Curated by Cris Moss
March 4 – April 25, 2010
A biennial survey of an art community, international, national or local, has been a staple throughout history. As the curator for Portland2010, I was challenged to reflect the creative community in Oregon, to define what makes a successful artist, what makes an influential artist, and what makes an artist important to their local community. Ultimately, I was challenged to curate this exhibition for the people of Oregon.
Whether through traditions of craft, painting, photographic arts, installation or new media, ours is an arts community fairly adept at embracing a plurality of individual practices. I did not set out to represent categories of work, or to show a particular vein of medium or trend. Rather, in selecting artists to include in Portland2010, first and foremost I considered the quality and evolution of an artist’s technique and intellect as proved by their body of work. I believe the studio functions as an important breeding ground for concept and execution; thus, I was drawn to many artists that demonstrate a commitment to art-making in a focused and intense studio environment. These artists exhibit on a regular basis, through commercial galleries, nonprofit organizations and/or ad hoc venues. Ultimately, art is the central component of their lives.
Clearly, not all of the artists of Oregon who fit into the above criteria are included. For this survey to be true to my curatorial viewpoints, the number of artists had to be modest in comparison to the large number of talented practicing artists in the state. I wanted to shape a direct and personal viewing experience for each artist presented in Portland2010. I saw each as a small window into the contemporary art world.
Thus, Portland2010 is treated as a series of one-person exhibitions as opposed to a group exhibition. The Biennial inhabits numerous galleries and venues throughout the Portland metro area. While some of the exhibition venues require the artists to coexist in a proximate environment, the work stands on its own, in refreshingly different manners of exhibition, displaying a full spectrum of visual experiences.
The entirety of the exhibition extends over a three-month period in ten locations. Each venue—be it a pre-existing exhibition space or a raw space transformed for exhibition—provide a unique challenge for the artists to create and exhibit their work in response to a specific environment. Ultimately, this exhibition avoids the trappings of a simple package; it is not a walk- through art survey that could be experienced in a single viewing at one location. Visitors have to take an active role in experiencing the full spectrum of Portland2010.
The goal for Portland2010 is to challenge the viewers of this exhibition in the same manner that I was challenged in curating it. This is an opportunity to celebrate and experience a diverse collection of art and a diverse assemblage of artists. This is an opportunity to experience what it means to be a contemporary artist living and working in Oregon today.
Elizabeth Leach Gallery:
Melody Owen, Letters from Switzerland
Rocksbox Fine Art:
Ditch Projects, Are You Ready for the Country?
Stephen Slappe, Crossroads
Alicia Blue Gallery:
Heidi Schwegler, Swimming Through Nitroglycerin
Portland2010 is made possible by grants from Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Cultural Trust and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and sponsorship and in-kind generosity from: Alicia Blue Gallery, Alpern Gallery, Chas Bowie, Annie Buckley, B&B Printsource, Joshua Berger, Plazm Design; Kelly Bryan, Deschutes Brewery, IFCC, Lamar Advertising, Leftbank, Mark Stein Photography, Milepost5, Cris Moss, Portland State University, Rock’s Box Fine Art, Stephanie Snyder, Kevin Smith, Trimet, Sign Wizards, White Box, University of Oregon, and many volunteers.