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Art gallery picks of the month: Abstract expressions and good ol' summertime

Gallery picks of the month: Abstract expressions and good ol' summer

15 July 1984 Channel Swimmers, Polaroid print by Neal Slavin, at PDNB Gallery. Photo courtesy of PDNB Gallery
Bill Owens
Untitled (Parade Woman Holding Flag), 1971, by Bill Owens, at PDNB Gallery. Photo courtesy of PDNB Gallery
Fred Villanueva
Lion Hunt by Fred Villanueva at Caldwell Arte Exposicion. Photo courtesy of Caldwell Arte Exposicion
The Primal Scream by Joshua Von Ammon at Circuit 12. CIRCUIT 12
Happy Dancing Shrimp by Sean-McGee Phetsarath at Circuit 12. Photo courtesy of Circuit 12
Bill Owens
Fred Villanueva

Whether it’s embracing color or celebrating the season, May’s gallery offerings encompass more than just pretty pictures.

“Celebrator” by Sean-McGee Phetsarath and “Tears for Fears” by Joshua Von Ammon at Circuit 12 Contemporary
Phetsarath Reception: May 9, 6-10 pm
Von Ammon Reception: May 17, 6-10 pm
Von Ammon Exhibition dates: May 17-June 17

You can’t accuse Circuit 12 owner Dustin Orlando of not taking chances. One of the more experimental galleries in the Design District, Circuit 12 is showing the work of two very different painters in the month of May.

First up is a pop-up show of surprisingly accomplished futuristic landscapes from the gallery’s former intern, Sean-McGee Phetsarath. Says Orlando, “He’s a young, loyal guy, and we wanted to do something nice for him besides writing a letter for recommendation, so we were like, ‘Let’s give him a pop-up show.’

“He’s trying to create these virtual worlds within his paintings of what the future looked like in the ’80s.”

Future art interns, take note! If that’s not enough to draw you in, just know that the dark synth wave band Vulgar Fashion is performing at the event.

Later in the month, Orlando unveils “Tears for Fears,” a very different show by Dallas painter Joshua Von Ammon, featuring works that play with color and shape in an intellectual fashion.

Less an homage to the legendary New Wave band and more a nod to their source material — the Arthur Janov’s primal therapy-based book Prisoners of Pain — the paintings in “Tears for Fears” follow a path into the mind, determining their own qualities in spite of the person who created them.

“Summertime: And the Living Is Easy,” various artists at PDNB Gallery
ReceptionMay 17, 5-8 pm
Exhibition dates: May 17-August 2

A particularly harsh winter has put even heat-fatigued Dallasites in the mood for fun in the sun. To celebrate the season, Photographs Do Not Bend is exhibiting lively images from the likes of Bill Owens and Neal Slavin to get collectors in the mood for Fourth of July parades, cookouts and days at the beach.

Says co-owner Missy Finger, “We usually do a theme or group show in the summer, and because it’s been such a brutal winter, I wanted to keep it light and tune into the season. It’s a very positive kind of exhibition so people can smile.”

Pairing heavyweights like Owens and with anonymous vernacular photography, “Summertime” allows the viewer to embrace what’s best about the season without having to wear sunscreen.

“Ice and Ash,” new artwork by Fred Villanueva at Caldwell Arte Exposicion
Reception: May 22, 7-9:30 pm
Exhibition dates: May 22-June 14

Dallas-based artist Fred Villaneuva has ambition to spare. The former New Yorker came back to his native Texas to create a Warholian “Factory” studio in Exposition Park. Working in the milieu of American abstraction, he’s also found time to create larger-than-life paintings inspired by everything from his time in the Big Apple to the freezing temperatures in his space.

The result is “Ice and Ash,” a show at the relatively new Caldwell Arte Exposicion that Villanueva says is “very much about natural phenomena. Also, ice and ash is the creative process — it’s almost like a slow or fast burn, so what’s left over from that kind of energy becomes the ash and the ice.”

Influenced by such painters as Gerard Richter and Antoine Kiefer, Villanueva doesn’t shy away from vibrancy or size. His largest piece measures a hefty 8-by-11 feet, making it just the thing for an abstract fan with a nice, big wall.