For a city with such a lively art scene, the summer months in Portland barely register a pulse. Thankfully, September signals a return to full-swing programming with the high-profile TBA festival and the Affair at the Jupiter Hotel, although notable exhibitions crop up in less expected places, too.
Over the past two years Jenene Nagy has established herself as one of the city's emerging talents. A new exhibition at Linfield College's Miller Fine Arts Center offers further proof as to why. Echoing her site-specific work included in the New American Art Union's group show The Hook Up in June, False Flat shows Nagy continuing to blur the lines between sculpture and installation. In The Hook Up, her "Meadow" was a sprawling expanse of green that stretched across an entire gallery wall. Its boundaries extended from depthless wall painting to three-dimensional panels propped up by wooden legs on the gallery floor. In False Flat, a similar mapping of hot pink, jagged-edged forms begin as wall paintings and open up into the gallery like some abstract theater backdrop. Once again, she translates her experience as a sculptor into crafting a captivating environment, rather than the traditional art object.
A new collaborative work by TJ Norris and Scott Wayne Indiana goes to even greater lengths to subvert the confines of traditional exhibition. Although their Postmortemism [ M_US__EUM ], a neon and video work, will be shown at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, it will also be broadcast online at YouTube. Instead of limiting an encounter with an artwork to a specific time and place, Norris and Indiana have made the viewing conditions of their piece virtually limitless. It's a fascinating move that relinquishes control of a precise presentation, thereby compromising intention, while undermining the supposed exaltation of the art object within the gallery or museum context. And, of course, it also means that you don't have to be in Portland to take part in the city's busiest month for visual arts.