Legacies in Air and Color: October Exhibitions in Dallas and Houston

by William Sarradet October 17, 2023

Douglas R. Dover: 98% Air at Ro2 Art Projects, September 30, 2023 – November 4, 2023

A block of styrofoam is filled with orange and purple plastic, within a frame.

Douglas R. Dover, “Left of Center,” 2022, polystyrene packaging, resin, plastic toys

Four artworks consisting of styrofoam and colored plastic in frames are hung in a row at eye level in a gallery

Douglas R. Dover, “98% Air,” installation view

Ro2 Art Projects, the gallery’s location at 1501 South Ervay, consistently takes artistic risks, as exemplified by Douglas R. Dover’s innovative use of materials like styrofoam and single-use plastics. This exhibition presents captivating interior spaces within Dover’s sculptures, which draw visitors into caves of strange arrangements. While exploring the show, one can’t help but wonder if Dover will further enhance his pieces by refining their surfaces; I am curious how they would look smoothed by acetone or roughened with sandpaper.

The color palette employed in these works is notably reminiscent of Mattel toys, featuring vivid magentas, orange-soda oranges, and subtle light greens. Dover’s sculptures demonstrate the mark of a thoughtful artist, as they benefit from being viewed “in the round.”

When observed from different angles, their various prongs and hidden caves reveal relationships to the walls that are usually more forward-facing in wall-relief objects. Styrofoam’s usual purpose — to buffer delicate materials from the rigors of shipping — is played with for the sculptures’ interesting arrangements of positive and negative space.


Fighting: Ukrainian War Photographers, Presented by FotoFest at Silver Street Studios, October 5 – November 18, 2023

A framed photo of a white statues covered in white sandbags against a black background.

Mikhaylo Palinchak

Old T-64 tanks covered by snow stands at a depot site at the Tank Repair Plant in Kharkiv, Ukraine, January 31, 2022.

Mstyslav Chernov (with attribution to The Associated Press)

This FotoFest exhibition confronts the challenges of misinformation, the economic and psychological consequences of, and the exhaustion resulting from Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine. Organized with support from the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, it showcases the work of sixteen photographers who have transitioned from their own personal artistic practices to photojournalistic documentation of the ongoing destruction in the country. Some photos have explanations to give greater context to the image, which is helpful for viewers in the United States. Most but not all of the works are rife with tension and mortal peril, so viewer discretion may be advised.


Adam Marnie: The Red Show at Basket Books & Art, September 9, 2023 – October 14, 2023

A white-wall gallery contains two large red paintings, with apples and plaster casts of hands strewn on the floor.

Adam Marine, “The Red Show,” installation view

A box covered in red paint is pinned to the wall of a gallery.

Adam Marnie, “Untitled (wall box II),” 2023, enamel paint on paper

Red is the color of mortality, luck, and passion. It was among the first colors to be used for dying, so it has a special kind of primary quality, at least when it comes to art history. Red and yellow are also pairings seen often in commercial food sales (red has been found to stimulate one’s appetite), as with McDonald’s and Coca Cola. On the electromagnetic spectrum of visible light, red has the longest wavelength, at about 700 nanometers. Color has strong, but usually subjective, connotations. However, red is a color that can be read as absolute positivity; it has the potency and seriousness of being alive.

At Basket Books & Art, Adam Marnie’s exhibition The Red Show features a striking array of red objects and paintings. Apples and plaster casts of human hands scatter across the second-story gallery floor, while red objects adorn the walls and pedestals. The artist’s use of red varies; some elements are painted, while others, like a Ryobi string trimmer (known as a Weed Eater, and invented by a Houstonian), incorporate red as a native color. Throughout the exhibit, the color red is allowed to form associations naturally. Marnie’s work subtly explores the rich associations of color without imposing a rigid interpretation.


Carlos Cruz-Diez: A Legacy in Color at Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino, August 31 – December 22, 2023

A rectangular artwork consisting of very thin vertical stripes of a range of colors, separated by clear pieces of colored plastic.

Installation view of a work in “Carlos Cruz-Diez: A Legacy In Color”

Carlos Cruz-Diez, much like North Texas artist Bumin Kim, masterfully engages with color, creating dynamic relationships by placing thin strands of color side by side. This engagement is not just theoretical; it offers a dynamic, ever-changing visual experience for viewers. Every angle and distance of viewing alters the perception of the artwork. In fact, the visual radiuses of these works, some of which are large, at five by 20-feet, extend so far that the pieces would be best installed along an extensive hallway. Picture a fashion model walking a runway, flanked by Cruz-Diez’s pieces, to fully appreciate the work’s dynamic perspective.

In comparison with Adam Marnie’s The Red Show, Cruz-Diez makes work that is very difficult to separate into individual colors, even when seen up close. Each piece of these sculptures melts into the whole, becoming an object that does not easily reveal its brushstrokes, so to speak. This optical phenomenology is closer to painting than it is to sculpture, though there’s no need to split hairs while having such a marvelous experience viewing the work.


William Sarradet is the Assistant Editor for Glasstire.

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