Admiration for Stiller's charcoal on paper drawings at Cohn Drennan gushed ceaselessly on Saturday night, as gallery patrons traversed Dragon, wine in hands, returning time and again to the artist's raw honesty in confronting body image and self-acceptance. Part of an MFA thesis exhibition, Blair Blayre, with fellow UNT artist Michael Blair, Stiller's work will be available for viewing through May 5.
Technically speaking, Stiller is immaculate. Her images are sophisticated, clean, and photo-realistic, celebrating the complex mechanics of human form, emancipated from the laws of physics and granted the freedom to explore space without the constraints of weighty backgrounds or busy color dynamics. Ultimately, a viewer doesn't view, so much as they are confronted by, Stiller's sharp Chiaroscuro and barefaced determination to exhibit humanity in its diverse beauty. Of her lauded work, a piece titled "Grabby Hands," found near the gallery entrance, garnered particular attention. Evoking a sense of defiance, the piece carries out Stiller's commitment to the female form, often presented in tandem, nude and clothed.
Interestingly, while Stiller's work contains strong feminist themes concerning the anxiety in revealing an "imperfect" female body and the implicit tension in comparing contradistinct forms, her supporters were far from uniformly female, and her work spoke to patrons of seemingly diverse age and socioeconomic identities.
In fact, Stiller's work was heavily favored among a variety of excellent pieces from more than 20 galleries. From Oak Lawn to Continental and among the Design District's gritty warehouses and posh baubles, Blayre Stiller hit a nerve. Hers is a name to remember over the coming years.
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.