Wednesday, September 04, 2013

NATASHA BOWDOIN at Talley Dunn Gallery

Untitled (Book of Nature 2), 2013,
gouache and ink on cut paper, 37 x 57 inches,
image courtesy of the artist and Talley Dunn Gallery repost of my article

August and art exhibitions don’t usually mix. Gallery after gallery were tearing down shows, hanging shows before they went on vacation, or even extending shows into September. You see the rise of more interns for those galleries that are sticking around. Plus, there are a glut of group shows that vary in quality, but often take a little more risk than usual.

Talley Dunn Gallery was in the process of shuffling things around in their large back gallery space. The room looked similar to Craighead Green, which is collecting works for their upcoming New Texas Talent show, or like Circuit 12 gallery, which was installing a pop-up show and promptly shooed me out. However, Talley Dunn was finishing their installation of Natasha Bowdoin when I showed up, so I did get an opportunity to see a solo show this month.

Bowdoin is just coming off her time in the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, and it looks like it was time well spent. In many ways, I was transported back to the 1970’s where colors seem muted and earthy. The words on psychedelic concert posters moved like cartoon liquid across the composition. The idea of getting back to nature and living organically was taking root. To me, Bowdoin’s work seems to embody all these elements, but is synthesised with obsessive details and rhythmic patterns.

Bowdoin give out several clues to shapes she is interested in conveying in each piece, but you have take you time and not just glance at the work or you will miss her intent. Bowdoin hides text in the her images where you can read small segments or just see a few letters. This makes you wonder about her source material. She adds further mystery through cutting out objects, adhering the paper down into flowing organic shapes. The cut outs make the works feel a little like textiles, but maybe because the overall composition makes me allude to this idea. Some look floral or plant like in nature, and in her work Untitled 2 (Book of Nature) illustrated lips or maybe even seed-pod shapes populate the larger composition.

Bowdoin’s smaller cut-out pieces on square compositions used optical illusions to pull you away from book might build up a surface to create a feeling of dimensionality, Bowdoin’s work, though ever so slightly, invaded your space. I fought to ignore this layer, by moving in close to see the details. Her cut paper once again used little pieces of text to create pattern, while alluding to plant imagery to populate her spaces.

So, if you’re not on vacation like everyone else, then work your way up to mid town and see these drawings/sculptures. You have until September 9th, but speaking of sculptures and while you are in that part of town, don’t forget to drive down Henderson Street to see the recent installment of art populating the community. I again had the pleasure of being one of the judges and I think the project is really picking up steam. for more images.

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