he really has an interesting vision and style. Philip Feldman Gallery & Project Room, at PNCA, 1241 NW Johnson, 226-4391, Through March

An Evening With Jerry Uelsmann
Jerry Uelsmann, the undisputed master of the photomontage, is an analog dinosaur in a digital age. In the '60s, Uelsmann said farewell to realism, and began to create surreal images with a boatload of enlargers and multiple negatives. The seamless results can be either mind-blowing or purely kitsch, depending on how much of his work you've seen before. There's also the issue of any kid with a computer being able to create images like his in an afternoon, to which the photographer and his supporters would counter that nobody can do it by hand like Uelsmann. The question you have to ask yourself is do I really care how a cheesy image is created? Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave, 226-2811, 7 pm, $5 for non-members

Civil Affairs: Scenes from Oregon's Budget Impasse
I don't know if there's any genre in photography right now more played than the empty, anonymous space shot in color with a bad approximation of critical detachment (see Blue Sky, any month, for an example). Zelig Kurlan looks to have a nice spin on the look, though, with a series of shots from government-supported facilities. Photos of food banks, AIDS clinics, and transitional living spaces are displayed with a wall of letters to The Oregonian about taxation and government services. Littman Gallery at Portland State University, Smith Center, 1825 SW Broadway, 725-5656

* One
Happy birthday to Motel Gallery, which celebrates its first anniversary this month. Without a doubt, Motel is one of the coolest spots downtown. Now the tiny gallery has its biggest show yet--one hundred artists, who have each been given one square foot of wall space to work with. Motel, NW Couch between 5 & 6, Through March 28

* Mel Katz
I've always found Mel Katz's work to be excruciatingly conservative and boring, in the same way that art professors who refuse to retire are provincial and outdated. I may have to reconsider my position, though, because his new cutout sculptures at Laura Russo look extremely fun, poppy, and energetic, and formally reminiscent of Elizabeth Murray's recent canvases, which have also received a shot of resuscitation and relevancy. Laura Russo Gallery, 805 NW 21st Ave, 226-2754, Through March 27