Land Gallery

I finally visited Land Gallery, one of the tiniest galleries I’ve ever been in, and certainly the first to feel cozy.

Image result for land gallery portland oregon
photo from Ziptopia Guide to Mississippi Avenue

Since I’d already visited the shop on the first floor, I went straight upstairs to the gallery, a white-walled space with a few windows to let you spy on activity on NE Mississippi Street below. One window looks down into the storeroom for, which–note to self– means anyone working down there can look up at you looking at them (blush).

Three walls plus part of the stairwell displayed work for the “Flora” show, art by women “working in analog.” It was an Instagram picture of one of the pieces in the show that originally drew me into the gallery, and only after seeing the show does the description make sense to me. In 2016, it’s a refreshing collection of art made by hand with things like wood, paint, fiber, and fabric.

I enjoyed Hiné Mizushima’s collection and was consumed by Maya Hanisch’s paintings.

Amanita Beetle by Mizushima

These by Mizushima managed to be whimsical but serious too,

Venus Anttrap Beetle by Mizushima

maybe because of the wooden mounting and the postage-stamp-style labeling as if they were real specimens found in the wilds of some exploration.

Maya Hanisch’s paintings captivated me, and I studied them as long as I could. My pictures don’t even come close to showing you how great these are, but they give you an idea:

Everything thing about them looks perfect to me: the colors, not too bright but rich and bold; the images vibrant and happy but strong and serious too; and the best part–the pattern, the way she fits it all together. The flowers, perfectly placed dots, and swirling stems and leaves draw your eye all around the page and with each go-around you notice more.

I drew some of her flowers in my sketchbook, to get a feel for how she does it. She’s got the precision of fabric or wallpaper designs, but it’s all hand-done and not predictable but still fits together perfectly.

I left the gallery daydreaming about Hanisch’s work serving as everything from tattoos to huge woven tapestries and pondered an idea of my own. I recently read about how to create a repeating pattern (like on fabric or wallpaper) without using software. It’s on my to-do list to try, and Hanisch’s work gave me ideas for color and floral images.

You can see everything from the “Flora” show here:, but be sure to enlarge everything by Hanisch. The tiny images doesn’t come close to revealing her incredible designs. The show is up until October 9th.

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