Capsule Reviews

Our critics survey the local art scene

Kendall Stallings You may have thought that superrealism in painting had entered gracefully into the annals of history long ago, never to be discussed again. Stallings' paintings are superreal but not in the photographic sense that Richard Estes, Tom Blackwell and Robert Becthle's work was in the late '60s and early '70s. Rather, Stallings' is a realism more in keeping with the oft-reproduced lambent yuppy surrealism of Jack Vettriano, that painter of stylishly dressed dancers and singing butlers on the beach who was all the rage in the '90s. Stallings renders figures of suited men, nuns and blasted-tree landscapes all in a vivid and stark manner. The most poignant works showing at Craighead-Green are those from the series titled "Suits"--depictions of gracefully fallen corporate warriors. "Suits #2" shows an anonymous gray-suited man, bending over à la Rodin's "Thinker." In the chalky gray background is a pentimento (ghost of an underlying painting) in the form of a square. Whether witting or not, these paintings read as warnings: painterly messages that, in figural keeping with Mantegna's early-16th-century "Dead Christ," foreshadow possible economic morbidity to come. Through June11 at Craighead-Green Gallery, 1011 Dragon St., 214-855-0779. Reviewed this week. (Charissa N. Terranova)

Casey Williams: Winter Light Industrialization brought with it a condition that philosophers have called "thingification." The machine age transformed natural vistas into landscapes of hulking iron and steel combustion. Factories not only produced more things literally but turned cultural relationships into objects. The machine made way for social interaction occurring in, about and through the commodity. The photographer Casey Williams formally inverts this legacy, reducing the bulky machinery of modernity into a watery visual vapor. In "Toyokaze II," a photograph of a freighter taken in the Houston Ship Channel, powerful molten mass becomes colored bands of abstraction stretched on a canvas. Recalling the work of Monet, in particular his "Impressionist Sunrise" and the serial projects ("Haystacks," "Rouen Cathedral," "Water Lilies"), Williams renders Impressionism for an era committed to the logic of the copy instead of the original. Williams' canvases trump your eyes, as they appear to be paintings. In reality they are photographic prints reproduced on canvas and pulled taut on stretcher bars. Through June 11 at Holly Johnson Gallery, 1411 Dragon St., 214-369-0169. Reviewed this week. (C.T.)

 
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