At the Portland Art Museum

I met my friend Heather for breakfast yesterday morning, after not seeing her for what felt like ages. She’s been volunteering at the Portland Art Museum at the current Rembrandt exhibition, and offered me a free pass for the day. I almost declined, due to a very late night the day before, but in the end I was happy I didn’t.

The Rembrandt exhibition itself was good. Since I didn’t want to stay too long I just listened to the audio tour during the more important pieces, or whenever I was particularly interested. I would say that, thanks to my art school background, I appreciate Rembrandt for the master he was, but I would likely never buy one of his paintings (assuming I could ever afford one).


Damien Hirst, “Superstition”

Outside of the Rembrandt exhibition, I was lucky to encounter another special exhibition a day early called Camouflage, “an exhibition of eight paintings that explores artists’ use of pattern in the post-World War II era.” The piece that really struck me was a massive new work by Damien Hirst called The Kingdom of the Father (2007), on display for the very first time. The museum’s website says this work is “part of Hirst’s ongoing butterfly series, incorporating thousands of naturally-shed butterfly wings to pattern and color a matrix inspired by the structure of Gothic stained-glass windows.” This was quite a stunner, not only in size, but in vivid colors. At first, I didn’t realize they were real until I went back for another, closer look, and saw the countless wings embedded in what looks like thick, shiny black paint (notated on the description as lacquer). I’d be pretty interested in finding out a little more about that “harvesting” process. I hate that I couldn’t take my own photos, especially since I can’t find an image of it anywhere on the internet. The one above for Superstition is similar, and although there is a sense of perspective here, you can’t see the amazing detail naturally inherent in each iridescent wing.


Darren Waterston, “Inside”

I almost missed the new modern and contemporary art wing and I am so glad that I thought to ask on my way out. Modern art is definitely more my taste. One of my favorite works was by Darren Waterston called In-Between which I also can’t find an image of online. At the time, I had the whole floor to myself so I probably could have gotten away with a discreet photo, but oh well. Posted above is another work of his that I really like from his website called Inside (2004, oil on wood, 36″ x 36″). After a little more research I found that the artist has an upcoming exhibition at the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark College, beginning September 6, which I hope to attend.

A decent interview with Damien Hirst can be found here at


1 Response to “At the Portland Art Museum”

  1. 1 Aries August 8, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Superstition looks nice. I’d like to see the butterfly wings for myself one day.

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