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Art Walkin': First Thursday

Snow Day Emergency Internet Edition

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DESPITE HELLA snow this First Thursday, February 6, I tried to go gallery hopping. I donned my balaclava in honor of Pussy Riot and psyched up for an evening of gallery warmth and dress-code testing... but on my way out the door, I hopped online one last time. Guess what? The galleries were flaking faster than the skies. Closed, closed, closed. So instead of leaving the house, I explored First Thursday's offerings from the comfort of my laptop.

Clickety click... beards. Square glasses. Fitted trousers. Muted tones. The men of Nat Meade's Pecker Tracks at Froelick Gallery (froelickgallery.com) look very familiar. Close-ups show blocky heads or shadowed sock feet, and occasionally, a brazen little peter. "Wire Frames" does the most for me, its canvas elegantly bisected by a dark green background and a three-quarter profile with specs and a flowing gold beard. #beardo. #urbanlumberjack. #shirtcocking.

Searching MoCC—no, Google, I don't mean moccasins—but hey, the Museum of Contemporary Craft's This Is Not a Silent Movie (museumofcontemporarycraft.org) features Native American works, so that was actually close! Susie Silook carves artifact-like women out of walrus tusk, accented by mixed media: beads for nipples, comb-like wooden arms, a turquoise merkin. Da-ka-xeen Mehner is all about suppressed things surfacing: "Double-Headed Language Daggers" lines up giant, rusty arrowheads like an action sequence, each piercing further out of the floor. In "Being the Song," spooky relief-sculpted faces protrude from rawhide medallions, like spirits emerging from ceremonial drums. Status update: I feel you, guys; some days it's a struggle just to get out. #myhouseisafuckingchalet

Loading... and... looks like we've got some holdovers from January. Elizabeth Leach Gallery (elizabethleach.com) is still showing Christopher Rauschenberg's snapshots of other artists' studios. He does a lot of photos within photos, surrounded by the accessories of art—here a paintbrush, there a jigsaw, everywhere a productive mess. Unveiled, Leach's other themed show, is of nudes, and pairs gallery artists with a couple of prestigious older sketches: Gaston Lachaise's lady is a buxom bruiser ready to wrestle, while Henri Matisse's dame is recumbent, svelte, and aloof. Charles A. Hartman's also holding onto its group show Shine for another month. #goodstuff #beentheredonethat. #ssdd

But, hey, Augen Gallery's (augengallery.com) got a new group show from its artists, including analog hologram-scratcher James Minden, ovoid pattern-noodler Cynthia Mosser, and inexhaustible ad-savvy provocateur Jim Riswold (last seen making sport of his near-deadly bouts of cancer). Over at Blue Sky (blueskygallery.org), Rachel Hibbard's On the Home Front compositionally resembles Rauschenberg's show, but she sets magazine cutouts of war images into mundane household interiors as if to say, "You can't grasp the enormity of war by playing with paper soldiers." (Thank god—and more's the pity.) PDX Contemporary's (pdxcontemporaryart.com) showing Terry Toedtemeier's scenic grayscale wilderness landscape photos, and they've lent the window project to installationist Laura Hughes. She does stuff like strategically apply rainbow tape to fill a vacant room with colors when the summer sun hits just right... but I wonder what she'll do with this wan winter light. Very challenge. Such curiosity. Wow.

ANYway... staying in and letting your browser explore? Check out Blue Sky, Leach, and Froe- lick. Venturing out into the post-blizzard slush rush? Lay eyes on the real things at PDX Contemporary, Augen, and MoCC... and schlep an extra block or two for me. I'll send a Saint Bernard with some brandy to save you.

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