Thursday, August 21, 2014


Cat Rigdon - Genghis Khan - Multi-media 16 x 18 inches re-post of my article

Last week I wrote about galleries taking risks and one of those risks I mentioned was a gallery risking a show on an untested curator. Well, Adrian Zuniga of Galleri Urbane may not be completely untested, because he has jointly worked on several shows at the gallery during his two year tenure. However, this was his first solo curated exhibition for the gallery and I think he tapped into the aesthetic mission of the gallery quite nicely.

Adrian Zuniga’s concept was to stage and jury Texas artists through an email submission process which lasted three weeks. The gallery advertised several places to capture a broad range of artists. They received about 90 submissions, and from that Zuniga created a short list of 25. From that point, he started curating a show of artists that would fit well together in the two front gallery spaces. This process helped him reach 11 artists he wanted to show. The artists also delivered more than was exhibited in the show, so Zuniga was able to curate each individual artists work with care and consideration. Zuniga pointed out to me that some artists in the show could convey their ideas in a single work, while other artists required two or more pieces to help the viewer fully develop an appreciation for the works. Although Zuniga was sole curator, he still had to make the argument to everyone else at the gallery and the public at large that these were worthy selections.

So who was in the show? Cat Rigdon for one, and she came off as clever, and fun. She had pieces that played with consumerism packaging, crafty stitching, sometimes messages that read like twitter feeds, and a bunch of other random mess that made every one of her pieces charming. Zuniga was wise to pick several pieces of hers for the show. I might not have been so charmed if Rigdon only had had one piece. Josephine Durkin’s collages were in the same room as Rigdon, and I felt the work complimented each other. Durkin’s work has flowing lines that seem made from random images and textures, but contained by the paper and the frame. Isabella Bur’s large paper works with small labels also reflected consumerism, but more inline with the throw away culture. It took me a while to enter these pieces by Bur, but the more I reflect upon the work, the more I am engaged with her use of all that blank space and two tiny used up objects. These works are almost museums in and of themselves to the objects on display.

Zuniga’s curation took a different direction the second gallery, which had a little more focus on street art sensibility. More spray can or expressionist mark making populated the space. Jay Giroux’s Christopher Wool type paintings used spray cans and text. Bryan Ryden created a messy dark piece with a kind of street painted cloud shape. I connected to this dark and brooding piece with a small, optimistic yellow cloud. Eli Walker also used the can and thick paint to create a web like image. Dylan Jones was odd person out in the room, but fit the overall Galleri Urbane aesthetics quite nicely. I feel Jones might be playing a bit with Donald Judd’s boxes by slapping a shipping sticker on his work. This simulated sticker is in the tradition of Pop art. Jones makes the label absurdly large, the way Koons would make a huge balloon animal. I’m sure Judd would be rolling in his grave.

Kelly Kroener, Samantha McCurdy, and Liz Rodda offered low to the ground sculptures, which I admit I didn’t give as much time as they probably deserved. Owen Drysdale also had a piece that I didn’t give my full attention. But I will keep them on my list of who to watch and maybe they will capture my attention at the next show. It is so hard to shine in a group show and I think Adrian Zuniga gave a valiant effort in giving each artist the space they needed to draw us into their work. This Saturday, August 9th // 5-7pm is a closing reception with the show ending on August 15th. for more images.

No comments: