January 14th, 2010 | by RICHARD SPEER Arts & Books | Posted In: Visual Arts

Closing: Fontanelle says goodbye at the end of January.

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Some crummy news on the visual arts front... The co-founders of Fontanelle Gallery announced earlier today they will close the gallery at the end of January. According to a bittersweet announcement by Jess Fogel and Leslie Miller, economic factors contributed to the closing:
“Between the economy and our young, bustling, busy lives, we have had to make this difficult decision... We can't express our gratitude enough to the Portland art community for embracing our program, spreading the word, and coming downtown for our openings.”

The gallery has been open for a year and a half and made a name for itself via challenging programming, often addressing themes of sexuality and sexual identity, as in the provocatively titled Lesbian Art Show. Another highlight was the dual show by Midori Hirose and Joshua Orion Kermiet, with its Day-Glo dodecahedrons, which looked as if they'd been dipped in radioactive lava. In the back of the gallery, a makeshift parlour invited browsers to recline on a sumptuous vintage sofa and peruse art books, periodicals, and some smokin'-hot lesbian erotica.

The general aesthetic at Fontanelle tended towards emerging Gen-Y scrawlers, doodlers, and coming-of-age chroniclers. At its worst, the work could be precious and amateur; at its best, it reminded you of the burning idealism of youth and the imperative to create the content—and the style—of one's own character. No doubt the curation would have continued to evolve along a rarefied trajectory had the gallery continued.

You can bid farewell to Fontanelle (205 SW Pine St., 274-7668) at a gallery-closing party to be held from 7-9 pm, Friday, January 22, with DJ Party Martyr spinning jams.

Fontanelle had an appealing combination of earnestness and ambition. It will be missed in the visual arts community.

Photo: A piece from Azsa West and Mary McAllister's Lesbian Art Show at Fontanelle last June.
 
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