‘What Do You See’

In his first Austin show, Lubbock's Joe Romero presents abstract paintings that utilize a variety of colors and patterns to summon forth archaic subjects for the viewer to contemplate

Arts Review

"What Do You See"

Pump Project Gallery at Shady Tree Studios, through June 24

Abandoning group shows and fundraising exhibits, Shady Tree Studios presents a solo show in its Pump Project Gallery and sponsors Mexic-Arte Museum's nonprofit educational programs to boot! Joe Romero, hailing from the Lubbock area, presents a suite of abstract paintings in his first Austin show.

Utilizing drips, long strokes, negating wipes, and a variety of colors, Romero creates a multitude of textures and patterns. The largest works command your view and act like field paintings. An overwhelming red is interrupted with tiny blips of yellow. The smaller, medium-sized paintings tend to use more organic or fluid movements. The erratic and fractal branching of the paint suggests both neurons and waterways. Large strokes on other works speak of waves and vortices. Then there are the drips, breaking the relative calm of the marbleized background. Every painting is unique.

Each canvas allows the summoning of archaic subjects to contemplate. From deep within our minds, to the depths of the ocean, to the innumerable stars above, the patterns nudge forth a quiet agenda. Like a Rorschach test, the paint attempts to remain neutral as your mind forges it into recognizable imagery. Unfortunately, some of the titles give too much context.

The abstract qualities quickly associate Romero's work with Jackson Pollock and, more recently, the less figurative half of Angela Fraleigh's paintings. A random painting contains a memorandum underneath a thin layer of paint, and the inclusion of such a recognizable object disturbs the unified character of the exhibit. The colors are plentiful and do not appear to be random choices, but there doesn't seem to be an overarching scheme informing the group either. The use of acrylics may lend itself to a more fluid application, but the color is lacking. Without the viscosity of oils, the dullness keeps your gaze on the surface.

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What Do You See, Shady Tree Studios, Pump Project Gallery, Mexic-Arte Museum, Joe Romero

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