Designed to prove that football players are more than screws in a corporate bulwark, those who play for University of Oregon have self-portraits in green and yellow adorning a wall of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum. The portraits show men who will hold onto their jerseys even after the ecdysis of graduation has shed the jersey of its purpose. The exhibit is a sad mythopoeia of the present that will soon pass.
The Shedd Institute and Oregon Contemporary Theatre both display Robert Canaga’s “abstract” paintings. Unlike the visceral intellection of Mark Rothko’s primary swatches or the melancholic turmoil of incomprehension evidenced in the abstract work of Philip Guston, Robert Canaga’s anachronistically abstract style is necessitated by his talentlessness. The paintings should all be titled “Still Life With My Arrogance.”
Finally, in the EWEB building on 4th Avenue there is a painting of a red chair. One of the clerks told me it’s “very controversial,” and when I asked why, she said, “Because it’s a chair.”
Lucian Freud slumped the cudgels of flesh he’d maul in paint with a pallet knife onto the seat of one red chair. His painting of the un-languored-upon chair is a lovely ode, sympathetic to the tedium that imbues life with meaning.
The EWEB painting is controversial because it’s hideous and deranged. The left half of the canvas (with unhealed staple wounds along each edge) is dominated by a scratchy slab of black awkwardly imprisoning the ergonomically impossible chair in the right. It is Lynchian in the worst way.