In between projects we do our best to keep an eye on the local art scene and catch as many exhibitions as we can. Texas has wonderful galleries that are showing everything from emerging artists to the established blue chip big hitters. I was in Dallas yesterday and an appointment of mine fell through, so I took the opportunity to stop by galleries and catch a few shows.
Isabella du Toit’s show TRUCE at Cris Worley Fine Arts
I was able to get an early peek at the show that will open tomorrow, Saturday the 18th, and run until December 30th.
Snippet of the show’s description: Isabelle du Toit’s finely detailed oil paintings of birds, insects and mammals, found on a stark deep background enhances the isolation and the fragility of these creatures. The artist starts each painting on a highly smooth and ground canvas, as to masterfully capture each stroke. Then, each animal is studied in the same academic manner as a biologist or ecologist. With each tuft of hair, vein, and patch of skin, all are meticulously captured in oil paint. The ever-present spotlight on her subjects both elevates their status, yet simultaneously alludes to an impending sense of encroachment. Within her work, Isabelle revels the overwhelming importance of animal conservation, and her desire to inform viewers about the vulnerability that many of these wild animals face.
Isabelle du Toit’s paintings in Truce hit a wonderful trifecta for art aficionados; there is the predator-prey commentary, animal lovers will instantly connect with the subject matter, and fans of photo-realism will marvel at her insanely detailed work.
I particularly enjoyed the predator-prey relationship in each painting. An Ibis standing calmly while snails crawl on its beak and up its leg. A wolf and a fox cuddled up next to each other. A ram and a snow leopard staring out at the viewer, as if to ask what the big deal is.
This is du Toit’s seventh time to show at Cris Worley Fine Arts.
BUILDERS group show at Circuit 12 Contemporary
I stopped by Circuit 12 and was able to catch the gallery's owner, Dustin Orlando, who was kind enough to give me a tour through the current show.
Snippet from the shows description: Builders brings together artists Katie Bell, Matt Kleberg, Keith Allyn Spencer, Marilyn Jolly, Alex Ebstein and Brad Tucker. Through traditional and expanded modes of painting, these artists consider building a crucial element of their process. Paintings peel and bulge off the wall, or recede into illusionistic spaces of the surface. Their works focus on the formal, but they often allude to moments of narrative, wit, and humor. Each artist acknowledges tropes of abstractionists throughout history, while forging their own visual language within the contemporary dialogue of painting.
Circuit 12 is always a fun stop for me because they represent and show emerging and mid-career artists who really have innovative approaches to the mediums they are working in; including new media works. During my tour of the show, Dustin mentioned the gallery is planning a show of solely new media pieces in the near future.
I really liked the hand-cut yoga mat pieces by Alex Ebstein, they are fun and whimsical works that are a commentary on the artist’s relationship with her body and the world around her. I also liked the large site-specific installation work by New York artist Katie Bell. All her work is done with found objects she gets from around the site she will be assembling them; her work questions material as our visual language, why we discard it, and how we construct and build structures around us.
Builders runs through the end of November.
JOHN ADELMAN - DRAWING: ATTN at Holly Johnson Gallery
My last stop was to catch John Adelman’s show at Holly Johnson Gallery.
Snippet from the show’s description: In Drawing: Attn Adelman continues to explore the material qualities of ink. Accumulative and compulsive, his compositions are strictly defined by a series of rules the artist sets for himself. The works are diverse in scale, subject, and resources, and all created in a formula driven manner. The use of gel ink and the excessive layering of it produce rich, luxuriant surfaces transcending the utilitarian material. With his use of unconventional materials and his meticulous method, Adelman's work could easily be dismissed or overly simplified, if it weren't for the understated beauty in the results.
Before I saw this show, I already liked it; I am a fan of an artist prescribing a set of rules for a series. When I did see the show, the pieces did not disappoint. They reminded me a lot of Emil Lukas’ thread works – the pieces pull you in the same manner, making you get up close to see just what is actually happening on the surface.
Drawing: Attn is up until December 23rd.
Three great shows; go see them while they are up!
Now, it’s back to the office and the stack of appraisals that need to be completed.