Saturday, June 01, 2013

EX LIBRIS at Talley Dunn Gallery

Linda Ridgway - Red Bird, 2008
Bronze and silk - 3 x 7 ½ x 7 ½ inches repost where I wrote . . .

When I dropped by Talley Dunn Gallery, I made a bee-line to the back gallery because I knew this was a group show about words or implied use of language. I wasn't disappointed with works by Vernon Fisher, Joseph Havel, Linda Ridgway, Matthew Sontheimer, Erick Swenson, and Xiaoze Xie; it was clear that conceptual art would dominate the long space.

The ideas behind conceptual art have evolved over the years, but if you want an example of movement. His painting titled “Under the Deep, Deep Sea,” simulates a black board look and harkens back to the day when schools used chalk to convey ideas to students. Fisher has rubbed out some pictures and then drew over with new images. The pictures of sea creatures read like a lesson plan interrupted. He leaves nothing to explaining the images we see. Fisher also has a map inspired grid piece in the show, where Pop elements have crept into the composition. “Jocko at Dover,” like his other work in the show, leaves me with more questions than answers. For me, this makes for a great place to be when looking at art.

Joseph Havel’s show in Houston was a real treat of heavy concept works, and those who missed the show can see a small portion though his cast polyurethane resin sculpture of books, piled up in a tower. These books imply the text which has been emptied out into clear resin forms. The books have been converted into objects, inaccessible as books, but reimaged as an art piece. I have heard James Joyce’s novel Ulysses described as an art object rather than a book, and I think Havel’s approach is a visual equivalent in scope and goal.

I can’t get enough of Linda Ridgway’s work. Ridgway’s sculptures are lacy, yet not delicate, because she uses stiff bronze to make her objects. And even when her text is not obscured, as is the case with her drawing; the meanings of the words seem to be open to interpretation. For me, a story is implied in each piece, like a fragment poem from an ancient text. Xiaoze Xie also reflects on unclear information, but through conventional painted depictions of decayed books.

It was nice to see Matthew Sontheimer’s meandering maze of mischief text, which was full of his personal process thinking. And I would like to thank Erick Swenson for putting me back in my snail shell mood. The only real odd person out seemed to be Julie Bozzi. On its own merit it was an interesting concept of creating plain air works, but for me, the images didn’t seem to fit the concept of the rest of the show. The exhibition is up another weekend, until February 23rd when it comes down, so get over there and see a good group show. for more images.

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