By Bob Hicks
Bad news arrived this morning for Portland art followers: Alberta Street mainstay Onda Gallery is shutting its doors at the end of the year. I’ve always liked gallery owner Allan Oliver and appreciated his efforts to make a home in Portland for the art of Latin America. Three years ago Oliver sold the space to Pablo Merlo Flores, whose wholesale business, Pampeana, represents Latin American gift and craft items across the United States. Oliver continued as gallery director. I’m sorry to see Onda disappear, and wish Allan the best.
Here are excerpts from his announcement:
After twelve years at the forefront of the Alberta Street renewal, Onda Gallery will close its doors at the end of the year. The holiday show, featuring art work from Pacific Northwest, Cuban and Ecuadorian artists, will be the last art event at the gallery.
After assuming sole proprietorship in 2001, Allan Oliver curated over one hundred art shows with their openings on the Last Thursday of each month. His mission has been to introduce the Portland area art public to fine artists from Latin American countries, many of whom have presented their work in person, and to young, emerging and mid-career Latino artists living in the Pacific Northwest. …
The public and media are invited to the gallery’s final party on Saturday, November 20, 6-9 PM.
Today is First Thursday, which means new shows in a lot of the city’s galleries, and D.K. Row has several suggestions in this morning’s Oregonian on exhibits to hit. One to keep a special eye on is Henk Pander‘s exhibit of recent works at Laura Russo Gallery. That’s his painting Leviathan at the top of this post, and a leviathan is what it is — 69 inches tall and 101 inches wide.
Pander was born in the Netherlands and trained in the Dutch tradition, and he’s been one of our most important artists for a long time. His technical skill is part of that. He’s also willing to go into psychological and social areas that are uncomfortable for a lot of artists and art viewers. As he gets older, his work seems to get even more profound. You may recall Martha Ullman West’s tribute to Delores Pander, his wife, who died in June of this year, and Henk’s piercing, loving, astonishing portrait of her that he painted the year before she died. I think we could be seeing some pretty amazing things in this show.
ILLUSTRATIONS, from top:
- Henk Pander, “Leviathan,” oil on linen, 69″ x 101″, 2009. Laura Russo Gallery.
- Poster for this month’s Onda Gallery exhibit. The party’s almost over, friends.