Casey Williams - Untitled D - 2012 - 48X48 inches
Last weekend was incredibly fun with lots of stops around the Dallas area. But there were only a few places I wanted to linger and really absorb the art. One such stop was Holly Johnson Gallery with the photos of Casey Williams (Casey passed January 1st of West Nile virus, our thought and prayers are with his family) and drawings by Randy Twaddle.
Casey Williams’ photographs were a real shift from his images of the sea and ships. I have always thought that Williams was attempting to allude to the language of painting, particularly abstract artists such as Rothko or Louis Morris. These sea works were atmospheric and used strong minimalist lines, but in this show it would seem that Williams has fully embraced photography for its own sake. It seems to point to painting or any mode of art production other than the photo as its own process and language.
This embrace of the form makes for a major shift in Williams’ work. One “Untitled” piece shows rusted pipes and metal structures, and in this image is a depth of field effect where images blur and distort bases of the function of the camera. In older works I have seen, it seems Williams hid this effect of the camera, but in this body of work he embraces it.
Randy Twaddle is showing his coffee and ink drawings in the front gallery. These works on paper are informally hung with tacks, but instead of detracting from the aesthetic, somehow it made the work more approachable. After all, many of the drawing were massive or had the presence of monuments. Twaddle took them down a peg, and reassured us that these drawings are open and free, not stuffy and formal. Look at how he uses dark and light coffee spills across the paper so effortlessly. These organic forms mirror the darkest of black ink drawn power lines in the foreground.
Randy Twaddle is another artist that has made an interesting transition. His highly well rendered word drawing on ribbon seems strongly rooted in conceptual art, but Twaddle has poured out some of the heaviness in favor of spontaneity and high contrast. The conceptual art is still there, only more subversive and subtle. One could see this work through the lens of geopolitical politics. What is Twaddle saying about the industry of coffee and power companies? Another lens could be social. What is Twaddle saying about power lines polluting our visual experience of the sky? Just all kinds of questions began to pop in my head, which tells me Twaddle is doing something very interesting and thought provoking.
Holly Johnson has two artists that have developed some new directions in their works. My heart goes out to Cssey Willimas' family and I want them to know that his current show was a wonderful experience. Casey Williams’ work will be up until February 16th and Randy Twaddle will have his drawings up until March 16th.
ModernDallas.net for more images.