The latest gallery show you need to see in Dallas features more than 90 artists. The Big Summer T-Shirt Show at the new Ex Ovo gallery in Trinity Groves is exactly what it sounds like: around 110 t-shirts and t-shirt-based works by a vast list of artists including locals like Brandon Thompson, Randy Guthmiller, Keer Tanchak, and Kristen Cochran. The shirts have been tattered, painted, quilted, embroidered, stuffed, bleached, and hung vertically on silver chains. It looks like a concept store you’d find in Brooklyn more than a gallery you’d expect to see in Dallas.
Ex Ovo popped up quietly on Fabrication Street in Trinity Groves in April, taking over the airy space where Erin Cluley Gallery lived before it moved into the Design District. The experimental new art space is the creation of Allison Klion, a Dallas native who recently returned to her hometown after stints in New York and Arizona. This is the second show she’s curated at Ex Ovo, which emerged as an innovative and unconventional gallery right off the bat.
For The Big Summer T-Shirt Show, Klion tapped into her network of artists in Dallas, New York, Colorado, Germany, Los Angeles, and beyond. Then she invited them to invite their network, considering the connections between the artists as another layer to the show. The result is a long and varied list of contributors who took very different approaches to her instruction to “use a t-shirt as a support” for their work.
There are sculptural pieces and wall hangings, but the majority still resemble everyday clothing. The concept of the show aimed to allow the artists “to explore something totally out of their practice,” Klion says. Because the t-shirts required less intensive work than conventional fine art, they’re also (mostly) more affordable, with prices ranging from $20 to $500 for the wearable ones. With many of Dallas’ biggest collectors out of town for the summer, this opens the door for normal folks to get their hands on some great pieces. Not to mention, these pieces have form and function.
“The way that art worn on a body can circulate in the work is an interesting thing to explore,” adds Klion.
The Big Summer T-Shirt Show is on view at Ex Ovo Gallery through August. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12-6 p.m. or by appointment.