Tonight artists and art lovers – and those hoping for a few plastic cups of free wine – will populate the streets of downtown and the Pearl District. This month’s First Thursday proves as busy as any other in its 26-year history, but a few shows in particular are well worth weaving through the crowds to catch.
Thursday in the DeSoto Building, Blue Sky Gallery (122 NW 8th Ave.) hosts an opening reception for two photography exhibitions: At Home with Themselves – Same-Sex Couples in 1980s America by Sage Sohier and One Mahogany Left Standing by Carol Yarrow. In her fifth show for Blue Sky, Sohier presents intimate black-and-white portraits of committed same-sex couples photographed during the ’80s. Her work attempts to debunk the rampant misinformation surrounding AIDS that fueled the period’s homophobia. Between 1995 and 2002, Portland-based photographer Yarrow took multiple trips to Nahá, a small village home to roughly 200 Lacandon Maya in Chiapas, Mexico. During her visits she photographed the daily life of the people, who soon became her friends. This intimacy is evident in her black-and-white gelatin silver prints. View Thursday’s opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibitions run through Nov. 2. www.blueskygallery.org
Portland-based artist Deborah Gillis once again debuts new work tonight at Butters Gallery (520 NW Davis, Second floor). In this exhibition, simply titled New Work, Gillis’ art combines oil and spray pigments on wood panels – which vary in size from small to imposing – to explore the space between abstraction and representation. Tonight’s exhibit hours occur from 6 to 9 p.m. The show runs through Nov. 1. www.buttersgallery.com
Another Portlander and artist debuts her work Thursday at the Laura Russo Gallery (805 NW 21st Ave.), as part of a double opening reception. Painter Sherrie Wolf shows her latest exhibition, Museum, which finds the artist continuing in her established practice of mixing still life paintings with art history references. Look for objets d’art among her painted realism representations of classic still life subjects including fruits, flowers, and vases. Sculptor Eric Franklin debuts his latest collection, Transmit / Absorb / Reflect on the same evening. The title of his latest collection is a direct reference to the organic reactions of his pieces. His blown glass sculptures are filled with silver, neon, or argon gas and depending on the substance, “glass will either transmit, absorb, or reflect light,” notes the artist. Opening reception occurs from 5 to 8 p.m. The show runs through Nov. 1. www.laurarusso.com
This First Thursday finds painter and mixed media artist Arielle Adkin once again setting up her art stall near the corner of 13th Avenue and Northwest Irving Street. According to Adkin, her work explores nature’s “ability to evolve in a manmade world, with an emphasis on creating a beautiful and palatable aesthetic.” This time around she will showcase her small bird oil paintings, as well as one large deer piece produced using oil paints. She’ll operate her stall from 4 to 10 p.m. www.distillart.com/new-events/
— Mary Locke
Image at top of Sherrie Wolf’s Relics #2. 2014. Oil on linen. 48″ x 60″. On exhibit at the Laura Russo Gallery.