Thursday, September 05, 2013

NATURE REDEFINED at Read Contemporary Dallas

Andre Yi - Sequoia
Acrylic, Gouache and Prismacolor on Canvas
40" x 46" repost of my article

The growth of the gallery scene in the Design District has continued to explode with art venues sprouting and populating around Dragon Street. Read Contemporary is a relatively new comer and their offerings are definitely unique to Dallas. If you look at a Google map of art galleries near Sydney, Australia then you will find a plethora of Aboriginal art galleries. In Dallas, I would imagine that the Read Contemporary stands as a unique outpost for Aboriginal art. Much like Pan America Gallery once represented far reaching artists of all the Americas, the Read Contemporary lets us visit the creative energies of Australia.

However, if you want to see the Aboriginal artists’ work, you will have to sneak in the backroom, or wait for another time, because this summer there is a group show about nature which features a different style of artists. Susan Baik organized a diverse group of artists working in different modes of expression, but they are woven with the thread of nature inspired works.

One of the most stunning series of works was by Manfred Menz. The subtraction of man made objects from his photography left scars of those structures in such a way that the human footprint could not be ignored, even if the actual objects are unseen. Menz uses to language of minimal space, while managing to interject our imagination to almost fill that missing information with our own iconic memories. The piece, Eiffel Tower, Paris 2003 is a lambda print 44 inches by 34 inches. A simple row of flowers are planted in a row at the bottom of the piece, while a large white area insists that something is very much present, only Menz makes us work for our aesthetic experience. James Buss also used minimal space, but more as a framing device for a nicely detailed acrylic and graphite piece on aluminum.

Pontus Willfors carved wood forms that are really just invented objects to look like natural tree parts. It would seem like a contradiction and a lot of trouble to carve another tree out of wood, but Willfors is not really doing anything different than an artist that paints a tree on canvas. Conceptually, both are observing the natural and then creating an artificial representation. Willfors, however, might be more aware of the absurd and apparently worthy venture in trying to recreate the natural.

Andre Yi was another artist that caught my attention. I think the smash between the digital inspired geometric objects and the organic natural shapes clashed nicely. The paint hues were muted uniform colors that reminded me of the VGA screens of my forgotten PC clone days. Chad Attie, Matthew May, Greg Rose, Chris Trueman, and Devon Tsuno are also mixing it up in the show titled Nature Redefined. With a well curated show up right now and the added collection of Aboriginal artists, it looks like Read Contemporary has the potential of being a positive player in the Dallas art gallery scene. for more images.

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