Nov 3, 2011

REVIEW | Pattern Plan, grayDUCK, Austin, TX

grayDUCK Gallery, Austin Texas
Dameon Lester, Jessica McCambly, and L. Renee Nunez all share the organic arrangement of their sculptures. Recently I viewed the contemporary art exhibit, grayDUCK, located in South Austin. The exhibition aims to show cutting edge work from across the country including Austin’s known and not yet exposed artists. The space was well-lit with each artist showcase located in general sections to not get one artist confused with the others. This helped you view the works within each artist’s sculptures and wall art.

The exhibition was named “Pattern Plan” because each artist explored humankind’s relationship with nature. They used repetition, negative space, and movement to explain their works. The mixed media used speaks to both our disinterest and fascination with the world around us. Each artist focused on different mediums to create their work.

L. Renee Nunez, Slime Mold, acrylic on canvas, 2010
When you walked into the gallery the first artist to see was L. Renee Nunez. Her most prominent works are the Shaped Canvas paintings she creates. They are all organically shaped and are explained to be modeled after endangered plants. Within each work there are patterns of lines and shapes that make the paintings resemble these rare plants. “In the shaped canvas series I explore the imaginary possibilities of pre-divergent ancestors of the plant and animal kingdoms. My subjects are of real, imagined, and endangered life forms painted, collaged, and sewn onto organically shaped unstretched canvas and paper.” These works were very interesting because she made these canvases into attractive shapes that she would sometimes cut into to make a possible snowflake effect. Then she would paint them with appealing patterns. These works were something I could see myself hanging in my space.

Jessica McCambly, Indifferent, But Distanced Perfectly 20, acrylic, watercolor, ink, and powdered mica, 2010
Jessica McCambly’s work exhibited in the gallery was all made with one medium. She used powdered mica on acrylic paper in a circular pattern.
These are made using a very detailed process that is quite surgical. I mix the paint with powdered mica and a medium and squeeze tiny dots onto a release surface. Once dry, I peel each individual paint “dot” off of the surface and affix to the paper using toothpick, an xacto knife to place the paint and some medium as binder glue. The entire paintings are built this way with no sub-structure. I want the work to look like nothing and everything.
I did not favor these works. I found them beautiful because I had never seen an artist use mica before, but I did not find them aesthetically interesting. Each work within the gallery was these circle forms and I wish there would have been some examples of her breaking this form.

Dameon Lester, Unknown, yarn on wire, 2010
Dameon Lester is currently working in Austin, but exhibiting around America including California. His works playfully connect nature with man-made materials through machine and handcrafted techniques.  Lester used wire and yarn to mold organic square-like sculptures. Their organic-like form reminds me of a DNA strand or something of nature. Lester claims,
My art attempts to reconcile the natural and manufactured into some form of a shared expression. However, the art often reveals awkward relationships of oppositions that have a strangely innate beauty and peculiarity. In a search to understand this fractured and convoluted relationship, the disconnect between ourselves and nature generates endless repetitive forms.
His sculptures evoked a naturalistic comparison between his organic forms and the man-made media he uses.

The gallery was a great representation of the works. It was a very small gallery, but I believe it was still a great place to hold known and unknown artists from Austin and around America. The works had aesthetic similarities and I really appreciated the comparisons.

-Jennifer Perry


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