So, we've sounded the war drums as TBA has been ramping up, and tonight the bombers will fly when On Sight (TBA's visual arts programming) and the Works (late-night performances) open at Washington High School. Yet, behind TBA's metaphorical rat-a-tats and buzzy overhead engine sounds, First Thursday Artwalk is also happening— and there are some significant firsts and lasts marked by tonight's openings.
A substantial blip on this month's First Thursday radar hovers over Tribute Gallery, a new spot in Everett Station Lofts (328 NW Broadway #117), which is having its inaugural opening from 6-9 pm. The four local artists in this first show come from various corners of contemporary art, giving a semi-confusing preview of the curatorial direction which Tribute plans to take.
Karl Ramentol's paintings, which he describes as a "paradox of randomness versus intent," define one end of the Tribute's first-show spectrum: Fast, many-colored brushstrokes are patched together to bring landscapes into cloud-like definitions. In layering paint with a spatula, Ramentol says he's being "symbolic of geological time" by working as "an instrument of nature," removing himself from the burdens of formal order. "Order can be a source of great confusion," so he chooses the unrestrained.
Defining the other end of Tribute's first-show spectrum is photographer Amaren Colosi. While Colosi freelances for the Oregonian and The Portland Art Museum, she also puts together mixed-media Polaroid collages— Polaroids are used as backgrounds and images from old magazines are sealed into them with resin. In one image, a tree is blurred streaky with the photographer's movement and two men in suits are pasted over top, holding whiskey tumblers.
Jeff Phegley and Jerod Ruleaux fall somewhere between Ramentol and Colosi within Tribute's first-show stylistic range. Recently Phegley has been creating black and white dry point etchings which depict old men wearing mouse, rabbit, and fox ears, while Ruleaux paints highly kinetic images of people, bridges, and other common items— happily complicated with splashes of paint and murky, rust-like backgrounds. (Ruleaux's work is pictured above.)
While the direction that Tribute Gallery plans to take is a bit ambiguous, this inaugural show suggests a wide range of possibilities, proving that Tribute will be worth checking up on in the coming months.
Where there are First Thursday firsts, there are also lasts. Tender Loving Empire (NW 18th & Lovejoy) is hosting its final opening of the year with a group show featuring Ariana Harley, Juliana Swaney, and Jeremy Okai Davis. The opening runs from 6-10 pm and music by White Lighter and Luzelena of Y La Bamba starts at 7.
The Life Gallery (625 NW Everett Street #107) is hosting Back to School, a 30+ artist group show curated by prolific painter and illustrator, Eatcho. Eatcho gave the artists pieces of notebook paper. The artists decorated the lined sheets, framed 'em up, and turned in the assignment. Here is a taste, created by Natalie Phillips:
(Back to School will be The Life Gallery's last show with Damon Ayers as director and is rumored to be the gallery's final exhibit— we'll post more details when we confirm them.)
While it's not a first or a last, J. Shea 9 is having a solo-show at Lizard Lounge (1323 NW Irving Street). The opening runs from 7-10 pm, Widmer will be serving beer, Koi Fusion serving food, and 15% of the event sales go to Children's Cancer Association. Here's a little sample from that show:
If you're not heading to Washington High School tonight for TBA but you still wanna see some art, First Thursday is the spot. Plus, there will be beer and it's super nice out— generally a good combo when wandering between openings.