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The 4 Dallas art gallery shows you must see in May

The 4 Dallas art gallery shows you must see in May

Shapes Zines
A publication from Shape Zines at the Reading Room. Photo courtesy of Reading Room
Kasumi Chow & Desiree Espada
Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada, Cake, at the Public Trust. Photo courtesy of Public Trust
DO NOT USE - Joel-Peter Witkin
Joel-Peter Witkin, The Wife of Cain, 1981, at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery. Photo courtesy of PDNB Gallery
Luke Dowd
Luke Dowd, Shoes 3, 2015, digital print on canvas, at Reading Room. Photo courtesy of Zhulong Gallery
Shapes Zines
Kasumi Chow & Desiree Espada
DO NOT USE - Joel-Peter Witkin
Luke Dowd

A Brit import’s digital revolution, 20 years of photography worth celebrating and candy-colored images from two young talents are all on the roster for the merry month of May.

“My Shoes, My Stove, My Life,” Luke Dowd, at Zhulong Gallery
Reception: May 15, 6-9 pm
Exhibition dates: May 15-June 20

Moving from collage to silkscreen to digital prints, London-based artist Luke Dowd’s work has remained incredibly personal, even as it backs away from a more organic process.

“I was interested in his formal sensibility and his approach to art making, which has a strong modernist tack, given his thoughts on making, medium and composition,” says Zhulong owner Aja Martin, who brought the artist to Dallas after shows in London, Frankfurt, New York and Paris.

“But Luke doesn’t allow this approach to bog down his practice, and he’s happy to step away from tradition — which is apparent in his use of various processes that incorporate printing technologies and even a light use of software.”

Dowd’s 16 half-tone digital canvases of stoves, shoes and abstract shapes were crafted with Photoshop across the pond, but they were not printed until the artist arrived in town, providing for a bit of pre-opening nerves.

Dowd says the results drawn a through line from his former work, with a trajectory that removes emotional content as his technique is refined. “You can cool it down as much as you want, but you can’t really escape yourself. There’s a certain continuity happening.”

20th Anniversary Exhibition at PDNB Gallery
Reception: May 16, 5-8 pm
Exhibition dates: May 16-June 20

Twenty years in the art world is no small achievement, and Photographs Do Not Bend is celebrating in a manner befitting its status as one of longest running spaces in the Design District. Originally opening its doors on Routh Street in 1995 with a Joel-Peter Witkin show paired with a show of Latin American artists, PDNB has culled some of its most iconic imagery from both their stable and their devoted collectors to celebrate their two decades in the industry.

“A lot of the inventory is from our artists, but there are pieces I cannot get that I really wanted to include, so I asked some of my collectors to loan them for the show,” says co-owner Missy Finger. “There’s Joel-Peter Witkin, a Vic Muniz, and there’s a great Diane Arbus.”

Things have changed from the days photography was considered the “bastard child of the art world,” but it’s still one of the most collectible mediums in contemporary art. One can score a print by the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson or Man Ray for far, far less than equivalent pieces from blue chip painters, a fact that bodes well for PDNB’s continued success.

“Truly, Madly,” Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada, at the Public Trust 
Reception: May 23, 6-9 pm
Exhibition dates: May 23-June 20

The collaborative work of local photographers Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada (a CultureMap contributor) captures imagery of champagne, cake and balloons in a way that is poignant and girlie without being too saccharin sweet. It’s their party, and they’ll cry if they want to.

Discovered by the Public Trust’s Brian Gibb as he was looking for submissions to this year’s Slideluck event, the duo’s photography ended up being a pleasant surprise that led to a perfectly timed show at the gallery’s new space at 2271 Monitor St.

“They were first in the slideshow and the DJ dropped in a Stereolab track and I thought, ‘I love this work!’” 

Having recently moved with neighbor Liliana Bloch from their former spot in Deep Ellum to a larger space next door to Galleri Urbane, Gibb had a vacancy in his schedule for a solo show that the two young talents easily filled.

“[The work] says a lot about them,” he explains. “It’s contemporary still life reflections of young womanhood. They’re asking the same existential questions we all are, but they’re working through it through visuals that are really striking and fun.”

Not to mention affordable. With prints measuring at a lofty 3-by-3-foot size and retailing for just $1,250, it’s an opportunity for collectors to nab something high impact at a very reasonable price.

Shapes Zines Pop Up, various artists, at the Reading Room 
Reception: May 23, noon-7 pm

Enthusiastic collectors of zines know it’s a passion that can’t quite be explained. Artist Randy Guthmiller turned his own fondness for shapes into an ongoing series of publications, and the local impact of his creations led other artists to ask how they can spread their own unique visions around town. Guthmiller responded by starting his own publishing house, and Shapes Zines will the first selection of these DIY collectibles May 23 at the Reading Room.

“We’ve got almost a dozen artists, and all of them are making at least one zine,” he says. “They’re all totally different and based off their own interests; there’s one by Brooke Granowski called America’s Hottest Potatoes that combines imagery of all types of potatoes with Maine potato harvest beauty queens.”

Other options include Vice Palace artists Larry Carey’s illuminati grids and Evan Henry’s impressions of a visit to SXSW. Each retails for just $5, so you can collect them all. Guthmiller plans on following up this pop-up with a more traditional zine fair at the Wild Detectives on September 6.