REVIEW: Fresh Meat

500X Fresh Meat: College Expo
Jurors: Cris Worley and Erick Swenson
500X Gallery, Dallas, TX
Oct. 15- Oct. 31, 2011

published by D Magazine Front Row

Fun adverts, two hip art world jurors, and the 500x openness to experimentation has created an exciting college art exhibit. Jurors Cris Worley—owner and director of Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas— and Erick Swenson—international art star— selected 43 from 900 pieces, presenting a strong exhibit of what turned out to be primarily Metro-plex talent. Occupying both floors and resisting the “more is better” tendency, the show has a sprawling, spacious quality. The majority of pieces display a figurative inclination and graphic strength conveying resolved consideration, yet there are also several surprises including some accomplished ceramics.

Not surprisingly one work resembles Fresh Meat: chopped logs filled with silicon representing muscle, fat and sinew. Amputee by Rachel Muldez [UD] is an anthropomorphized and didactic reminder of our planetary destruction yet remains disgustingly, darkly humorous, overcoming it’s preachiness through craftsmanship and humor.

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Connected: Laocoon

Connected: Laoccon
gunpowder, graphite, acrylic, wood. [2011]

This is a continuation of a recent theme: re-purposing powerful or violent historical characters that have been immortalized in sculpture. This piece is especially poignant as the father struggles to free himself (and his 2 sons) from a serpent, which I have conveniently removed. Without seeing the deadly serpent the characters are fragmented, ripped apart by an unknown force.

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REVIEW: Gaffes and Informations

Kevin Todora and Jeff Zilm
Gaffes & Informations
TCU Fort Worth Contemporary Art, Fort Worth, TX
September 17 – October 30, 2011

Published by D Magazine’s Frontrow. (Oct 12, 2011)

Zilm and Todora present a darkly droll, anarchistic mash-up of images, sounds and texts at TCU’s Fort Worth Contemporary Arts. Presupposing contemporary art world savvy, the exhibit blatantly obscures intention while providing an abundance of information.

Todora’s digital prints on foam core, vandalized with plastic and paint, are coupled with Zilm’s choppy, declarative sentences aligned on paper or canvas (“hit. hit. kick. destroy. hit. kick. kick. kill. loot.”) suggesting an exhibit redolent with angst. Further confounding the intent are light-boxes containing unknown objects, a series of chopped 8mm film stills neatly stacked on the floor, and a video projection featuring a shifting character with esoteric cartoon bubbles set to a jarringly loud computerized ‘boing’ every few seconds.

Viewing Gaffes and Informations is like reading “Infinite Jest” or deciphering Sigur Ros lyrics: the show needs a user’s manual. Luckily, Gallery Director Christina Rees hosted an artist talk with the gentle, quirky Zilm and Todora. As the artists expounded on topics brought up by Rees, the exhibit could be seen as the site of personal experimentations and conversation, allowing the audience access to the concepts and actions that informed the work.

For instance: Zilm’s textual narratives, blunt and minimal, are derived from ‘video game cheats’ found on the Internet. A ‘cheat’ is a set of instructions allowing the player to achieve a goal in the most efficient way possible, the concise text of the ‘cheat’ mirroring the purpose. Zilm takes a niche audience’s local, digital dialect and presenting it as if it is understandable or reasonable – like cockney slang for gamers. His pieces embrace these new linguistic structures, removing context and presenting a minimal, brutal form of poetry as imagery.

Todora’s works offer a similar re-contextualization as a print Michele Bachman on Newsweek is drizzled with red, white, and blue plastic goo: the advertised image becomes substrate for mock nationalistic vandalism, desecrating the image as a path to a more personalized and sculptural art form. Todora also displays a series of five hamburger prints cut to expose a red-pink circle, at once a pun and also reminiscent of Baldessari, the images further reference photographic iconoclasm.

Presenting niche dialects as common knowledge, the exhibit disrupts normative gallery viewing, intellectually and visually, while remaining somehow humorous and self-deprecating despite the violent overtones. It’s primary success, however, is the lack of transparency: the exhibit does not pander to the audience. Simultaneously alienating and a call to arms, Gaffes and Informations provides a challenge needed to foster a healthy, experimental arts scene.

Ryder Richards

“Carne-val” with the Cirkit of Mythos

Cirkit of Mythos presents “Carne-val” at the
Altered State Fair” (presented by MFA Gallery)
Saturday, Oct. 15, from 7-11 PM  @  Kessler Theatre, Dallas, TX

Cirkit of Mythos is a group of 5 Dallas/Fort Worth artists (including Ryder Richards). For this exhibit the group has developed “Carne-val,” a one-night-only performance playing with stereotypes and loss of dignity as a cultural ritual.

Carne-val as part of The Altered State Fair
—Carne-val STATEMENT —

Carnivals, sideshows, attractions, and bizarre decadence. You must be paying for the experience, because we all know cotton candy is 90% air and you threw up that funnel cake after a ride on the Whirligig. Oh, and don’t forget that $45 stuffed animal proving you can throw a baseball. Might want to throw it in the wash, there’s still a bit of funnel cake on it.

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