May 2 – 27 Kisara Okada & Padraic O’Meara: TOKYO – PORTLAND – CAPE TOWN
CURRENTLY ON VIEW
Photographs by Steven Seidenberg
March 4 – April 22, 2017
Opening Reception | Saturday, March 4, 6:00–9:00 pm
Poetry Reading by Steven Seidenberg & Norma Cole at 7:30 pm
Closing Reception | Saturday, April 22, 6:00–9:00 pm
Artist’s talk & discussion: Steven Seidenberg & Carolyn White
Passages Bookshop is thrilled to present photographs from Berlin and Japan
by San Francisco artist and poet Steven Seidenberg.
Seidenberg’s work scrutinizes and celebrates overlooked features of the vernacular urban environment. In extraordinarily detailed large-format digital prints, Seidenberg combines aesthetic rigor and technical finesse with archaeological, philosophical, and poetic concerns.
Join us for the Portland launch of the first book devoted to Seidenberg’s photographs, PIPEVALVE: BERLIN, published by Lodima Press, which will be available at a prepublication discount for the duration of the exhibition.
Photographer, painter, and writer Steven Seidenberg has exhibited and read his work
in the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Japan. He is known for his photographs in
series, the subjects of which include the adhesive tape found on the floors and walls of
Tokyo subway stations, cemetery dumpsters in Prague, and discarded hospital furniture
in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is the author of Itch (RAW ArT Press), a work of lyric,
philosophical prose; Null Set (Spooky Actions Books), a collection of lineated verse;
and numerous other chapbooks of verse and aphorism.
Pipevalve: Berlin is the first book primarily focused on his photographs.
The photograph is sculptural, transformative. It signifies as any other art, offering the author of its content the same gamut of tropes, from the allusive to the analogical, the quotidian to the recondite. With a background in painting, philosophy and aesthetic theory, it has been my goal as a photographer to explore the various ways in which the lessons of modern painterly abstraction can be applied to the photographic medium, in turn surrendering the viewer to the compositional depth of phenomena at the margins of the view. I take for my subject the unaffectedly immediate, the fit and thrum of the everyday, turning the frame to what's most usually experienced only in glimpses, in passing; unconcealing, if you will, the inherent aesthetic possibilities of the liminal surfaces we pass over and by and through. Variously fed by the compositional concerns of abstract expressionism and geometric minimalism, the resultant images show a distinctive precision and uncanny emotional depth, while evoking the wonderment of the newly revealed in the exposition of the ready-to-hand.
MY DAY 1 – 42
Nate Orton, Chris Ashby, & James Yeary
January 14 – February 25, 2017
Opening reception and reading/drawing performance:
Saturday, January 14, 7:00 pm
MY DAY is a self-published chronicle of the city of Portland, its hinterlands, and the greater Northwest, begun by Nate Orton in 2005. With forty handmade chapbooks published to date, the series is going strong as it moves into its second decade.
For each installment of MY DAY, a new location is chosen for documentation, and Nate spends an entire day drawing pictures of his surroundings, often accompanied by longtime friends Chris Ashby and James Yeary, who respond in writing to the same stimulus. The images and texts are reproduced, usually by photocopy and typewriter as well as other facsimile processes, physically cut and pasted, and published in small editions, using traditional and nontraditional printing, printmaking, and bookbinding techniques.
All forty issues of MY DAY will be on display and available
for purchase during the exhibition; also on display will be a range
of production artifacts: sketchbooks and notebooks, cut-and-paste mechanicals, found objects, drawing and printing tools, etcetera.
During the opening reception, Chris and James will read from selected issues, and Nate will paint and draw a greatly enlarged version
of one of his drawings directly on the gallery wall. This wall drawing,
as well as a large-scale map of locations (executed on another wall), will
remain on view for the duration of the exhibition.
In 2004, I moved to Portland to be part of its vibrant arts and music community, but was quickly taken aback by how small and disconnected I felt in my new and seemingly gigantic city. After a full year in Portland I still hadn’t walked down every street; this was a far cry from the experience of Lewiston, Idaho, where I had physically set foot on every square inch of my hometown.
In desperation to “get to know” Portland, I decided to ride the MAX light rail line from morning until night. I spent the day drawing in my sketchbook. That was not an unusual occurrence for me, but this time I turned the drawings into a small book, called it My Day on the MAX, made 35 photocopies, and sold each one for a dollar. This tiny artifact proved that I was slowly mapping my new home, slowly becoming familiar with it, and slowly becoming part of it.
