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About Town: Guardino and Antler Galleries - August


]Diane Archer, "Fertile Ground" Image note: Diane Archer, "Fertile Ground"

Part of the professional artist strategy is to leave my house. The three fold: (1) Avoid going stir crazy which would be bad for both me and my marriage (2) Get inspired, and (3) Learn something.

Even at Day 2 I know that afternoons are my weakness. Something in my body just starts yawning at 2pm and it doesn’t stop until there’s two of us in the house again or I’m asleep. I’m not against naps, but I’m trying to not rely on them. So afternoon options include getting about town. Today I wandered down to my old stomping grounds of NE Alberta. When Zach and I first moved to Portland in 2010, we were lucky to live within blocks of what still is our favorite gallery, Guardino. Its ample windows and beautifully clean white walls make is a great venue. However when the sun is out and in a direct line it feels a bit like a blinding greenhouse. Mornings are especially rough.

I don’t always 100% connect with the art in Guardino but I always find it totally interesting. I should have photographed Diane Archer’s artist statement because it was one of the few that made me think about her art differently than when I first saw it. (<rant>Artist statements are really hard to write. And not all artists are naturally good writers, which often results in this bizarre sort of weirdly specific writing that actually says nothing. The more I’ve learned about art, the more I find art wholly accessible. It doesn’t matter how much I learn about art, I still find artists statements wholly inaccessible.< /rant> )

Margaret van Patten, "Evolution"(Image: Margaret van Patten, "Evolution")

Diane Archer uses maps. Maps are near and dear to my heart, and when I see a Portland artist using topographic maps, I secretly hoped she found them at SCRAP. I love those maps. Archer uses maps and objects in her work. There is a lot of layers both physically and figuratively.

Back in the Features Area, Margaret van Patten had some of her drawings and intaglio prints. Good lord van Patten can draw. She makes realism look effortless and then surrounds it with not realism. I don’t quite know what her work evokes from me but it’s fun to look at an artist’s work that evokes anything...even if you’re not sure quite how to describe it.

After saying goodbye at Guardino, I made my way to Antler Gallery. For whatever reason my brain can’t lock in on it’s location. I once had my husband and I wondering all up and down Alberta Street looking for it. I have no trouble finding the doughnut shop a few blocks away. I don’t know why I have geography blindness for Antler. Thank GOD for that dear statue outside.

Also I love Antler Gallery. This gallery has done a great job targeting hipsters. It’s called Antler Gallery for goodness sake. And as a secret hipster myself, I think this is all unironically delightful. There are bears and elk and birds a plenty. Plus this is where I first learned about Jason Borders, who is now one of my favorite artists.


Antler’s current show called Reclamation of Nowhere is a great example of how strong a themed show can be between two artists. The artists’ work really do follow that theme, but they are different enough (each piece and from each other) that it ends up being really interesting. Also a lot of pieces have already sold so good work everyone.

(Image below: Christina Mrozik)

Christina MrozikThe back room was open and I got to fall in love with a couple additional pieces of Christina Mrozik. I’m working on birds right now and it was really satisfying to stare at her bird eyes and think about how she did them. This is why going out to see good art is so inspiring. There’s something about being frustrated with something (stupid bird eyes) and then seeing a lovely approach to them. The voice that had been saying, “These are impossible,” starts to say, “I guess not impossible. Learn from this and figure it out in your own hand.” Learned:

  1. 1. Diana Archer framed her pieces in a frame but had no glass. I really really liked that. I assumed her pieces were on paper and not canvas. Really clean and compelling way to present work.
  2. 2. Diane Acher used these amazing paper borders in her art. Really tiny cut strips that were then cut into tiny squares and tiny rectangles glued down together in a line to make a border. Fantastic.
  3. 3. Bird eyes by Christina Mrozik. I’m going to  look at bird eyes differently now. Like all things, there’s more shading than I thought.
Jason Borders, "Three Tigers" Jason Borders, "Three Tigers"[/caption]

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