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July 26th, 2006 RICHARD SPEER | Visual Arts
 

Installation Elation

Two installation artists delight the eye, and two painters tease it.

     
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Valentina Barroso-Graziano's bravura installation at Ogle numbers among the highlights of an atypically rich July for local visual arts. A visual tour de force that shows how a gifted artist can do a lot with a minimum of materials, Let It Grow centers on 48 soda bottles suspended from the ceiling with twine, a sweet pea plant growing out of each bottle. Twenty-four other bottles line the gallery's maroon-painted back wall, each on its own shelf. Rather than greenery, these bottles have hand-written notes inside. The show's theme is some sort of hackneyed tripe about letting go of secrets to effect personal growth, but don't bother with the Dr. Phil bullcrap—just enjoy this inventive artist's sheer spatial virtuosity. 310 NW Broadway, 227-4333. Closes July 29.

George Broderick, owner of the eponymous gallery, paints in a neo-Surrealist style. He's big on eyeballs, flames, trombones, beehive hairdos and disconnected breasts, all of which he renders in an adventurous color palette. It's marvelously kooky imagery but comes across a trifle flat and dull in surface dynamics. The painter would do well to explore thicker application and the increased chromatic pizzazz of interference colors. 814 SW 1st Ave., 224-4020. Closes July 29.

At Berbati, Leah Miller-Freeman displays a prodigious gift for the underappreciated genre of portraiture. She's a whiz with the face and figure and achieves catchy effects with semi-abstract backgrounds and textural flourishes. More importantly, she captures her subjects' personalities: the Byzantine stoicism of Resignacion; the defiance in Woman in Purple; and the unguarded warmth of Pablo, Biologist, Pensador. 19 SW 2nd Ave., 248-4579. Closes July 30.

At Portland Art Center, sound artist Adam Bailey scores a knockout with his first-ever installation, Lineage of Harmonic Sensation. Contemplative and sexy at the same time, the installation consists of 12 plastic banners hung from the ceiling, glowing with pink, purple and lime-green light, a color scheme that shifts gradually as Bailey's own ambient music floats from white-painted speakers. Salt pillars on the floor glow from within, lit by invisible sources. Easily one of the year's most engaging installations so far, this mysterious environment manages to emanate both austerity and sensuality. 32 NW 5th Ave., 236-3322. Closes July 29.

 
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