Portland Modern
Hall Gallery, 630 SE 3rd, Open Saturdays 12-5 through the end of the month

You've probably flipped through the pages of Portland Modern by now. Copies of the small catalog of emerging and independent artists can still be found on coffeehouse tables, forgotten on buses, and stacked with year-old magazines on the back of your friend's toilet. Now months after its release, Mark Brandau's art publishing experiment appears to be a success: three of the featured artists are currently on display at the Hall Gallery, a second call for submissions is coming to a close, and the next issue is due sometime around February.

I met up with Brandau, PM's publisher and editor, at Hall Gallery to discuss the current exhibit, plans for improving the print quality of the second issue, increasing circulation, and bringing in Sue Taylor (contributing editor to Art in America and PSU professor) to jury this round of submissions. "I'm flattered to have Sue Taylor involved and have a lot of faith in her taste," he said. "We are all really, really excited about moving to the next stage and building on the momentum."

The current Hall Gallery show illustrates the progress some of the first edition's artists have made since publication. As we talked, Dan Gilsdorf's new "automata" sculptures/installations scraped rhythmically behind me. A Small Mechanism to Illustrate the Effects of Pursuit features peg-like figures made of chalk, arranged on a large blackboard base and connected to a motor at the center of the piece like a quasi-carousel. Placed at differing distances from the center, each chalk-man traces concentric circles on the black floor as they grind their way into oblivion, never touching each other and never reaching a destination.

Exhibiting at local galleries has added another dimension to the PM project. "The exhibits have become the most important part," said Brandau. "The Disjecta show went well, the Affair at the Jupiter Hotel was good, and I'm really looking forward to the final show at Gallery 500. They all expand on the limitations of the publication."

The Hall exhibit has allowed three of the artists to expand on their own contributions. Alongside Gilsdorf's mechanical surprises, Alexis Amann has added a few unseen works, and Christy Nyboer has filled the gallery with enough of her deliciously creepy medical imagery to qualify as a solo show.

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