WW art critic Richard Speer previews tonight's First Thursday openings.
Stephen Scott Smith
, conceptual artist Stephen Scott Smith reflects on his young
adulthood in the 1980s. His suite of drawings captures the era’s strange
melange of military-industrial machismo (witness his depiction of
Ronald Reagan), look-the-other-way attitude toward HIV/AIDS (see again
Ronald Reagan) and pop-culture explosion (a droll portrayal of a grizzly
bear wearing the Madonna-inspired phrase “Boy Toy”). Smith is a
talented visual thinker with a sense of humor and a penchant for
self-referential work. By looking back on his childhood, he examines the
childhood of Generation X as that generation heads uneasily into middle
age. Breeze Block Gallery, 323 NW 6th Ave., 318-6228,
breezeblockgallery.com. Closes Oct. 1.
Iverson tackles highly personal subject matter in Correspondence
father, a philosopher, is suffering from a kind of progressive memory
loss that makes it difficult to remember words. “He can visualize an
object,” Iverson remarks, “but he can’t remember its name.” In the show,
she creates sculptures, handmade books and kilnformed glass objects
that reference experiences important to her father. The show’s
overarching theme is the breakdown of connections between language,
objects and memory. This has the makings of a thoughtful, poignant and
courageous show. Bullseye Gallery, 300 NW 13th Ave., 227-0222,
bullseyegallery.com. Closes Nov. 19.
Happy Hour by Grace Weston at Augen Gallery
Grace Weston constructs meticulous miniature stage sets,
which she populates with action figures and props. Then she photographs
the sets, resulting in vignettes that come across initially as cutesy
and whimsical but upon further viewing betray psychological
complexities, a sense of mystery, and at times downright poignance. The
works in Angles of Incidents also address gender polarities, romance,
and the mixture of terror and nostalgia with which Northwesterners look
back on the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Augen Gallery, 716 NW
Davis St., 546-5056, augengallery.com. Closes Oct. 1.
thin-skinned leaves, the works in Kristen Miller’s Memento have
delicate, crepe-like textures and seem as if a light wind could blow them
away. Miller sews beads into tissue paper to create these beautiful,
intricate compositions, which whisper with a quiet elegance. PDX
Contemporary Art, 925 NW Flanders St., 222-0063, pdxcontemporaryart.com.
Closes Oct. 1.
For Assemblage, curator Leo
Michelson has gathered together pieces by 21 artists, all of whom work
in assemblage. Michelson’s interest in the medium dates to the 1960s,
when he was fascinated by the assemblages of the late Joseph Cornell.
The current exhibition showcases a wide variety of approaches to
assemblage by artists from across the Pacific Northwest. Annie Meyer
Artwork Gallery, 120 NW 9th Ave., Suite 102, 224-3150,
anniemeyerartwork.com. Closes Sept. 30.