by Betsy Lewis
January 15, 2013
Red Arrow Contemporary, a young, cutting-edge art gallery, has shown work by famous artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey. The new show, visibletraces, is an intense and thoughtful look toward the future with a group of young Texas artists.
There's a lot of magnitude, politicking, teeny bits of thought in writing and, ultimately, self-destruction in Kolander's human figures -- not the artist's self-destruction, but his characters'. Working in mostly acrylics and oils, Kolander has created a sort of sociological petrie dish, where tense, angry faces with multiple features and limbs are revealed in tiny bits of text that are either scribbled onto the surface or carved out of it.
They're juicy bits, too: "I DON'T WANT THEIR RESPECT. I WOULDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT" on a male face that looks like one powerful grumpus; "I'M NOT A HORSE THAT'S JUST THE WAY I COMB MY HAIR" on another; and my favorite, which is in cursive and barely legible, so you have to work for it: "She couldn't speak english, being from Texas."
That one is an ink and acrylic mess of a woman with at least four mouths. It could mean movement, or it could mean a monster. Whichever you choose, Kolander gives full-throated, antsy life to the quibbling and questioning of his subjects, most of whom you probably wouldn't want to be around were they not works of art.
below: Padaric Kolander, Couldn't Speak English
Hulbert's intense etchings highlight things dark and portentous. A fatalistic piece called "Jackals" shows two mad dogs battling on a landscape that suggests the end of the world has happened. She produces silkscreens too, mixing patterns and symbols of the Southwest with aplomb, but most of those pieces lack the anguished nuance of her etchings. One exception is "Lab," a silkscreen that sees those same crazy jackals invading both an unspecified, yet very important, computer lab, and Hulbert's other medium.
below:Cary Hulbert, BWK
At the opening for visibletraces, I ran into one of the curators of the "Tiny Thumbs" pop-up arcades that debuted at CentralTrak a few months ago (and reappears at the next DMA Late Night). He was going crazy over Munoz's mechanical creatures, forever locked in their Birch-panel, science-fiction world. Most of Munoz's paintings in this show look like docudramas from outerspace, but my favorite was "Self Examination Series," a series of 20 panels ripped from the cheekiest biology textbook that never existed. "Blue Bloods & Gammy Rays, " an engrossing and weird diagram starring a dog with too many muscles, conveys our collective anxiety over our growing dependency on technology. It's an unsettling dystopia, and by the looks of things, it ain't gonna turn out so well for humans, but it does make for one hell of a painting.
Visibletraces with Aaron Munoz, Padaric Kolander, and Cary Hulbert runs through February 16th at Red Arrow Contemporary in the Design District.
below: Aaron Munoz, Blue Bloods & Gammy Rays (one panel of three)