Go over to the Fisk Gallery on Mississippi Ave in North Portland and see Ana Benaroya's show American Hero. The aim of the gallery is to showcase contemporary art and artists and "produce limited edition product lines with each artist..." Pretty ok with me as I have been wearing the shit out of my Rosebud T-shirt and drinking hot beverages from my American Hero mug on a daily basis. But, that is because the art is so fantastic and accessible. Which could be said for the gallery space itself.
Make sure that you have some time to spend with Ms. Benaroya's art, because as you walk through the space it tends to change and surprise as you go. Side Note: she is the one behind that crazy collection of Cinelli gear from last year. Whaaaat! A quick pass through the back room will be enough to suffice, but a second walk through and examination of her illustration work alone is worth it. But, what is curious about the collection is that it actually looks like it was done by more of a collection of people than just one. I spent a few quick minutes spinning through the back rooms of the space wondering if all this wonderful art had been done by one person.
There were, in no particular order:
- Paintings of monsters in Football helmets.
- Dwayne Wade sans face tearing his way through the paint - pun intended - one of my favorites of the show for sure. I think Will Bryant agreed with me. (see below)
- Football illustrations that somehow accurately captured the "swinging dick competition" that I seem to remember from growing up in a town obsessed with the sport. Side Note: My wife didn't even notice their members until I pointed it (them) out later.
- Kissing Baseball - another favorite. (see below)
- A big red white and blue painted sign that said - American Hero and looked great!
-Wrestling, basketball, swimming, nothing escaped her wonderfully adept take on the male machismo that is present in popular sports. Muscles. There were a lot of muscles.
Now, I don't claim to be any sort of art critic, let's get that out of the way right now — that should at least be confirmed by the above — but what is interesting within this growing segment of art is where it meets up with the sporting world.
Ana described it best herself when she stated - and I'm paraphrasing here - that she wasn't "interested in the usual things" to do with professional sports. "I like baseball because I like the uniforms, how the colors work together" and as someone who chose the San Diego Chargers to be a fan of based on the fact that their lightning bolt helmets looked cool* this works for me. In fact, it all works for me, and that we are wrapping it all into one big contextual cheese-ball with nuts (pun intended and it is the holidays after all) well, I am fine with that too. Just make sure that you get over to Fisk and check it out.
December 13th - February 5th
3636 Mississippi Ave, Portland OR 97227
True American Hero's - Artist & Illustrator Ana Benaroya and Artist & Illustrator Will Bryant.
*Black Lightning, Flash, even Electro were comic book characters that I was into at the time but didn't have the heart to tell everyone that was into. Although, I did take solace in Junior Seau's er...enthusiastic playing style. RIP.