In contemporary art, an artist's process is often just as important as the art itself. So seeing a work in progress can not only help you better understand the resulting work, but also experience a crucial part of it.

Several artists who have First Thursday and Friday openings this week are allowing you to do just that. Ben Hucke is going to create photorealistic drawings at his solo show, and Vance Feldman is displaying a segment of a constantly evolving illustrated scroll that's now longer than the Titanic.

Though it's not a part of First Friday or Thursday, we've also included Portia Munson's open studio in our monthly preview. Her new exhibit, Flood, will open at Disjecta at the end of the month, and will display found objects Munson has collected in the form of elaborate sculptural installations. Her open studio will provide a glimpse of Munson's collection process, which defines her work more than any predetermined concepts.

Here are the five gallery openings we're most excited to see this week.


Thursday

Instructions for Drinking with a Friend
For Portland artist MK Guth's new exhibit, she's built a table, two chairs, a custom bottle of whiskey and two glass cups. You're encouraged to bring a friend, sit together in the gallery, drink some whiskey and have a conversation that's prompted by a book of rules provided by the artist. The exhibit is open during regular gallery hours, meaning there could be presumably sober strangers in the gallery, making your drunken conversation as much a part of the space as the canvases on the wall. Elizabeth Leach Gallery, 417 NW 9th Ave., elizabethleach.com. Reception 6-8 pm. Through Jan. 27.

ForeverScape
In the eight years that Portland illustrator Vance Feldman has been working on ForeverScape, it's grown from a single eight-and-a-half-inch sheet of paper, to a grid that's over 1,000 feet long.  Every three days since 2009, Feldman added a new detailed sheet to the project, creating a series of surreal, interlocking scenes in a style that's somewhere between comic book and Boschian. Smaller segments of the work were displayed in Portland galleries earlier in the process, but the installation at Blackfish will be ForeverScape's largest yet. Part of the illustration will cover the walls from floor to ceiling, and there will be a mechanical scroll on display that will wind through a smaller-scale copy of the complete work. Blackfish Gallery, 420 NW 9th Ave., blackfish.com. Reception 6-9 pm. Through Jan. 27.

Ben Hucke
Ben Hucke's exhibit at Gallery 903 avoids being static in a very literal way. The former BMX biker turned artist creates pen-and-ink replicas of whatever strikes him as meaningful—everything from worn Adidas sneakers, the Columbia River Gorge or a portrait of Kanye West. At the reception of his solo show at Gallery 903, Hucke will demonstrate his methodical process in real time, creating new works, which seems fitting for a style of art that's so much about technique. Gallery 903, 903 NW Davis St., gallery903.com. Through Jan. 31.
Friday

The Persistence of the Residuum
Eutectic's new show of ceramic sculptures is kind of terrifying. There's Richard W. James' weathered looking, off-kilter sculptures, like one of an old man with a wrinkled but smiling face and a zither, looking a little like a guillotine blade, jammed into his head. Then there's Russell Wrankle's wall-hanging sculptures that include a rubbery rabbit skin stretched over the edges of an iron skillet and a rust-colored hand with a bloated finger stuck in the artery of a blood-red heart. Not only are the sculptures deeply imaginative, but they're crafted with careful detail that implies a kind of strange, but attentive affection. Eutectic Gallery, 1930 NE Oregon St., eutecticgallery.com. Reception 6 pm-9pm. Through Jan. 27.

Saturday

Open Studio with Portia Munson
New York artist Portia Munson creates found-object installations that are manically ornate. As part of her decades long obsession with the color pink, she's built a canopy of pink onesies over a hectic display of pink toys, and filled a coffin-sized glass case with discarded pink objects she found over the course of several years. To create her upcoming Portland exhibit, Flood, she embarked on a cross-country road trip, collecting items that will become her new show. The exhibit will open at Disjecta at the end of the month. While it's still in process, Munson is hosting an open studio at c3:initiative, where she's currently the resident artist. What's on display this Saturday could look totally different from the final product, but seeing Munson' process can only increase appreciation and understanding of what's sure to be a complicated exhibit. C3:initiative, 7326 N Chicago Ave., c3initiative.org. 2 pm-7 pm.