Kirk Hopper has one of the more interesting programs of any commercial gallery in town right now, if only on account of the diversity of artists it shows as well as its occasional forays into curatorial-driven projects.One of those projects is on display in Kirk Hopper’s exterior space, where curator Charles Dee Mitchell has put together an exhibition called Rain or Shine featuring four Texas artists, Jesse Morgan Barnett (Dallas), Glenn Downing (Waco), Michael Henderson (Huntsville), and Ludwig Schwarz (Dallas).
Michael Henderson tries to explode the space bounded by three exterior walls with a mural of a hole on one of the brick walls, while Schwarz tries to suture it together, turning the loading dock area into a courtyard by stringing laundry on a clothes line between the backsides of the buildings. Glenn Downing dominates the space with a confounding and complex welded mess of iron, wood, horse shoes, chains, cannonballs, and other odds and ends that feel fit for an antique mall off 287 on the far side of Wichita Falls. It is a witty, endearing sculpture, easy to lose yourself in and begging for the label “Texas surrealism.”
Surrealism mined its energy off dream logic’s penchant for suggestive, provocative, open-ended narratives, and indeed, in Mitchell’s Rain or Shine, there are a number of such narratives running through the show. Jesse Morgan Barnett’s piece manages suggestion through simple materials, taking an awning frame and hanging it inverted on a wall, drawing attention to its symmetrical elegance, the de-functional-ized angles of its simple geometric construction becoming something exquisite and visceral – lines in space heavy-bearing their own weightlessness. A pile of wood next to a white table continues the piece – and its incorporation of materials suggesting rural domesticity – around the periphery of the loading dock to a dinged-up fridge, the kind you might see in garage or in the mud off the side of a double wide. The three parts of Morgan Barnett’s piece subtly encircle Downing’s, while the fridge also calls our attention to a long strip of recessed concrete on the floor, into which the artist has placed the object. By doing so, he calls our attention – and activates – an easily overlooked piece of found architecture, an accidental Carl Andre.
Also on view right now at Kirk Hpper are new works by Ann Glazer. Clarity is the quality that lifts Glazer’s work, sumptuous, almost elegiac canvases that feature droplets of silver foil scattered across paper — or soft-shimmering velvet canvases that almost make you want to say “Jacob Kassay,” only they are more tender and less cock-sure than that artist’s work.
Image: Ann Glazor, Brainwash (perpetual fountain) video still.