Wednesday, November 19, 2014

JULON PINKSTON + ERICA STEPHENS

Julon Pinkston - Candy Forest

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

When heading towards the Design District after visiting galleries from Deep Ellum, one commercial space bridges the gap of worthy art locations in the middle of downtown Dallas, and that is R02 Gallery. The gallery has hosted some pretty wild shows of late, like their cluttered pottery show and show titled CHAOS, which was an explosion of random small works on the wall. In fact, Julon Pinkston and Erica Stephens both had small pieces in that show before this current exhibition paired them up. Their show has been up for a month and closes down this weekend, but I think the Luscious pair of aritsts’ paintings are a worthy visit.

I have a time trying to find a place to park nearby the gallery, but I could always use the walk, so a block away is nothing to complain about. At the gallery, unlike the last few shows, the space feels cleared out and each art piece is given enough room to demand your attention. Julon Pinkston shows paintings that almost feel alive with thick paint that is surely still drying. Many of his globs of paint remind you of candy or icing on cake. If you told me six years ago, while we were both at UNT, that Pinkston would be making paintings like these, I would not have believed you. The groundwork of this development into abstract in Pinkston’s case comes from his understanding of the representational object. In grad school he was creating realistic charcoal drawings of objects found on the side of the road. As individual parts, each object was rendered realistically, but as a whole, they became abstract. Now I see his paintings and I can’t help but think realistic content is still being pulled in to make these abstract images. Pinkston was simulating tape and stickers with his paint, but then he got bolder with his paintings. Abandoning strong visual references for an all over feeling. Candy Forest is one of those paintings that gives you the impression that it is a muddy mess, but then the painting pulls you in and make you want to touch and taste it. Grackles in Flight on an Alabama Night remind me of Charlotte Smith’s early works of populated paint drips on works, only Pinkston has allowed his to go wild and woolly.

The other dynamic in the duo show is Erica Stephens. She has a long history on the Dallas art scene with a brief time away at grad school. She was busy hanging out with the cool kids of Oh6 Collective at UT Dallas while I was working on a humanities masters there. They were an inspirational group and I saw several of their shows. Stephens continues exploring aesthetic boundaries with her Frosted Florals series. It is rare to make a painting that manages to be in imposto style while remaining flat because of her color choices, but a work like Unidentified Poppy manages this masterfully. It reminded of faded wallpaper, but clearly the thick paint stands in contradiction. The Ladies Biedermeirer: The Erica is one of a few small piece with flat elements and globs of paint. The globs make the paintings of flat flowers feel off kilter or spoiled. For me, Stephens pushes the garish and goodie into an aesthetically interesting experience.

This is the last weekend for Erica Stephens and Julon Pinkston, yet surely R02 will throw them into a few more shows. They would be crazy not to. Luscious ends October 12th.

Erica Stephens has an interesting Blog about art.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

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