If you only attend one art exhibition this fall, make it “Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances” at the Dallas Museum of Art. Don’t look at the images online first, don’t dig into the narratives about his untimely death, just trust me: go see it. This is one of the most powerful painting exhibitions I’ve ever seen and it’s likely to be one of the few times for viewers to see these 50 works together in this way.
Wong was a self-taught painter who first came into public awareness in 2016 when he was part of a group exhibition in New York City entitled “Outside,” which featured outsider artists working in landscapes or interested in a sense of place. Wong’s evocative paintings are particularly strong when they capture aspects of nature.
His career was short and storied. He had only started painting in earnest in 2013. In 2017, the Dallas Museum of Art became the first museum to acquire a work by Wong when it purchased “The West,” a painting that he finished while it was hanging in the booth at the Dallas Art Fair. Wong had his first American solo show at Karma Gallery in 2018. He committed suicide in 2019. He left behind more than 1,000 works.
The selection of works in “The Realm of Appearances” are displayed like a retrospective, following Wong’s career in chronological order, allowing the viewers to see the evolution of his skill and subject matter. It’s an emotional journey.
This is the opening you shouldn’t miss this season. But if you want to attend more, we’ve assembled a round-up of the best shows to see this busy fall.
Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances runs through Feb. 19, 2023 at Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday – Sunday, admission is free, dma.org
Dallas painter Keer Tanchak uses the female form and trappings of femininity to explore the way women are depicted in culture. These works contain women with recognizable faces, many of them international movie stars, but their figures are often obscured behind a netting and the viewer must search for them. Her work contains a delicate strength and these pieces, which range in scale, are particularly pleasant to spend some time with.
Keer Tanchak: A Stranger Every Time runs through November 12 at 12.26 gallery, 150 Manufacturing St. #205, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday – Friday, 12- 5 p.m. Saturday, gallery1226.com
If you’re looking for something a little wild, this Natalie Westbrook exhibit at Keijsers Koning Gallery is for you. Her loose brushstrokes in psychedelic colors reference baroque masterpieces from artists by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens and imagery like the hellmouth. It also marks the Pittsburgh-based artist’s first exhibit to feature sculpture.
Natalie Westbrook: A Mother of Pearl runs through November 19 at Keijsers Koning Gallery, 150 Manufacturing St. #201, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday, keijserskoning.com
There are two exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary right now. There’s the large Shepard Fairey show, which is more or less what you would expect it to be. But there is also a video installation by South African artist Gabrielle Goliath. It’s a spare, dark room with two video screens. On one, the University of Cape Town choir holds one note in unison, in a sort of hum; on the other, an empty choral riser. It’s an elegy to Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19-year-old student who was raped and murdered in 2019, but it resonates as a reflection on gender-based violence across the globe, which has unfortunately become more relevant since the work’s creation. It’s powerful in its simplicity.
Gabrielle Goliath: Chorus runs through March 19, 2023 at Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass St. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 5 p.m. Sunday, dallascontemporary.org.
In the current exhibition at Erin Cluley Gallery, the multi-hyphenate artist James Gilbert has created a body of work that contains a certain whimsy. The gallery’s works include multi-headed sculptural pieces, alongside a series of colorful faces layered onto one another. It’s a fun journey into the mind of an artist.
James Gilbert: I Don’t Know, You Don’t Know, They Don’t Know runs through November 12 at Erin Cluley Gallery, 150 Manufacturing St. #210, 12 – 5 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday, erincluley.com
If you like abstract painting, this exhibition is a must-see at Kirk Hopper Fine Art. Matthew Bourbon is one of the more prominent painters in the city. He has taught an entire generation of painters as a professor at University of North Texas and written art criticism for the Dallas Morning News. He has a recognizable style, weaving patterns of color together in paintings of varied sizes.
Matthew Bourbon: Thousand Year View runs through November 12 at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, 1426 N. Riverfront Blvd., 12 – 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, kirkhopperfineart.com.
The newest exhibition at Liliana Bloch Gallery draws inspiration from the following places: the conquest and colonization of Central America, William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” touristic colonization, and Bitcoin, which recently became the national currency in the artist’s home country of El Salvador. If that all sounds a little heady, don’t let it keep you away from the Simon Vega exhibition – his work is smart, but it’s always a little wild and surprising.
Simon Vega: The Return of Prospero runs through December 30 at Liliana Bloch Gallery through December 30, 4741 Memphis St., 12- 5 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, lilianablochgallery.com
If you’ve been to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth in the past few years, you’ve likely walked beneath the textile rainbow in the atrium. Dallas-based artist Gabriel Dawe has made an international name for himself with large-scale Plexus works in which he uses miles of sewing thread to create these multicolored installations. His work at Talley Dunn gallery takes a new turn by bringing together his sculptural works and mixed media works into a room anchored by his installations.
Gabriel Dawe: Ode to Futility runs through December 10, 5020 Tracy St., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday – Friday; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, talleydunn.com
The next time you visit the Nasher Sculpture Center, carve out a bit of extra time to spend in the Nairy Baghramian exhibition. It’s a collision of some very contemporary ideas about sculpture with classical traditions. She paired her latest body of work, in which she abstractly explores ideas of corporeality with some of the more recognizable works from the permanent collections, specifically ones that contain the human form. You’ll want to look and look and look again and then mull it over on a walk through the sculpture garden.
Nairy Baghramian: Modéle Vivant runs through January 8 at Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday, admission is $10 for adults, nashersculpturecenter.org
Los Angeles-based artist Kohshin Finley created a new body of work for this exhibition at Various Small Fires, the downtown gallery attached to the Joule Hotel. When you look at these photorealistic portraits of his friends and family (and in one instance, himself), it feels like they’re looking right back.
Kohshin Finley: Eight Artworks runs through November 12 at Various Small Fires Texas, 1511 Commerce St., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday, vsf.la