The Dallas art world is back from vacation and ready to bring out the big guns: September is when gallerists launch some of their most exciting, thought-provoking work, and this year is no exception.
Although there is enough going on to keep you busy all month, we narrowed it down to five significant exhibits with an extra added suggestion: Vice Palace’s Arthur Peña’s will present a singular work as part of the Public Trust’s “Soliloquy” series September 19, 6 to 9 pm. Challenging the viewer to engage with the art without the added distraction of other pieces clogging up the space, there are no images seeded to press in advance. You’ll just have to see it to believe it.
In addition to that, there are bold shows marking three gallery anniversaries, a textural delight of wood and ceramic, and classic images from an iconic Magnum photographer.
“Just the Two of Us,” Shannon and William Cannings, at Cris Worley Fine Arts
Reception: September 12, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: September 12-October 10
Five years of success is no mean feat, and gallerist Cris Worley is celebrating with a show that pairs the best of a sculptor in her stable, William Cannings, with the pop paintings of his wife, Shannon.
Canning’s super-vivid, hyper-realistic images of ray guns comment on our nation’s uneasy relationship with gun control, while her husband’s steel sculptures (puffed up in the oven with compressed air) have the deceptive appearance of plastic pillows. As one of the featured artists in the Dallas Arts District’s new Texas Sculpture Walk, his witty and seemingly weightless works are a coup for any savvy collector.
For Worley, the duo is the ideal pair to celebrate her five years of successful business. “When I started, I had all these amazing artists that needed a home, and these two are exactly my age. We built our careers together. It’s a positive show—it’s got energy and it’s exciting.”
“Ad Infinitum,” Jessica Drenk, at Galleri Urbane
Reception: September 12, 6-8:30 pm
Exhibition dates: September 12-October 12
The pattern theory present in the natural world is the jumping off point for the delightful textured pieces by Jessica Drenk at Galleri Urbane. Difficult to view without an intense impulse to touch, her wall-mounted and free-standing sculptures are inspired by the repetitive designs in crustaceans and insect’s exoskeletons, mammal skin, leaves, and rocks.
Drenk pushes her materials “to a place where they are still recognizable as ‘book,’ ‘wire,’ or ‘wood’ but have taken new forms beyond those original definitions,” according to an artist’s statement. Naturally wonderful to behold, they’re a fascinating new way to bring the outside indoors.
A couple kisses in a rearview mirror. Marilyn Monroe relaxes on the set of The Misfits. A dapper Chihuahua in a little knit hat pauses next to his owner’s stylish boots. Some of the most iconic images of 20th century belong to Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt.
With humor as a leitmotif running through most of his work, his memorable images reveal him as a master of capturing the moment from a unique perspective; this is one talent who wasn’t afraid of getting down to a dog’s-eye view to shoot a fashion features about shoes for the New York Times Sunday Magazine.
The pieces curated by PDNB are some of his most recognizable, and they are guaranteed to make the viewer feel at least a little lighthearted. Says co-owner Missy Finger, “Erwitt is truly one of the most iconic photographers of our time. Who has made more people smile?”
Love it or hate it, street art has an in-your-face quality that can’t be ignored. The city’s biggest — and best — purveyor of this particular style of artistic expression, Lab Art fills its walls with everything from bigger-than-life 3D photos of Madonna to slightly abstract canvases of Mark Cuban.
To celebrate a full year of existence, the Big D outpost of this LA-founded gallery has partnered with Dallas is Dallas + City Bicycle Co. to create a capsule collection of limited edition bicycles designed by local notables such as Erykah Badu, DJ Sober, and the Sour Grapes Crew. The bikes will be on display until they’re sold, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing Arts.
“Slates,” Francisco Moreno, at Erin Cluley Gallery
Reception: September 19, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: September 19-October 17
Another significant space celebrating a year anniversary is Erin Cluley’s eponymous gallery, which has taken chances and exposed young talent to the city since the moment she opened its doors. Anyone who attended Francisco Moreno’s successful performance during the Soluna Festival (i.e., everyone who was anyone in the city’s art world), “Slates” is a must-attend event of the fall, complete with a collectible catalog available for purchase.
Inspired by Moreno’s 2013 “paintingdebt” series — an experimental project of 500 modular paintings sold affordably that doubled as a clever way to get him out of art school debt — “Slates” features 70 works exploring such icons as the American eagle, the Statue of Liberty — even Kanye West.
“I’m just a schizophrenic painter,” Moreno explains. “I learned to embrace that. I have all these different ideas, and if I focus on one body of work, it’s almost paralyzing. It’s a big pizza pie of endeavors. If I make more work, I can make better work.”
Created within the guidelines of a 36-by-48 format with curved corners, these pieces embrace multiplicity even as they nod to “things you’re not supposed to do in painting.”
Says Moreno, “I’m pulling from history and pop culture and presenting it next to unicorns and PVC pipes. I feel there’s something magical in Dallas right now, and I wanted to go all in and show people this is me at 110 percent.”