Critic’s Picks: Dallas

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The Kleptomaniac, 2014, Jeff Zilm
Acrylic emulsion, gelatin emulsion on canvas
72″ x 54″
Photo: courtesy ANDNOW

Jeff Zilm is an abstract painter and a veritable film addict; his show at the relatively new ANDNOW Gallery will showcase this obsession with celluloid. Zilm uses 8, 16, and 35mm film stock as a starting point, subsequently breaking the material down with detergent in order to liquefy the emulsion and mix it with acrylic paint. This new medium is then used to paint large-scale abstract monochromes that have a moody and sublime character. He both sprays and brushes the emulsion onto canvas, forming an alternating surface texture that reveals hints of depth and layering. He reserves the material culled from a single reel to make one unique painting, this conceptually transforms the entire film into a new creation. In a way the painting is the movie, but in a new form. Something almost alchemical is at work here in the transformation from a perishable and fragile medium like film, which fades with time, into a painting that will survive for centuries assuming the proper conditions are maintained. Zilm undoubtedly wants the viewer to ponder the impending loss of countless films languishing in studio vaults that will never go through restoration and digital preservation; as such, his art signifies an intervention in film history. Jeff Zilm’s new work will be on view at ANDNOW gallery, April 16 – May 21, 2016.

Bloom, 2015, Natasha Bowdoin
Site-specific sculptural installation
Savannah College of Art and Design
Photo: courtesy of the artist and Talley Dunn Gallery

Words like ponderous and visually immersive aptly describe Natasha Bowdoin’s site-specific sculpture, which will be featured in an upcoming show at Talley Dunn Gallery. Her colorful wall sculptures composed of cut paper and latex have the power to pull the viewer down the rabbit hole, much like Alice, in Lewis Carroll’s story. His texts, among other writers’, have actually inspired previous pieces, as Bowdoin draws inspiration from literary works and seeks to explore their intersection with the visual realm. Her massive installations, verging on the abstract, will share the gallery with the intimate bronze sculptures of Linda Ridgway, whose art deals in memory and depictions of nature, and also finds inspiration in literature. Her unique cast bronze pieces are delicate, intricate formations derived from leaves, branches and reeds.

Little Bear, 2015
Linda Ridgway
Bronze in two parts, unique
18″ x 21″ x 9 1⁄2″
Photo: courtesy of the artist and Talley Dunn Gallery

Wall-mounted, these works often evoke emotional states, sometimes directly quoting the poetry of Robert Frost, for example. Where Ridgway’s influence can be found in modernist sculpture, specifically Giacometti, Bowdoin’s practice and techniques flow from the historical avant-garde’s desire to deconstruct language and uncover new contexts. As her work has expanded in scope in recent years, the literary text shows up less and less directly, suggesting the clear predominance of the visual; this is a show not to be missed.“Natasha Bowdoin: Spelboken” and “Linda Ridgway: The Sound of Trees,” can be seen at Talley Dunn Gallery, April 1 – May 14, 2016.

Looking at the Sun, 2016, Lynne Harlow
Acrylic paint on Plexiglas, 11 1⁄2″ x 18″ x 1⁄2″
Photo: courtesy Liliana Bloch Gallery

For an experience of brilliant color in three dimensions, look no further than Liliana Bloch Gallery, in the design district, where the sculpture of Lynne Harlow will be on view this April. Harlow arrives at her minimal and spare visual vocabulary through a process of reduction that suggests a kind of “less is more” sensibility. She considers her sculptures as both objects in themselves and as architectural interventions, in this case using the exterior wall of the gallery as the platform to install a site-specific design. At once colorful and spare, her pieces are intended to attract the eye in the formation of a visual dialogue that includes the interaction of light with the pieces and the spaces they occupy. Through the use of fluorescent plexiglass, vinyl, acrylic paint, and anodized aluminum, Harlow designs stunning installations that channel some elements of Minimalism and the interactive aspect of Op and Kinetic art. Visitors will experience a visual sensation that proceeds beyond the merely static one-point perspective in viewing art that demands to be seen through multiple lines of site. Perhaps this may include not only walking around a particular piece, but also inside or through it. Here, visitors to the gallery participate in a way that completes Harlow’s project. Lynne Harlow, “Hey Sunshine,” will be on view at Liliana Bloch Gallery, April 2 – May 7, 2016.

