Art Review: At Oliver Francis Gallery, Dirty Underwear, Lost and Found

The “found object” is the pun in play at the typically tongue-in-cheek Oliver Francis Gallery, which stages a show by Keith Allyn Spencer called almost Relevant. Spencer’s tiny creations — book-sized, painting-like objects — combine shards of scrap and dyed fabric, as well as novel and specifically-noted materials like “son’s old clean underwear with doodoo stain” into clusters of color and texture.  Yes, their intimacy (more puns) is important, as is close attention to the surprising moments of delicate beauty present in these discordant works. But the exhibition is energized by its off-kilter installation and the list of works. Visitors to the gallery find themselves looking at floor boards, door handles, corners, the ceiling, the sink, trying to find the pieces that are nearly-hidden, provoking a scavenger-like hunt for art with names like “Undocumented Mexican woman Domestically Abused outside Walgreens.”

Unpack all the linguistic hijinks at your own risk, that’s as much of the fun as the general feeling of nonchalance that pervades the gallery space. You could call Spencer’s work performance painting – or just another art joke – but the artist’s compositions and tactile intelligence are too acute to warrant a dismissal of the work itself. All the while, Oliver Francis Gallery continues to insist upon idiosyncrasy as the defining element of its program. And given the general landscape of Dallas art, Spencer’s show reminds us that it is a project that has not yet tired out.

Installation shot (via)