This year is opening with an artistic bang, as images are curated to move you at the MAC, a Dallas Contemporary alum brings her vibrant work out of the museum and two CADD members colonize a new block in the Dallas Design District. Here is your list of must-visit art galleries this month.
Flowers of War, Cassandra Emswiler Burd at Erin Cluley Gallery
Reception: January 10, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: January 10-February 14
It took a lot to draw Dallas Contemporary patrons’ eyes away from the hyper-saturated photography of Mario Testino at the superstar photographer’s opening last fall. However, the work of emerging local artist Cassandra Emswiler Burd managed to do just that. Her lushly colorized tiles took #floorcore to a new level while heightening the anticipation of what she’ll create next.
The answer is a series of tiled breakfast tables derived from the work of Louis XIV’s landscape architect, André Le Nôtre, and military engineer Marquis de Vauban. Creating her ornamental patterns digitally by altering vintage photographs of her parent’s patio and front garden, the works elevate their domestic inspiration into beautiful yet functional objects.
“I’m interested in everyday spaces — countertops, backsplashes and tables — and I’m endlessly transfixed by ornamentation and pattern,” Emswiler Burd says. “And [the tables recall] the experience of looking out into the garden and tie that into the domestic space. It’s nice to have a deep personal connection, but they’re absolutely banal.”
The artist has also transformed the kitchen and bathroom of the gallery in a permanent installation of her work — all the better to showcase how her art can liven up Dallas homes and commercial spaces.
Dallas Medianale at McKinney Avenue Contemporary
Exhibition dates: January 9-February 28
At the top of the month’s must-sees is the Dallas VideoFest’s ambitious Medianale. An evolution from the festival’s traditional programming, the Medianale is a way for Video Association of Dallas artistic director Bart Weiss to highlight gallery-style video art — from early computer graphics to immersive performances — in the setting it deserves.
“We’ve shown a lot of video art as part of the festival, but six year ago we started separate program at Conduit Gallery,” Weiss says. “It’s a collection of what I like to call museum video art as opposed to grassroots video art. Some work is old and some is new; it gives you a sense of where we’re going.”
Curators Charles Dee Mitchell, Danielle Avram-Morgan, Michael A. Morris and Carolyn Sorter have varied backgrounds, ranging from traditional galleries to the world of experimental film, assuring there will be a little something for everyone in the action-packed schedule.
But the most three-dimensional experience might be Friday night’s VIDEOBAR event, when Weiss takes over the Texas Theatre, bringing back the Dallas legendary club with a little updated technology.
“I’m using computer software as opposed to Betamax. I haven’t done VJing since 1985, and it’s certainly a lot of fun. You can get out those clothes and do up your hair and come and dance to Depeche Mode and New Order.”
In true gallery tradition, all events are free.
Studio Visit 1.2, various artists at Cris Worley Fine Arts
Purposely Distorted for Clarity, Kim Cadmus Owens at Holly Johnson Gallery
Reception: January 17, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: Studio Visit, January 17-February 14; Purposely Distorted, January 17-March 28
Change is good, at least from the perspective of gallerists Cris Worley and Holly Johnson. The duo is breaking new ground in the Design District by moving from their current locations into a new space at 1845 Levee St. near the Dallas Contemporary.
For Johnson, whose space will remain the same size, the new locale is the ideal way to mark her 10th anniversary, which occurs in April. In the meantime, she’s launching with Kim Cadmus Owens’ electric-hued canvases, subtle charcoals and textural letterpress prints.
Says Johnson of her new venue, “I’ve been looking since July, and Cris jumped on a couple of months back. It’s awesome because we’re good friends, and it makes it more fun and more of a destination. I’ve been on Dragon Street for 10 years, and not very much was going on when we moved there. I think the same thing will happen on Levee. That whole part of town is really going gangbusters.”
Worley, who gains 2,000 more square feet in the move, says the new space allows her expand her focus with offerings like “Studio Visit,” which recalls the experience of visiting an artist’s studio. Work — including video and site-specific pieces — will be contributed by gallery favorites Kristen Cliburn (Houston), Robert Lansden (New Orleans) and Rusty Scruby (Dallas), as well as guest artists Colette Copeland (Dallas), Timothy Harding (Fort Worth) and Patrick Turk (Houston).
“I wanted to move because I was suffering from too small a space,” Worley says. “The Levee is such a cool location. Right across the street there’s going to be a three-story condo, and Shannon Wynne’s opening a new restaurant [Rodeo Goat] a stone’s throw from here. When the levee breaks, we’ll already have established ourselves!”