Monday, November 12, 2012

Ronna Neuenschwander at Froelick Gallery, Portland

Ronna Neuenschwander at Froelick Gallery, Portland

If you break the mold you better come up with something better. We all like to collect things to make us feel at home in a hostile world.
Taste is as various as we have individuals but all of us love to decorate our place of habitation. Humans dependent on a feeling of belonging and mementos hold our memories dear. This show seems to question our habits and also refresh what's considered re purposing of something that existed in different form.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mark Warren Jacques as seen at Breezeblock Gallery

Mark Warren Jacques:
Each Story in This Story Has a Story

Life is a complicated story actually it is as many as their are people.

Beauty is not simply beauty but has a price has a stigma has benefits. This is a beautiful exhibit of beautiful artwork that tries to tell a story about beauty.

Mark is talking about a big ass story like " the Odyssey" or " Love Story" we all can relate too and is told in our individual stories. All of our stories combined make up the big picture so to speak.

How does art fit into this. Well Art tells these stories in frozen in time paintings.

To understand these musings better you have to see the Art of Mark Warren Jacques

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ellen Goldschmidt & Mario Caoile at Blackfish Gallery, Portland

Ellen Goldschmidt Not All Black and White


Mario Caoile Recent Paintings

show diverse work but somehow it works well together offsetting each other just enough top keep the viewer interested. Both artists have let go of inhibition and lead us with exuberance on an excursion into the land of art.

The mind is a wondrous tool and both artists excel in letting their minds play free of judgment.

more info at

photography by Richard Schemmerer

Sunday, October 7, 2012

" Young Americans" interview with Paul Soriano

Artist Statement:

" Young Americans" interview with Paul Soriano

“Young Americans” New Paintings by Paul Soriano

This show began as a study of the youthful beauty I so often admired in art works as I wandered the museums of New York as a young man.

What has always fascinated me is the visceral reaction we experience while viewing art and the especially strong feelings that youthful beauty can provoke.
More than just pleasant symmetry, they embodied an unspoken desire.

I discovered many artists’ whose work had a homoerotic subtext while alluding to allegory and narratives popular in the times they were made.
Much of my painting life has been in this tradition.

For this show, it was my intention to capture that quality of youthful beauty for it’s own sake,apart from the stories the subjects might tell.
As I progressed with the paintings, I found my self more and more involved with the stories of my subjects.
As I studied them in form, I began to see them as more than objects.

What began as an experiment in erotica, a refinement of the triggers to a Dopamine reaction, became a collection of portraits that are snapshots of young men at the cusp of their power.
For me, they came to embody more than the carnal, they embody our hopes and dreams, and they embody the future.

Paul Soriano
August 2012

You’re upcoming show is titled “ Young Americans” what does it refer to?

I once knew a French boy who said young Americans were the most

beautiful people in the world. Where ever he’d travel people married and

propagated with others of their culture. The French were always French,

Spaniards looked like Spaniards. Like Alexis de Tocqueville before him, he

marveled at the beauty the American melting pot produced. He saw this

homogeneity, rightly I think, as the future.

Youth what does it mean to you?

The meaning of “youth” is very different for me now than it was when I was

15 and different from when I was 25 and different still at every point I

choose to define it. At 15, it was a burden, the thing that stood in the way

of being taken seriously. At 25 it was immortality and endless possibilities.

At 52, I see it as a state of mind. A teacher once described the mind as a

round room with many windows facing every direction. When we are young

the windows are open and the light of the world pours in, as we age the

shutters close until there is only darkness. Youth is a room with the

shutters all open, bathed in sunlight.

How do you react to beauty and what constitutes beauty in your eyes?

The true nature of beauty is as difficult to define as the meaning of youth.

When considering the beauty of people, it becomes even more complex.

On a primal level physical beauty is subconscious evaluation of symmetry,

a survival instinct designed for sorting and selecting a mate. One could be

said to have a beautiful heart, or a beautiful soul but you’d first have to

agree those things exist. I began my latest series of paintings as an

experiment in desire meant to produce in the viewer the kind of visceral

experience I would have while looking at art. It’s part of my continuing

search for what qualities make a great work of art. Youthful beauty, notably

that of Renaissance painting has always had that affect on me. Is it

possible to render in paint a beautiful soul?

One of your pieces is tilted “the Anarchist” what does it stand for?

The Anarchist is a portrait of a dear friend that is a foreshadowing of who

he would become. I met David a few years ago when he interviewed me

for a documentary he was making about gay activism in the 80’s and 90’s.

