"Meeghan Morongova: Boundless Abandon" at Butridge Gallery
The photographer's first solo show is a clever and colorful fabrication of portraits
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Aug. 16, 2019
Sure, I'd heard that those Rubber Repertory boys Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope were back in town, but I didn't expect to see them hanging on the wall of the Dougherty Arts Center's Butridge Gallery.
To be fair, it wasn't them precisely, but a large photo of them, their bodies completely enveloped in black plastic cloth and wearing top hats (also black) against a color-staggered backdrop. This photo – vivid and compelling even beyond the familiar faces – is one of a rich array of similarly large photos staged and shot by Meeghan Morongova.
The show is called "Boundless Abandon," and yeah, the abandon is pretty damned boundless, all right: the way the photographer not only captures images of people posed in various ways, in various garb, but first sets those performative humans in rooms that she's completely, wildly transformed with enormous swaths of fabric in sculptural configurations and enough bold colors to give Pantone a case of FOMO.
Of course Morongova's on Instagram with this business (and you should follow her there), but it's better to catch this display in person: Not only are the images oversized and elegantly framed, the expressive tableaux rendered figurative by citizens of this very community, they're also accompanied, on the walls at either end of the long, stark lobby, by floor-to-ceiling installations of the sort of folded-and-sewn, fabric-forward vertical 'scapes on which the artist spends so much time improving this world's eyespace.
You can go to see who of your friends and neighbors might be among the phantasmagoria of "Boundless Abandon"; or you can go for the sheer visual and textural delight of it all; or you can go to witness the "Eye on Lens" exhibit by Peter Shen and the "Diminution" exhibit by Sara Fields that turn the adjoining hallways into walks of photographic fascination. Or, you know, you could do all of that simultaneously. What remains sequential, though, are the art shows that the Dougherty has been mounting month after month after month after month. And I can't recall exactly when the shift toward relentless power and beauty occurred in that venue – it's been a couple of years, at least – but damned if it's not holding steady.
“Meeghan Morongova: Boundless Abandon”Butridge Gallery at the Dougherty Arts Center
1110 Barton Springs Rd., 512/974-4000
Through Aug. 31