Saturday, April 22, 2017

MEANDERING, ABSTRACTLY

Installation View

ModernDallas.net re-post (link)

Across from the Dallas Contemporary is a gallery space named Gallerie Frank Elbaz. Originally out of Paris, the gallery brings voice to some familiar and unfamiliar artists to Dallas. Their current show of Meandering, Abstractly mesmerized me. I was not acquainted with any of the artists in the show, but I made a quick study of each person, because their works so captivated my interest.

I didn’t know much about the French artist Martin Barré, so this was an introduction to his work. He moved from abstract expression like mark making to minimalist compositions. He seemed to be very sparse in his choices in his early work, so minimalism seems an easy transition. Although he lived in France, you would think the work was made in New York, because so much of his work seemed to mirror what was going on in the US. Another artist in the show is an American in Paris, Sheila Hicks who was also working in abstract art, but with textiles. Back when textiles were still not looked at by critics as “high art,” Hick broke ground along with others to bring textiles out of the purely craft world and into the art world. Another French abstract artist in the show is Bernard Piffaretti, who makes quite minimal paintings that feel a bit unfinished. Piffaretti colors can be pretty wild and his simplistic shapes and forms looked like they were made yesterday. I have seen so much work that looks like Piffaretti paintings by young artists, it makes me think that their is not point look at them when you got the originator of the style still making works right now.

Julije Knifer paintings and graphite drawings was the big attraction for me. In fact, I was told by Angela Kallus that I had to go see his drawings. I talked to Kallus, who was at Circuit 12 Contemporary on the last day of the Union Pacific show, which she had an epic flower painting/relief sculpture. I can see why she was so taken by the work, because the graphite drawings accentuated the rough, bumpy surface of the paper Knifer used. Like me, Kallus has an appreciation for subtle textures.

Mangelos aka Dimitrije Bašičević was from Yugoslavia and died before the breakup. But his work was more of a shake up of the communist authority that once ruled the country. He was an abstract/DADA artist the must have went against the grain of the people in power, but he managed to carry on. I think he might be more important if a few more scholars start tackling his work. Maybe a few museums need to explore a show of his work and flush out where he fits into the art conversation.

Gallerie Frank Elbaz show Meandering, Abstractly was curated by Artforum contributor Paul Galvez and will be up through March 25th.

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