3D IS THE slightly misleading name of Nicole Longnecker Gallery’s thought-provoking and intriguingly curated exhibit of sculptural works by four celebrated Texas artists: George Smith, Andy Feehan, Danville Chadbourne and Tim Glover. While all of the art on display is indeed two- or three-dimensional, an additional dimension is present as well, an experience beyond the height, weight and depth of each hanging or freestanding object, inspiring the viewer to see the world in an unforeseen way. The show opened Saturday.
The gallery’s Brad Barber says the show was partly inspired by a conversation with a collector about Feehan’s hyper-realistic, trompe l'œil-like paintings of decayed building façades and mysterious doorways — two-dimensional works that, at first glance, seem to “grow from the canvas.” Feehan, who was born and raised in Houston and now lives in Mussy-sur-Seine, a small village in north-central France, says his techniques involve “a kind of hybrid state somewhere between two and three dimensions.” Feehan encourages the viewer to look at his paintings from multiple angles, as doing so will reveal several unseen details.
Beginning with Feehan, the gallery considered and selected other artists who shared similar, complementary ideas about three-dimensionality in art. Smith’s steel sculptures, painted black and sometimes wrapped in strips of torn canvas, draw upon the cosmology of the West African ethnic group the Dogon, and two of his in the show, Ammas Return and Seventh Nommo (“Nommo” being the Dogon word for an ancestral spirit), are carved with lines and shapes signifying the point of contact between different worlds, the seen and unseen. The spiritual power of the artist’s materials is also apparent in Chadbourne’s standing and hanging sculptures: complex, ritualistic combines of wood, bone, porcelain, beads, earthenware and metal meant to evoke what the artist describes as “spiritual or primal states.”
Glover’s powder-coated steel Lego bricks, hung on the gallery wall or resting on a white, ’70s-riffic shag rug, are a welcome, Duchampian presence in a show dominated by spooky portals and primordial invocations. But at the other end of the spectrum, his dynamic hand-formed steel leaf sculptures are strangely gentle and perfectly designed for quiet contemplation, despite (or maybe because of) the relative weight of the material.
Finally, Glover’s 24-inch tall steel and glass creation Metro is sort of a mini-metropolitan edifice, with opaque windows and, you guessed it, a little door. It stands in the gallery with a sentry-like stillness, bearing witness to the range of imagination and creativity on display.
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