At the time he was like many 20 year olds, just finding his way in the world

and neutral about many issues. We talked for hours about social justice,

economics and revolution. He went on to interview others in San

Francisco, New York, Kansas City…ECT. He returned a year later a

radical. He now spends his time as an activist working independently for

the occupy movement, using his social networking skills to organize and

inspire others for social change. He’s one of the many young people I’ve

met in the last few years that believe systemic change is needed and is

possible. This gives me hope for the future.

Who is a saint and what attributes does a saint have to have?

I believe you’re making reference to my self-portrait titled “The Artist”. This

work was made from photos taken during a holiday in Puerto Vallarta

about 10 years ago and shot in a tub at the villa where I like to stay. I’d

styled the photo intentionally placing a large shell behind my head and

backlighting it with candles to form a halo. At the time I was at the end of a

long road. I’d lived a somewhat princely life in Seattle. I was in Mexico that

year with a friend who’d known me since we were both teens. I told him of

a vision I’d had, that my princely life was over that I would move to

Portland and sit beneath a tree for seven years while I dreamed. I took this

vision as a metaphor for change. I moved to Portland soon after and for

seven years I practiced a mindful awareness and when the seven years

was up, I received a call from the Everett Lofts about the space that would

become Cock Gallery. In the past seven years, I’ve learned when to let go

and just ride the ride. The self-portrait is not about saintly-ness per se but

more an acknowledgement that I am blessed.

What do you try to provoke with your Art?

You’ve asked what it is I’m trying to provoke with my work but the question

is more accurately -who is it? For me, making art is an extension of

language. It’s my voice and my conscience. The works are an attempt at

conversation. A way of sharing dialogue, perhaps start an argument.

Jump-start the mind. So many I know have abandoned critical thinking,

instead of discovery, they see discourse as hostile. It’s all taken too


How important is your art practice to you?

You could say I am attached to it. Making art is the center of joy in my life

and while I may do other things, I am never so happy as when I’m standing

if front of my easel. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it was my Raison

d'ĂȘtre, It is who I am and how I’ve self-identified as long as I can

remember. Regardless of reward or recognition, I’d still make art.

What attracts you to realism and the figurative?

As art is a uniquely human endeavor, the human experience is what

interests me most and the human figure expresses that experience in

infinite ways. It’s not realism that I am drawn to, but surrealism that informs

me as an artist. It’s only my latest paintings that I had tried to make the

dialogue more “understandable.

What do you like about painting with oil paints?

When I first began to paint, oils were far more odorous and toxic. I’ve

always loved the smell of linseed oil. The fumes from the large works I was

doing would overwhelm the tiny studio. I used real Flake White until I

couldn’t buy it anywhere and I still favor Cadmium colors for under layers. I

eat in my studio. Regardless of all of this, the color saturation, the

velaturas, the infinite ability to correct as you work makes it ideal for me.

The nude body represents what in your book of art?

Porn, but porn is art right? Caravaggio’s “Victorious Amour” would be

banned in the UK in this day and age.

Which artists inspire you?

The list of artist that inspires me would be too long to print but a few stand

out. Caravaggio because so much begins with him, Dali because Dali eats

Dali, Bouguereau because he makes it look easy, Paul Cadmus because

of his wit. Right now I’m interested in Wes Hempel, a figurative painter

from Colorado for his collaborations with his partner Jack Balas, Kuhinde

Wiley for helping give figurative painting as documentation a new validity

and locally I love the work of Stephen O’Donnell from Froelick Gallery and

Eric Stotick at Laura Russo’s. My next series of work was inspired by

conversations and video projects by New York Artist Anthony Viti who I

was honored to show at Cock Gallery in June.

When is self-censorship okay?

Self-censorship is insidious in the way it changes what we see. Like many

things, this isn’t a black and white issue. For instance, sexualizing children

is not a good thing, yet Sally Mann’s photos of her children are beautiful

art. An artist may refrain from drawing a cartoon of Allah because it will

cause riots all over the world, but this is at the price of liberty. Diogenes to

Dada to Ai Weiwei, the role of artists as activist has played a critical role.

Today, subtle market forces, more than governments encourage the artist

to refrain from anything controversial. My latest series of paintings are the

most conservative I’ve ever done. They were the inspiration for Cock

Gallery’s mission to showcase provocative works. It’s ironic; these are the

least transgressive of all the art I’ve shown this year.

Do you think America should get some credit because it is a very young


Anthropomorphizing a nation is absurd. While I admire this nation for its’

foundation in the ages of reason & enlightenment, borne from the ideas of

Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Smith, Pope and others and made manifest, I

cannot forget the cost. The colonization of the new world led to the deaths

of over 175 Million Native peoples, the largest genocide in human history.

