Salton Sea
Stephen Tamiese, who was inspired by the "simple and fatigued landscapes" of photographers such as Lewis Baltz and Robert Adams, stumbled into a great subject for his series Salton Sea. Once a vibrant vacation spot in Southern California, the sea has been virtually abandoned and left in disarray, yet a few continue to call it home. Pushdot Studio, 830 NW 14th, 224-5925, through Jan 27

Stylite Optimism
Portland/New York artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins follows up her intriguing October show from small A projects with Stylite Optimism, a small show of ceramic sculptures inspired by "traditional Chinese scholars' rocks, aesetic religious practices, and domestic rituals." Case Works, Hauser Library, Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock, through Feb 17

Tomorrow Will Be Better
In Dave McKenzie's last show at small A projects, the artist showed a video of himself walking the streets of Harlem in a Bill Clinton mask and showed a cast sculpture of himself as a bobblehead. Tomorrow Will Be Better highlights more of the artist's recent work, with two videos and several sculptures from the past seven years. small A projects, 1430 SE 3rd, 234-7993, through Feb 10

Roy McMakin
Trained at the Portland Museum Art School three decades ago, McMakin has built a body of work that uses furniture and interior spaces to explore the tension between form and function. In an age when stylized surface is often privileged above practical application, McMakin's creations blend the lines between art object and mundane household furnishings. The four untitled works in the APEX installation–all made specifically for the exhibition–revolve around slat-back chairs positioned in various relationships to panels. In one work, two chairs foreground two panels. In another, the two shortened front legs of a chair rest on a raised platform. The chairs are reductive, even iconic, but their contours are so rigid that they hardly seemed designed for the human body. While the geometric composition of McMakin's chairs references a whole cadre of minimalist artists, the works in APEX lack the visual impact necessary to coax a viewer into scrutinizing them. Ultimately, these forms about form are much too drab to inspire the kind of dialogue McMakin seems to pursue. (John Motley) Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park, 226-2811, through Sun Jan 14, $10

circle/triangle/square
Archer Gallery's current show highlights "artists exploring simple geometric forms." Work by local artists such as G. Lewis Clevenger, Chris Gander, and Rae Mahaffey will be shown alongside prints by geometric masters Josef Albers, Robert Mangold, and Frank Stella. Archer Gallery, Clark College, 1800 E McLoughlin, Vancouver, (360) 992-2200, through Feb 4

Return of the Tiki
If your life is currently lacking the proper amount of kitsch right now, head on over to Thatch for this show of new velvet paintings by Arnold Pander. Pander is an acclaimed comic and visual artist, and these new paintings are over 12 feet long, executed in "traditional Polynesian style." (Just not by a Polynesian painter.) Tiki Restaurant and Lounge, 2733 NE Broadway, 281-TIKI