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March 21st, 2007 RICHARD SPEER | Visual Arts
 

Fat Chick Self-portraits at rake, and other highlights

Photographer Alisha Berry's delicious critique of overeating.

     
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Gotta love George Carlin's take on eating disorders: "Somehow I can't feel sorry for an anorexic. Rich cunt doesn't want to eat? Fuck her." In reality, the ways in which body image affect what we eat, and how much, aren't quite so easy to dismiss. Photographer Alisha Berry won't be accused of anorexia any time soon. She documents her own problematic relationship with her body in Fat Chick Self-portraits, showing this month at Rake. Fat Marilyn recasts Berry as the iconic Monroe (herself no Mary-Kate Olsen) as the late actress appeared in Playboy magazine's first-ever centerfold. Berry says she wants the pictures "to show that big girls can be sexy, too," by employing "both humor and personal humiliation." Wry and self-aware, the works succeed in achieving all of the above. 325 NW 6th Ave., 750-0754. Closes March 31.

At Beppu Wiarda, Deborah Gillis' abstract landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge make vibrant use of the palette knife, slicing and sluicing their way through a pictorial and chromatic territory that's part James Lavadour and part Jo Ann Kemmis. 319 NW 9th Ave., 241-6460. Closes March 31.

Seattle artist David R. French's acrylics on panel at Pulliam Deffenbaugh are more interesting as sculpture than as painting. Their eccentrically skinny vertical and horizontal orientations and extreme protrusion (one work juts a full 5 1?2 inches off the wall) are spatially assertive, though they fail to enrapture any other way. 929 NW Flanders St., 228-6665. Closes March 31.

At Mark Woolley, Jeff Fontaine's mixed media on rusted steel are gems of cracked, peeling paint and architectural imagery juxtaposed against rectilinear abstraction. They are every bit as interesting as Lance Morrison's hummingbirds, also showing at the gallery, are uninteresting. 128 NE Russell St., 224-5475. Closes March 31.

Finally, Marie Watt shows her work at PDX: Blankets stacked up like obelisks, more blankets hanging on the wall by satin ribbons, and still more blankets in exhaustive variations on the theme. Watt's artistic ideas and chosen medium, however, are in perfect synch: It was all I could do not to rip one of the blankets off the wall and curl up on the floor in the midst of this spectacular snooze of a show. RICHARD SPEER.


925 NW Flanders St., 222-0063. Closes March 31.
 
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