There is art aplenty to brighten this gloomy November, from Miami to the United Arab Emirates to right in our own backyard. View an up-and-coming painter’s vivid canvases, glimpse the innovative transformation of roadside advertising, and get up close and personal with the work of 25 notable Emirati artists.
Alexander Mijares at Lab Art Texas
Exhibition dates: Through December 27
For those who haven’t been to Miami, the city’s color and energy isn’t easily explainable — or transportable. But if anyone can export the flavor of that multicultural metropolis to Texas, it would be Alexander Mijares.
Along with collaborator This Means MAR!, this rising street art star’s work has already enlivened the side of Taverna restaurant, and a larger-than-large 110-x-20-foot solo mural now adorns the wall of Lab Art’s Dallas HQ.
Inside the gallery, Mijares’ flavorful canvases are a more portable way to take home work from this Cuban and Spanish talent. Says Mijares, “Everything I do on canvas is fluid with a lot of color, but the style is a lot more tight and controlled, even though it looks crazier. My painting are journal entries, and my murals are a way to bring my art to people of all walks of life.”
Lab Art has more in store this year for fans of this in-your-face style. Namely, a unique New Year’s Eve event featuring the work of Mr. E. Collected by the likes of Adam Sandler and Lionel Richie, Mr. E’s psychedelic currency debuts at an exclusive catered VIP party for 200 — a cultural celebration for those ready to ring in 2015 in a more artistic way. For tickets, email info@labarttexas.
“Bring Into the Fold” by Jason Willaford and solo exhibition by Jay Giroux at Galleri Urbane
Reception: November 22, 6-8:30 pm
Exhibition dates: November 22-December 5
Dallas- and Marfa-based artist Jason Willaford is best known for his encaustic work, but he’s taking a more expansive approach for his first solo exhibit in four years at Galleri Urbane. Willaford has expanded on techniques he exhibited in 2013 at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, reinterpreting the worth of recycled vinyl billboards. For “Bring Into the Fold,” those billboards reemerge as both sculptural artifacts and the inspiration for new abstract canvases.
Says Willaford, “What’s important about the object is it reminds me of Spanish realists where the hands or feet are really big to show the person is grounded. When you look at an abstract [piece of art], there’s certain pieces that pop on it, and have more importance to me. I started doing paintings of the sculptures to show people what I’m looking at.”
Graffiti artist Jay Giroux, who is sharing Urbane’s space with his first solo exhibit in Gallery Two, has teamed with Willaford to create a street art piece right on the Trinity Trail. The duo’s complementary aesthetics will make their debut on the back wall by April 2015.
Developing cultural diplomacy through contemporary art is the goal of the ambitious new exhibit “Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates,” on view through early December in Fort Worth and Dallas.
A collaboration between the Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C., “Past Forward” brings the work of 25 notable Emirati artists to North Texas on the second stop on an 18-month national tour. The exhibit will move on to Los Angeles, Michigan and Kentucky in 2015.
Pieces range from Mohammed Al Qassab’s repurposed aluminum container caterpillar to Khalid Mezaina’s linear pop serigraphs. The artists may come from many different disciplines, but their message is a consistent one.
Says participating artist Shamma Al Amri, whose pinhole photography explores the inevitability of change, “If you see the exhibition, you’ll see a variety of mediums. You have the conceptualists, the minimalists and the more traditional painters that are co-existing, and you have the new generation of artists who are working with digital.
“It’s experimental sometimes. AE is very young, and most of our culture is the oil industry and a lot of craft that allows artists to approach things in an avant-garde way.”
With the goal of finding common ground in how both cultures approach the artistic process, Al Amri and exhibition co-curator Noor Al Suwaidi engaged with local students and artists during visits to the Fort Worth Country Day School, All Saints’ Episcopal School and the Trinity Valley School.
Explains Al Suwaidi, “I really just hope the average American will come in and realize they learned something new, ask more questions about the countries and find more similarities between us than differences.”