The Austin Chronicle

Arts Review

Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, December 24, 2010, Arts

'Ewan Gibbs: Here and There'

Lora Reynolds Gallery,

360 Nueces #50, 215-4965,

Through Jan. 8

Start with what you know: a local landmark, say, or a bedroom suite from some continental resort's brochure. Capture it with your best, most basic tools: eyes, brain, pencil, paper. You're the artist; you're Ewan Gibbs. This is your third exhibition at Lora Reynolds Gallery.

You, reader, you're the potential viewer this writer must coax toward a gallery. Let's start with what you know: Chuck Close, the way he begins his huge portraits with grids, builds faces from rectangles and squares that, when they're near, break up into concentric angles of swirling colors. Sure, you know that: Some of those works are as ubiquitous as they are brilliant.

Ewan Gibbs does sort of the same thing, let's say. Except that, in this show, he works small, with the images of landmarks – landmarks of Austin, highlights of its skyline – and generic hotel interiors reduced to postage-stamp size. Except that he doesn't use color or paints at all, but renders the scaled-down urban scenes with tiny squares, inspired by the grids of knitting-pattern stitches, of monochrome graphite; he carefully varies the pressure of his precise hand toward imparting the shadow and heft that will move each subject beyond the grid and into your eyes' realization.

It's an eerily machinelike two-dimensional reconstruction of architectural space, manifest via delicate human agency. Miniature, meticulous. Start with what you know, explore your city's shrines to art, and maybe end the year with these quiet gray-toned bursts of information at Lora Reynolds Gallery.

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