The Austin Chronicle

"Kevin Greer: As the World Stood Still" at Davis Gallery

One man's mark-making movements set this show on fire

Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, January 29, 2021, Arts

As the world stood still, brought to a relative halt by the novel coronavirus and our society's manifold reactions to it, Austin-based artist Kevin Greer was moving.

As the world stood still, Greer was in motion both manic and meticulous all over his backyard, ranging among oversized canvases, wielding his brushes and tape and spray cans, applying acrylics and enamels, adding, subtracting, conspiring with material and mood throughout 2020 to create a body of abstract work impressive enough to serve as a marker in his personal history of having dealt with Our Pandemic Situation.

The results are what's galvanizing the walls of the Davis Gallery's main room right now. They're no small thing, those results – but we suggest that with a wink, because, whether it's Unraveling's jarring shapes and contrasting shades at 72" x 48", or the 72" x 72" Wildfire with its slow fade of blackness rising into and through the red end of the spectrum to obscure infernalized mountains in the distance, or the bleach-abetted Synergy on 92" x 61" fabric, this show provides evidence that Greer isn't kidding when he says, "If you have a chance to go big, you should go big."

Planes of deep color. Clashing overlaps and rhythmic stutters of form. Sometimes a controlled chaos, sometimes a vibrant meditation. This show looks like it was, in the making, a lot of work and a lot of fun. This show looks, in the viewing, as if an artist spent months and months deliberately fucking around with pigments and their possibilities while considering both the social restrictions of viral shutdown and the glories and mysteries of the space explorations that he's recently become a NASA-loving fan of. This show may even, on some level, be influenced by the music of Lost Cat Magnet and Joshua Thomson, whose recent Low Orbit album was, we're told, on repeat while the painter engaged his vigorous industry with the brushing and the spraying and the layering of textures. All to the good – that album (with its Greer cover image) and this show, both.

Here's a thing to especially note if you go for a visit: the diptych Twin Flames with its color scheme out of some Paul Wunderlich fantasy. It's a resonant pair that looks like the acrylic-and-enamel rendition of two horizontal and glitched-out video screens, so cool and chilling among the other vivid rectangles and squares on display here, the other shapes more regularly red-shifted toward fire or oxidizing frenzy.

"Kevin Greer: As the World Stood Still"

Davis Gallery, 837 W. 12th, 512/477-4929
Through March 6

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