Visual Art

There's a Gallery in a Couple's House in the Cedars, with Paintings You Should Probably See

Just up the street from Lee Harvey's in the Cedars neighborhood of South Dallas is the home of a young couple that doubles as an art gallery called Homeland Security.

An exhibit there, Windows, Walls and Screens: New Paintings by Brendan Carroll, sees the work of the smart young Atlanta artist placed on the living room walls and in the kitchen, "bridging the gap between what a home is and what a gallery is," according to Kelly Kroener, who, with partner Eli Walker, lives in the hybrid space. (They are also artists and members of the S.C.A.B. collective).

See also: The rest of Betsy Lewis' art reviews

Carroll's abstract paintings perform the admirable feat of responding to the unique characteristics of the space. The gold-bronze-orange compositions in the living room have the earthy palette of structured sunrises and sunsets, snap into expressive focus where thick, angular marks of paint upset steady horizontal layers, as in "Windows Walls and Screen (Rearviewmirror)" (2012). The rock star of this series is "Windows Walls and Screens (Present Tense)" (2012), with its choreographed intrusion of synthetic ultramarine blue (undergraduate art students will shout "Yves Klein Blue! It's Yves Klein Blue!" But I'm not so quick to classify every ultramarine hue with that particular label.)

For kicks, Carroll replicated his brush strokes onto Homeland Security's homely windowpanes, leaving the residue of the mark in dirt and Vaseline, and looking for all the world like ghosts of the paintings next to them. The known order of the American living room is thoroughly -- but aesthetically! -- unsettled.

In the kitchen are several studies on paper and Carroll's two most recent paintings, both from this year, with lines that stay inside the frame, bouncing off the edges and seizing control of the movement of your eyeball (or mine, anyway). Carroll said he painted a landscape on the canvas first, then added the layers that would become "Windows Walls and Screens (Pilate)" and "Windows Walls and Screens (Brain of J.)." Nothing of those landscapes is visible to you and me, but knowing this delightful piece of Carroll's working process does hint at his meaning behind the titles of his work. The "Brain of J." piece was mesmerizing. If you think there's even a slim chance you might see that painting next weekend, clear your schedule for the rest of the afternoon, 'cause you ain't going anywhere.

Windows, Walls and Screens: New Paintings by Brendan Carroll runs through March 23rd at Homeland Security, with regular hours (noon - 5 p.m.) on Saturday and Sunday, and also by appointment.

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Betsy Lewis
Contact: Betsy Lewis