Downtown Art

"Art is a big part of zines for me; zines, zine culture, and riot grrrl served as my entrance to art," explains Muffie White, who curated the all-lady mail art show Correspondence Course, in conjunction with the Zine Symposium (see pg 26). Impressed by the creative mail art sent to her by her pen pals--artists, zinesters, and all-around ingénues--and "fascinated by the idea of the postal system as a kind of medium," Muffie invited 15 of her friends to mail her a piece of art somehow relating to or inspired by the post. The final product is a from-the-heart showing of creative curiosities, like Maya Raye's miniature exhibit of origami, a little heart, and her baby teeth (pictured above). JS
Reading Frenzy, 821 SW Oak, 274-1449, 11 am-7 pm, through July


It seems a little sheepishly obvious to show art that confronts American politics around the Fourth of July. But this year it is particularly appropriate to thrust messages in the stunned faces of citizens living in a hijacked country. Ed Bereal's art is angry and rough, vandalizing and cartooning the ancient myths that constitute the ostensible basis of the American dream. Furious and surly, the paintings feature caricatures of government charlatans imposed on exploding stars of the flag, and deep black paint slashes. It's an aggressive expression, kindred to the satire of a political cartoon and a poignant summation of a vast spectrum of inconsistency. MS
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 207 SW Pine, 224-0521, July 3-27, Tue-Sat, 10:30 am-5:30 pm

p:ear gallery

For the past four years, Jean Garcia has been homeless. Arriving in Portland three months ago, she was instantly drawn to p:ear, a homeless center that exhibits works from homeless teens, mixed with paintings by established artists. Garcia's paintings sold instantly. With strong vertical lines of muted colors, they are calm expressions of her struggles. "Selling makes me feel overwhelmed," admits Garcia, "because someone can connect with me, and because I've always felt so disconnected." PDB
p:ear gallery, 809 SW Alder, 228-6677