In 2006 a longtime friend, writer Chris Ashby, moved from Idaho to Portland. Chris and I had collaborated on art projects since high school, so he was a natural fit to contribute writing and ideas to My Day at the Lloyd Center Mall, then My Day on, under and around the Burnside Bridge. In 2007, another longtime friend, collaborator, and Idahoan, James Yeary, moved to Portland. We made My Day at Chopsticks Karaoke Bar on the eve that George Bush announced his plans for a “troop surge” in Iraq. From 2007 onward, my output became more frequent, with some issues done solo and others including Chris or James.
Designating a single day to document a specific place has proven a successful strategy for the three of us to explore and express our surroundings, in ways that we otherwise couldn’t. We only have a day to create an impression; we don't have time to fuck around.
For most of the issue I draw with ink in a sketchbook on location, later photocopy the drawings, cut, and then paste. Chris and James use notebooks, later converting the text with a typewriter, cutting and then pasting next to my drawings. We’ve also explored other printing techniques: relief, letterpress, lithograph, direct typing, hectograph, risograph, and crayon rubbings. With restricted options, we are better able to focus on the drawings, writings, and construction of the books while honoring the DIY ethics and aesthetics that the three of us grew up implementing.
Artist, printer, and educator Nate Orton teaches visual art and
printmaking at the Multnomah Arts Center and the Southwest
K-8 Charter School, and letterpress printing at the Independent
Publishing Resource Center. He is a candidate for a Masters of Arts
in Teaching at Concordia University.
Poet and essayist Chris Ashby is the editor and publisher
of Couch Press, and the author of Salt Lover I-V (c_L Books).
He is currently writing a book based on the periodic table
of the elements. A member of the Spare Room collective,
Chris works in the forests and grasslands of the West.
James Yeary writes poetry and other things, and is the publisher
of c_L books. His book-length collaboration with Kyle Schlesinger,
The Do How, was nominated by Charles Alexander for the
Phil Whalen Award (it doesn’t exist). He has taught collaborative
writing as an art practice in the museum, the classroom, and on the street.
Improvisation / Collage: Works on Paper
December 6, 2016 – January 11, 2017
Stories from Khayalan Island
Drawings by James Jack
August 5 – October 29, 2016
Opening reception with the artist:
First Friday, August 5, 6:00–9:00 pm
James Jack lecture, End of Summer series:
Yale Union, Thursday, August 4, 7:00 pm
Pulau Khayalan is an island rumored to have disappeared from the Singapore Harbor at the beginning of the 19th century. Stories of Khayalan is a collective attempt to rediscover the island, based on the stories of islanders in the Riau archipelago.
During the search, fragments have come to light:
a wood scrap from a fishing vessel, a light bulb covered with barnacles, a flat boat nail. Some appear to be artifacts, others tools, but most remain unidentified. To revive their places in the stories, imaginative methods must be utilized.
For the current exhibition, the artist has made a special selection of original works on paper, executed in handmade walnut ink. These drawings are part of an active attempt to amplify multiple voices found within fragments from the past.
James Jack (b. 1979) has developed socially engaged art works for Setouchi International Art Festival, Busan Biennale Sea Art Festival, Echigo-Tsumari Triennal, Art Base Momshima, and the Water and Land Art Festival in Niigata. He's had solo exhibitions at the Honolulu Museum of Art, TAMA Gallery (New York), Beppu-Wiarda Gallery (Portland), Satoshi Koyama Gallery (Tokyo), Portland Art Center, and the Centre for Contemporary Art Studios in Singapore.
His writings have been published in Art Asia Pacific, Japan Times, Modern Art Asia, as well as in exhibition catalogues published by Blum & Poe Gallery, Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore, Satoshi Koyama Gallery, and the Contemporary Museum of Hawai’i.
Jack moved to Japan as a Crown Prince Akihito Fellow in 2008, and has been based there since. After completing a PhD at Tokyo University of the Arts, he helped establish the Global Art Practice graduate program there. He is currently Artist and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Social Art Lab at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. For more information, please visit jamesjack.org.
