Out and About in Austin: Part 1

These past few weeks I’ve been working my way around Austin’s gallery scene intent on introducing myself and discovering new venues as well as stopping by some old standards. My first stop was Domy Books to see William Gaynor’s To Climb A Mountain On Top of a Tree. It seems like a quiet little show filled with works on paper but it sneaks up on you and some works have teeth. Two successful drawings were Kricfalusi’s Blues I and Jill is Typing II. They seem the most emotive and surreal being both playful and aggressive in their use of color and rendering. Unfortunately I was unable to get images but the show is up until October 21st if you’d like to see these two pieces in person. All of the work in the show seems littered with Masonic and old master detritus that worship effigies from nature and the past.

William Gaynor at Domy

Down the street at Okay Mountain is Ruth Van Beek’s The Great Blue Mountain Range. A beautifully minimal show that is uncommon for the gallery. It has to be one of my favorite exhibitions in that space and I’ve liked more than a few before seeing this one. Working with photography, collage, animation and sculpture, Van Beek takes the viewer on a nostalgic trip to timeless, mysterious, and yet somehow known places. She constructs and documents her travels with souvenirs and artifacts she finds along the way. If you haven’t been go before October 16th and if you’ve already been, go again. I promise you’ll discover something new each time.

Ruth Van Beek at Okay Mountain

Ruth Van Beek


 

At Co-Lab Ryan Lauderdale’s Real Life Realm was up and is now down. It opened on September 25th and closed October 2nd. This is the first time I’d been to Co-Lab which is a great alternative venue for Austin with an ambitious calendar, maybe too ambitious since shows go up and down so often it is easy to miss the window. None-the-less Painting Transform was a sculpture that stood out for me from the rest of the show. Literally holding a space somewhere between object and reflection, it seemed to levitate on the wall while referencing what Lauderdale called "the hard-edge gradient paintings" from his past.
The image below does not do it justice.
 

Ryan Lauderdale at Co-Lab


 

Ryan Lauderdale- Painting Transforms


 
 
Sofa Gallery is another great alternative space with yet another great show to add to its roster. This exhibition references landscapes and the human presence or lack of… within those landscapes. Morgan Jones’ Breaking Plains is up until October 22 by appointment.
 

Morgan Jones at Sofa


 
Drawing imagery from the Internet and in camera footage to create a series of digital and animated video moments. ‘Survival, determinism, the flat plain of a landscape and a digital screen accumulate into a question: "How can we still be considered explorers?”’.  An explorer is one that explores; especially: a person who travels in search of geographical or scientific information (Merriam-Webster). Is it really exploring when we never leave home anymore and everything is handed to you so we don’t even leave through our own imaginations?
 

Morgan Jones- Breaking Plains


 
 

Morgan Jones- detail

 
I also popped into the newest gallery in town Champion Contemporary. Their first exhibition Interrupted Landscapes like a lot of the venues I saw this past month again referenced nature and our relationship to it. It seems to be a topic on many artist’s minds these days and its not isolated to Austin. I said the same thing in my Out and About in Dallas post a few months back. With this realization I’ll save Champion Contemporary, Women & Their Work and DBeman Gallery for a Part 2 post later this week.
 
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also by Margaret Meehan

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