We are a nation founded by wealthy entitled white male landowners

escaping taxation. Besides, the idea of the nation-state is an anachronism.

Corporations are the new seats of power. The day we gave corporations

the same rights as individuals was, I believe, the beginning of the end.

How has being gay improved over the years?

I believe, as Abraham Maslow did, that the nature of human motivation is

the search for higher values and transcendence. The acceptance of queer

people in our society has been rapid in historical terms. While it’s two steps

forward and one step back, it is continuously and inextricably forward.

Economically, queer people represent a powerful segment of society.

Socially, exposure to queer people has eroded many of the negative

stereotypes that existed at the time the modern rights movement began

and Biologically it represents, in my mind, advancement in the human

genome. Human propagation being one of the greatest threats to our

species, nature has provided a release valve, programing some of us to

avoid procreation.

What has changed for young people if you look back at the 80ties and


While it remains a unique experience, many young people today are able

to express their sexuality with less negative consequence from family and

their communities. These are the social benefits that have arisen because

others were brave enough to simply be themselves, giving their

communities a chance to become familiar with queer people. Better or

worse, unless you are both young and old at the same time, how would

you know the difference?

How has your first year of running Cock Gallery been?

It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had. I’ve learned so much. The first thing

I’ve come to know is that artists’ are some messed up people. I count

myself among them. Secondly, I know gallery owners have the

Promethean task of creating value to objects that have intrinsically little

value. A bit of cloth, wood & metal is all it really is. What they sell is a

concept, aspiration. They give value to ideas by elevating them. I have a

greater appreciation for their work. Still, art remains a uniquely human

endeavor. It informs us, thrills us and yes, it can change the world. In a

world where everything (and everyone) has it's price, its' gifts are priceless.

What can we expect to see next year at Cock gallery?

Without giving too much away, because of the reputation I’ve cultivated

over the last year, artists are more confident in the mission of Cock Gallery

and my ability to elevate the work. With more artists willing to show, I can

approach the next year with more intention. I hope to show a greater

diversity of artists meaning there will be more group shows. As you know,

in January, you’ve been gracious in allowing me a chance to curate a show

around your work. A chance for others to get to know your work in the way

you’ve done for so many artists. Wynde Dyer whose work “Production &

Reproduction” at Place Gallery answered the question of what art would

look like if mass produced on an assembly line tells a more personal story

of the men in her life that will open in March and a group show by PNCA

students around the subject of HIV will debut in April. And it just keeps

getting better!

What is your hope for the future and what are your fears?

I don’t think about the future, it doesn’t exist as anything more than a


If you could leave a message for the world, what would it be?

Know that everything changes. Oh… and use sunscreen.

go see Paul's show at Cock Gallery, Everett Station Lofts, Portland

625 NW Everett St. #106
Portland, Oregon 97209

more info at

Friday, September 28, 2012

Samantha Wall's " Partially Servered " at PNCA, Portland

Samantha Wall at PNCA

An amazing talent arises to dare us to look at portraiture in a fresh way. Shocking in their clarity of intent and also shocking in their exquisite execution these art treasures deserve our attention and contemplation.


video stills

more info at

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Collider at Littman Gallery PSU, Portland

Collider brought together 6 Portland artist and let their art communicate which each other and with the visitor at once. Specifically curated by Jeff Jahn this exhibit is a reminder that art besides being beautiful can also help change our perception and can attract new creative talent to a place to literally transform its social political environment.

Portland as a city that benefits from artists like the ones in this show even if it is not immediately aware of it. This city's livability factor has increased dramatically because of its creative scene.

Other city's equally have prospered because of their art community and hopefully one day our elected officials will honor and value the worth of their artist community by sufficiently funding it.


Art by

Amy Bernstein, Calvin Ross Carl, Jesse Hayward, Victor Maldonado, Nathanael Thayer Moss and Eva Speer

Curated by Jeff Jahn

see my interview with Jeff Jahn at

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Storm Tharp at PDX Contemporary Art Gallery

Storm Tharp is no doubt a master in his metier. This exhibit proofs once more that there is no one like him right now on the Art zenith.

His taste is so refined that it allows us to get a glimpse of our own sublime self that is hiding underneath all the rubble we accumulate in a lifetime worth of consuming.

I would like to hire Storm Tharp to make over my soul and I am sure it would be a much more beautiful thing afterwards.

Take a deep breath of appreciation and see this exhibit.

more info at