Monday, February 16, 2015

Writing on Mirrors

Vincent Gray

Dale Jackson's calligraphy on a mirror reflecting Ricky Walker's drawings and Patricia Murphy's sculpture.

Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

Vincent Gray

Vincent Gray

Signage

Dale Jackson

Ricky Walker

Ricky Walker and Patricia Murphy

Ricky Walker
 
I had this idea to ask Dale Jackson to write on mirrors about a year ago, for a show still unnamed.  Dale's work is about writing down segments of language on any surface he can find (usually paper, but sometimes shoes, other objects, wood, etc.), words and phrases that don't interrelate as much as disintegrate, flowing and disappearing into the ether the way living life does.  It's as if he's writing verses for his own unique invisible Bible, imposing a very structured sense on nonsense, and providing a way to reiterate and reinterpet one of my favorite actual Bible verses, Ephesians 1:2:  "'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'" 
 
So Dale obliged.  On six mirror tiles, he wrote what he writes and it's somehow both magical and jarring when you see it in the gallery.  His words imposed over a reflection of a reality that has no end, no focal point, just silvery and obligatory scenery.  Black Sharpee sharpness across all that is there, sort of cinematic, sort of like midair doodling, sort of like a conversation freezing into calligraphy across the space caused by dialogue. 
 
Those mirrors vacuum in the space.  Saturday, while Bill hung Ricky's repetitive, gorgeous-Crayola drawings, I watched them appear one by one in the marked-up mirrors on the wall, and it all somehow made total sense.  Then across the gallery is Vincent's Pointillist masterpieces of boxers boxing, a whole neighborhood of disenfranchised people holding their hands up, the flashy eyelids of Diana Ross.  And in the middle of the floor, Patricia's oddly shaped little figments, geometrical clouds turning into Kafka bricks, 1970s album covers for Electric Light Orchestra, resplendent with half-dead houseplants and a beautifully restricted sense of whimsy. 
 
This show called "Makeshift" keeps flashing in my head like a book of poems I read when I was in high school and only now can understand.  It's a bunch of blocked-out, accidental haikus and villanelles, a suite of works you can't solve a puzzle with, and yet when you see all of their works stationed in one room it seems somehow predetermined, makeshift in a totally wonderful way.
 
I know, I know.  I keep going on and on.  But I think it's taken me about 15 years to understand this is what I want art shows to look like.
 
February 28, 2015 "Makeshift:  New Works by Vincent Gray, Dale Jackson, Patricia Murphy, and Ricky Walker" opens with a reception 6 to 10 pm.