Your Show of Shows

Art gallery picks of the month: Star power, meaty topics and edgy after-school special

Gallery picks: Star power, meaty topics and edgy after-school special

Elissa Stafford
A film still from Elissa Stafford’s “House Party” presented by the After School Special Collective at Brand 10 Art Space in Fort Worth. Photo courtesy of Brand 10 Gallery
David Bates
David Bates, Cottonwood Branches, 2013. Oil on panel, 76 x 48 in. Photo courtesy of the artist and Talley Dunn Gallery
Chisum Justus
Grade A American by Chisum Justus. Photo courtesy of Cohn Drennan Contemporary
Chisum Justus
Gray Meat by Chisum Justus. Photo courtesy of Cohn Drennan Contemporary
Josh Smith
Josh Smith Untitled, 2013. Oil on panel, 60 x 48 in. © 2013, Josh Smith. Photo courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York
Josh Smith
Josh Smith, Untitled, 2013. Ceramic sculptures; set of 29, dimensions variable. © 2013, Josh Smith. Photo courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York
Elissa Stafford
David Bates
Chisum Justus
Chisum Justus
Josh Smith
Josh Smith

April is the coolest month — at least for art happenings, which orbit around the glamorous activities of the Dallas Art Fair. Outside of the stellar events aligned with the fair, we’ve found a few more shows worthy of marking down on your “must see” list.

“David Bates: Painting and Sculpture” at Talley Dunn Gallery
Reception: April 5, 4-6 pm
Exhibition dates: April 5-May 24

The current focus of a lavish double exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, David Bates is one of Dallas’ most lauded painters and sculptors. For those who love his aesthetic, Talley Dunn has a special treat — a chance to meet the artist onsite at the reception, as well as an opportunity to purchase a David Bates original.

Bronze nudes and abstract hand sculptures share space with paintings highlighting Bates’ study of form and the natural world in a neutral palette with subtle hints of brightness. Each of the 25 works shown at Talley Dunn offers a rare opportunity for collectors to join the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art and the Whitney in owning a piece by this influential talent.

Josh Smith + José Lerma at Oliver Francis Gallery
Reception: April 11, 8-10 pm
Exhibition dates: April 11-May 3

Piggybacking on the ongoing Dallas Biennial is Oliver Francis Gallery’s two-man show highlighting the work of artists Josh Smith and José Lerma.

Multiple medium master Smith — who has already set the art world ablaze with his candy-colored paintings at New York’s Luhring Augustine Gallery — shows a selection of his eye-catching works plus a ceramic installation, while Chicago/New York-based José Lerma unveils a reflective curtain and a painting.

This is quite the coup for gallery owner Kevin Rubén Jacobs, who says venues such as Power Station and Goss-Michael Foundation were in the running as venues for the show.

“This is the first exhibition of super big-name artists that I’ve done, and it’s a really, really big deal not only for me, but also for the quote-unquote contemporary art landscape in Dallas,” Jacobs says. “[Smith and Lerma] have such a mark and influence on other contemporary artists and painters. There’s a lot of artists around here and abroad that just absolutely love what they do.”

“Meaty,” paintings by Chisum Justus, at Cohn Drennan Contemporary
Reception: April 19, 6-9 pm 

Exhibition dates: April 19-May 31

The Design District may be booming with shops, galleries and bistros, but at least one artistic resident is relocating to new ground.

Cohn Drennan, owner of his eponymous Dragon Street gallery with his wife, Cathy, has decided to move to a fresh new space at 4118 Commerce St. behind CentralTrak. The smaller square footage allows the Drennans to focus on the work of one artist at a time, starting with the non-vegetarian works of Panhandle painter Chisum Justus.

“Meaty” explores the concepts and symbolism of meat as a subject in relation to both art and commerce, a delicious subject for those raised on Tex-Mex and barbecue.

“There are families that have made their fortunes on mountains of carcasses of cattle,” says the gallerist. “When you think about it, it goes in all kinds of directions — Old Testament, New Testament. Why has flesh always been this ultimate sacrifice?”

Why indeed! In addition to launching his brand-new space, Drennan has a few more tasty projects up his sleeve: He’s helping to curate the spring windows of Forty Five Ten with the fashionable work of his artist M. Kate Helmes, and he’ll continue his season at the new location with an exhibit of Deep Ellum photographs shot in the ’90s by Daniel Allen. 

“After School Special Presents House Party” by Elissa Stafford at Brand 10 Art Space
Reception: April 26, 6-9 pm 

Exhibition dates: April 26-May 24

Everyone of “a certain age” remembers the cautionary tales told in ABC’s Afterschool Specials of the ’80s and ’90s. In homage to those troubled teens, artist Elissa Stafford of Red Arrow Contemporary has gathered together a “who’s who” of local talent — including RE Gallery’s Wanda Dye, CentralTrak’s Hyde Fontnenot and choreographer Danielle Georgiou — to put on giant masks and put on a show in her work “House Party.” 

Inspired by the themes and narratives featured in that semi-educational programming (with a heavy emphasis on worst-case scenarios), Stafford stars as “Cherry,” a 15-year-old girl who doesn’t always make the best life decisions. With four looping episodes screening in the gallery plus an opening-night performance that includes a stripper pole and pool table, the installation should recall all of our adolescent regrets in the most festive way possible.