Youth is overrated. Mel Katz turns 77 this month, but his new sculptures are so fresh and spontaneous, they look like they were made by a 25-year-old wunderkind. For his 13th solo show at Laura Russo, which opens Thursday, March 5, Katz eschews his customary bright colors, instead transposing his black-and-white drawings directly into towering aluminum totems, which evoke comic books, graphic novels, illustration, and other movements on the vanguard of contemporary art. With their biomorphic curves, the works are sensuous—hell, they're downright sexy!— with passages that suggest décolletage, hips and other body parts that go bump (and grind) in the night. So what's with all this high-art TA? "My father was a tailor," Katz says, "so I grew up in a household where there were arms and legs, patterns for shirts and pants and other garments, hung up on a tagboard on the bedroom door...." These shapes, he allows, may have imprinted themselves in his psyche and resurfaced in his artwork. Whatever their origin, the sculptures are one part figuration and one part architecture, stirred up and whisked together with whimsy and a graphic vitality that is almost shockingly au courant.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 4
THURSDAY MARCH 5
[WORDS] READING FRENZY BENEFIT
Donate time and money to a beloved PDX bookstore with performances from local bands, authors and short films from Sleater-Kinney alum Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen from SNL. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, 239-7639. 8:30 pm. $8-$20.
FRIDAY MARCH 6
[SCREEN] TWO LOVERS
Forget whether Joaquin Phoenix is crazy: In this romantic-dilemma movie, he's brilliant. (And maybe a little crazy.) Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., 223-4515. $5-$8.