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Art in Portland: The Lumber Room

December 14, 2016

On the opening day of the latest show at the Portland art gallery The Lumber Room, I was given the opportunity to walk through the show and talk to the artist, Isreal Lund.

The show is composed of several components, some created by Lund himself and others created by artists and curated by Lund.

Lund’s pieces are paintings created by using silkscreen on raw canvas. He manipulates the silkscreen not by printing an image as the tool is usually used, but pushing color though the screen without an image. First, Lund applies a layer of white. Then he layers the colors used in CMYK imaging (yellow, magenta and cyan) on top. He then uses different levels of pressure to force the color through the screen and onto the canvas. Lund describes this process as thinking like a painter.

The parts of the show that are not created by Lund he calls “Apples.” “Apples” is curatorial exercise. He chose the name “Apples” because of the ambiguous quality of the name would allow freedom within the project. Lund says that it is not directly connected to him, that others can make it what they want. The show is not contained to a specific time or place or an activity but it can act however it wants. To add to the theme, apple cider was served at the opening.

For part of the “Apples” portion of the show, there are three paintings with dates on them on various shades of green. These paintings are by On Kawara who painted the date everyday. He created nearly 3,000 of these paintings, painting the date everyday for his entire adult life. This process was a way of tracking his life.

In the same room there is a wall drawing by Sol Lewitt. It is composed of 10,000 lines randomly drawn on the wall in pencil.

(close up view of Sol Lewitt)

Also is this space, there is a cast bronze piece lying on the floor K.R.M Mooney. Lund was fascinated by how the shape of the piece looks organic but is made of metal.

“Apples” continues on the ground floor. On the stairs there are a bunch of plastic flowers wrapped in plastic. When I first walked in I thought they were just a bunch of flowers waiting to be picked up but the piece is actually by a very famous artist named Christo. This piece parallels the cast bronze upstairs because they are both things that look organic, but are in fact not.

There is a painting by the artist Ann Truitt standing near by. She is considered a non-traditional painter. Lund likes the 3D quality of the piece and the beautiful and active quality the piece possesses.

The last piece on the ground floor is a painting by an unknown artist that Lund found in an abandoned building. The unknown quality of this piece allows the viewer to project their own ideas onto it and question what makes a painting, let alone a good painting.

The number three is a theme that runs throughout the show. There are 3 silkscreened paintings, 3 date paintings, 3 sections of the show, and it even runs through the pamphlet about the show. The text in the pamphlet was written by Lund’s friend and is a piece of art in itself. He wrote stories that were included on the pamphlet and they are each 333 words long. The inspiration behind including the number three comes partly from some writing about how to perform improvisational jazz music and this text is present on the pamphlet. It says that the optimal number of musicians for improvisational jazz music in three because of the amount of variations you can create. Lund was struck by this idea and also by the fact that three is the minimum number of things you need to create a continuum.

This show at the Lumber Room is dynamic and complex. The multi-layered nature of the themes and ideas present in Lund’s work and the other pieces he has gathered allow the viewer to create their own ideas and assumptions. The space of the Lumber Room only adds to the pleasure of viewing the show, the light filled rooms and beautiful design complement the art and are a treat in themselves. The gallery is located in the Pearl, easy to access from St. Mary’s and is a perfect rainy day activity to fill your winter break. Take advantage of the amazing art we have access to in Portland and go see this awesome show.

The Lumber Room is located at 419 NW 9th ave in Portland. Isreal Lund’s show will be up until January 14th and you can see it on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 5. Admission is free.


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