Jon Raymond

  • Cathy Wilkes

    How faint can a signal be and still transmit its meaning? At Yale Union, Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes tested the limits of gallery-based communication with a small suite of unforthcoming images and objects that asked of their viewers fairly extreme levels of interpretive generosity. Those willing to invest in the artist’s elusive system of signification—more like an ambience of suggestion—were rewarded with a fine, almost transparent, sacramental vibration. For doubters, the experience was probably less.

    Hung along the walls of YU’s hangar-like space, low to the floor, were six

  • Joe Rudko

    The technique of photomontage entered the vernacular of modern art in 1916, at the hands of the German Dadaists George Grosz and John Heartfield. Over the years, artists in every era and region, from Hannah Höch to Aleksandr Rodchenko to Wangechi Mutu, have adopted the practice of splicing old images into new meanings. Among the most recent of these is Joe Rudko, a young Seattle-based artist who brings elegant, trippy nuances to the twentieth-century form.

    In Two Point Perspective, 2018, Rudko used fragments of vintage photographs, ripped into small strips or blocks, to create a simple architectural

  • Alix Pearlstein

    In these exceedingly vulgar times, feminists have been forced to develop an array of responses to daily onslaughts of abuse, some blunt, some subtle. Alix Pearlstein’s recent show at Upfor offered a particularly sophisticated take on contemporary power dynamics, in the form of an installation ringing with implacable ontological implications about gender and society that will, sadly, probably still be relevant a hundred years from now.

    The show centered on a piece called Harem ROOM-1, 2016, a collection of toy kittens arranged on the gallery floor in various groupings. Over here, a trio; over

  • Ryan McLaughlin

    Recently returned to the US after a multiyear sojourn in Berlin, American painter Ryan McLaughlin has come home to a changed nation. His country’s public life, always grotesque, has become an outright horror show, riven by daily violence and the breakdown of any common public language. How might a painter like McLaughlin, of such searching intelligence and melancholy sensibility, get along in this stridently polarized era?

    At Adams and Ollman, McLaughlin continued his long-standing practice of graphic appropriation, showing a suite of seven paintings from 2017 that feature hieroglyphic shapes

  • “Contemporary Native Photographers and the Edward Curtis Legacy: Zig Jackson, Wendy Red Star, and Will Wilson”

    Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868–1952) gets a bad rap for a variety of imperialist sins: sentimentalizing his American Indian subjects by posing them in antiquated costumes, deleting signs of contemporary culture from his frames, accepting funding from the arch-capitalist magnate J. P. Morgan, and generally promulgating the romantic objectifications of the hegemonic, colonizing mind. However, a closer look at Curtis’s life and work makes this judgment hard to square. In addition to tirelessly documenting a vast population of marginalized people against the backdrop of genocide, he spent his life

  • Jessica Jackson Hutchins

    Widely known for her sculptures deploying old couches and cast-off furniture as host bodies for plaster obelisks, papier-mâché appendages, and homemade ceramic vessels, Jessica Jackson Hutchins for this occasion commandeered two Portland venues for a joint exhibition that amounted to something like a pocket retrospective of her work to date. “Confessions,” organized by Portland collector Sarah Miller Meigs and Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder, offered Portland viewers a chance not only to commune with a hometown hero on an intimate scale but also to decipher how Hutchins’s crusty, blobular

  • 1000 WORDS: JENNIFER WEST

    IN RECENT DECADES, a handful of artists have displayed a special kink for the place and time of California in the 1970s. Carol Bove, Liz Craft, Doug Aitken, Justin Lowe, Jonah Freeman, and Jeremy Blake, to name but a few, have all reached into the golden nimbus surrounding the years roughly spanning 1967 to 1974 and come back with distilled essences of the forms and thoughts of the American West. Leftist books on wooden shelves, high-flying kites, and psychedelic cowboys have, in their hands, become rich fetish objects implying variously nostalgic, ecstatic, and gothic meanings, if not full-blown

  • Yuji Agematsu

    The use of trash in the making of art during the past century is so widespread as to defy summarization. Dada, Cubism, Arte Povera, and so-called abject art—not to mention the work of every other coffee-shop collagist and front-yard bricoleur—have all greatly depended on found refuse, with as many meanings generated as there have been artists repurposing the rubbish. Yuji Agematsu, a longtime New Yorker enjoying a happy renaissance (thanks in part to his 2012 exhibition at Real Fine Arts) after a twenty-year hiatus from solo exhibitions, uses garbage, too—in his case to elegantly

  • GOLDEN STATE: THE ART OF CHRIS JOHANSON

    AS THE STORY GOES, about 12,000 years ago human beings migrated to the West Coast of North America. They came from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and brought with them a system of spiritual beliefs based in rituals of astral projection, animal metamorphosis, and the healing séance. Approxi­mately 11,500 years later, another migration arrived at the Pacific Coast, this time from Europe—human beings of a decidedly more monotheistic bent, intent on transforming the wilderness into an open-air factory of resource extraction.

