November Picks

Texas and beyond

November 2009
by Claire Ruud & Lauren Adams

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      Noriko Ambe
      Art Victims : Damien Hirst, 2009
      Cut book, framed
      Courtesy the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery

      View Gallery

      Noriko Ambe
      Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
      November 7 – December 31

      There is something awe-inspiring about the images of enormous sand dunes, cliffs, and canyons that dot the American Southwest. They seem pure, somehow untouched by the growing civilization around them. Oddly enough, that same sensation is conjured up by the much smaller paper pieces of Noriko Ambe. Ambe’s multi-layered works are meticulously cut, sheet by sheet out of the ultra fine, and pristine white, Yupo Paper and then layered into delicate three-dimensional landscapes. At Lora Reynolds, Ambe will show a series of her carved artist book pieces: obtaining pre-existing artist books, she carves them into these landscape-like forms. These topographical pieces are a bridge between humanity and nature; another chapter in Ambe’s study in “mapping the mysterious land between physical and emotional geography.” LA

      Teresita Fernandez
      The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin
      November 1 – January 3

      We have Teresita Fernandez to thank for her breathtaking transformation of The Blanton’s atrium with her semi-permanent installation Stacked Waters (2009), and now a more comprehensive exhibition of her recent work is coming to Austin. The artist’s work speaks poetically about perception, and so does she. When she installed Stacked Waters, Fernandez told …might be good “I have always been interested in the relationship between the tactile and the visual, the 'eyes of the skin.' … I am fascinated by how the visual seduces a viewer into caring about an idea. The conceptual is put into practice by a perceptive, engaged, seduced viewer, fully aware and willing to comply.” CR

      Bill Jensen
      Texas Gallery, Houston
      November 5 - December 19

      Bill Jensen has been somewhat of a stylistic shape-shifter over his career as a painter. Deeply rooted in Abstract Expressionism, Jensen’s current work contemplative and highly controlled, in part because he makes his own paint by hand. Many of his newer works give a nod to Japanese calligraphy; the soft swooping forms are reminiscent of language, but also create a sense of space. While Jensen’s bright, moving colors first draw the viewer in, it is the subtle play of colors in the background that builds dimensionality, creating a visual world that bears deeper exploration. LA

      Dana Frankfort
      Inman Gallery, Houston
      November 6 – January 2

      FLOWER PAINTING COMING SOON, Dana Frankfort's upcoming solo exhibition, is titled after the words the artist has used to compose the paintings in the show. The title alone gets me laughing. It makes me think of Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party safely installed in its sanctuary at the Brooklyn Museum while Louise Fishman's Angry Women paintings batter at the door.

      Pablo Vargas Lugo
      The Blanton Museum of Art, WorkSpace Gallery, Austin
      November 14 – February 21

      Pablo Vargas Lugo’s work often investigates the concept of time. This fall in Austin, Vargas Lugo will measure time through the recurrence of a striking astronomical event: the solar eclipse. Over the next 340 years, Texas will enjoy 10 solar eclipses, and this November in the stands of UT Austin’s football stadium, 800 people will gather to hold up black and white signs in a choreographed simulation of each eclipse. Hook ‘em, Horns! CR

      New Works 09.3: Adriana Lara, Mario Ybarra, Jr., Adrian Esparza
      Artpace
      , San Antonio
      November 19 – January 10

      This set of artists-in-residence is hot. For the New Museum's Generational this year, Adriana Lara instructed a museum employee to eat a banana every morning and drop the peel somewhere in the space. Meanwhile, one of Adrian Esparza's gorgeous serape pieces made it into Phantom Sightings last year, and Mario Ybarra, Jr. (who made it into the 2008 Whitney Biennial) recently created a room-size replica of Wrigley Field at The Art Institute of Chicago.

      New Works Series
      Austin Museum of Art, Austin
      November 21 – January 31: Jade Walker
      Followed by Luke Savisky, Sunyong Chung & Okay Mountain

      Jade Walker is kicking off this promising New Works series in November with Spectator Sport, an installation evoking the sports arena, and Okay Mountain has a project in the works for next fall an installation mimicking a network television studio set. Both Walker and Okay Mountain seem to have the relationship between artwork and audience on the mind; if artists could dream of “playing to a full house” during the contemporary art boom of the early 2000s, these exhibitions suggest some anxiety about the ability of art to keep “selling out the stadium” as we move into the 2010s. CR

      Claire Ruud is Editor of ...might be good.

      Lauren Adams is an intern at Fluent~Collaborative.

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