Mountain 119, 2014
Sybren Renema
Collage, 16 1⁄2″ x 23″
Photo: courtesy of the Artist and CYDONIA

A challenging exhibition that sets off the interplay between art and ideas resides in the work of Sybren Renema at Cydonia Gallery, also in the design district. This young gallery has logged a steady track record of mounting cut- ting edge shows by talented artists on an international scale. Renema, born in the Netherlands, now lives and works in Glasgow; he definitely fits the definition of a multi-disciplinary artist whose painting, drawing, video, and installation pieces tackle historical constructs like institutions, museums, science, and travel, through an obsession with the romantic century. Themes drawn from 19th-century Romanticism, like dream states, ruins, decay, hallucinogens, passion, and the bittersweet passing of time are Renema’s playground. For this exhibition he ruminates on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan (completed in 1797, published 1816) and the associated use of opium that played a part in its creation. Through casting 800-1000 life-size ceramic poppies he puts his obsession with the literature into action through large-scale installation, sculpture, and multiples. As a whole the exhibition has an open-ended aspect suggestive of incompletion-a reference to Coleridge’s failure to finish the poem. Dualities are firmly at play in that the beauty of the ceramic poppies repre- sents their promise of seductive dreams tinged with addiction and mortality. “Sybren Renema: The Harvest of Leisure,” runs April 9 – June 4, 2016 at Cydonia Gallery.

 

Ornithology I, 2016, Juan Fontanive
4-color screen print on Bristol paper, stainless steel, motor and electronics
4 1⁄4″ x 5″ x 3 3⁄4″
Photo: courtesy Conduit Gallery

Mechanical objects, movement, and how they play off of the natural world captivate Juan Fontanive. Profoundly interested in the place where these ideas interact as art, the Brooklyn-based artist creates kinetic installations of ceiling-mounted mobiles, propelled into motion with visible cables, pulleys and engines. Even better, he also puts the machines to work by applying the motion to images that change on a rotating basis: these “flipbooks,” as he calls them, will be on view in his solo show at Conduit Gallery. In the Ornithology flipbook series, his subject is the flying motion of colorful birds as their wings flutter. Fontanive designs and constructs these diorama-like contraptions by using old-fashioned analog technology. The works are housed in a stainless steel casing fitted with a motor and electronics that rotate four-color screen prints, simulating motion, not unlike animated cartoons. More directly, they reference film projection in both their sound and the way the images flow vertically. In this case, though, the point is to make sure the viewer sees and enjoys the obviousness of the operation. If it were too polished and seamless the effect would be ruined. These works are fascinating expressions of kinetic art that animates the mechanically produced screen prints of a creature of nature-quite an interaction.
“Juan Fontanive: Colorthings” will be on display at Conduit Gallery from April 2 – May 7, 2016.

Increase/Decrease, 2016, Linnea Glatt
Thread, 11 units each measuring 7 1⁄2″
Photo: Kevin Todora Courtesy the artist and Barry Whistler Gallery

For a heady dose of process and pattern, new work by Linnea Glatt at Barry Whistler Gallery delivers the goods. Her line-driven works on paper in various sizes channel Minimalism and may resemble the work of Agnes Martin. Martin often drew with graphite; by contrast, Glatt achieves her composition with the use of colored thread woven into the paper. These pieces are beautifully executed, full of texture, and resonate with moods that range from the tranquil to the cosmic, nearly catapulting the viewer into the infinite. When installed in groups, the delicate serial imagery is repetitive and soothing. Usually they are executed in neutral monochromatic colors; every so often she surprises with blue or red, never really mixing different colors together. Her threads form different shapes and patterns that evoke quiet contemplation. From a distance, what looks like a point reveals itself as a line on the surface. In some pieces, Glatt intensifies the concentration of line and thread to create volume. This allows her to investigate how her thread measures up to, and contends with, the flat surface of the paper. Through her art, Glatt proposes an alternative to current trends that depend on digital, flashy and tedious techniques. Slow down and take the time to breathe it in. At Barry Whistler Gallery, from April 9 – May 28, 2016.