Your Show of Shows

Dallas art galleries blossom with outdoor shows and exhibitions

Dallas art galleries blossom with outdoor shows and exhibitions

Gail Norfleet
Wildflowers and Hummingbird Moths by Gail Norfleet at Valley House. Photo courtesy of Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden
Carlos Donjuán
Cricket Jr. by Carlos Donjuan from Slideluck. Photo courtesy of Carlos Donjuán
Liz Robb
Sauðfé by Liz Robb at Galleri Urbane. Photo courtesy of Galleri Urbane
Mating Ritual of the Lumpbuttbouncer, video still by Mullis at Galleri Urbane. Photo courtesy of Galleri Urbane
Deborah Ballard
Changing Direction (Walk Series/Inner Voice Series), by Deborah Ballard at Valley House. Photo by Teresa Rafidi, courtesy Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden
Emily Peacock
A piece by Emily Peacock at Beefhaus. Photo courtesy of Beefhaus
Gail Norfleet
Carlos Donjuán
Liz Robb
Deborah Ballard
Emily Peacock

Feeling the impetus to get outside and bask in the not-yet-unbearable heat? Now you can, while scratching that artistic itch at the same time. Garden parties and slideshows on the lawn join female-positive exhibits and intimate installations to make this a most intriguing month of May. 

“Girls Just Wanna,” Various Artists, at Galleri Urbane
Reception: May 14, 6-8:30 pm
Exhibition dates: May 14-June 18

A not-so-fun fact: 51 percent of today’s visual artists are women, yet only a quarter of solo exhibitions in New York galleries feature female talent. The continuing bias toward women in the arts is what has driven the Guerilla Girls collective over the past 30 years, not to mention inspiring a local gallerist to do her part for the feminist agenda.

After reading a New York Times profile on the Guerilla Girls, Galleri Urbane owner Ree Willaford got a little inspired. With a 5-to-4 female-to-male artist ratio, her space has always skewed a bit female-centric, but the latest show, Girls Just Wanna​, makes a point of highlighting the work of 13 ladies who create in a broad mix of mediums and aesthetics. 

Says Willaford, “When we started the gallery in 2000, I used to always rep a majority of female artists but I never did it consciously — I don’t look at artists by gender or race, I look at their art and then their background. But when I was reading the article, I realized how few museums rep women, and I thought of pulling together this show. It’s timely and on trend.” 

Putting out a call through social media, she rounded out her stable, bringing in optic video, site-specific work, and paintings from the likes of Emily Burns, Iris Bechtol, Liz Robb, and Samantha McCurdy. There’s no doubt Urbane is female-focused — perhaps some other spaces will be prompted to let more local ladies have their due.  

“The Voice Within,” Deborah Ballard and “The Shape of a Flower,” Gail Norfleet, at Valley House
Reception: May 14, 7-10 pm
Exhibition dates: May 14-June 11

Anyone who has ever walked the grounds of Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden knows there’s truly no other place like it in Dallas-Fort Worth. Both bucolic and modernist, this pleasing juxtaposition is also found in the work, in particular the upcoming pairing of Deborah Ballard and Gail Norfleet. 

Ballard’s unique bronze, cast stone, and plaster forms are firmly in the tradition of the space’s sculptural holdings, while Norfleet’s translucent layers of paint, collage, and Lucite add an extra fecund layer to the flower-filled environs. 

Says curator Cheryl Vogel, “It just seemed like the spring party was the right time to open this exhibition. The garden is full of blooms and (Ballard’s) sculptures will be indoors and outdoors. (Norfleet’s) aesthetic is pattern and color and her works are both light-filled and luminous.” 

Just like Valley House. What better way to kick off the House’s annual garden party? Musicians Luke and David Wade will be on hand to perform, and guests can indulge in hot dogs and minty lemonade while letting the kids explore their artistic side with a project by Barley Vogel’s Studio Arts. 

“User’s Guide to Family Business,” Emily Peacock, at Beefhaus
Reception: May 14, 6-9 pm
Exhibition dates: May 14-June 4

Both playful and thought-provoking, the programming at the artist-run Beefhaus got a recent shout-out by Artforum, and the space’s upcoming shows should keep the industry buzz going. First up? Hyper-intimate works from Houston-based artist Emily Peacock. Curator Patrick Romeo isn’t revealing the show’s thematic nature, but rest assured it will be “experimental, sculptural, and personal.”

“It’s kind of a secret,” he explains.  “A lot of it has to do with trauma and how to get through that: Marriage and parents and her mother are a central theme to her work. We live in a certain age where people are baring it all to try and use art as a form of therapy, and I think that honestly is super-important.”

It is the best policy, after all. And to get up close and personal with someone else’s life is a sure-fire way to get new perspective on your own. With a recent performative installation of faux art installers at the Austin Art Fair and an upcoming Lauren Fulton-curated show of an original Fluxus artist, Beefhaus’ envelope-pushing agenda is not to be missed. 

“Slideluck,” Various Artists, at Strauss Square
Event: May 28, 7-10 pm

Non-commercial and non-competitive, Slideluck is a pressure-free way for artists to show their work while gathering the arts community in a common space. Founded in the summer of 2000 in Seattle, the first Dallas event debuted in 2012 at the Power Station, and this edition promises to be bigger and better than ever before. 

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth curator Andrea Karnes has culled together a slideshow of 25 talents (including Chuck and George, Carlos Donjuan, Tom Orr, Irby Pace, Synchrodogs, and Esther Watson), and attendees are encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share for admission.

If cooking isn’t your thing, you can purchase a picnic basket with a chef-prepared menu from The Theodore, a bottle of wine and supplies, plus a blanket imprinted with the artwork from one of the evening’s featured talents for two or for four. Organized by artist Misty Keasler, the night will also feature a soundtrack mixed by CIVIL and a post-show performance by Sam Lao. 

Says co-producer Brian Gibb of The Public Trust gallery, “It’s become a place for artists and art appreciators to come together and share their work. People are in for a super treat this year — we’ve got an inflatable screen set up on the stage and the Brooklyn beer will flow like water.”