Friday, April 27, 2012

Darke Gallery group show

Kathryn Kelley
A repost from my art reviews in Houston in September 2011

Darke Gallery is rerunning a few “best of” artists from the Texas Biennial. The program starts October 14th and runs through November 19th (my birthday). The exhibition will include Matthew Bourbon, Catherine Colangelo, Kathryn Kelley, Richard Martinez, Marcelyn McNeil, Kia Neill, and Hillerbrand + Magsamen. This is really quite a diverse group of artists in medium and in approach, but yet I can see a strange feeling of similar aesthetics.

Matthew Bourbon, a professor and painter at UNT, wasn’t the reason I went to UNT, but he should have been. His paintings are a mesh of the digital referenced world where corruptive lines in images combine with the dramatic stories of people or one person moving through some kind of ambiguous action. Bourbon’s paintings mystify you with their strange stories, but I am really quite taken by his use of abstract lines and colors that seem to edit out parts of the picture like a government released document. Something is always marked out and leaves you guessing. Hillerbrand and Magsamen also use mystery and myth in their photographs to tell some very strange tales. I enjoy how domestic junk seems to overtake some of the images.

Kathryn Kelley takes rubber and makes it into a kind of fleshy object that feels alive and between breaths. Her work creeps up the walls, across the floor, above your head. No space is safe from her menacingly sublime sculptures. Richard Martinez’s hard edge minimal paintings reference shapes of furniture or mirrors. It also feels sublime, but Martinez manages to change the meditative game of minimal paintings by playing with the shape of the canvas. Martinez seems to lessen the seriousness of minimal art. Marcelyn McNeil’s abstract work is also minimal, but with on real sarcasm like Martinez. McNeil is more interested in the serious aspects of abstraction, but no less sublime than Kelley and Martinez. I think McNeil’s art work is the kind of abstract painting that I would love to live with and get to know better.

I really enjoy the drawings of Kia Neill. The drawings match the naturalistic sculptural displays Neill creates, and Catherine Colangelo makes nice folk art. I hope you get to see Darke Gallery’s presentation of “If you didn’t get to Austin to see the Texas Biennial” rewind show, which will open the 14th of October and run through November 19th.

For more images of the show go to

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