Thursday, June 06, 2013

ANDREW BLANTON at Oliver Francis Gallery

Installation View repost where I wrote ...

This has been one of the best months for shows in while, so I just couldn’t muse about everyone I wanted to write about. The Caravaggio of Dallas, and Michael Tole had quite possibly the most stunning paintings that activate the Conduit Gallery with an orgy of flesh and movement. Then there were the poetically visual paintings and installation piece by Paul Booker. Cris Worley Fine Art has a great display of his visually fluid works. However, both shows are coming down March 30th, this Saturday. These two are very familiar to me and I have seen quite a few shows by them. So, this week I was out to see something new and I was pretty sure Oliver Francis Gallery might provide that experience.

I drove the wrong way down the street, parked illegally, braved some traffic crossing the street, and I was greeted by the crowd that had earlier waved to me to turn around. This was my first visit to Oliver Francis Gallery, which has been on my list for a while, because of so much buzz about the space. The gallery is a small, well-worn space. It features several small rooms, but plenty room to navigate around the crowd. The place reminds me of a few galleries I frequented on 2nd street in Philadelphia.

The current show is featuring the new media work of Andrew Blanton. Work your way into the space to see a pedestal with a sculpted object displayed. Immediately, I thought the work was 3D printed and I confirmed this through some conversations. I didn’t notice, but there are cameras watching you as you look at this object in the room. You only discover this through visiting the backroom, where you become the observer of the other gallery visitors. These four screens are the only light source. The small screens are those cheap black and white televisions you might find in the surveillance booth of a store. It was a nice creepy feeling to know you were being observed and then become the observer of the crowd.

The middle room was a light show projected around the room and on ceiling suspended screens. The lights moved to the music and patters and shapes formed. A little like a screen saver, only taken up a few thousand notches. And the music made the piece. Blanton says, “The audio was extracted directly from the viz. using a process of sonification, so everything was realtime.” It is no wonder that he is going to be a resident at STEIM (the STudio for Electro-Instrumental Music) in Amsterdam this spring.

So, is this work spectacle, like you might find at the Dallas Contemporary. No, I think Andrew Blanton draws you in to a strong philosophical and ethical questioning space. This was more than just a visual and audio experience, but a feast for the mind. I spent a great deal of time contemplating the show as a whole and it left me with more questions and a hunger to see more by Blanton. This is Andrew Blanton’s MFA show from UNT and the show titled “Panopics” will only be up until April 6th, so make an appointment with Oliver Francis Gallery right away and see this work. Go in a group if you can. for more images.

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