What if there was a bulbous bearded man from generations ago, and then his head was splattered in such an excited rush of sporadic color that somehow the form of Popeye made it's way into the mix as a momentarily logical inclusion?
What if there was an unidentifiable animal corpse with well-defined muscles, and the contents of his gut hung next to his exterior in such abstract and pleasing bursts of color that it was simultaneously beautiful and confusing?
This fun and filter-less thought process strings through Just Between Us by Alejandro Diaz Ayala currently on display at the Kirk Hopper Fine Art in Deep Ellum. The Mexican-born artist's work is an exercise of unexpected juxtaposition, bold color, and splashes of busy and unexpected bursts that can only be described as "paint confetti."
It's as though Ayala's paintings begin as thoughtful, technical exercises -- a bouquet, a scull, a portrait -- then cross through an "ah, screw it" moment where pent up frustration with perfect lines comes to a head and results in a swirl of color that completes the work, making it interesting as well as confounding. If Ayala's themes run deeper than youthful wide-eyed fun and a mix of restraint and its extreme antithesis, it didn't necessarily come through, but the exhibit was still the most play-time my eyes have had in a long time.
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Also on display at Kirk Hopper is a gigantic metal sculpture by Michael Christopher Matson in collaboration with Kevin Obregon called American Beast, words than are scribbled on the hulking form's backside. The massive form of a shark fin is lit from the inside so that at night, light shines through the galactic slits on the exterior. A munchkin-sized trap door on the back left of the fin reveals the best part -- you can walk inside. Look up to see a sliver of sky through the beams that support the beautiful metal mountain.
The exhibit opened this weekend and runs through July 9. Visit kirkhopperfineart.com.