A Survey of the Exhibit, Survey
The exhibit, Survey, on view in the Texas State Galleries, contains abstract artworks created by members of the Texas Sculpture Group. The exhibit is divided into two rooms. Both feature a large center sculpture using an assortment of hues and a theme of manufactured goods, as well as surrounding works that echo all or part of these characteristics. Their meaning seems to stem from young memories.
The first of these center works is a colorful assemblage named Pull Tight Texas by Glenn Downing, made up of seemingly random objects, such as an old refrigerator door and a bronze deer sculpture. It resembles a children’s playground, asymmetrical and requiring to be walked around in order to see every different and detailed aspect. A single sentence is written on the refrigerator door in child-like handwriting, “My heros are my Dady and Coty.” The base combines the natural and mechanical with tree branches, cuts of wood, and some metal components, which remind the viewer of the different jungle gyms played on as a child. The outer edges tower over the lower middle sections, allowing one’s eye to move up and down while appreciating the sculpture. Hanging elements such as twisted, old belts with large belt buckles and two large rocks hanging from colorful rope feel grungy yet playful. Aside from the deer statue, there is a headless bird statue at the top of one higher sections which is less high-spirited and more curiously morbid. Those animal references are paired with some figurative paintings, for example a peanut man, to break away from full abstraction and add humor.
The second room contains a memorable sculpture by Melissa Borrell, titled Prismatic, made of colored acrylic panels that hang from almost invisible wires at roughly eye level. They appear to be magically floating in the gallery and with their obvious weight they would seem unstable, yet they appear so still. The panels are semi-transparent and an assortment of bright colors that make it livelier. They are arranged into nine groupings, the panels facing inwards to each other, creating a loose geometric shape and allowing the colors to layer from each angle viewed. Blues stagger into magentas, yellows, and more blues, varying the values and creating a rainbow before one’s eyes. The gallery lights on the ceiling around this sculpture also allow for the colors to cast onto the floor, creating more visual interest. The cast is almost a painting in itself, a second additional work, and dramatically affects the space around it. This center work, like the first, also demands to be seen from more than one angle to experience everything it has to offer.
Overall, both Survey sculptures provide a fun, visual 3D experience that means more to the viewer when they can be explored up close and personal. The premise of this exhibition is artworks that have an indeterminate shape, unstable quality, reference to manufactured elements, and are affected by the space around them or the opposite by affecting space around them. It is certain that these two sculptures belong as a part of Survey for their success in each category.
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