Arts

Discussing Finances Through Art: Umpqua Bank Launches Exhibit: Growth

A 40-foot geodesic dome appeared in Portland’s Director Park this week. It, and several sculptures by local and national artists that surround the dome, comprise Exhibit: Growth, an experiential art installation commissioned by Umpqua Bank. The exhibit aims to demonstrate the power and beauty of a collective experience by taking visitors on a journey of personal discovery. “This project began with a simple question: what does it take to have a conversation about money?” says Eve Callahan, a senior vice president at the bank who heads Umpqua’s Corporate Communications department. Callahan explains that since the mid-1990s, when Umpqua began to introduce its bank branches as community hubs, the company has tried to surmount the taboo of talking openly about finances in people’s daily lives. “Like it or not, money is an essential part of life. It guides decisions about where we live, what car we drive, where we educate our kids, travel, eat…in short, just about everything. Yet people don’t want to talk about it,” Callahan adds. Umpqua is again challenging people to think about the topic of money, this time in an unconventional way—through art. It commissioned the talent of digital art agencies Fake Love from Brooklyn and The Mill whose Los Angeles team…

Fight or Flight by Corey Arnold

Three must-see picks for November’s First Thursday

This week, reward the brain with some unstructured playtime courtesy of another installment of First Thursday. The Pearl District’s monthly gallery walk grants access to local, national, and international artists in a setting ripe for socialization. Head over to Charles A. Hartman Fine Art Gallery (134 NW 8th Ave.) with friends to discuss the work of Portland-based artist Corey Arnold. His series, Wildlife, rediscovers the meaning of “awesome.” Used during Romanticism to describe nature, awesome defines a thing that simultaneously evokes admiration and fear—Arnold’s work delivers both. Expect to be drawn in by the rich colors and held captive by the creatures before you, and feel free to share your experience with Arnold. The artist will be present for the opening reception, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. At Annie Meyer Artwork Gallery (120 NW 9th Ave.), local artist Shawn Demarest exhibits Snow Day, a series of vignettes prompted by a rare heavy snowfall that descended on Portland back in February 2014. Demarest uses oil paints to depict outdoor scenes, often initially rendered on site in a technique called en plein air. Her paintings then evolve in her studio where time degrades the details of the scene causing her…

Between Here and There: My Own Starlight Scope Myopia

Blessed with great hearing and strong night vision, Army draftee Lance Grebner was often assigned night watch duty for his company in the Vietnamese central highlands during his 1968-69 tour. His story of becoming a go-to guy on the starlight scope brought up some Naval and academic memories for me. Then his narrative took a turn way beyond my field of vision—down a path not fit for sensitive readers. On that path I heard some scary things, recited some poetry, put my foot in my mouth, and tried my best to channel it all into half of a portrait. I work as a figurative painter. For the past few months, sculptor Christopher Wagner and I have been brushing and carving on a series of two-media portraits of combat veterans we’re calling Between Here and There, a project funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Right now, we’re in the middle of creating ten pairs, a sculpture and a painting of each vet created from live models, simultaneously. Setting aside the common image of the homeless, needy veteran or the uniformed vet just off the plane from Iraq, these portraits celebrate each of our subjects as an individual with his…

Seeing Beyond the Stigma at J. Pepin Art Gallery

“The vernacular that’s used around mental health perpetuates the stigma,” sighs Jennifer Pepin, the artist behind the young, eponymous gallery. “Like, mental illness…I hate those words.” In 2007, the same year that Pepin received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, BMC Health Services Research compiled a list of 250 labels—derisive words such as crazy, bonkers, nuts, and psycho—used to stigmatize individuals with mental health issues. The negative attitudes attached to such labels are far reaching, and frequently generate feelings of fear, distrust, pity, and rejection. For some, joining a support group, which offers a nonjudgmental platform to share and explore similar experiences, is a way to mitigate that stigma. After a severe bout of depression in the summer of 2012, Pepin felt alienated and misunderstood. “I was seeking understanding, and people that could validate what I was experiencing. I simply went online and typed in ‘bipolar support groups.’” To her surprise, Pepin found that her support group was bursting with artistic talent. Among its members were several painters, a classically trained pianist-turned-composer, a published poet, and a dancer. They were people whose thriving creative practices and psychiatric diagnoses weren’t mutually exclusive. Still, Pepin felt that the stigma of mental health was…

Domicile by Corbett/Kathryn

New work by Corbett/Kathryn tackles our digital age’s ‘obsessive present’

Travel down a path, ensconced by a geodesic dome and lit by projections of the celestial sky, to explore the sprawling sculpture at its center. A floating topographical representation of the Portland metro area is seen through the obsessive compilation of hundreds of digital satellite images. Allow the eye to roll over the exhibit’s mountains and valleys and wind through the rivers. Give into the perspective of the creation only to be brought back to reality by the mechanisms of the installation—the lighting, special effects, and structural components which draw you to the dome, and its safety and subjectivity. The experience is part of the new full-sensory exhibit, Domicile, orchestrated by local artists Tyler Corbett and Erinn Kathryn. The duo create art under the moniker Corbett/Kathryn (“Subjective Cartogrpahy,” Issue No. 8). The geodesic dome is a shell created from a network of great intersecting circles. The structure, Corbett explains, is a symbol of the encompassing environment that restricts or embellishes our understanding of a subject, in this case the topographical sculpture at the center of the installation. Corbett/Kathryn characterized their centerpiece as the earthly embodiment of the “obsessive present.” A concept described by Corbett as not only the global culturalization of…

