One of the most invigorating shows in an all-around amazing month for visual arts is Portland Art Center's group show, Boredom: I Learned It by Watching You (an odd title for a show that is far from boring), curated by painter Josh Arseneau and arts activist Gabriel Flores. The show's most striking, albeit most logorrheically titled, piece is Harvest Henderson's chandelierlike expropriation/absence of myth (i dreamed we all rose at once to destroy and reclaim it), which consists of 303 apples suspended from the ceiling in tiers of concentric circles. Witty and well-executed, familiar yet inscrutable, the piece reminds us how gifted an installation artist Henderson is; she has a knack for work that is conceptual but not arid, thought-provoking but still satisfying visually and spatially. Downstairs from Boredom is a continuation of last month's PAC exhibition, highlighted by Shawn Busse's Metronome (white ceramic violins, emblazoned with bar codes, lined up in a row) and Kay Hwang's Generation II (bowling-pinlike forms protruding from the wall). The quality of the downstairs and upstairs shows will come as a revelation to anyone who thought PAC was still mired in transitional doldrums. The doldrums are done; PAC has arrived, with an unbeatable Old Town location along the motel-Compound-Backspace axis and the able curatorial stewardship of director Gavin Shettler. PAC has at last begun to fulfill its promise as a vital grassroots institution for the visual arts and is now playing the role that PICA abdicated in 2003. 32 NW 5th Ave., 236-3322. Closes April 23.
Another strong group show, Elizabeth Leach's Fresh, sparkled with Chandra Bocci's Sparkle Fallout a darling vignette of ballerinas and faux pearls beneath a fanciful mountainscape. Adam Sorensen scores a knockout with his sumptuous semi-abstract painting Shade of Ghost Tree. Rounding out the show is Sean Healy's King of the Jungle Gym, a photo mural showing an autumn scene in super-saturated yellows and oranges. Healy has evolved into a sophisticated artist who makes statements that are at once bold and winkingly understated, beautiful and snarky.
Portland Art Center 417 NW 9th Ave., 224-0521. Closes May 27.