Most everyone is familiar with the First Thursday Art Event, when Portland’s galleries stay open late on the first Thursday of the month to celebrate the new exhibits. Far fewer people are aware of another monthly gallery walk just across the river in Vancouver, Washington. It’s the First Friday Art Walk and it provided this preview of some great exhibits you can see all month long.
With nine galleries all located within walking distance of the heart of downtown Vancouver, you can easily breeze through the galleries in an hour and a half, though you may well want to linger longer.
This May, Angst Gallery, located at 1015 Main Street, has the work of Jason Phelps on display. His large mixed media panels incorporate “found” items he accumulates on walks — everything from shells to feathers to dried flowers might be included. He also uses dirt, clay and even salt as part of the background. This show, titled “Mythos,” brings the objects from the commonplace to a higher level through myth and historic references.
Across the street, the Aurora Gallery is featuring the lovely watercolors of Vickie Nelson. Still-lifes and flowers are beautifully rendered and done in vibrant colors. And the prices are unbelievably affordable. Nelson teaches watercolor workshops, but if you doubt your artistic urge yourself, buying one of her paintings would be the next best thing!
At the North Bank Gallery on Main Street, Oregon Art Beat Alum Kanaan Kanaan has a new show up titled “Ishlonak?” which is a greeting that roughly translates to “What’s your color?” The walls are filled with small panels of colors, and many of the panels have Arabic script and other designs on them. They’re affordable enough that you can buy a nice grouping for your home and not break the budget.
Art on the Boulevard at 210 West Evergreen Blvd. is featuring the work of monoprint artist Tracy Leagjeld this month. She is well known in Bend, where she grew up and was a fixture in the galleries there. Now, she and her husband have moved to Portland and she’s been picked up by Art on the Boulevard. Her new show is titled “The Forest Through the Trees” and you will find yourself wondering how she can depict the light coming through the trees so beautifully and yet so simply. Unlike most monoprints and monotypes, Leagjeld’s are not done on paper. She does them on board using a hand brayer instead of a printing press. For the many Portlanders who don’t get to Central Oregon, this is a great chance to see the work of a very talented artist.
So next month, if you find yourself with no plans on June 3rd, head to Vancouver’s First Friday Art Walk. The parties start at 5pm and you’ll find food, drinks and often live music in many of the galleries. The First Friday Art Walk is much less crowded than Portland’s First Thursday, but don’t think that the art isn’t as serious. In fact, First Friday might just be an art collector’s best-kept secret.