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5 Art Exhibitions Worth Checking Out This Spring

Art on display at celerated Dallas artist Jeremiah Onifadé's showing at SITE131.
Art on display at celerated Dallas artist Jeremiah Onifadé's showing at SITE131. Jeremiah Onifadé
Gov. Abbott’s recent decision to reopen the state without a mask mandate probably makes you want to stay inside for the foreseeable future, and we don’t blame you. However, if you find yourself feeling a little stir-crazy, claustrophobic, or some combination thereof, it may be time to escape to a safe gallery or art show.

All of the galleries mentioned here are going to great lengths to keep their patrons safe, and social distancing is typically quite easy when you are browsing an exhibition. We’ve also included a virtual event inspired by an icon of literature.

Here are just a few of the incredible art shows currently in action or opening soon.

Surreal Figures, Jeremiah Onifadé
12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays
Through March 27
131 Payne St.

Over the last several years, the Nigerian-born Onifadé has gradually carved out a niche as one of Dallas’ most revered and original artists. His solo show Surreal Figures, which is on display through March 27, marks the first time the gallery SITE131 has devoted its entire space to a single artist. Onifadé's orb-like figures are representations of Black emotion and experience, with each painting telling a powerful story about his time in war-torn Africa. For this show, the preternaturally cheerful artist is showing a series of paintings (many of which are new creations) that balance Black joy with pain, sorrow and triumph. He’s cataloging his community’s history, one painting at a time.

Ariel Rene Jackson: Doubt & Imagination
Weekdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Through August 22
Dallas Contemporary
161 Glass St.

This lyrical film essay is showing at the Contemporary now through Aug. 22. Inspired by a conversation between two archaeologists, Jackson’s latest exhibition unearths the relationship between Sierra Leone and the Carolinas: specifically, the way pottery created on plantations in the 18th and 19th centuries offers a window into African culture and medicine. Doubt and Imagination is effectively a memoir that reveals the power and possibilities of dedicated artistic research. What emerges is a seldom-seen glimpse into a creative corner of Black art and history.

Jeff Gibbons, Matthew Whitenack and Margaret Meehan
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday

Through April 3
Conduit Gallery
1626 C Hi Line Drive

These three artists have wildly divergent works on display through April 3. While the New York-based Whitenack’s “rotten work” offers a scathing indictment of capitalism and a searing celebration of creative expression, the typically autobiographical Gibbons reflects on growth and adulthood with Wablu the Shlablues. Meanwhile, mixed media maven Margaret Meehan uses part of Conduit’s main gallery to exhibit new work created during this pandemic. The three showings offer haunting, hilarious and undeniably memorable looks at three singular talents.

I Will Greet the Sun Again
, Shirin Neshat
Tuesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fridays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Through May 16
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
3200 Darnell St.

A survey of the globally revered Neshat has already moved from Los Angeles to Fort Worth, where it will be on display through May 16. Featuring film, video and photographic works drawn from over three decades, I Will Greet the Sun Again works as both a celebration of an artist’s illustrious career and a primer for those who have never enjoyed Neshat’s work or her distinct vision.

“Shirin Neshat has lived her life and made her art in between two different cultures, Iranian and American,” says Ed Schad, the curator of this exhibition, “and this existence has given her a poetic and penetrating ability to understand the physical and psychological borders of our world today: borders of nation, of gender, of exile and of spirit.”

Speculative Futures, Present Imaginations,
various artists
Online through April 30

OK, so you don’t want to venture out and risk exposure in the wasteland of maskless Karens curated by our  governor. That’s understandable. In that case, we recommend a virtual exploration of artwork inspired by Octavia Butler. The noted sci-fi author has always been praised for her prescient fiction. The multi-ethnic multiverses she crafted in her work always offered incisive takes on gender, sex, race and politics, and her legacy has now birthed a virtual exhibition from artists across the country. That exhibition, which you can view through April 30, includes photographs by Dallas artist and anthropologist Elisha Oliver, whose eye for capturing culture in single stills makes her a perfect addition to this Butler-inspired compendium.
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Tyler Hicks was born in Austin, but he grew up in Dallas. He typically claims one or the other, depending on which is most convenient. His work has appeared in Texas Monthly, Truthout, The Texas Observer and many other publications.
Contact: Tyler Hicks