"Colin McIntyre: Systema Praeternaturae" at Dimension Gallery

The artist's sinuous, flowing forms of nickel-plated steel are part of a reminder that in the midst of life, we are in death, etc.

Disregard, just for a moment, the viscous and pulsating abomination rising from the very center of Dimension Gallery: We'll get back to that at the end.

(Yes – we'll all get back to that at the end, won't we?)

Instead, cast your vision around the edges of the intimate Eastside exhibition space, where stark pedestals hold further evidence of what blacksmith, sculptor, musician, and at-least-amateur naturalist Colin McIntyre can do with metal, heat, and pounding human force.

Here are thick lengths of worked and beaten steel, yearning upward in helical ribbons, presenting as some gene-level combination of kelp and eel, now frozen in time and lending a benthic beauty to the gallery's waterless heights. These are "Systema Praeternaturae," an extension of McIntyre's ongoing "Organism" series. Just plain gorgeous, all of it. "These works are inspired by taxonomy, the system in biology of classifying species based on their traits," say the show's notes, namechecking Carl Linnaeus. "These sinuous, flowing forms are forged in steel with the liquid metal sheen of nickel plate."

Well, most of the flowing forms are nickel-plated; there's at least one unplated specimen on display, its dark matte surface revealing what visuals obtain before things get all shiny and resemble a sort of oversized Tiffany & Co. collection co-curated by Jacques Cousteau and H.P. Lovecraft. (Note: That's a compliment.)

Speaking of Lovecraft ... go ahead, now: Look at the central piece around which the rest of this sinuous "Systema" orbits. Look at the vertical conglomeration of dessicated mammal skulls and vertebrae and odd bones and feathers and snakeskins rising up like some sort of diabolical shrine in the middle of the room. Get an uneasy eyeful of this intentional stalagmite of Osseous Refuse that's painstakingly arranged around a hidden central pipe – a pipe pulsing out a stream of dark oil that slowly floods its way down the bone-bedecked pillar, saturating those collected ruins and remains of terrestrial life until it fills the square pool of liquid darkness surrounding the abomination's base.

The artist Colin McIntyre is many things, but until I saw this new sculpture of his, I would've sworn that serial killer was not one of them. I mean, let's not jump to any conclusions; the man's got so much creative industry going on, he simply wouldn't have time to wage a campaign of stealthy, consecutive human slaughter in our fair city. And he seems like such a nice guy, too, right?

But what the fuck, dude? That Osseous Refuse would give David Cronenberg nightmares. Tom Savini would be taken aback – and then a little jealous. And I ... I want to see it again real soon.

“Colin McIntyre: Systema Praeternaturae”

Dimension Gallery, 979 Springdale #99, 512/479-9941
Through Nov. 30

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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 Dimension Gallery
The Dimension Sculpture Park Is Newly Illuminated
The Dimension Sculpture Park Is Newly Illuminated
... and the darkness cannot overcome it

Wayne Alan Brenner, Dec. 18, 2020

"GD Wright: Impossible Until It's Done" at Dimension Gallery
The sculptor mirrors up a globular array of unusual glassworks

Wayne Alan Brenner, July 26, 2019

More Arts Reviews
"Andy St. Martin: The Weight" at Prizer Arts & Letters
In his newest show, the artist is, as ever, nothing if not commitment incarnate

Wayne Alan Brenner, Feb. 26, 2021

<i>The Swallowed Man</i> by Edward Carey
The Swallowed Man
The Austin author's rich and strange take on Pinocchio has Geppetto tell the story from the belly of the giant fish

Robert Faires, Feb. 5, 2021

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
Restaurants to the Rescue, Even When They Need Rescuing
Restaurants to the Rescue, Even When They Need Rescuing
We applaud Austin's badass service industry and its heroes

Feb. 24, 2021

Fab Slabs: Absolute Elegance and Solid Utility
Fab Slabs: Absolute Elegance and Solid Utility
These camphor laurel cutting boards are top notch from Down Under

Feb. 22, 2021


Dimension Gallery, Colin McIntyre, Systema Praeternaturae

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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