Jennifer Parks ARTCRANK contribution
  • Jennifer Parks
  • Jennifer Parks' ARTCRANK contribution

Well, it's that time of the month again: arts walk time. That's why I've spent the afternoon finding some First Thursday openings that are right up your alley, Blogtown resident.

Bikes, sex, mountains, and other First Thursday-ish stuff— it's all happening tonight in the Pearl. Details after the jump!

Featuring bike-inspired art by 30+ locals, the ARTCRANK poster show opens tonight from 5 pm to 11 pm at The Cleaners (housed within the Ace Hotel at 403 SW 10th Ave). All posters are $30 and a portion of the proceeds go to Bikes to Rwanda— a project which aims to provide Rwandan coffee farmers with cargo bikes. For a complete list of artists as well as the other cities participating in ARTCRANK, click here. The above image by Jennifer Parks will be available in poster-form at the opening tonight— and don't forget, she's having another opening with Alisha Wessler at Studio Coeur, the mini-gallery situated inside Virtuoso Studios (323 NW 6th Ave).

Just down the block from Virtuoso, Igloo Gallery is hosting The Soft Shovel, an eclectic group show displaying work by Signal Fire's 2009 Outpost residents. Signal Fire's mission is simple: to connect artists with nature. In its first year hosting a resident program, the organization took a handful of artists and dropped them off at Mt. Hood. Each artist was given access to a mobile home, modified to serve as a studio. This year's residents include Tom Colligan, Jenn Rawling, and Ethan Rose (whose recent Time-Based Art Festival contribution was a show-stopper). These residents have been working in various mediums— video, sound, photo, sculpture, and illustration— and I'm not even going to try to speculate as to what the show will look like, though it should have something for everyone.

Mark Colmans Prayer
  • Mark Colman
  • Mark Colman's "Prayer"

If art from the mountains isn't for you, swinger's joint Club Sesso is hosting its inaugural art show— an erotic photo exhibit featuring the work of Andrew Kaiser. This is an opportunity to go check out Sesso if you're curious and haven't had a chance to poke your head into the Ron Jeremy-endorsed night club.

Also working within the erotic photo realm, Mark Colman will be presenting Optical Illusions at the Portland Incubator Experiment (1227 NW Davis), an exhibit which spans nearly twenty years of the artist's career. Colman's photos exist far outside the expected limits of erotic art— he uses manual photo techniques to overlay portraits with graffiti, flowers, parched deserts, and other environmental elements. The results are nudes which appear to be constructed of non-human items: a woman made of roses kneels in prayer, another with leaf-textured skin spreads her legs at the camera, a third kisses her own reflection with spiderwebs transposed over her face.

Alright, let's hope the rain holds off so we can have one more sunny First Thursday in 2009!