Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Annabel Daou, Wheel of Fortune #4, 2013, ink & repair tape on paper, 27x21" re-post of my article

Conduit Gallery once again packs in some thought provoking artists at their space. Annabel Daou, Marcely McNeil, and Maja Ruznic each have a very distinctive voice in their work. It was kind of jarring, yet exciting to walk from one room to the next. My first visit was opening night where you could feel the energy of the crowd with the work, but I can assure you that energy has not drained after the event.

Annabel Daou’s text art is the first work you encounter. She has filled the room with written poems in framed works on paper. She also has several rhythmic chants framed and part of a wall installation. The installation crisscrosses and meanders around with little letters of handwritten red text. Daou has scribed out, “I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, I am without a kingdom,” but unfortunately for me, my dyslexia was kicking in and I read “I resign,” which of course confused me. Luckily I had a friend with me, and he asked what she meant by, “I shall reign?” With that question, I was instantly able to elate to her idea. I felt her feelings of anticipation of the future, her feeling of being in the moment, then that moment of reflection, and finally that moment of loss. Thank goodness for friends to help me clarify things with a good question.

Marcelyn McNeil’s playful abstractions grace the walls of the second gallery. I had encountered McNeil’s work down in Houston a while back and at Conduit before, but this show in particular struck me and I believe this is a strong development of her previous work. The exploration of mass and line feels like a kind to portrait rather than the traditional landscape abstraction approach. Her paintings contain hard-edge style, but within and without those lines are loose and playful strokes. McNeil even blasts a few canvases with spray paint, yet she avoids the trappings of making her work about the graffiti language. Instead, her application of spray paint aids her abstraction and composition in a more formal painting language.

At the opening, I listened in to Maja Ruznic talk about her process, and I started to see how her drips and splotches started to become figures. Her work was in the small project gallery space where Ruznic displayed her very funky watercolors. I admit, I was a little turned off by them at first. These are very brutish works, but as she described how she teased out the face and then body parts from each paint mark, I began to see the charm and challenge behind such work.

Annabel Daou’s show titled Measure, Marcely McNeil’s show titled Reshuffle, and Maja Ruznic’s show titled Like Little Miracles They Shimmered will be up through March 29th at the Conduit Gallery. for more images

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