Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Donald Martiny - Installation View

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

Although it is on the outer edge of the Design District, I always find time to head over to Galleri Urbane to take a peek. Up for less than a week, their current show of color and marks comes together in two solo shows by Jessica Snow and Donald Martiny.

Jessica Snow is working in familiar territory. Several current artists come to mind that are working in a similar vein as Snow. For example, “Amplitude III,” with the dripped down effects and the overlapping lines gave me a vague recollection of Dion Johnson’s paintings. “Dot...Dot...Dot…” seems to allude to Damien Hirst’s dots series. Snow manages to distinguish her work with slight irregular shapes that make the work less machine age and a little more human. Snow brings an informal quality that feels more fun than stuffy. I am reminded of Peter Davies’ 1997 “The Hot One Hundred” painting when I look at Snow “Color Stack.” I don’t believe Snow is concerned with the unattainable goal of being solely original. I believe she is more interested in further developing the investigation in color and simple shapes.

Donald Martiny’s sculptural paintings help to further lay waste to the idea that the impromptu mark making is the purest form of expression. His forms are giant simulated gesture marks of the brush. I am reminded of Roy Lichtenstein’s large illustrated brush stroke sculptures. Lichtenstein was of course critiquing the automatic painting styles of the Abstract Expressionist. Martiny further extends this conversation through his own images. In line with the AbEx artists, most together seemed to imply a larger work. Breaking the rectangle and letting the stimulated paint stroke hang free from a frame also critiques the limits many artists allow in their work. Martiny uses just one color in each work, which leaves a clean look that does not detract from the gesture mark. I am rarely a fan of the impasto style, but Donald Martiny makes it easy to make an exception.

Jim and Mary Lynn are glass artists. They were in the process of rebuilding their equipment, so we didn’t get to see anything blown, but they were a pleasure to meet. The objects impressed my travel companions in the back of the bus so much, they took some pieces home. We left the compound for our last stop at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery.

Better known as PDNB, we sat down to some Central Market sandwiches, fruit, and wine. The gallery’s main show was William Eggleston and artists in his circle and other artists influenced by his color photography. Back when everyone was using black and white, because it was so much “more artistic,” William Eggleston and some contemporaries in the South started to prove that color photography had as much merit as black and white. Anyone lacking a bit in photography history could still appreciate Eggleston’s photos, because of the context created from PDNB curation of the show.

Snow’s work was flat and colorful, while Martiny’s was like cake frosting with eye contrast. And as always, the back room is filled with a collection of their other artists. The shows come down October 7th.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

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