There Are Two Trippy Little Exhibits at Barry Whistler Gallery Worth Your Attention

Julia Kunin's "Sculptures" and Leslie Wilkes' "Double Take," now on view at Deep Ellum'sBarry Whistler Gallery, deliver a fresh and primal combination of earthen flora-psychedelia-art that suggests, at times, having fallen through Alice's rabbit hole.

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Brooklyn sculptor Kunin makes wild and engaging ceramics. Her curious, fantastical objects look like animate moon rocks. With tiny details like serpents, shells and craggy rocks inspired from the bottom of sea, Kunin is a responsive practitioner to both the natural world and contemporary sculpture. Her otherworldly, reflective glazes were pirate treasure in another life, I know it.

There is an explosion of ceramics going on in Dallas right now, between this show, a powerful and progressive exhibition at SMU's Pollock Gallery showcasing the work of ceramics professors throughout the state, and the highly anticipated Ken Price retrospective opening at the Nasher Sculpture Garden. Ceramic is the new video. Whatever you do, do not trip when you are softly basking in the ceramics renaissance.

Wilkes, a painter in Marfa, creates heady, madly diagrammatic color-block oil paintings (the exhibition also features the gouache studies she makes in the process of preparing the much larger paintings). Exploring propulsive quakes of shape and color, Wilkes' compositions have a huge, booming expressiveness, even through a redundancy from piece to piece.

Reminiscent of kaleidoscopes, woven Indian blankets, and Pucci prints, they will suck you into a particular vortex powered by symmetry; try to focus on the peripheral elements of any given work and you will fail. Wilkes' untitled paintings could replace Yo Gabba Gabba as a more sophisticated visual accompaniment to getting high, though I'm sure no one in Marfa ever smokes weed.

Julia Kunin: Sculpture and Leslie Wilkes: Double Take run through February 23rd at Barry Whistler Gallery in Deep Ellum, Dallas.

Images courtesy of Barry Whistler Gallery.

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