Lawndale’s annual and much-anticipated Big Show opens tonight (Friday the 13th) from 6:30 – 8:30. Curated by Marco Antonini, gallery director of Brooklyn’s NURTUREart, it’s one of the smallest and sparest Big Shows in memory and that’s not a bad thing at all. As artist Elaine Bradford sagely observed at last night’s preview, “It looks like a real show instead of The Big Show.”
Here are some of the highlights…
Willour had some other favorites as well:
Henri Gadbois is an 82-years-old and a painter who showed at Houston’s long lost DuBose Gallery. He now makes fake food for stuff like the Bayou Bend yuletide display. I love that this is in The Big Show. Gadbois is like the Duane Hanson of food.
It took me a bit to figure out that the creepy crawling thing in Katie Wynne’s sculpture was a rotating tie rack. At first it looked like one of those motorized toys the mall kiosk guys are always demonstrating. The piece is simple, elegant and unsettling.
Another great Willour pick, Mari Omori’s Time Machine. They’re really beautifully done and who doesn’t like soap sculptures??? You really, really want to touch them.
Aside from being selectively lean, this Big Show doesn’t betray any obvious curatorial prejudices. Antonini chose a wide range of interesting stuff. Although soap as a material did appear more than once….
Julie Lundgren & Wyatt John Little’s cast Hornet Soap is a lovely little object that would be equally at home in an art gallery or on Etsy. Doesn’t all of this soap stuff make you want to take a knife to a bar of Ivory?
Kassandra Bergman‘s Always manages a little found object poetry with a piece of cardboard box and some frosty glitter.
I just realized while posting that the following two works are both by Donna E. Perkins.
I really liked Perkin’s big crumpled paper floor sculpture, WS2; VO6.12 Long and Short. I think the paper is stiffened with glue or something. It’s surprisingly beautiful and baroque. All it needs is St. Theresa. Meanwhile Perkin’s video Beached Bag, Galveston creates a hypnotic beauty from the surf and a piece of fabric. It’s another nice use of unassuming material but another terrible title. Sometimes the old standby “Untitled” is best…
Sunshieva’s Faded Photo II is one of the stronger paintings. It’s a little Marlene Dumas meets Luc Tuymans and I like it. (It’s not quite as blurred as my photograph of it – the kids got some crap on my lens, hence the “soft focus” section in all my photos. Apologies, artists.)
There are a couple other paintings in the show that channel some other, this time Houston, artists. Group shows like this are an interesting way to gauge the influence of particular artists and see it percolating through the Houston art community.
The muted tones of Cary Reeder’s Three O’Clock Shadow remind me a lot of Francesca Fuchs‘s work.
And Norberto Clemente’s The Worship calls to mind Michael Bise‘s 2009 Revival drawing.
The 2012 Big Show has a lot of strong work and it’s well worth seeing. Yeah, there’s some goofy stuff as well but that’s the nature of big juried exhibitions…
also by Kelly Klaasmeyer
- Tierney Malone and Robert Hodge at Galveston Arts Center - July 3rd, 2017
- Habsburg Splendor: Great Art and Inbreeding at the MFAH - July 24th, 2015
- Mel Chin: Rematch - March 22nd, 2015
- Buildering: Misbehaving the City - October 9th, 2014
- A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James at the Menil Collection - June 15th, 2014