The look and sense of the raw materials creates compelling harmony here
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Nov. 26, 2010
Butridge Gallery in the Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Rd., 974-4000
Through Nov 28.
It's pretty easy to see that this show isn't just three artists whose work happened to be available for exhibiting at the same time, so, what the hell, let's do it. No, this is the Telos
collective of Steve Dubov, Heather Tolleson, and Shawn Camp, and the pieces on display are perfectly complementary. Of course, such complementing alone isn't sufficient to recommend a show; after all, one could have a shitty show, where pieces of, say, dog shit complement pieces of cat shit, and so on, which would be anathema to all but the few coprophiles lurking among us. No, what complements, what resonates in compelling harmony in this Telos display is the sense and the look of raw materials. Also, let's mention it here at the get-go, the deep beauty therein.
Dubov has taken panels of automotive windshields – spiderwebbed with cracks – reclaimed from junkyards, and he's folded them to gorgeous effect, like giant abstract origami in post-apocalyptic glass. You can easily imagine someone doing this sort of thing wrong and how lame it would look. Imagine such a thing being done as right as possible with stainless steel frames or supports and (at times) weights and hoses and bolts added for visual effect and implied narrative; your imagination might get near to the excellence of this work. These could be streamlined Euclidean objects dreamed of by the characters of J.G. Ballard's Crash.
Tolleson presents her sculptures of bronze, but they're not figurative or even orchestrated abstracts. Tolleson free pours much of her molten material – letting it scatter and splash like so much precious bodily fluid, then gathering it, solidified, and arranging it alone or in tandem with cast pieces. Polished, gleaming like pieces of a river frozen in midflow, mounted on a pedestal or sprayed, her sculptures look as if they were something a certain Dexter Morgan might scrutinize against a white wall.
And Camp, you've seen other works in this expansive series of his: immense oil paintings, abstracts with a thickness of colors like high aerial photography of barren earth, bisected by lines as sharp and geometric as the planes of Dubov's manipulated glass, riddled with meandering ribbons of metallic paint like braids of glass, like glades of brass, as if Tolleson's snakier free pours have invaded the seen-from-above almost landscapes.
This is an exhibition in the lobby of a community arts center? This is one hell of a lucky city.