This year, New Texas Talent at Craighead-Green Gallery, juried by Marcie Inman, Director of Exhibitions for the Irving Arts Center, has the odor of a world gone feral, or at least the world trying to remember what nature is and getting all tangled up in thorny (sometimes horny) metaphors in the process. The show is replete with animals, humans that look like animals, humanoids, and humans knoodling with animals, as well as some jabs at suburbia. More Urban Outfitters-woodland-themed-vinyl sticker-feel than Romantic pastoral, the work in this show is decent, run-of-the-mill Generation Y stuff — well executed, largely drawing-based work that wrestles with the malaise-turned-rabid condition that seems the life blood of artists of a certain age in all media these days. I kept hearing Ira Glass’s voice in my head as I looked at the work here — that voice, so choppy and nasally and devoid of gravitas — narrating back to me a (true) story of a generation lost in a facsimile of the real world, like little, two-jointed plastic people in a life-size PlayMobile set where unicorns are real, deer aren’t skittish and and everyone can giddy-up on any ol’ creature they like, because, hell, we’re all friends and nothing means anything. Sounds like paradise! Or maybe hell. But anyway — who’s qualifying?
Sarah Sage’s two black and white paintings were quite good, radiating light and teasing out tricky narratives. She wisely framed them without glass, because the surfaces themselves refract a good deal of light. Thematically, Sage’s work carried the woodland-world-gone-rabid torch, though with good references, recalling Kiefer’s Valhalla interiors.
The two concrete terranium sculptures by Daniel Rivera were cool too look at, but intellectually they were bludgeonly obvious, unfortunately: Nature trapped/shut out by towers of menacing, man made awfulness; cities = prisons for the Innocent. And deer are the poster children of innocence, as we all know. And if you didn’t know, there’s this…
which drives home the fact once and for all.
I really liked this amphora-cum-pig creation by David Morris. Without disemboweling the viewer with a set of antlers at all, he’s managed to remind us of the ancient world, as in the Greeks, and the less-ancient, but maybe on-its-way-to-ancient world of agriculture. It also makes references to all sorts of spouted Mezo-American vessels, retaining those ancient objects’ odd pottery-personifications. And I love pigs, so there was that. And there was ne’ry an antler, as I mentioned, so there was that too.
Marshall Harris’s naked Neanderthal business man is an incredible drawing on Mylar — down to individual hairs, this thing is expert, really flawless drawing. Harris’s man here looks like he may well have had a run-in with one of the above untamed creatures enroute to the water cooler or bus stop, but I suspect the culprit of his tossling was a computer, which is its own kind of beast.