Pretty Ladies and Punctual Partiers at Gallery Bomb's Brickhouse Bandits Block Party

The show that opened Saturday at Gallery Bomb, the month-old space in Oak Cliff's Tyler-Davis district, is called Brickhouse Bandits, presumably referencing all the purdy girls.

On one side of the narrow space, Los Angeles artist Steven Lopez's nudes in fantastic settings are rendered in shades of green, blue, lavender and yellow and structured as the sum of near-geometric shapes -- a type of transformation, said Lopez, who was in town for the opening. "The female figure has a lot to say," he said.

On the other side of the room, where DJ Bilal worked a couple of turntables for the event, hang Joseph McSween's large female faces. These pretty girls are rendered in cotton candy colors, with tranquil eyes and flowers in their hair. They have the clean lines and easy accessibility of commercial illustration; McSween also earns his living with illustration, graphic design, T-shirt design, and skateboard graphics.

"I like using techniques of old masters paintings," he says, though he also updates the venerable techniques with aerosol spray paint (yeah, the stuff graffiti artists use) in all his paintings. (Interesting side note: McSween is color blind.)

Gallery owner Brandon Sellers found McSween's work on Facebook and "I begged him for a month" to put up a show, Sellers said. McSween, who grew up in Denton, was living in Seattle at the time but has recently decided to move back to North Texas. "The West Coast art scene is saturated," he said. "And I wanted to bring more art and culture to where I'm actually from."

McSween persuaded his friend Lopez to show with him at Gallery Bomb, creating a cohesive, colorful and viewer-friendly show. The work is fun and complementary, but what connects the artists is their approach to making art.

"I respect his stuff 'cause not a lot of people [do] it the way he does it," Lopez says. "He's very serious about his work. A lot of people do it like a hobby. But when they're not inspired and they're still doing it, that's a whole different ballgame."

He also was impressed by the liveliness of the Tyler-Davis Second Saturday scene. The show officially opened at 6 p.m. and, "There's been a steady flow as soon as it opened," he said. "In L.A., everybody wants to be fashionably late."

The exhibition is on display through October 1. Gallery Bomb is hosting another nighttime viewing from 6 to 9 p.m. this Saturday, September 17. The gallery will continue its Second Saturday events next month, and details are forthcoming. Call 817-793-6266 or visit gallerybomb.com.

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