Two notable Dallas artists have ganged up against an artless pandemic world with an art exposition in Fair Park. Exposition Gallery's Ongoing exhibition, which is available by appointment only through the month of December, offers the works of Bobby Weiss and IZK Davies, just two old friends with a common love of art.
Both renowned on separate scales, Weiss and Davies have been producing art in parallel streams since they entered the art scene in Dallas. But as longtime friends, they’ve yet to have the chance to bring their works together in a common showing.
“We’ve known each other since high school,” says Davies, who has been known for his artist collaborations. “Both of us have wanted to do something together for a while, but never got around to it, I guess. And he’s obviously just someone I trust.”
This is Davies’ fourth collaborative show at Exposition Gallery. Though he’s become known by his work with institutions such as the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Museum of Art, it’s joint projects with artists he knows and trusts, like this one, that define him.
“I knew we were going to be close friends from the start," Weiss says of his co-conspirator. "As far as this gallery goes, it’s cool how it just happened organically. He had the gallery and I jumped on it.”
Over the years, the duo has worked on a sole mural together, used each other’s studios for workspace from time to time — principally, they've remained friends and mutual fans.
“I think of IZK as the wise sage,” Weiss says. “He’s like the shaman — wise and reserved. When he speaks, it’s quiet and people want to listen. He brings energy to all places he enters.”
Davies shares similar praise for Weiss, seeing him as someone he can learn from.
“He’s kind of the academic in the situation,” Davies says. “We’re not polar opposites, but he teaches art, he’s got his masters, he’s been through all the proper channels of art training.
“Me, on the other hand, I began art learning from my family. It’s pretty much in my blood. My two older brothers, my parents, grandparents, uncles … all created in some way. Even my mom does portraits and murals. It’s kind of like a family gift.”
Being contrary artists in nature, their union was in many ways, as Davies says, “to learn, to be able to learn from what he’s learned.”
While Weiss has become recognized primarily as a teacher of art and drawing, as well as a film artist, Davies first gained notice in Dallas as a muralist.
The two represent distinctly dissimilar styles. This juxtaposition can be seen at the Ongoing Gallery, as Davies' works carry a surrealist, abstract quality, which he defines as “floating between realism and fantastic realism.”
A prime example of Davies' work is a painting at the gallery portraying a black and white mangled fusion of naked bodies, with body parts floating across the center. The shapes of the varied bodies give the feel of a Renaissance painting gone haywire, giving it an undeniably modern, abstract take.
Weiss' art, in contrast, is more grounded — abstract or not. Each one of his paintings offers varied imagery, many involving furniture of some sort. He describes this as an interest in objects and the meaning they hold. One of his canvases at the gallery portrays a man eating soup in a teepee that’s jam-packed with furniture and other random articles; another one of his portraits depicts a small, vintage bed or crib covered in messy, white sheets, alone in an attic.
Still, there is an inherent connection between the two that goes deeper than the themes they work with, which resonates in their appreciation for the craft.
“IZK and I both have a love for images that move us and give us nourishment,” Weiss says. “This could come in the form of a European painting or an abstract painter on Instagram. If I find an image that resonates with me, there is no doubt that IZK will see the value in it as well.”
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.