Michael Lazarus, Tethered (2011).Acrylic paint, found objects, wood31.5 x 29.75 in

Michael Lazarus, Tethered (2011).
Acrylic paint, found objects, wood
31.5 x 29.75 in

Pacific NW College of Art

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center announced selections today for the Portland2016 Biennial of Contemporary Art. Artist and critic Michelle Grabner, who curated the Whitney’s 2014 Biennial, has chosen 34 artists from across Oregon.

Grabner herself utilizes a variety of media — everything from woven paper to paintings created by pressing crocheted blankets onto panels. She has chosen artists for the Biennial ranging from Portland’s 80-something doyenne of colorful graphic painting, Ellen McFadden, to Avantika Bawa, a mid-career graduate of Portland’s art scene, whose installations and art objects have received international attention (including from State of Wonder). Storm Tharp, whose surreal, inky works have appeared on Art Beat, and local novelist-cum-artist Jon Raymond, will also exhibit their work. 

Portland2016's curator, Michelle Grabner

Portland2016’s curator, Michelle Grabner

Courtesy of Disjecta/OPB

In the time since she was selected to curate, Grabner — who, incidentally, told The New York Times that she did not view her role in the Whitney’s Biennial as “tracking down” talent — launched herself across Oregon in order to meet the state’s contemporary art scene in person. 

“I was looking for work that addressed global realities as much as it embraced radical regionalism,” Grabner reported to Disjecta after making over 100 studio visits to Oregon artists. “It was a privilege to transverse the state of Oregon and to meet with artists and arts professionals who are enthusiastically committed to fostering a spirited culture in the region.”

The Disjecta Biennial has played out in Portland, but this year venues across the state will also participate, reflecting Grabner’s ongoing concern with “localism” and the decentralization of artistic production. Locations in Pendleton, La Grande, the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Bend, Madras, McMinnville, Astoria, Roseburg and Ashland are confirmed, with more to come.

Storm Tharp's Boom (2008). Ink, gouache, and colored pencil on paper.

Storm Tharp’s Boom (2008). Ink, gouache, and colored pencil on paper.  

Courtesy of The Whitney Museum/OPB

This June, State of Wonder will dedicate an entire episode to Grabner, who will guest-curate the show and take Portlanders on an audio tour of the process of curating Portland 2016.

Check out the complete list of this year’s Biennial artists below, and don’t miss your chance to survey Oregon’s thriving art scene this July. (Road trip recommended, but not required.)

The Portland2016 Biennial of Contemporary Art will run from July 9 to Sept. 18.


Avantika Bawa, Portland

Carla Bengston, Eugene

David Bithell, Ashland

Pat Boas, Portland

Mike Bray, Springfield

Bruce Burris, Corvallis

Julia Calabrese and Emily Bernstein, Portland

Cherry / Lucic, Portland

David Eckard, Portland

Tannaz Farsi, Eugene

Jack Featherly, Beaverton

Howard Fonda, Portland

Julie Green, Corvallis

Midori Hirose, Portland

Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Portland

Colin Kippen, Portland

Anya Kivarkis, Eugene

Michael Lazarus, Portland

Charlene Liu, Eugene

Giles Lyon, Portland

Ellen McFadden, Portland

Whitney Minthorn, Pendleton

Donald Morgan, Eugene

Brenna Murphy, Portland

Julia Oldham, Eugene

Rebecca Peel, Portland

Lisa Radon, Portland

Jon Raymond, Portland

Jack Ryan and Chi Wang, Eugene

Heidi Schwegler, Portland

Rick Silva, Eugene

Storm Tharp, Portland

Weird Fiction, Portland

Ryan Woodring, Portland