Dial M for Murder by Bag & Baggage Productions

Dim the lights: Portland’s mid-October theater opening highlights

Television houses a surplus crop of zombie apocalypse and vampire romance. Break free from the parade of the undead with a string of mid-October Portland theater openings guaranteed to add a little mortality to this fall’s entertainment. After all, autumn is both a celebration of life and death. Milagro Theatre (525 SE Stark) has set the stage for the debut of Olga Sanchez’s ¡O Romeo!. Running from Oct. 17 through Nov. 9, ¡O Romeo! summons the victims of Shakespeare’s tragedies to appear to the dramatist in his dying days as he creates his final masterpiece. Inspired by Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the play is a bilingual performance that focuses on the culturally influenced concept of death. Director Sanchez credits her team of actors, designers, and crew for proving that the legendary playwright transcends cultural boundaries. Ticket prices range from $16 to $24. From Oct. 16 through Nov. 2, enjoy the songs and choreography given life in Portland’5 Center for the Arts’ 110 in the Shade at Brunish Theatre (1111 SW Broadway). The musical, which emerged from N. Richard Nash’s play The Rainmaker, tells a tale of small town America when a draught bares an opportunity for…

Jennifer Faylor

Chasing Ghosts: Excerpt of Jennifer Faylor’s ‘Edison’s Ghost Machine’

New York City-based poet Jennifer Faylor lands in Portland this week, reading poetry from her latest collection of work Edison’s Ghost Machine. The compilation of poems details the process of one man’s grief over the loss of his lover, Alice. As part of the process he concocts a machine that speaks to ghosts, much like the invention Thomas Edison was rumored to have attempted. With a storyline that moves beyond the here and now to the afterlife, Faylor’s poetry tackles spirituality and science in equal measure. Faylor, who has her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, has two upcoming reading events in Portland. The poet participates in the Show and Tell Gallery hosted by Three Friends Coffeehouse (201 SE 12th Ave.) on Monday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m., and reads at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (1001 SE Division St.) the following day, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. Edison’s Ghost Machine is published by Aldrich Press. An excerpt of Edison’s Ghost Machine: Hindu Milk Miracle The worshippers arrived in masses, stretched from the temple for miles, and blistered in September’s thick heat. Their hands clutched the cheap metal spoons that they would fill with milk, and hold up to the…

Heaven Adores You still

Director, producers recount making of Elliott Smith documentary ‘Heaven Adores You’

I’ve listened to the music of Elliott Smith, the prolific Portland-based singer-songwriter who rose to prominence in the late 1990s, for several, several years. Recently, during a closing shift at my night job, I used the restaurant’s premium speaker system to blast his 1998 release, XO. As his gentle guitar strumming emanated from the speakers, I realized that I now heard his music, understood his music in a more profound way than ever before. The catalyst for this was my having viewed the new documentary on Smith by director Nickolas Dylan Rossi, Heaven Adores You, and my subsequent interviews with those involved in the project. Listening to the hushed voice of Smith suddenly had greater poignancy. In Heaven Adores You, Smith’s friend and former publicist, Dorien Gay, reveals that friends and colleagues of Smith’s came together to host an intervention after the musician sent Gay an email that said to not be mad at him if he ever did something to himself. After that intervention, Smith wrote XO as a response to those friends who tried to help him. What started as a documentary about musicians who were inspired by Smith’s music grew into a film focused solely on Smith’s music. The…

‘You Just Don’t Know Yet’: Excerpts from Derrick C. Brown’s ‘Our Poison Horse’

“At first, moving to the countryside from Austin felt like an incredible peace,” says Texas-based poet Derrick C. Brown in a recent interview with PDX Magazine. “And then you begin to notice scorpions, and massive spiders, snakes, vultures and striped hornets.” The prolific poet relocated from his adopted city of Austin to the small country town of Elgin, Texas to write his most recent book, Our Poison Horse, a collection of poetry. His work oscillates from inspiringly personal to unexpectedly humorous. “It is all horror at first,” continues Brown about the critters in his new pastoral setting, “and then you change and you begin to love watching them move. All that slither and nasty becomes fascinating. The book managed to find a lot of humor in it.” Our Poison Horse, Brown’s fifth book, is widely considered to be a compilation of more intimate and autobiographical poems than his previously published collections. Such revelations were spurred by Brown’s retreat into the countryside, which allowed for singular focus from which subtle details emerged, and unlikely connections were forged. “Every morning, I would quiet down, stare out into the field where we were watching our neighbor’s horse, a horse that was poisoned with…

Paul Revere, Raiders band leader, dies at 76

Rock n roll band leader Paul Revere died peacefully on Saturday at his home in Idaho. He was 76. Born in Idaho in 1938, he began his music career there as a teenager in the 1950s. Real success followed after his band’s move to Portland, Ore., where they transitioned from The Downbeats to the highly successful, nationally recognized Paul Revere and the Raiders. In 1963, Revere met Portland-based DJ Roger Hart, who was then hired as the band’s manager. Appearances on Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is followed, as did great fame. “It was network television that introduced five faces to the nation, all of whom contributed to an image of hard rock humor that endeared them to fans everywhere,” says Hart. “Daily, teens across America tuned in to the Dick Clark (television series) … It was then that the hits began.” Paul Revere and the Raiders were celebrated as teen idols, spending 12 years at Columbia Records, participating in two Dick Clark-produced television series, and performing several times on programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show and Batman. After their teen idol status began to fade by the end of the 1960s, Revere restructured the band into “a well…