Stephanie Snyder

  • picks December 04, 2019

    Jess Perlitz

    Jess Perlitz is well-known for her performances that embrace the awkwardness and embarrassment of inhabiting a body, with repetitive, slapstick-like movements and obsessive behaviors. Props or costumes (which recently took the form of rocks) inject allegory and myth into the mix. Her newest group of sculptures similarly addresses the body in uneasy terms, but here in the gallery, the terms of engagement are more mysterious.

    Mounted on the wall near the gallery’s front window is an outsize, handcrafted steel megaphone. Its horn arcs above visitors' heads, while its mouthpiece is anchored in the

  • picks August 28, 2018

    “Teeth and Consequence”

    Like a room in a dream or a film set, this gallery consists of a door-less, three-walled space, tucked into the rustic studio complex of Portland-based artist Bobbi Woods, the show’s co-organizer. It’s a fittingly transparent environment for “Teeth and Consequence,” a group exhibition of work by queer, trans, and nonbinary artists who test different forms of physical and emotional embodiment through the patterns, processes, and reception of their art.

    Across various corners and edges of the gallery’s baby-pink walls, artist and co-organizer Christopher Russell layers irregular shapes of handmade

  • picks July 12, 2018

    “The Snake”

    In the center of PICA’s large exhibition space is DB Amorin’s site-specific installation a static-flavored shape (“street echoes ’ēheu—and it sure is”), 2018, a scintillating expanse of Pacific salt set aglow by a projection of an abstracted form flipping in space. The footage, which glows cerise but is actually black and white, has been heavily processed through analog filters before being digitally projected and colored by a rosy LED light. At intervals, the entire exhibition dims, and the pulsing field of salt flares like a toppled movie screen.

    Nearby, Jessica Diamond exhibits several vertical

  • picks March 05, 2018

    Elizabeth Malaska

    Elizabeth Malaska’s recent paintings celebrate the pathos and resilience of the anima, asserting its reproductive and spiritual power over millennia of oppression. At the heart of each work is a figure, or figures, embedded within a nonhierarchical matrix of oneiric visions, plants, decorative objects, and patterned surfaces. Feminist psychoanalyst and artist Bracha Ettinger would describe such spaces as ones of “undifferentiated otherness.”

    The artist’s supernatural bodies grow and contort, their limbs and breasts multiplying into Gordian knots worthy of mythical ancients such as Nut, the Egyptian

  • picks January 15, 2018

    Dawn Cerny

    Dawn Cerny’s recent sculptures rise with the elegance of Chinese scholars’ rocks—contemplatively crannied and eccentric—but the nature they embody is a domestic one. The artist’s wheeled monoliths are enchanting interpretations of household furnishings: bookshelves, credenzas, armchairs. Cerny explores the body’s relationship to furniture as an extension of human movement—particularly that of the parental body, engaged in a continuous stream of repetitive, improvised adaptations. The sculptures’ wonkiness invokes the humor and stickiness of parenting and life in general, which, Cerny suggests,

  • picks September 14, 2017

    Derek Franklin

    Like the body, Derek Franklin’s newest sculptures have a shelf life, combining food and inorganic materials in arrangements that feel simultaneously solemn and funny. In Being Mediocre Is a Virtue of Survival (all works 2017), for instance, shiny new crayfish traps rise in a modernist stack with occasional slices of bacon inserted into their mesh exteriors. Catching crayfish with bacon is a common childhood activity in the Northwest, but dry-docked in the gallery and emitting the acrid scent of pork, the work feels forlorn: We’ve got traps and bait but no ecology, no quarry.

    In another sculpture,

  • picks March 04, 2017

    Adrianne Rubenstein

    Without being escapist, New York–based artist Adrianne Rubenstein’s newest works are sensually delightful paintings that transport the viewer to another world: one full of color, joy, and raw innocence. Exploring playful subjects such as a bunny and a children’s toy, they offer a refreshing experience of painting’s visual language unfettered by self-consciousness and theory.

    Rubenstein’s marks are quick and free, shifting direction and transparency across each painting. At times they make more use of impasto; at other times they appear scrubby and drawn, as if with crayon. Educational Toy (all

  • picks October 31, 2016

    Michelle Ross

    For Portland-based painter Michelle Ross, the pictorial language of abstraction is formed in relation to the careful observation of physical gesture and its subsequent flattening and transmission through contemporary forms of visuality, such as print magazines and video. This is where Ross’s obsession with fashion comes in: Imaginatively transforming stretcher bars and their surfaces into a synthesis of good bones and material geometries, the artist paints on top of pages from W, for instance, or scans editorial spreads in order to blow them up and attach them to her canvases. Velvet, cotton,

  • picks September 09, 2016

    Michael E. Smith

    Michael E. Smith’s installation of small-scale sculptures and one video work was arranged in situ during a weeklong stay in this refined domestic environment. The space is both a residence and the site of an eclectic array of artistic projects, many curated from the collection of founder Sarah Miller Meigs. During his time here, Smith brought a selection of his own sculptures and ready-made materials to the site—including clothing, crustacean exoskeletons, and a duffel bag. A critical part of the artist’s practice consists of painstakingly locating objects that interest and inspire him—often

  • picks January 06, 2016

    Paige Powell

    For more than thirty years, a treasure trove of photographs and videos lay dormant in the nooks and crannies of the home of native Portlander Paige Powell, a former publisher at Interview magazine, Andy Warhol’s confidante, and girlfriend of Jean-Michel Basquiat. This two-part installation is Powell’s first museum show displaying the intimate archive she created of the 1980s New York art world. As part of Warhol’s circle, she was surrounded by spectacular personalities. Yet many of her images in the exhibition depict quotidian reflective moments—conversations over dinner, workplace diversions,

  • picks December 11, 2015

    Melody Owen

    Portland-based artist Melody Owen has worked in collage for over two decades, and this exhibition displays her command of the medium at its most inventive and sensitive. This is particularly true of the newest works here, which interweave botanical and zoological imagery—such as flowers, whales, skeletons, and brains—within macrocosmic networks such as circulatory systems, cellular structures, and cross-sections of trees or of the human body. Most of Owen’s source materials are taken from old botany and anatomy books. The images have a velvety texture and a quiet range of tonality, evoking other

  • picks June 19, 2015

    Mary Henry

    Well before her death, the Pacific Northwest-based painter Mary Henry was canonized as a “matriarch of modernism,” yet the introspective artist had little interest in the distractions of categorization. Henry was a painter’s painter—devoted to daily practice and the slow development of visual concepts over time. This focused exhibition of seven paintings mostly from the late 1980s contains some of the artist’s finest abstractions. Deceptively simple in appearance due to their reductive compositions, they’re electrified by bright, saturated colors that are limned and punctuated by black and white