The Austin Chronicle

Arts Review

Reviewed by Salvador Castillo, June 8, 2007, Arts

"Tom Molloy: Lone Star"

Lora Reynolds Gallery, through June 23

A diptych of a dove skeleton – one rendered in pencil on white paper, the other white on black paper – hangs in the back room of Lora Reynolds Gallery. The skeletal rendering of Dove mimics the artist Tom Molloy's Self-Portrait. In the front room, Frame presents another template for mass-produced objects. Everything except the decorative frame of the U.S. dollar bill is discarded in this collage. A whitewashed miniature globe dangles in the center of the room. Only the colorful lines shared by neighboring nations are visible in Borderline.

White signifies purity and innocence.

Calligraphic characters removed from six sheets of paper identified as Arabic text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The presentation is delicate, but it feels like a violent act. The titular piece, Lone Star, consists of 50 red stars replicated from a carnival shooting-card game arranged according to the stars of Old Glory. The destruction of the stars might suggest assassination attempts, the Red Scare, refusal of communist ideology, and efforts to remove Republican leadership in current U.S. representation.

Red signifies valor and bravery.

The press release states that "Molloy is careful to avoid overt arguments … humanist rather than political." There is no doubt that there are multiple tiers to interpreting the many symbols used in the show. However, the construction of a world map using a dollar bill and the diptych George to Osama, Osama to George identify Molloy's incriminations as critical of current U.S. leadership. The skeletal investigations break down our interests in peace, liberty, and the pursuit of property. They can be either the structures for new beginnings or the decayed remnants of spoiled ideals. The incised works reveal our actions, reactions, and inactions toward our interests. Altogether, it is a neutral argument that's presented, and it opens queries instead of plugging in answers. Like that purple dinosaur and yellow bird always say, "Asking questions is a good way of finding things out."

Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

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