    At this axis of magic and enterprise, ritual and engineering,

  • Eric Stotik

    Knowing that Portland, Oregon–based artist Eric Stotik grew up the son of Lutheran missionaries in Papua New Guinea, might go some way in explaining the painter’s recurring interest in images of human subjugation, imperialist torture, and exotic blood ritual. On the other hand, it explains not at all many other facets of the artist’s work, such as his bygone painting style, or his use of discarded paper and wood as material ground. While Stotik’s images are clearly objects of great personal obsession—maybe even born of his colonial youth in the land of headhunters—they also stubbornly

  • Cynthia Lahti

    “Daughter,” a recent exhibition by Cynthia Lahti, a long-underrecognized artist’s artist based in Portland, included works in a variety of media, all addressing the bonds of love and grief as experienced by girls in the same family tree. Lahti’s purposefully raw, emotionally direct objects bring to mind the accidental elegance of childhood craft projects, but here the results are fraught with disturbing nuances that make a viewer wonder: Can one feel nostalgia for pain?

    The Kip Twins, 2007, for example, is a small plaster sculpture composed of two busts of twin girls set side by side. At first

  • Malia Jensen

    It’s tempting to characterize Portland-bred, Brooklyn-based artist Malia Jensen’s recent solo show at Elizabeth Leach Gallery as a classic case of the country mouse in the city. Jensen’s work has often trafficked in animal forms, and the shift in iconography from forest creatures to rats and pigeons following the artist’s move from the Northwest to New York two years ago is hard to ignore. But to boil it down thus would be unfair and would discount her work’s wry humor and its lucidly drawn tension between form and content. Sometimes, apparently, the country mouse is just naturally as refined

  • picks December 11, 2003

    Ad Reinhardt

    Ad Reinhardt is best known to the art-viewing public for his “black paintings,” a career-long series of luminous, cruciform abstractions that are a cornerstone of Minimalism, and to conservators for his hand-ground pigments that are almost impossible to match. He’s less well known for the elaborate diagrams and flowcharts, done on assignment for PM magazine and Art News in the '40s and '50s, in which he explained the vicissitudes of the art world—in particular, the teleology of modern painting as it led to the rarefied precincts of pure abstraction—in layman’s terms. In pieces like

  • picks August 03, 2003

    Miranda July

    Whitney Biennial alum Miranda July brings a series of photographs and a short single-channel video to this upstart Seattle space, in an effort billed as the polymath’s first show with a commercial gallery. Given July’s prodigious output—she’s produced short films, CDs, and elaborate, Laurie Anderson–like performance pieces—the milestone feels less like a debut than a sidebar, but it's no less interesting for that. Haysha Royko, 2002, a video that combines live action and animation, shows colorful auras emanating from people waiting restlessly in an airport. The photographs—found

  • picks July 02, 2003

    Assume Vivid Astro Focus

    Assume Vivid Astro Focus’s update of Kurt Schwitters's Total Art invades Deitch Projects with a busy agglomeration of media on media. Covering the interior walls and bleeding onto the floors are murals that incorporate images from tapestry designs, softcore porn, coloring books, and Tibetan thangka paintings, along with visual quotations of pop-culture chestnuts from Star Wars to Pink Floyd. In the back room, the artist (aka Eli Sudbrack) has installed Walking on Thin Ice, 2001, a video projection made in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based Honeygun Labs. Taking its title from the 1981 Yoko

  • picks May 21, 2003

    Jonathan Herder

    Jonathan Herder, an alumnus of Art Center’s mildly infamous class of ’98, brings a batch of playful but highly disciplined collages to Pierogi. The exhibition, called “Stampology,” showcases the apparently endless formal possibilities of the postage stamp: Stampographic Panorama, 2003, uses tiny slivers of them to create a pastoral landscape dotted with cutout images of bald eagles, covered wagons, and clipper ships, all courtesy of the US Postal Service. In Washington versus Lincoln, 1994, Herder stages comical fight scenes (Abe as serpent/George as Adam; Abe as tank/George as plane) that

  • picks May 20, 2003

    Dan McCarthy/“The Melvins”

    Dan McCarthy’s new paintings, currently on view at Anton Kern, depict rainbows, fish, and women on skate- and surfboards, often glimpsed through an allover patterning motif that resembles a flurry of flower petals. It’s the imagery of sailors’ tattoos or carnival signage or, maybe, of McCarthy’s Hawaiian childhood. In Springs, 2003, a woman crouches on an outspread net while two fish suckle at her nipples and a beam of weak yellow light illuminates her from above. An air of spacious enchantment holds sway, edged with a hint of worry; you get the sense that McCarthy’s tropical afternoon has grown

  • picks April 29, 2003

    Mark Lombardi

    In pencil and ballpoint pen, political Conceptualist Mark Lombardi (1951–2000) created elaborate, casually rendered cluster diagrams that trace flows of geopolitical influence and association. Peregrine International Associates of Dallas, c. 1979–90, 2000, constellates George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Toyota, Libya, and a bevy of other nefarious individuals and institutions in eddies of connecting arrows that swirl around one another like the weather. EATSCO (Egyptian American Transport & Service Co.), Falls Church, Va. c. 1979–82, 2000, finds links between General Richard Secord, Global Int’l Air,