Monday, March 24, 2014

Between Oak and Mulberry

Tudor Mitroi re-post of my article

Once again, Vincent Falsetta curates a fascinating group of artists. Of course, he had a deep pool of artists to pick from, because this was an University of North Texas alumni show. Norwood Flynn Gallery hosted these 8 artists; Tudor Mitroi, Jessica McCambly, John Oliver Lewis, Lori Giesler, Rachel Fisher, Hanna Kim, Julie Trinh, and Max Morris. Each contribute unique voices worth your attention.

I had the pleasure of visiting Rachel Fisher’s studio on the UNT campus a few months ago and I was excited to see her progress in her MFA program. Her undergraduate paintings were fleshy figures with strong narrative structures. Now her stories are less clear, mysterious, and a little shocking. I feel her complexity is reaching new heights with each work. I traveled the MFA program with Lori Giesler, and while there her falling figures were strange but with a straightforward realistic approach. This new work feels more youthful, chaotic, and exciting. I think Giesler has found a good, fresh angle for her subject matter.

When I was in Houston I encountered Tudor Mitroi’s shaped paintings that made reference to maps and borders and I am always excited to see more of his work. Jessica McCambly is another artists I have seen. When I was down in Austin, there was a great show about patterns at greyDuck, and McCambly’s work was organic and oddly natural. Like crystals growing, McCambly’s art feels like natural processes taking over her surfaces. Not to mention, she also frequently showed at 500x gallery when she was an active member.

I was unfamiliar with the other four artists, so I would like to thank Falsetta for introducing me to them. John Oliver Lewis’ gloopy, globby looking ceramics are playful in shape and color. At first glance, Hanna Kim’s painting is classic AbEx, but on closer inspection, the thick crafted, painted shapes are worlds apart from those artists from last mid-century. When I see Maxwell Morris’s paintings, I am reminded a bit of paper marbling. Strong repetition in marks with elements that appear to randomly permeate Morris’s paintings. Julie Trinh’s frayed paper over other strips of paper mounted on board would be incredibly festive, if the colors were not so bleak. But her colors are what make these works so punchy, and the feeling of decay and weather worn look also gives her image weight.

Norwood Flynn Gallery’s presentation of “Between Oak and Mulberry,” will run through March 1st. And ask any UNT art graduate about the title’s meaning and many will have their own story to tell. for more articles

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