Tuesday, July 22, 2014

ON YOUR MARK: OPUS I

Robert Lansden, Shadows III, 2013,
gouache on paper, 22 x 22 inches


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

Summer seems to be the perfect time for galleries to bring out a group of artists from their stable and then put on a group show. Summer is also a good time for galleries to test the waters on a few new artists or new work by a particular artist the gallery represents. A gallery can create a similar feeling you might get at an art fair booth. The fair circuit seems to encourage the galleries to show as many artists as they can in a small space, which is fine, but I tend to get a visual overload without the breaks in between spaces. Gallery hopping has a complete different effect. Sure you don’t get the exposure of the international galleries showing head to head with the local galleries, but you do get a nice visual break. A gallery can also be a little more bold in their groups shows, because they own the space. Cris Worley Fine Art played her part in doing the ever present summer group show, but with some interesting surprises.

Robert Lansden’s paintings greet you as you walk into the front space. His purples were so rich and made of little dashes, organized in beautiful geometry. Simple, complex, and time consuming; all the aspects of a powerful abstract art piece. Lansden’s works are smaller than someone like Robert Mangold, but Lansden’s painting has similar presence. I saw a perfect balance of minimalism with obsessive mark making. Those little dashes reminded me of the visual effect created by the painted dots of color which fill space on Turkish Chini pottery.

Anne Allen used the gallery walls as a drawing surface for her installation. Allen’s drawing hugged the corner of the second gallery space. I kept returning to these wonderful marks. I understand it took several days to complete. Anne Allen can draw on my walls any day. Paul Booker shows a familiar painting, but still always worth mentioning. I was very happy to see the return of Murielle White. She presented a drawing that manages to feel empty and busy, simultaneously. Contradictions in an art piece can either destroy or enrich the work. White succeeds in enhancing the experience through little marks that build, but trail off to quite spaces.

Cris Worley took a risk on some new talent. Francisco Mroeno had a painting of an eagle made with dash marks that felt more like a drawing than a painting. I will admit, I was completely perplexed by the work as a single object in a group show. I couldn’t quite understand what made the work engaging, until I did a little research. In Mroeno’s case, being part of a group show pulled his work out of context from the rest of his aims. It feels Mroeno is tapping into a deadpan Post Modern irony in his work. But this is not made abundantly clear without supporting work.

Other artists in the show include: Shannon Cannings, Maysey Craddock, Isabelle du Toit, Celia Eberle, Simeen Farhat, Greta Gundersen, Paul Manes, Shayne Murphy, Rusty Scruby, and Kelli Vance. You only have another day to see the show, but the upcoming show on the 28th of June will feature the first solo show of artist Kristen Cliburn at Cris Worley Fine Arts. Cilburn is a Houston artist that paints really upbeat works that feel atmospheric as a Rothko. I look forward to seeing these incredibly sublime works. 

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