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'Raul Gonzalez and Julon Pinkston: Undetermined Matter'

The pairing of these two artists using similar approaches shows them playing off each other's strengths

Reviewed by Seth Orion Schwaiger, Fri., June 20, 2014

Exhibitionism

‘Raul Gonzalez and Julon Pinkston: Undetermined Matter’

grayDUCK Gallery, 2213 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/826-5334
www.grayduckgallery.com
Through July 6

GrayDUCK’s second show at the gallery’s new space explores mimicry and the physicality of media through a collection of wall-based works by Raul Gonzalez and Julon Pinkston. The two are appropriately paired, acting as dual agents of what seems like a single practice. In tandem, the artists play off each other’s strengths, and their shared context bolsters what would have been ostensible weaknesses had either artist shown these works singularly.

Gonzalez’s assemblages of construction materials and paint range from the pseudo-primitive to the sci-fi-esque. His works frequently employ approximate symmetry either internally or with paired external works that support the artist’s stated aims of bridging the voids between individual art pieces. The hoped-for implication is that the viewers then begin seeking the connections between disparate elements outside the work. Gonzalez’s choice of everyday materials helps in these efforts, but I’d argue that his sense of pattern and composition are more compelling than his conceptual aims.

Pinkston’s art is hard to distinguish from Gonzalez’s, though his methods differ from his colleague’s. His works are rooted in the minutiae and physical qualities of acrylic paint, using it more as a sculptural material than a medium to craft images. The works take similar shape to Gonzalez’s, appearing to be made of construction foam, electrical tape, rubber bands, etc. However, each of these forms are painstakingly crafted through particular application of acrylic, a method not wholly dissimilar from that employed in Susan Collis’ work (currently showing at Lora Reynolds Gallery).

Gonzalez’s work brings a new focus to Pinkston’s, which risks being a one-trick pony on its own (not the case in a wider view of Pinkston’s practice, but true for the works on display). Gonzalez gives weight to secondary features of Pinkston’s painting-sculptures, such as his overly rounded corners and exposed plywood substrates bearing the trademark burns of an overworked belt-sander. Additionally, the trickery of the false acrylic becomes significantly less strained surrounded by the materials they mimic in Gonzalez’s works.

Pinkston returns the favor by adding inertia to Gonzalez’s goals of bridging voids; first, Gonzalez crafts internal connections through symmetry, then external connections, then Pinkston takes the baton creating a trans-practice bridge, and hopefully this passes the pattern on to the viewer, who will bridge gaps between the art and everyday objects.

Some works stand out as independently strong. Bridge 4 (Back When Man and the Goods Had That Good Communication) by Gonzalez and Drawing One by Pinkston work just as well out of context as in their respective series, but the way the show as a whole interrelates and the symbiosis of the two artists’ approaches are by far the most compelling aspects of the exhibition.

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