or was it Lilly?

or was it Lilly?

I returned home from camping yesterday to find this glorious sculpture in the kitchen.  Aside from the fact that certain four-legged creatures should NOT be on the counter, I felt this particular piece deserved a blog post.  Norman periodically creates works of art using toilet paper rolls (as seen in my first blog post), but apparently he has moved on to a new paper medium.  The shape of the paper evokes a cascading waterfall, perhaps symbolizing Norman’s desire to explore the great outdoors.  Or he could be thirsty.

Lilly (pictured below with Norman) may be collaborating with the artist on these projects, although it is hard to say as they tend to be very secretive about their artistic endeavors.


Partners in Crime?


San Francisco photographer Larry Sultan will be speaking tonight at PSU as part of the MFA program’s Monday night lecture series.  His documentary work focuses on subjects such as his family over the span of a few decades in “Pictures From Home,” as well as the San Fernando Valley pornography film industry in “The Valley.”  Sultan’s early work in collaboration with  Mike Mandel also explored found documentary photos from various government and corporate sectors in the U.S. in “Evidence.” For more info, check out his bio page here.

The event starts at 7:30 in Shattuck Hall Annex, 1914 SW Park Ave., Room 198 on the PSU campus.  It is free and open to the public.

Tonight I went to a lecture as a part in the Contemporary Indigenous Artist Lecture Series at the Portland Art Museum.  The featured artist, Nicholas Galanin, presented a wide range of work commenting on the role of indigenous tradition in his art and how his own Tlingit and Aleut histories have been shaped by outsiders through literature and other media.

The pieces he presented that I found especially beautiful were his profile and head or mask-like sculptures made up of book pages or other papers.  To see some of these works, please visit Galanin’s website, or better yet, his flickr site, which contains larger pictures for viewing.

Another project that interested me was Who We Are, which is comprised of about 25,000 previously photographed artifacts from Native American coastal tribes that had been previously recorded on laser disk (apparently the best technology at this point in time).  Galanin runs all of these images quickly on a fifteen minute loop, moving beyond the objects themselves.  As explained on his website,  “[t]he speed of the piece, and its overload of images, evokes the superficiality of contemporary life, in which complex phenomena are reduced to sound-bytes or media spots…Fascinating though they are, the flickering transformations create a disturbing sense of moving all too fast, with forms melting into each other at a rate that defies comprehension or control.”

Although thought-provoking, I left the lecture unsatisfied.  I probably just wanted to see a larger body of work that delved even deeper into the themes Galanin had already started to investigate.  He mentioned that he might want to move to Portland after this visit, so maybe I can watch his work continue to evolve in my own backyard.  You never know.

So I’m pretty sure that most people have discovered Flight of the Conchords by now…but I’m still not over them.  I love their self-deprecating yet upbeat, goofy humor.  This Sunday’s episode was my favorite so far this season, although I very much enjoyed Sugar Lumps a few weeks ago.  The first song in this week’s episode is so Bowie-esque (hmmm, he did a song called Fashion…) mixed with something/someone  else from the 80s I just can’t put my finger on.  Any ideas?  Plus the hair gel obsession throughout is hilarious.  You can see the full episode, commercial-free, at www.flightoftheconchords.info.

a rare pocket of sun

a rare pocket of sun

a yellow bike

a yellow bike

an ugly goose
an ugly goose

Wendy & Lucy I’ve been wanting to see this movie for a long time, but I never got a chance when it was going through theaters the first time.  And after reading the NY Times Review, I wasn’t quite sure I could handle some of the material.  What?  She loses her dog?  This may be too much for me. 

Turns out, it was.  Danielle was there to witness my public bawling performance at the local second-run pub theater.  When I got home, I immediately gave Norman and Lilly squeezes and assured them, mainly for my own benefit, that I would never lose them.

Aside from my own personal issues, the craft behind the film was as fantastic as the critics claimed and I especially enjoyed the clean, well-framed shots.  As for the main character, Wendy (played beautifully by Michelle  Williams), I can’t say I identified with her beyond loving my pets.  Many of her choices, like sleeping in the woods near the railroad tracks alone one night or stealing dog food (which got her arrested and her dog impounded) when she still had a bit of money seemed blatantly self-destructive.   In fact, the whole premise of embarking on a trip in a beater Honda  from Indianapolis to Alaska with less than $600 in cash and no credit cards seemed absurd beyond youthful idealism.

At the end of the NY Times review, the explanation about the rating reads:

“Wendy and Lucy” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has some swearing, a little drug use and a brief implication of violence, but no nudity, sex or murder. The rating seems to reflect, above all, an impulse to protect children from learning that people are lonely and that life can be hard.

I would only add that perhaps this film is also not suitable for PETA members and overly-emotional animal lovers like me.

Oh boy. Keep your pants on: Portland’s First Thursday is this week.

I’m only slightly making fun of the art world here – there are still some really cool things to be seen, even if this isn’t NYC or LA. One of my favorite galleries is the Attic Gallery.  This is one of the two artists the gallery is featuring this month:



…although the reason this is one of my favorite galleries is because they sell Gretchen Gammel’s work, which I wish I could afford right now:


While perusing the official First Thursday website, I also saw that Aaron Meyer, a former music teacher from Saint Mary’s Academy when I attended will be playing his “concert rock” violin at the Shaffer Fine Art Gallery.  I wouldn’t recommend going there for the art, but the entertainment could be worth the trip.  Mostly what I remember about this Aaron Meyer dude is he tended to flip his luxuriously long and full mane about so much that I used to count the instances during school assemblies.  I suspect he taught at SMA so he could perform for a captive audience.  He also had a dangerously thin ballerina wife who would frolic to his rockin’ violin, which I enjoyed because it distracted me from the hair-flippage. Check it:
Hes getting ready to flip it...wait for it...

He's getting ready to flip it...wait for it...


Sorry, Aaron, if you ever read this (I doubt it).  You are a very gifted musician and frankly, I’m just jealous of your talent…and your hair. 

Hmmm, okay.  Back to visual art. 
I’ve never been to the PDX Contemporary Art gallery but the current exhibition, Masao Yamamoto’s KAWA = FLOW seems right up my alley, with black and white painterly images that play with light and reflection within landscapes:
KAWA=FLOW #1534 / Masao Yamamoto

KAWA=FLOW #1534 / Masao Yamamoto

And I can’t forget P:ear’s gallery, although they don’t seem to have anything new to show since November.  The current exhibition is called Formation.  You can read more about it in the link above…since I haven’t seen it yet, I might check that out, too.

Happy art gazing!


But I’ll go to the opening anyway! The website for MP5 is pretty interesting, especially the residence/studio buildings for artists at fairly low costs and with grant options. Maybe if grad school falls through?


Today Norman made a sculpture.  I’m not sure what exactly inspired this creation but I have a feeling that the sentiments behind it were similar to those involved in his “Pee-ing on Piles of Clean Clothes” performances from last week.  He has not yet titled this piece.


And here is a detail of the upper portion:


He is an angsty fellow to be sure.

Norman also finds an outlet for creative expression through writing…or typing, rather.  Sometimes I leave my laptop running and open he takes these opportunities to open up Microsoft word or some other text program like Notepad (it has happened due to his tricky footwork) and then write.  Here is his latest entry from a few weeks ago:


8u=td. Ttt.tt


It must be cat code.