Nov 17, 2011

REVIEW | Pattern Plan, grayDUCK Gallery, Austin Tx

grayDUCK Gallery, Austin, Tx

Located just south of the downtown area of Austin, Texas, grayDUCK gallery proved to be a bit of a challenge to find. Some may argue that this aspect makes it a hidden gem and that the hunt provides  even more satisfaction once you finally find the space.  grayDUCK's exhibition "Pattern Plan" featured three different artists, each with about ten works on display. Each with their own unique approach, Dameon Lester, Jessica McCambly, and L. Renee Nunez explore the theme of man's relationship with nature. In "Pattern Plan"  these mixed media artists bring to our attention the ongoing battle between one's fascination with nature's beauty and our destructive, detached behavior towards that beauty.
grayDUCK aims to display works from artists around the world as well as local up and coming artists in the Austin area. The interior space is extremely minimalistic and has a seamless, clean feeling to it. During my experience, natural light was let in through the opened windows, which gave it an even more open and airy vibe. Every wall in the space is painted a stark white, allowing no chance for distraction from the work displayed. The space is extremely well lit by not only natural light, but also by numerous rows of track lighting which shine directly on to the walls. Unintentional or not, the underwhelming sense of the space is well fitted for this particular exhibit.  The simple, casual, and well lit space has an outdoor essence to it, allowing the nature themed works to thrive.

Dameon Lester, Unknown, yarn on wire, 2010
Dameon Lester's artwork is crafted by both machine and hand. His works are grouped together by shape; each one produced of a different means. Lester uses easily accessible materials such as yarn, chicken wire,  tissue paper, and newspaper. In reference to his art Lester states,
"My art attempts to reconcile the natural and manufactured in to some form of a shared expression. However, the art often reveals awkward relationships of oppositions that have a strangely innate beauty and peculiarity. In search to understand this fractured and convoluted relationship, the disconnect between ourselves and nature generates endless repetitive forms."
Although Lester's work shares his interest in the coexistence of nature and mankind, each piece successfully establishes it's own identity. His work ranges from small cube shaped structures made of wire wrapped in yarn to over sized neon egg-like objects created from flour-paste water colored varnish. By using materials that children often use, Lester successfully and light heartedly portrays a controversial topic.

L. Renee Nunez, Slime Mold, acrylic on canvas, 2010

Unlike Lester who uses a range of materials, L. Renee Nunez's sticks to a single method of creating her artworks. Primarily though the use of pattern and negative space, Nunez uses acrylic on canvas to convey her fascination of endangered plant-life. There is a definite sense of motion in each of her works, which she attributes to her background as a modern dancer.  The use of repetition, fluidity, and negative space are of extreme interest to Nunez which she playfully uses in one way or another in each of her works. In opposition with the common idea of filling in the space between lines, Nunez uses blank space to her advantage. In reference to negative space Nunez states, "The idea of a network of contiguous parts interests me because it mimics the unity of matter and raises questions about the space that exists between two material objects."

Jessica McCambly, Indifferent, But Distanced Perfectly 3 , acrylic, ink, and powdered mica on paper, 2010 

The works of Jessica McCambly consist of acrylic, ink, and powdered mica which are placed carefully on sheets of paper. Like her fellow exhibited artists, she finds patterns in nature inspiring. Her work depicts the abstract concepts of rhythm and movement as well as a solitary void which is repeated through out her artwork. I personally found McCambly's work to be the most appealing. It has a certain richness and precise amount of detail that I found to be quite beautiful. In her artist statement she claims, "I am interested in the potential for beauty, emotion, and nuance within an aesthetically minimal context. Formal simplicity can evoke complexity and intimacy in experience." Having the opportunity to examine McCambly's work up close is extremely rewarding due to the tedious amount of detail that goes in to each piece. She aims for her work, " look like nothing and everything." Oddly enough, when you see her work, the statement makes perfect sense. Her choice of color, materials, and composition are so simple, yet the application and shine of the mica makes it jump off the page.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Pattern Plan", more so now that I have thought about the individual works more in depth. Above all, I appreciate the subtle hints to the reoccurring themes in the artists work.  Although the works share concepts of form, repetition, and negative space, each artist carries out these themes through completely different methods. Overall, I left the gallery with the realization that a concept such as man versus nature can be carried out in a non literal way and still be successful.

- Samantha Jorgensen


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