Monday, September 17, 2012
Art review: Chaos is the new norm at Oliver Francis Gallery’s SNAFU
Over the last year, Oliver Francis Gallery has consistently established itself as a force to be reckoned with.
DALLAS For the uninitiated, SNAFU is a military acronym not suitable for polite company. The gist –- that chaos is the new norm -- however, could not be more fitting for an exhibition at Oliver Francis Gallery, the much-lauded labor-of-love gallery owned and operated by Kevin Ruben Jacobs. OFG is what one might call an avant-garde installation in and of itself, and the works shown there consistently leave mainstream art lovers scratching their heads. SNAFU is no exception, though the mess it leaves behind is a rich and colorful one.
If one expects cohesion from a group show, SNAFU is defiantly unhinged. From curiosities like Lana Panincuhl’s Catbox -– which is exactly what it sounds like, right down to the kitty litter -– to Kristen Chochran’s massive Language Excavation 1, which looms ominously over the gallery’s middle section, constructed from polystyrene, cement, urethane rubber, and fabric, SNAFU maintains a balance between overstated and understated, exploring those themes in varying media.
Photographs by DMA award winners Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada are among the more conventionally stunning pieces –- Espada’s lighting in Everything All at Once imparts a Rio Camuy Cave stalactite with all the golden grandeur of the Taj Mahal -- and Michelle Rawlings (daughter of Mayor Mike Rawlings) offers an impressionist landscape styled after a vintage tourism poster that seems wholly traditional until one realizes that it is painted in oil directly on the gallery wall. Toward the more abstract, Jeff Zilm’s Lifeforce (1985) snakes beautifully along the gallery’s concrete floor and among patrons’ feet with a lovely coil like a rolling puff of smoke. And, Kevin Todora’s Candles and Cigarettes and Candle with Grapefruit present unexpectedly beautiful contrasts, their waxy dripping neon candles popping against the banality of toxic cylinders and bitter spheres.
But, if anything, that repeated contrast between the beautiful and the anti-beautiful seems fitting as well. Over the last year, Oliver Francis Gallery has consistently established itself as a force to be reckoned with, its gritty urban address and dirty pocked walls alive and dazzling with a breathtaking burgeoning community of art lovers and emerging artists alike.
See more stories in:
- Creepy rendering of Big Tex shows he's almost ready for the State Fair
- Photos: Dallas Heritage Village Charleston'd its way through history on Saturday
- Paleo-inspired restaurant HG Sply Co. opens May 21 on Lower Greenville
- Dallas Symphony Orchestra maestro is selling Ritz home for $2.9 million
- Comedy review: Hilarious men of Whose Live Anyway? heckle Dallas with raunchy improv