H David Eckard

In his first local solo exhibition since the Oregon Biennial, Eckard presents a series of works in latex paint and charcoal that are more complex and layered than his drawings of faux-organic forms that we have gotten used to seeing from the talented, multi-faceted artist. Leanne Hitchcock will also be showing her abstract photographs inspired by historical seasonal paintings concurrent with Eckard's show. Chambers, 207 SW Pine, 227-9398. Wed-Sat. Through Feb 24.

H Julie Orser

Several years ago, Julie Orser dazzled viewers at Soundvision Gallery with an installation of more than one hundred intimate, delicate black and white photographs printed on the back of dominoes. Shortly afterwards, she moved to Los Angeles, although she resurfaced recently at the PDX Film Fest with a very smart and entertaining short film that took top prize in the hotly contested shorts competition. Now she returns to PNCA (her alma mater) with a sound and video installation from her series entitled Anna Moore. Shown concurrently with Orser's show is a program of international video works organized by Art Office, a collective co-directed by Orser in California. PNCA Feldman Gallery, 1241 NW Johnson. Mon-Sun. Through Feb 24.

H Personal Best: Photographs by Elliott Erwitt

If one were to compile a shortlist of the greatest living photographers of the American scene, such a list would be woefully incomplete without the inclusion of Elliott Erwitt. A Magnum photographer since 1953, Erwitt has photographed the world relentlessly his whole life; his black and white photos move easily between being hilarious, moving, iconic, and ridiculously impressive. For Personal Best, Erwitt has selected 88 photographs from his oeuvre that he's particularly proud of. Highly recommended. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park, 226-2811. portlandartmuseum.org. $10. Tues-Sun. Through Apr 29.

H Storm Tharp

By now, Storm Tharp's status as one of Portland's most gifted artists is old news. His work has been included in three Oregon Biennials and has become increasingly present in group exhibitions since he received his BFA from Cornell in 1992. And somehow the series of portraits in We Appeal to Heaven manages to exceed understandably lofty expectations. This new body of work is almost exclusively limited to portraits of men, each approximately four by five feet and all rendered in ink, gouache, and graphite on paper. Given that description, Tharp's project might sound unadventurous. Instead, it is feverishly imaginative and technically stunning. (John Motley) PDX Contemporary Art, 925 NW Flanders, 222-0063. Tues-Sat 4 pm. Through Jan 27.

Unembedded

Unembedded: Four Independent Journalists on the War in Iraq is a traveling exhibition that takes "an unflinching look at war-ravaged Iraq through the eyes of four photojournalists." Work by these four photographers have appeared in publications like Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and the Times of London, so they hopefully bring some fresh views to the table that we haven't been inundated with for the past bazillion years this mess has been going on. Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery at Lewis & Clark, 0615 SW Palantine Hill, 768-7960. Tues-Sun. Through Mar 18.