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True, every day in Portland is Halloween… so I dont particularly celebrate it other than as an excuse to explore that which humanity has a tenuous understanding of. Still, artists are the masters of the kind of exploration… here are my picks of the best things to see during this holiday.

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photo: Yamazaki Kenji

The Portland Japanese Garden is one of our premier cultural gems and the latest exhibition Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Ohtsuki Kokun is perhaps the ultimate exploration of sophisticated mask creation. Noh masks are incredibly subtle as they are meant to be animated by the slightest turn transforming mild into sly and the demonic into loyal or honorable in the hands of a capable actor. This gives Noh masks an otherworldly aspect that draws viewers into a kind of phantasmagorical understanding/experience of why and how faces convey complex meaning through manipulation of light and posture. Master mask maker Ohtsuki Kokun elevates what in the USA has been thought of as merely an entertaining past time into something more sublime and hard to pin down. Certainly these mask reflects on a place of shadow where humanity dwells and communicates… masks can reveal the ghost in the machine. On top of that the Garden in Fall is simply outstanding.

Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Ohtsuki Kokun | October 14 – December 3rd
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Ave

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Bill Will, House of Mirrors

What could be more frightening than the state of the USA at the moment? (Ok there are worse moments in human history so lets hope things arent heading there). To that end perhaps no Portland artist illustrates the risks that have always been present than Bill Will. Will is one of Portland’s biggest trickster satirist installation artists and in times like these what could be more appropriate than a lil art sideeye? Funhouse at the Hoffman Gallery is just what we need, a reminder of just how wrong we have always been as a nation. The entire menagerie of installations themselves form a funhouse with a specific route of whirling twirling theatricality that the viewer completes as a participant… predictably ending in a gift shop.

Funhouse | September 10 – December 10
Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark College

0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road

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