Spring Arts Preview 2024

The Mercury's 2024 Spring Arts Preview: Spotlight On!

Portland's premiere bingo queen and the soon-to-arrive avant garde sneakers show are ready for their close up.

Peachy Springs Is Portland's Premiere Hard-Working, Foul-Mouthed Bingo Drag Queen

They play for two tight hours and cash prizes. They stay for Springs’ delightfully abusive crowd work.

EverOut's Guide to Spring 2024 Arts Events in Portland

If you’re looking for upcoming films, dance, talks, or live music the Mercury has you covered—better than your sunblock.

Five Laurie Anderson Songs That Aren’t “O Superman”

There’s more to this trailblazing musician than the TikTok-famous track; let us guide you.

Spring 2024 Gallery Shows in Portland: A Chorus of Art About Work

Great curations from Jeremy Okai Davis and Morgan Ritter, and the upside down server case we all can't stop talking about.

Portland Has Two Great Listening Bars, Both Alike in Dignity

We compare Sonder Listening Bar and Decibel Sound & Drink, and recommend they swap names.

Future Now at Portland Art Museum Unboxes the Future of Sneakers

Get comfy, folks; the future of sneakers is heady as all hell.

Looking at this season of spring gallery shows, we are reminded that art is all at once political, speculative, and personal. At the top of our list are interesting curations: Jeremy Okai Davis presents work by his contemporaries at Nationale, and Morgan Ritter pairs up painstaking hand-punctured cotton abstracts by Ash Wyatt with Jean Isamu Nagai's textured landscapes at ARTspace. The interdisciplinary cohort show of past and current gallery workers at PDX Contemporary feels full of subdued and idiosyncratic connections. Solitary shows, that caught our eye skewed more conceptual, like Ido Radon's suspension of computer server parts from the ceiling of ILY2. And there's so much more to say about what we saw:

Work After Work 

Too often we shy away from the reality that artists have day jobs or work in the art sector behind the scenes. Between shifts and sleep, many employees who work in the arts are also artists themselves. This group show brings together past and current gallery workers at PDX Contemporary—showcasing their talent, vision, and creativity, via painting, photography, and sculpture. (PDX Contemporary, 1881 NW Vaughn, through March 30, pdxcontemporaryart.com)

California, Ido Radon

Modern technology collides with the natural realm, all across Ido Radon’s solo exhibition. Using materials such as solar panels, recycled PC cases, and cabinets, Radon forged sculptures intertwined with organic substances like rabbit fur. There's a sculpture dangling from the gallery ceiling above a mirror, like an inverted city of Kandor or a miniature Castle Said to Hold Eternity. Is the mirror the way to view "Server," stuck starkly above? An installation of nylon ropes, wires, and bamboo beads intermingle and dangle suspiciously on the wall nearby as if you're invited to climb up there for a closer look. (ILY2, 925 NE Flanders, through Sat March 30, ily2online.com) 

Mélange, curated by Jeremy Okai Davis 

Accomplished illustrator and graphic designer Jeremy Okai Davis has been guest curating a group exhibition of his contemporaries in Nationale's project room for a week in February and all of March. His introductions include: Rebecca Boraz’s woodcut prints of figures embracing, Maria Britton's cascading watercolor draperies that hang suspended in motion, Anthony R. Grant's bold graphics, text, and photos in dynamic collage, and Chris Lael Larson’s ambiguous paintings, which still manage to conceal representational elements within their vivid kaleidoscopic shades. (Nationale, 15 SE 22nd, through Sun March 31, nationale.us)

"Vasija" by Iván Carmona, part of Work After Work at PDX Contemporary
"Server" by Ido Radon at ILY2
"Against the Wall" by Jay Lynn Gomez and Patrick Martinez - at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU

Labor of Love

The work of those who care for children or family members, who collect the produce we eat, who maintain the cleanliness and atmosphere of public spaces, among a myriad of other such professions, is largely hidden from public sight. The artists of this show contemplate invisible labor, those who perform it, and the forces responsible for keeping it from view, highlighting that these types of positions are often held by marginalized individuals or communities. Consideration of these constructs unearths the inherent inequalities and oppression that exist within them in the United States. Labor of Love appears to take its name from a mural by Jay Lynn Gomez and Patrick Martinez, which shows a worker cleaning the tile of the mural itself; the worker's figure is both part of the mural and bursting outside the frame. Sculptures by Tannaz Farsi and Midori Hirose are more oblique, but speak through their materials. Also in the show are pieces by Tania Candiani, Charlene Liu, Alberto Lule, Narsiso Martinez. (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU,1855 SW Broadway, through Sat April 27, pdx.edu/museum-of-art

Elements and Objects - at Elizabeth Leach

Elements and Objects, Anna Von Mertens

Anna Von Mertens's meticulous colored-pencil drawings on black paper arrange illustrative icons of our everyday life. In the series Objects (100 Emojis), her placement of items like a feather, plunger, toothbrush, safety pin, etc. mimics quilting patterns. In Remnants, UV-sensitive paper and tangled jewelry form the backdrop of drawings that, according to the reception notes, "[reference] the generative life cycles of stars." Also on view at Elizabeth Leach, is a collection from the estate of Lee Kelly, Bennington Suite & Color Studies, which presents sculpture and watercolor pieces from different points in the artist's long career. Paired together, the 2D paintings and 3D steel structures illustrate Kelly's mastery over either realm of expression. (Elizabeth Leach, 417 NW 9th, through April 27, elizabethleach.com)

"Cuerpo de la Piedra (en al dia)" by Ash Wyatt, at ARTSPACE

Moon Rabbit, Jean Isamu Nagai, Ash Wyatt

Both Jean Isamu Nagai and Ash Wyatt make tremendously textured work, evoking abstracted landscapes where there may be none. Nagai’s mystical, pointillistic color field paintings reference the subtle interconnectedness of moments in time. Wyatt’s high-contrast images are made of soft materials like horsehair, wool, cotton, and vintage linens, and channel the natural spaces their ancestors traversed without specificity. Curator Morgan Ritter unites their work for this show, overlapping the artist's respective approaches of using tactile, painstaking process to capture images of the infinite. (ARTspace, 380 A Ave Suite A, Lake Oswego, through May 10, artscouncillo.org/onviewnow)