Melany Jean’s Top 10 Fine Art Moments of 2018

Unforgettably textured sculptures, unsettling exhibitions, and unusual spaces made for a memorable year in art

Weave (October 6, 2017) by Elizabeth Chiles

1) "ELIZABETH CHILES: WEAVE" (grayDUCK Gallery) Chiles uses light, color, and pattern to captivating effect, and her show at grayDUCK was no exception, brilliantly pinning down nature's ephemeral moments of beauty and offering them up for generous display.

2) "TERRA GOOLSBY: BLACK RAINBOW" (Dimension Gallery) Goolsby's textures are unforgettable. The surfaces of her sculptures lured you in with the promise of a rainbow and left you thoroughly unsettled – no pot of gold, only black, black, black.

3) "SHANIE TOMASSINI: SLIPPERY CLUMP" (Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum) Another show with unforgettable textures and sculptures, this solo exhibition by 2018 Umlauf Prize winner Tomassini was perfectly playful and perfectly placed at the Umlauf.

4) BLANTON MUSEUM OF ART PROGRAMMING Between a riveting display of Australian aboriginal art, a fantastic exploration of Ellsworth Kelly's work in conjunction with the opening of Austin, and the thoughtful presentation of Vincent Valdez's "The City," the Blanton put out stellar, challenging exhibitions.

5) "MARGAUX CRUMP: THE LURE" (Women & Their Work) Crystal-encrusted lace panties and silicone protrusions made an indelible impression, but Crump's skillful execution and cogent vision impressed further in this seductive show.

6) "ANN WOOD: QUICK AND QUIET" (Big Medium Gallery) Wood's exploration of grief and impermanence with a maximalist hand and unexpected vibrancy turned the gallery into a wonder-filled memorial space, unsettling and celebratory and remarkable.

7) "DAWN OKORO: PUNK NOIR" (George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center) Okoro's larger-than-life portraits probed style, spirit, and substance to fantastic effect.

8) "ED RUSCHA: ARCHAEOLOGY AND ROMANCE" (Harry Ransom Center) A delve into the archives of an artist who excavated American material culture like an archaeologist in the field proved unsurprisingly compelling.

9) CAGE MATCH PROJECT (Museum of Human Achievement) The ongoing series pits the artist against ... the elements? The project constraints? The viewer? Themselves? Whatever the case, the limitations and freedom of the project have produced some great rounds in the ring, er, cage.

10) DORF GALLERY OPENING This South Austin in-home gallery's warm and welcoming exhibitions made the introduction of the space a highlight of the year.

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  

More Top 10s
Top Books to Read in 2020 As Everything Falls Apart
Top Books to Read in 2020 As Everything Falls Apart
In a COVID-strained year, tales of families repairing their lives and the caste system's effect of Black Americans made an impact

Joe O'Connell, Dec. 18, 2020

Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
A writer's fictional joyride, a rock & roll memoir, and jazz fairy tales are books that sang this year

Jay Trachtenberg, Dec. 18, 2020

More Arts Reviews
Theatre Review: <i>Born With Teeth</i>
Theatre Review: Born With Teeth
Marlowe’s mad and Shakespeare’s sad in Austin Playhouse production

Cat McCarrey, April 12, 2024

Review: Stephen Mills’ <b><i>POE / A Tale of Madness</i></b> Is Pitch Perfect
Review: Stephen Mills’ POE / A Tale of Madness Is Pitch Perfect
Ballet Austin brings the master of the macabre to life (before killing him again)

Cat McCarrey, March 29, 2024

More by Melany Jean
"Annie Miller: I see london, I see france" at MoHA
This show in the Cage Match Project series casts the viewer as peeping Tom, looking through holes in a boarded-up trailer to view art

Nov. 30, 2018

MASS Gallery's
MASS Gallery's "Staycation: thresholds"
The gallery's first exhibit in its new home invites viewers into the private self and into the stretching of one's limits

Nov. 16, 2018


Top 10s, Top 10s 2018, Elizabeth Chiles, grayDUCK Gallery, Terra Goolsby, Dimension Gallery, Shanie Tomassini, Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, Vincent Valdez, Margaux Crump, Women & Their Work, Ann Wood, Big Medium, Dawn Okoro, George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Ed Ruscha, Harry Ransom Center, Cage Match Project, Museum of Human Achievement

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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