Tender Buttons: OBJECTS
Gertrude Stein, illustrated by Sandra Gibbons
July 1 – 30, 2016
Closing reception for the artist:
Friday, July 29, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
If you are willing to look at the 20th century as it is, forgetting what it should be or how it came to be like that or where it is leading, it is quite like Tender Buttons.
— Donald Sutherland (1951)
Published just over a century ago, Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons continues to delight, astonish, challenge, and inspire its readers.
For the month of July, Passages Bookshop is especially pleased to exhibit illustrations by Portland artist Sandra Gibbons for “Objects,” the first of the three sections of Tender Buttons.
Executed in india and acrylic ink and colored pencil, and produced over a five-year period, these forty-seven drawings range enormously in style and imagery, from entirely literal and narrative to utterly abstract and tangential responses to the words. Finding a form midway between the Poetry Comics of Dave Morice and A Humument of Tom Phillips, Sandra Gibbons stakes out a text-and-image territory all her own, equal parts homage and romp.
Don’t miss what may be your last chance to see all the original drawings together — after the exhibition at Passages they go to the Beinecke Library, who have acquired them for the Yale Collection of American Literature. There they will reside in the company of Getrude Stein’s papers (as well as those of fellow modernists Ezra Pound, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Matthew Josephson, Mina Loy, Carl Van Vechten, and many others).
Sandra Gibbons lives in Portland, Oregon. She creates a diverse body of illustrative work related to comics, poetics, life’s mysteries, and the absurd. She earned a degree in feminist bookmaking at Evergreen State College after growing up in Tranquility, New Jersey.
Gina Alvarez, Jessica Baran, & Amy Thompson
June 2 – 28, 2016
Opening Friday, June 3 (First Friday Eastside Artcrawl)
Reading, discussion, & reception for the artists:
Saturday, June 18, 7:00 pm
Every day in 2012 — a leap year — Gina Alvarez took a photograph of the sky, and Jessica Baran wrote a brief poem. The paired images and texts were then posted to the 366 Skies blog by Amy Thompson, who subsequently designed and printed a portfolio of 366 digital-plus-letterpress broadsides, divided into four volumes according to the seasons.
All four volumes of broadsides will be on view at Passages Bookshop throughout the month of June, with a healthy selection of days from the summer months on display in the gallery. (Individual broadsides will also be available.)
The artists write about their project:
Translating a digital project into a traditional, tangible form is an exercise in reverse historicism; translating a fundamentally elusive, endlessly shareable muse (the sky) into an intimate, personal point of reference nearly defines “quixotic.” It’s precisely these irrational and irresolvable attributes that motivate this work, which attempts to harness something weighty and rare out of otherwise disposable, ungraspable conditions. The collaborative nature of the project, too, fits its subject: in the absence of finite ends or clear resolutions, one must continually converse.
366 Skies is fundamentally about every day and the everyday. Process, routine, seriality, progression, and a kind of democratic ethos that compels otherwise unacknowledged or misunderstood rigor — each finds an elegant metaphor in the sky, which inspires equally a sense of the transcendent as well as the basely mundane. Through this durational exchange, a sense of revised value and specificity is hopefully cultivated — something repossessed from the anti-drama of forecasts and weather, immemorial little routines and lofty, inaccessible ethers.
Gina Alvarez has exhibited in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington State, New York, Washington DC, South Carolina, and Indonesia. She received her BA from the College of Charleston, where she focused on printmaking and costume design, and her master’s degree in printmaking and drawing from Washington University. She is the Executive Director of Living Arts Studio in St. Louis, a statewide organization promoting access to the arts for people living with disabilities.
Jessica Baran is the author of three poetry collections: Common Sense (forthcoming from Lost Roads), Equivalents (Lost Roads), and Remains to Be Used (Apostrophe). Her poetry and art writing has appeared in Artforum.com, Art in America, A Public Space, Aufgabe, the Awl, BOMB Magazine, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, and Poor Claudia, among other publications. She teaches at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art and is director of fort gondo compound for the arts.
Amy Thompson manages the Black Rock Press at the University of Nevada, Reno. She uses printmaking, letterpress printing, installation, and book arts to create work that dances between art and design, and between two and three dimensions. She has exhibited across the United States, as well as in South Korea, China, Lithuania, and Hungary. Her work can be found in collections at various universities, the archive of the Southern Graphics Council International, and at Bokartas Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania.
