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These are the 4 most interesting art gallery exhibits to wrap up 2016

These are the 4 most interesting art gallery exhibits to wrap up 2016

Bradley Biancardi
Painting is back and better than ever in a group show featuring the work of Bradley Biancardi at Galleri Urbane. Photo courtesy of Galleri Urbane
Blair Thurman
Dallas Burn Out by Blair Thurman at Galerie Frank Elbaz. Photo courtesy of Galerie Frank Elbaz
Frances Bagley
This work by artist Frances Bagley, from her "Lay of the Land" show at Kirk Hopper, serves as a teaser for a can't-miss installation. Photo courtesy of Kirk Hopper Fine Art
Zeke Williams
New larger-than-large paintings are the centerpiece of Zeke WIlliams' latest show at Erin Cluley. Photo courtesy of Erin Cluley Gallery
Bradley Biancardi
Blair Thurman
Frances Bagley
Zeke Williams

The return of painting, an immersive installation, and a hot-rodding, hyper-masculine artist give November a burst of energy to close out the year. Here are this season’s unmissable art happenings: 

“The Lay of the Land,” Frances Bagley at Kirk Hopper Gallery
Opening reception: November 19, 6-8 pm
Artist talk: December 3, 2 pm
Exhibition dates: November 15-December 22

Some artists live in a world of their own choosing, but the more generous ones share it with their audience. For this local legend, it’s not as important to create work that sells as it is to transform a physical space into an environment that could create a lasting impression on the viewer. 

“Kirk Hopper’s gallery has a beautiful space, and I’m just real interested in the opportunity to try ideas in an inspiring space,” Bagley explains. “What I’ve done is build an environment you walk through, and my choices of how to do things are based on how it affects you physically and visually and psychologically — when you walk through, it’s an experience.” 

Reminiscent of snow-capped mountains, her undulating forms are actually based on the human body, giving the 45-by-40-foot work the feeling of “a puzzle or a riddle.” Video, images, and objects are revealed throughout the work, giving the impression of wandering through Bagley’s own mind. Although a few works in the gallery’s back room will be for sale, the artist says she mostly lives off of commissions, freeing her to explore the outer limits of her imagination through each new piece she undertakes. 

“I hardly ever repeat myself. At least people know they are probably going to see something they haven’t seen before!” 

Blair Thurman at Galerie Frank Elbaz 
Opening reception: November 19, 6-9 pm
Exhibition dates: November 19-December 20

During its brief residency in Dallas, Paris-based Galerie Franz Elbaz has already contributed much to the artistic conversation, making the most impact with its blue chip programming. The very good news is, we can look forward to much more of it in 2017, as the pop-up space is extending its tenure from January through July with three still-to-be-revealed exhibitions. 

In the meantime, art lovers can revel in the shaped canvases of New York artist Blair Thurman. His “pop sensitive” approach has garnered him shows at Gagosian Gallery, the Swiss Institute, and the Rubell Collection, and his latest free association pieces are based on the banked test track on the top of the Fiat factory in Torino, Italy. With a need for speed, these car culture-inspired canvases reclaim what the artist considers a “Look of Kool,” lost somewhere along the line in modern masculine culture.

“Paintings, Process, Materials, Textures,” various artists, Galleri Urbane
Opening reception:
November 19, 6-9 pm
​Exhibition dates: November 19-December 30

Long live painting: For visiting artists Heather Bause, Bradley Biancardi, Stephen D’Onofrio, Anna Kunz, and Eric Shaw, the return to this most traditional of mediums may include different techniques, but they have color, line, and subject matter in common.

“Some would say painting never went out of style, obviously, but there was a trend in the art world focusing on digital, process-based, and casualist art,” says Galleri Urbane owner Ree Willaford, who curated the show. 

“I personally have found it hard to find really good painters who didn’t already have representation, but I’m really excited about this group. [We’re] staging two points of view: one wall of figurative painting, and the other of abstract, with different approaches.” 

Most notable are Heather Bause’s paint on deconstructed fabric pieced back together by machine, and Eric Shaw’s digitally manipulated shapes transferred back into tangibility by a classic brush on canvas. 

“Flagrant,” Zeke Williams at Erin Cluley Gallery
Opening reception:
November 19, 6-8 pm
​Exhibition dates: November 19-December 17

Fascinated by color and form, painter Zeke Williams’ first show included vivid canvases exploring the blown-up curves of a woman’s body. Layered in stenciled patterns, the final effect was an eye-popping abstraction bearing little resemblance to its source material. For his second solo show at Erin Cluley, the artist is indulging in flora of all forms, inspired by a gift he gave the gallerist for her wedding last year. 

“I made Erin a painting and used a photo of her in her wedding dress, which had a floral pattern, and she was holding a bouquet,” Williams recalls. “The bouquet was coming out more interesting than the dress, so I made a note I would start trying to do paintings based on flowers.”