Sculptor Hobbes Vincent tells one hell of a tall tale. “You never know whether you’re getting an accurate portrait of reality or one that’s been manipulated,” gallery owner Jen Mauldin says. Translated: He’s a bit of a bullshitter. That’s good news for everyone because his, um, altered artistic reality can charm your socks off. It’s what allows us to suspend disbelief while absorbing, for example, Vincent’s sculpture of a little boy standing between two javelina about to eat him for dinner.
Fort Worth-based artist Jay Wilkinson uses oil paint to create portraits that blur the line between art and life. Literally, he blurs out portions of his subjects’ faces, allowing the viewer to play mental Mr. Potato Head. This summer, he checked off the “first solo exhibition” box (Everyone Poops at Fort Works Art), and until Dec. 30, his work is on display via FWA’s DUETS 2.0, a mixed-media juxtaposition pairing seven sets of new pop artists who work in similar mediums. Wilkinson’s works are studies in the human condition. They’re almost literary in execution. More in 2018, please.
With no formal art training and an unusual style, Erin Curry uses NanoLiner ink pens to draw watercolors and wood panels. Her process is meticulous and sometimes injurious. Watercolor pieces are hand cut and elevated in shadowboxes using needles. “I should buy stock in Band-Aid,” she says. Frank Campagna, owner of Deep Ellum staple Kettle Art, is a super fan. “She’s knocking it out of the park,” he tells us.
Sister’s Sticker Collection, Adam Palmer’s unbridled Pixy stick of a solo exhibition, breezed through Ro2 last summer. We are thirsty for more. The Fort Worth high school teacher found his inspiration growing up in the dusty map dot Monahans in West Texas. His abstract paintings are kaleidoscopic bursts of color, something we could all use more of next year.
To say Haylee Ryan only paints people is inaccurate. She’ll paint the occasional cactus or floral bouquet. It’s just that she paints people in a way nobody else in Dallas does. Her innate fascination with regular, ho-hum humankind pops from the canvas, and we want more of it. Her style hits several paradoxical sweet spots. It’s haunting but inviting, evocative yet simple. Ryan sold her first portrait in ninth grade. Now, she’s represented by Jen Mauldin Gallery, where she’s amassed a prolific body of works. She’s also half of the bluesy rock band Sister and a board member at Art Con, and she teaches art part time at Hogg Elementary in Oak Cliff.
The titles are so basic they're misleading:
Courtney Walking — Green Purse
Courtney Walking — Brown Hat
#CourtneyForever — Lips
#CourtneyForever — Flamingos
Taking in Courtney Miles’ self-portraits, you can almost hear the vocal fry. She and her hedonistic alter ego, Neon Courtney, paint self-portraits that seem so … selfish. But then it hits you: She’s illustrating the absurdity of the cult of fame through the lens of what she calls “obsessive hyperawareness.” Perhaps she’s also showing parts of herself — of people, really — that exist but are too unpleasant to talk about. Not everyone will appreciate the sheer brilliance behind Miles’ pseudo-selfies. That’s what makes her fearless in our eyes. And we could all use more fearlessness.
Shawn Mayer’s immersive oeuvre is quirky, irreverent and sarcastic, encapsulating his generation’s collective neuroses. He captures them with a wit almost jarring in its innocence. Mayer, an alumnus of CentralTrak’s artist-in-residency program, uses unusual interactive players in his installations. One has inkjet prints and flatscreen TVs looping video beside a GPS device telling us a particular flower’s location. In "Mantra," a large flatscreen lies on the floor on its back. Above it, what looks like a security camera scene at a grocery store projects onto the wall. What does this all mean? We don’t know, but we’d like to find out. Mayer is represented by the Liliana Bloch Gallery.