Chris Johanson's paintings, drawings and installations are candy-coated social critiques in which playful line constructions reveal swastikas and cartoonish figures blurt word bubbles like, "Did I plan far enough ahead?" He rose to international prominence as a figure in San Francisco's Mission District art scene, but has recently moved to Portland with his wife and fellow artist, Jo Jackson. With work touring in two hotshot exhibits--Baha to Vancouver and Born Losers--he could be expected to take a breather, but instead he is curating a smorgasbord of his friends' work for a sort of arty housewarming party this Friday.
Okay, it's at Savage Art Resources, which isn't exactly new on the block, but even the posters for the show sound like a shy invitation sent by a friendly new neighbor: "About a month ago Laurel Gitlen asked me to do a project/and this is the project/it would be nice to see you there if you feel like it/thanks Chris Johanson."
You may have missed the posters; they've been stolen almost as fast as they've been put up. But if you haven't found one to take down yet, or you have a conscience and some money, you can buy one of 20 special edition posters for $50. The offering is an effort by Johanson and Savage Art Resources' new gallery director, Laurel Gitlen, to provide affordable art for Portland's under-employed masses and slacker aesthetes.
The evening's centerpiece will be a screening of video work by Will Rogan, Jo Jackson, Harrell Fletcher, Euan MacDonald, Robert Arnold, Liz Miller, Robert Linder, and more. There will also be a sound installation, visual art and a performance by Johanson's neighbor, the grade school-aged "comedy artist" Diego Vincent. It should be an opportunity to check out some not-so-familiar work from San Francisco and beyond.
This is Gitlen's first event as gallery director at Savage Art Resources, and marks a move from a more traditional gallery to one focused on special events, collaboration, and the showcasing of under-represented artists.