Sunday, September 2, 2012
Art review: Cura! Cura! Cura! at the Bath House Cultural Center is a must-go
Go go go to Cura! Cura! Cura!
DALLAS The wonderfully diverse show Cura! Cura! Cura! at the Bath House Cultural Center features the work of eight Dallas-Fort Worth area artists: Kim Alexander, Ashley Bryan, Bernardo Cantu, Sam England, Tim Harding, Sedrick Huckaby, Diane Sikes, and Sunny Sliger.
Each artist was purposely chosen by the curators and given the autonomy to select the works on display; some previously created and others site-specific. The result is an exhibition that broadly engages the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities while at the same time challenging us to consider each artist separately, on his or her own merits.
Aesthetically, I was immediately drawn to installations from Tim Harding. His use of graphite on a large sheet of paper for Folded Wall transforms the base material from an ephemeral item that could easily give way to the elements to a seemingly industrial and long lasting sculpture. At first glance, Folded Wall appears to be a piece of brushed sheet metal, perfectly rolled and with only a few dimpled imperfections. I wanted to reach out and feel the coolness of the dark metal as I engaged in contemplative consideration of my own visual perception.
Intellectually, Folded Wall brought to mind the short-lived and obscure Mono-ha Japanese art movement (~the late 1960s through the early 1970s). The sculptural art from this movement was created from basic materials with minimal artistic interference. However, Harding’s control of the reflectance and texture of the graphite on paper shows his laborious and intentional intervention.
In the aptly front lit Curled Wall, I saw something akin to a thin sheetrock: utilitarian yet still delicate and susceptible to the elements. The preciseness of the installation delivers a sharp sensory richness that invokes the tension between the starkness of the curl and its shadow. At the same time, I mused upon way the lighting worked to alter my perception of the graphite covered surface with a calm pleasantly reminiscent of art that emerged from aerospace industrial design during the 1960s and 1970s in Southern California.
One Latin meaning of the word cura is thoughtfulness. I certainly appreciate the attention and care with which the curators chose this group of artists. However, the show’s title references an alternate meaning: to know. As captivating as the show is on its own, it would be wonderful of the curators to give us the opportunity to get to know the artists with a series of talks throughout the run of the exhibition.
The Bath House Cultural Center is in a 1930s Art Deco building, located on the shores of beautiful White Rock Lake. The exhibition is collaboratively curated by photographer J R Compton and artist Terry Hays. On display August 25 through September 29, it is open during the Dallas Art Dealers Association’s (DADA) Fall Gallery Walk on Saturday, September 22.
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