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April 23rd, 2008 RICHARD SPEER | Visual Arts
 

Late-April Roundup

See these shows before they come down!

     
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Kimi Kolba’s 7x7 at Rake.

With M.K. Guth’s triumphant showing in the Whitney Biennial—and with ongoing evidence that the artist’s day-job employer, Pacific Northwest College of Art, is on track to gobble up every spare patch of sod in Northwest Portland—there’s been a palpable buzz in the April air as local galleries trotted out noteworthy shows. The best is Elizabeth Leach’s double-bill of Fernanda D’Agostino and Al Souza. D’Agostino’s pseudo-scientific glass Instruments are in the same vein as Andy Paiko’s apothecary-inspired works last year at Guardino. The artist’s suspended Cranes channel Alexander Calder by way of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Souza’s virtuosic puzzle pieces are not to be missed. 417 NW 9th Ave., 224-0521. Closes April 26.

A James Lavadour show at PDX can be counted upon to send critics scurrying for new superlatives and art lovers scurrying to snatch up the Abstract Expressionist-meets-landscape paintings at high-dollar prices. I have reviewed Lavadour favorably for years. My opinion, elementally, has not changed. Neither has the work. Maybe one day the artist will give us new things to rave about. Until then, he has a superb, highly profitable formula going, and I have an equally superb, if not equally profitable, reason to skip the scurrying and yawn deeply, with utmost appreciation. 925 NW Flanders St., 222-0063. Closes April 26.

Rake’s group show features photos by Kimi Kolba, among them a black-and-white called 7x7, shot in the desolate Texas night. With its lone light pole casting a furtive ray over a travel trailer, the print recalls the way contemporary Australian photographer Bill Henson tweaks the light-to-darkness ratio for maximum compositional and thematic impact. Also at Rake, Troy Briggs demonstrates he has evolved into one of Portland’s most intriguing visual thinkers. His work on paper, Losing My Memory Part IV, shows him exploring the anthropomorphic territory to which he consistently gravitates: grotesque half-man/half-centaurs, by turns bony and bloated, in dynamic compositions that manage not to ape Picasso and Miró. 325 NW 6th Ave., 914-6391. Closes April 26.

Finally, Jeff Jahn and Scott Wayne Indiana have installations up this month, Jahn at PNCA’s Izquierdo Gallery (1241 NW Johnson St., closes April 27) and Indiana at Ogle (310 NW Broadway, 227-4333. Closes April 26). Both shows have more to them than would appear at first glance, but both are equally underwhelming in comparison to work the artists have done in the past.

 
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