‘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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Arts Reviews
Exhibitionism
'The 2012 Drawing Annual'
Don't let Tiny Park Gallery go without experiencing this exhibit of depth and meaning

Wayne Alan Brenner, May 18, 2012

Arts Review
'Memento Mori'
The three artists showing here exhibit so much sentience, mystery, and grace

Wayne Alan Brenner, April 13, 2012

More by Salvador Castillo
Arts Review
La Caja Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
This museum-within-a-museum's miniature works are less engaging and absorbing than the large works by the same artists

May 2, 2008

Arts Review
'Folded, Torn, Cut, Woven, and Pulled'
Five artists let the paper do the talking in this intimate show at the Blanton Museum of Art

May 2, 2008

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle