"Secrets of Earth" at Raw Paw Gallery
Serigraphic alchemist Chris Dock invites you to look through his rose-colored lenses
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., July 19, 2019
There is an invisible world.
There's a visible one, too, of course, for those of us blessed with eyesight or the equipment to enable eyesight, and anyway, Chris Dock of Raw Paw is working in both of those worlds.
Dock himself looks like he's working in both of those worlds. That black hat and the other adornments he often wears emit a distinct Holy Mountain sort of vibe; those glasses with the round, rose-colored lenses shift his baby blues to a sort of purple haze that you know Carlos Castaneda would recognize from dreams. You see this man with the long blond hair and the overgrown Van Dyke of facial foliage, notice him standing there in somewhat shamanic raiment and with a faint Timothy-Leary-as-La-Gioconda smile on his lips, and you likely think, "OK, this fucker is on something."
"This fucker is definitely on something," you think, "and it's something that's shifted him into two and a half more dimensions than I'd know what to do with."
What Dock is on, actually – regardless of whatever else he may be on at a given time, as is true of any of us – is a deep appreciation of the world we can see ... and of the world we can't. And he wants to share both of them with us.
The interior of the Raw Paw outpost in this particular sector of the galaxy, at this specific time, is in the Yard off St. Elmo Road. That's over there with Still Austin Whiskey Co., St. Elmo Brewing, Spokesman Coffee, and so on; it's a gorgeous yet industrial mixed-use compound that's like a multifaceted gem whose setting is only now polishing itself to match the glories it's grown to contain. And the Raw Paw interior was decked out recently as never before for the book release of Dock's newest written work.
Secrets of Earth: Red Glass Sun is a perfect-bound little tome, redolent of Raw Paw graphics – artists Blake Bohls, Kyle Carter, Jinni J., Nick Gregg, Lauren Griffin, and Chris Nordahl supercharge this production – and filled with a (fictional, we're assured) narrative of the author's journey to another universe.
That launch party also featured a "Secrets of Earth" exhibition of large prints, T-shirts, and merch amplifying the new book. Amplifying, but also existing very worthily in their own right. Those screenprinted posters especially, by Dock and Bohls and others: So intricate, like infographics influenced by Persian calligraphy, their red and black and white patterns already thrilling your eyes before you put on a pair of rose-colored glasses (there were a bunch of them, conveniently in a nearby bowl) and the prints' red overlays, suddenly filtered, vanished to allow you to witness what's hidden beneath.
The visual display's gone now, the gallery blanked and preparing for whatever the next show will be, but there's still as much magical, mystical stuff going on at Raw Paw as ever with this Chris "Secrets of Earth" Dock, in book form or beyond – and I'll insist it's not the same old, same old New Age sort of rigmarole. Because, for one thing, Dock and his crew are masters of design and its implementation, so the visuals never bore you. Because, for another, there's a practical grounding to all the sincere psychedelic explorations in evidence here. Imagine, say, a sort of personal empowerment program minus anything Gwyneth Paltrow-flavored. Or, like, if Deepak Chopra hired the ghost of Bill Hicks to whack him in the face with a spiked lingam every time he started saying something stupid. You know what I mean?
There is an invisible world, all right, and you can be introduced to some of its brighter parts at Raw Paw even now.
"Secrets of Earth"Raw Paw Gallery, 506 E. St. Elmo Ste. A-3, 512/522-5872