William Damiano: “Art Show” in Portland

Burnside Street gallery Nationale hosts the watercolors of  William Damiano through the 27th of this month. While a multitude of pop-cultural and historical figures–Sonic the Hedgehog, Marilyn Monroe and Busby Berkeley among them–appear in or are referenced by Damiano’s broader body of work, Nationale’s selection, entitled “Art Show,” spotlights characters of Damiano’s own invention.

The allure of “Patricia Poodle”– a purple miniskirted, floppy-eared, gogo-booted canine–accumulates over the a series of smaller works and culminates in a larger format portrait of Patricia posing like a pinup. Damiano depicts a family of foxes–mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, baby–in a range of moods and modes: the family at work on a movie project, the family clad as Lonely Hearts Club band members.

Damiano investigates how group dynamics might manifest under extraordinary circumstances. What if the Fox Family were a poker deck? Who would play the joker? Damiano’s wry wit and wisdom are revealed through his reorientation of funny page figuration. Damiano is one of many artists working at  Project Grow. Nationale’s May Barruel will curate a group show of Project Grow artist work at Stumptown Coffee this summer. —Elizabeth Pusack
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