Jennifer Chenoweth - Fringes
A few weeks ago, I made the rounds on the Austin Studio Tour. I was in a show across the way from Wells Mason Gallery, so I had the pleasure of visiting the space a few times. I was able to take my time with each art work and really consider each piece. The current show has art by Jennifer Chenoweth, Larry Graeber, Jim Huntington, and Wells Mason.
Jennifer Chenoweth's paintings first caught my attention. The patterns and colors seemed familiar like an old friend and I connected to them because of the balance of imagery along with boldness of colors. The gestures seemed quick, but well trained in execution. The flat sculptures on the wall are cut rusted metal, but almost look naturally rusted as if they had fallen off of some old farm equipment. The drawings hinted to some of the elements in the sculpture and paintings. Clearly these drawings are a foundation of all her work.
Jim Huntington had several stone pieces that looked to be from an unknown ancient civilization. The piece, “A Leg to Stand On,” had precarious imbalance that made you want to come in close and see part of the stone hover. The counter balance part of the stone contrasted in size and texture. This part of the rock looked un-carved and rough, while the other smaller side was smooth. Although these works are somewhat small, filling a table space, I see them as having the same quality as that of monuments, because their presence implies the commemoration of something great.
Larry Graeber’s off kilter geometric paintings were loose and free. The paint was thick and Graeber was uninterested in creating a hard edge, but rather he wanted to show a more process and paint piece. Graeber’s sculptures were mimicking functionality through a quirky weird aesthetic that fits Austin persona.
Wells Mason also shows his work in the gallery space. He produces unique functional objects that maintain a lot of sculptural properties. His furniture is expressive and well crafted, but his purely sculptural objects really caught my attention. In the tradition of minimalists like Donald Judd, Mason keeps the work simple, but Mason steps away for the past through painting the surface and adding geometric space, hidden between his forms. His sculptures only allow for a side view of his painted shapes, so naturally occurring perspective always obscures the shapes.
Wells Mason is not only an intellectual craftsman and artist; he is also concerned about other artists and their pursuits. He promotes artists though his gallery, but also through photographing artists and their works. The gallery is open to the public by appointment.
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