With the perceived hiatus of summer—and all its art fairs and group shows—it falls to galleries, museums, and unconventional art spaces to keep our cultural blood pumping. This year’s biggest art party is likely the Converge 45 Contemporary Arts Biennial, which takes place throughout the city at multiple venues. Even as you check out those interconnected events (we recommend quite a few) don’t overlook the new, earnest restaurant with good taste and / or the hole in the wall gallery that you’re not sure if you’re allowed inside. The art keeps growing indoors.
In 2023, Old Pal launched a thoughtful artist series to adorn the walls of the Southeast Portland restaurant. The restaurant itself is also fairly new, launched last spring by Jeremy Larter and Emily Bixler. Old Pal boasts selections from both land and sea, with fresh Oregon produce and wines at the forefront of the menu. Good food doesn’t need beautiful art to go along with it, but it sure doesn’t hurt. This season’s artistic creations are Nicole Neu’s abstracted fibrous wall-hung sculptures, the forms of which play in the space between organic and ridged. (Old Pal, 3350 SE Morrison, through Sat Sept 30, oldpalpdx.com)
Nestled on Division Street, inside the Ellen Browning Building, is an unassuming art space known as the Lobby. It’s kind of like a museum—in that the work shown is curated by Sima Familant from building owner Molly McCabe’s private art collection. Exhibitions rotate out every four to six months, giving ample time for visitors and passersby to admire the artwork. Between Two Points ruminates on what a line can do and how artists use this easily recognized visual form in different permutations, materials, and arrangements.” The show features work by Carmen Herrera, Maya Lin, Daniel Buren, Tsai Yin-Ju, Mary Weatherford, Jenny Holzer, Leon Polk Smith, and John Mason. (The Lobby, 2871 SE Division, through October 15, ellenbrowningbuilding.com/the-lobby)
Curated by photographer Justine Kurland, The Rose showcases forty-four artists working with collage, assemblage, or a related technique in varied mediums like photography, textiles, and ceramics. Drawing works from the ‘60s through to the present, Kurland proposes The Rose conveys “a circular genealogy of collage,” and an homage to the flower itself, nature’s collage. Artists include Ruth Asawa, Natalie Ball, Lee Bontecou, Vanessa German, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Wangechi Mutu, and Lorna Simpson, to name a few. (lumber room, 419 NW 9th, through Sat Oct 28, lumberroom.com)
A new exhibition of paintings centered on transitions made during an intense period of grief fit surely into Nationale’s front room. In his signature loose and adaptive approach, Ty Ennis moves through this new series of portraits and still lifes with hues of pewter, steel, and charcoal alongside blushy rose quartz pinks, and pops of scarlet, azure, and mossy greens. (Nationale, 15 SE 22nd, Sat Sep 9–Sun Oct 29, nationale.us)
The intermittent citywide art event returns, drawing 50+ local, national, and international artists to more than 15 Portland arts venues, beneath the theme of Social Forms: Art as Global Citizenship. Here are our picks!
Here you will find two works shown alongside one another, both proposing a reenvisioning: Te Moana Meridian is an opera on a multi-channel video by Aotearoa / New Zealand-born / Portland-based artist Sam Hamilton / Sam Tam Ham, wherein the artist presents ideas about a new center of the world. Then, in neon sculptural work, Bahamian-born, New York City-based artist Tavares Strachan brings to light the story of young Cuban Revolution revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos. (Oregon Contemporary, 8371 N Interstate, through October 8, oregoncontemporary.org)
Celebrated photographer Richard Mosse will display a series of photographs documenting oil spills from an abandoned pipeline in the Kichwa Indigenous Territory in the forested area of northwest Peru. The poignant images depict the devastating effects of human development on Indigenous lands and communities. (Blue Sky Gallery, 122 NW 8th, through October 22, blueskygallery.org)
This new body of work by Amanda Ross-Ho pulls from her experience as a competitive and theatrical figure skater, while also creating space for considerations surrounding anthropology, sentimentality, and forensics. Works focus on repetition and the exploration of the innate muscle memory that develops as a result of it. (ILY2, 925 NE Flanders, through October 28, ily2online.com)
Hung Liu (1948–2021) grew up during one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history and her work provides a personal point of view of that time, even as it remains outside the lens of propaganda and official narratives. Her narrative portrait and prints of immigrants, refugees, and soldiers weave and intertwine traditional Chinese and Western artistic methods, earning the description of “weeping realism” by her art critic husband. Curated by Christian Viveros-Fauné, this exhibition draws entirely from the collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation. (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU,1855 SW Broadway, through Sat Dec 2, pdx.edu/museum-of-art)
Throughout autumn, the Cooley Gallery at Reed College showcases the work of painter and poet Jesse Murry (1948–1993), as curated by Lisa Yuskavage and Jarrett Earnest. Murry was active in the ‘80s, enrolling in Yale’s MFA program at thirty-five after teaching and curating earlier in his life. The series of paintings in Rising were made in the last five years of the artist’s life, while he lived with AIDS-related illness. In them, we find subtle color dynamics that reference mood, weather, and light, and a focus on the horizon as a central motif of his work. (Cooley Gallery, 3203 SE Woodstock, thorough Sun Dec 3, reed.edu/cooley)