FROM ALMOST EVERYWHERE
Mixed-media Paintings & Books by
Franco Beltrametti & Stefan Hyner
May 3 – 28, 2016
Opening reception: Tuesday, May 3, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Poetry reading by Stefan Hyner at 7:30 pm
Passages Bookshop celebrates the publication of Franco Beltrametti’s From Almost Everywhere: Selected Poems 1965–1995, edited by Stefan Hyner, with an exhibition of paintings and books by both poet-artists, up through the month of May.
For the opening of the exhibition, we are extremely fortunate to catch Stefan Hyner on a rare U.S. visit, as he makes his way from San Francisco to Port Townsend. Stefan will read from the selected Beltrametti, just out from Blackberry Books, as well as from his own poems and translations.
Swiss-Italian poet, painter, and architect Franco Beltrametti (1937–1995) published more than thirty books and pamphlets of poetry, prose, collaborations and translations, in several languages and countries, and had a similar number of solo and group exhibitions of his paintings and graphic works. Those will last however long words and objects do; but his existence as catalyst, connector and correspondent is gone for ever.
He was a personal link between such disparate traditions as American beat — and New York school — poetry; the Fluxus group of artists; the European avant-garde; the music of Steve Lacy, Joelle Leandre, and Nino Locatelli; the Italian revolutionary left; and Japanese Zen Buddhism . . .
(click here to read the rest of Tom Raworth’s obituary for Franco).
On Franco’s poems:
Franco Beltrametti’s smooth-barked Muse leads him across the grids of latitude and longitude to the source of good medicine poems. A suavity masks these elemental songs — or rather, gives these elder faces a modern “human” mask. Civilized in the best sense. — Gary Snyder
From “a crowded place called future” Franco Beltrametti arrives, once again, with subtle eloquence to surprise us with his unexpected nuances and turns. These poems give us his presence….calling up poets and ancestors of every sort and show us the transparency and modesty of his world. — Joanne Kyger
(click on any image for a lightbox with enlargements and captions)
Brought up in Schwetzingen, in the Rhine Valley, Stefan Hyner experienced the “anthropological change” (Nanni Balestrini) that some people went thru growing up in the ’70s in the West, when utopia became reality in some “institutions” for a short time. After an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker, he studied Chinese and East Asian Art History at Heidelberg University. In 1978 and 1979 he took part in the One World Poetry Festivals in Amsterdam, where he made the acquaintance of many US-American poets who he eventually translated into German. From 1981 to 1990 he traveled extensively in Asia and the Americas. Since then he’s been living close to his family home in the small hamlet of Rohrhof on the banks of the river Rhine. His work has been translated into English, Italian, French, Swedish, and Chinese.
Stefan Hyner’s books include 10 000 Journeys: Selected Poems; Here Before Again; In Stead of a Bullet; Both Gone; and “This Other World Not Civilized”: Lao Tzu, T’ao Yüan Ming, Li T’ai Po (essay and translations). He edited Home Among the Swinging Stars: Collected Poems of Jaime de Angulo, and Franco Beltrametti’s From Almost Everywhere: Selected Poems 1965–1995, and has translated a number of US-American poets into German.
A recent interview with Stefan can be found at Galatea Resurrects.
THE LAST GLACIER
Woodcuts, Photographs, & Artist's Books by
Todd Anderson, Bruce Crownover, & Ian van Coller
March 26 – April 30, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, April 1, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
For the three-year collaborative project that resulted in The Last Glacier, Todd Anderson, Bruce Crownover, and Ian van Coller hiked hundreds of miles in Montana, creating woodcuts and large-format photographs to document the fading majesty of Glacier National Park. At the time of its founding in 1910, the park contained more than 150 glaciers; today less than 25 remain, and the USGS predicts that those will be gone by 2020.
The work in The Last Glacier draws the viewer bodily into the landscape, challenging the perception that climate change is a distant prospect, and that glaciers are remote and irrelevant.
In 2015, the images were brought together in a monumental artist’s book, produced in an edition of fifteen copies, with binding and letterpress printing executed in Portland by Rory Sparks (modeled on Ian van Coller’s earlier book of photographs from Iceland, Fissure). Prints from the series, as well as both books, will be on display and available for purchase throughout the month of April.
A two-minute video flip-through of The Last Glacier can be seen on Ian van Coller's vimeo page; some of the images from the book are pictured below, along with photographs of the installation and the opening reception.