REVIEW: Dallas Gallery Day
April 23, 2021 - Todd Camplin for moderndallas
I have been on a week-long state of euphoria after spending time seeing so much art during Dallas Gallery Day. Take out all the driving, and I had the feeling I was at a mini art fair. The Dallas Art Fair opened up their gallery space, which reinforced my feelings. So many familiar faces, with masks, moved in and out of the art spaces. The Dallas art scene was opening up again. Almost everyone had a vaccine story to tell. I don’t think I met a single person that hadn’t had one or two. The galleries worked the crowds to flow around with respectful distance. Thankfully, the weather was great, so there were moments you could talk outside if things felt too crowded.
I went to And Now, Barry Whistler, Conduit, Cris Worley, Erin Cluley, Ex Ovo, Galleri Urbane, Gallery 12 26, Holly Johnson, Kirk Hopper, Liliana Bloch, PDNB, RO2, and 500X. I still didn’t get to see every space on my list. Now that crowds are gone, this weekend would be an excellent opportunity to see some of these great shows. Swing by Liliana Bloch to see Vince Jones play with Duchamp aesthetics and Dada sensibly while updating these ideas to reflect contemporary concerns. These are thought-provoking pieces, and I was happy to find out that Jones was part of the Nasher window program. He was selected as one of the artists to help engage the community while we all were on lockdown.
Kirk Hopper exhibited a group show. Matthew Bourbon had several paintings in the middle of the gallery. At first glance, these look like abstract rocks or boulders. I continued to look closer, and Bourbon’s image retains a kind of symbolically figurative element. These objects have characters, and you get a sense of the story in these works. Bryan Florentin’s two photos of things in storage just floored me. I got lost in these photos. I rarely look at an image and think that everything is perfect and all things fit entirely, yet Florenine manages to accomplish the impossible. Old videos, magazines stacked, and building material all flow harmoniously like an elegant sculpture.
David Aylsworth replaced my recent show at Holly Johnson Gallery. I was fortunate enough to talk to him about his battle with paint on canvas. He paints, paints over parts, eliminated areas of color until the painting finally emerges from his editing. The texture is left behind as a record of his work towards a final composition. Next door at Cris Worley, Joshua Hagler will draw you into his haunting paintings of the night. Hagler creates emotionally heavy images that fall into abstraction. If you are into rich use of paint, David and Joshua’s shows are a must-see.
Conduit featured embroideries by Susie Phillips in the project space. I was with artist Marcelyn McNeil and artist Howard Sherman at the time, and we couldn’t seem to leave the room. We debated and talked about several pieces. We engaged Conduit’s owner and director, Nancy Whitenack, with questions about the work. Each scan of the wall uncovered a new gem by Suie Phillips.
Gallery week might be over, but all these shows are still on display. If you are afraid to go out, just know the art galleries are extremely easy for social distancing. If you go nowhere else in public, it is time to emerge and give the art galleries a go.
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