Sunday, June 3, 2007

First Friday in Portland

Portland's visual arts community opens its doors to the public the first Friday of every month from 5-8pm. The First Friday Art Walk is a self-guided tour of local art galleries, art studios, museums and alternative art venues. I attended this past Friday with my wonderful friend Dan (his feelings were hurt that I have not yet mentioned him in my blog as he is my willing and able companion on many of these arts and culture excursions!).

First stop was the SPACE Gallery located on Congress Street. It is a wonderful space, no pun intended, that promotes emerging and unconventional arts, artists and ideas. The current exhibition 'Everyday Inside Out' featured works by Elizabeth Duffy and Bradley Wester.

Duffy's drawings are made on the inside of envelopes, using the existing data protection patterning as a point of departure. I appreciate that at first glance I am unaware of her use of everyday stationary, drawn to (again, no pun intended!) the delicate markmaking as it gracefully spills over the surface of the envelope onto the wall itself. The works are large in scale, interesting from afar and close up. Simultaneously, she achieves a qualitiy of graphic boldness and delicate doodling.

Another stop on the tour was Whitney Art Works. The current show 'Intelligent Design' featured new works by Lydia Badger, Lucinda Bliss, Carl Haase and Sage Lewis.

Pictured here is a sculpture by Lydia Badger. She creates "delicate dioramas that dramatically depict the drama of nature. Her sculptural installations present colorful, quirky, tense narratives that feature a menagerie of endangered birds, rodents and dinosaurs made of painted clay set in self-contained floating worlds." I greatly admire Lydia and other artists who use their medium to express thier concern for the environment and other global issues, those who are not afraid to take on politics and shake things up, forcing their audience to stop, think and hopefully take action.

Final destination - dinner! Asmara, located on Oak Street, features Eritrean and Ethiopian edibles. It was my first Ethiopian dining experience, I credit Dan with constantly broadening my palette by exposing me to world fare!