July’s First Thursday Roundup

The Sam Roloff Abstract Retrospective, a look at the artist’s works from 2009 to 2014, kicks off this First Thursday with an opening reception at White Space (1439 NW Marshall St.) from 6 to 11 p.m.

“I define many of my paintings as time capsules,” says Roloff. “Many of my artworks have 10 or more layers beneath the surface, indicative of the passage of time and the creative process, which are meticulously documented.

“Like time and music, my work has movement that leaves a trail of evidence beneath layer upon layer of oils, wax, and glistening resins. Each series that I develop expresses the reality that each of us as individuals—and as citizens of communities, cultures, and nations—has a unique back-story that informs our present, even if only traces remain of what came before.

“When collectors purchase one of my paintings, they are actually purchasing a multi-layered collection of all the paintings and scenes within their many layers of imagery, symbolism, ideas, and emotion. The crux of this approach harkens to the tradition of what the Italians call pentimenti: the ghosts of images hidden beneath a painting’s surface.”

Pictured above: Equal Rights Marriage Comes to Oregon by Sam Roloff. Oil on canvas. 36 in x 24 in.


Blue Sky’s (122 NW 8th Ave.) First Thursday debut, coinciding with Portland Photo Month, is the 2014 Pacific NW Photography Viewing Drawers. Visitors browse through several archival flat file drawers that feature 10 photographic prints or objects, with each drawer dedicated to a single artist. The 2014 Pacific NW Photography Viewing Drawers runs through March 2015.

Blue Sky’s First Thursday hours are 6 to 9 p.m.


Blackfish Gallery (420 NW 9th Ave.) launched its 19th Annual Recent Graduates Exhibition on Tuesday showcasing the work of 30 recent BFA and MFA graduates of Oregon colleges and universities.

Teachers selected the participating artists based on the quality of work the students created for their senior projects or theses. The opportunity to show at Blackfish has become a de facto award for top grads, something the institutions and students value highly, “and that mandates us to keep doing it,” says Blackfish member and recent grads show organizer Steve Tilden.

Blackfish’s First Thursday hours are 6 to 9 p.m.


And, finally, across the river at good: a gallery (4325 N Mississippi Ave.), the Independence Day holiday shakes things up a bit by having an opening on a first Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. rather than the typical first Friday of the month.

good: a gallery presents a cephalopod-themed group show called Octopus: Beyond the Tentacle featuring sculpture by Scott Foster whom readers will remember from PDX Magazine Issue No. 8.

(We provided Foster with another 50 copies of No. 8 to give away tomorrow night, by the way, so if you’ve been looking for one and for some reason haven’t subscribed to PDX Magazine yet, here’s your chance.)

— Ross Blanchard

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