Dallas art fair: SIMPLY BOLD Abstractions

The opening of the SIMPLY BOLD Abstractions exhibition opened at the art gallery SITE131 in Dallas’ Design District on Wednesday, April 10. The exhibition kickstarts one of the most important weekends of the annual Dallas Art Fair.

Curator and director Joan Davidow’s mission is to highlight the relationship between five international, national and local artists’ multimedia installations. The installations range from performance, paintings, objects, and graphite drawings to sculptures.

The gallery’s simple design resembles a box, where the white walls that wrap around the perimeter of the space create a blank canvas for the minimalist and expressive works on exhibit.

Upon entering the gallery, people have both hands occupied, one with a drink and the other with a brochure. Each individual is in deep discussion with the artwork, both individually or in conversation with other visitors.

“Everyone seems to really be enjoying it,” said Lynx Alexander, an artist based in Dallas. “Sometimes people aren’t, but everyone here seems to be engaging with the art instead of with each other.”

Each wall divides the installations by medium and artist. To the right is Colombian artist Natalie Alfonso, who performs her craft as people fill into the gallery. A 40-foot, perfectly straight and clean-edged black stripe runs across the wall. Alfonso smears the intact paint with a white cloth that she casually dips into buckets of water that are placed in intervals along the floor.

“I enjoy how the art is being created in front of me by the artist,” said John Georgas, a junior at SMU. “People are involved in the space and the performance allows for an interactive experience between the viewer, the artist and the piece of work.”

When looking straight ahead from the entrance, a stand-alone white wall divides the room into two spaces. Three of German artist Sati Zech’s large-scale red and white collages on canvas are evenly placed horizontally across the surface.

“I’m drawn to the Sati Zech pieces,” said Carron Batt, a gallery visitor. “I loved the color at first and the texture. I feel like as you look at them a little more you feel as if they’re tribal.”

On the back-left wall hangs artist Tony Lewis’ massive glass covered and framed graphite drawing titled “Automatic.” On the left wall hang six zip lock bags folded and wrinkled into different shapes and mounted horizontally, created by artist Jason Keon. The back portion of the gallery is composed of four of Harris Chowdhary’s sculptures.

“I love the multi-pane glass,” Alexander said about one of Chowdhary’s minimalist sculptures. “I don’t know why, but it’s the one that I remember the most.”

The gallery visitors can agree that the most memorable part of the experience was not the artwork itself, but the interactive and engaging aspects of the event.

When asked about the most memorable part of the experience, “All of the artists being here, the performance piece and seeing that evolve, the co-mingling of the arts world in Dallas” Batt said.