10 Best Art Exhibitions of 2014

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Zhulong Gallery
Jeremy Couillard's "The Vicious Valley"

This year the Dallas art scene felt rebellious. While one museum exhibition paid homage to a wonderful Dallas-based painter, another had me wanting to commit acts of destruction. At galleries and other exhibitions, the work dripped with anarchy and frustration with the system -- a sentiment felt across the country, and one necessary for art to survive and thrive in a place. There were also a few compelling new media exhibitions (although still too few) in Dallas, and a gallery emerged dedicated to that contemporary art form. The energy of the underground art scene may seem patchy, with the slow collapse of Oliver Francis Galley, and the end of Deep Ellum Windows, and Ware:Wolf:Haus, but all in all it's easy to look back and see a pretty impressive year in review.


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Five Art Exhibitions To See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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Gaeb Cardinale
Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance is something most adults understand, and relate to. That two things you believe or value could be in direct conflict with one another is a frustrating, anxiety-filled way to live in this gray-shaded world. The new series of work by Dallas-based artist Gaeb Cardinale shares a name with this psychological struggle. He juxtaposes vibrant blocks of color with stark, cold backgrounds to create pieces that pop. During the opening reception for his exhibition at Two Bronze Doors (5732 Richmond Ave.) from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, a dj will spin tunes and Braindead Brewpub will pour drinks. More information at twobronzedoors.com.


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Five Art Exhibitions to See this Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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Barry Whistler Gallery
Mark Williams, Untitled
Between Dog and Wolf
It's highly possible you've seen the French idiom: entre chien et loup. It roughly translates to Between Dog and Wolf, inspiring the name for artist Danny Williams exhibition at Barry Whistler Gallery (2909-B Canton St.). It refers to the way dusk can obscure the outline of a friendly dog to make it appear wolflike. His works in charcoal are meant to demonstrate what lies "between wild and tamed, pastoral and industrialized or nature and culture." See the pieces at the opening reception at 6 p.m. Saturday or through January 10. In conjunction there will be a drawing show featuring Linnea Glatt, Lawrence Lee, Andrea Rosenberg, Lorraine Tady (Dallas), Jay Shinn (NY/Dallas), Michael C. McMillen (LA), Adam Raymont (Berlin), John Wilcox, and Mark Williams (NY). More information at barrywhistlergallery.com.


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10 Artsy Dallas Places to Shop for Christmas Presents

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Nasher Sculpture Center

'Tis the season to shop local and shop well. Just don't buy your gifts at Walmart, capiche?


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Five Art Exhibitions to See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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Rob Wilson
El Mercado
Lest we forget, galleries exist to sell art. Is the art often well-curated and are the artists often hand selected? Yes, of course. But they are shops, nonetheless. And in the spirit of the shopping season, Erin Cluley Gallery (414 Fabrication St.) presents El Mercado. It's inspired by concept spaces like Collette in Paris and Dover Street Market, which has locations in London and New York. El Mercado will combine the market and the art exhibition experience with art, design, music and artistic food. The nine participating artists include Dallas-based Zeke Williams and Rob Wilson. Stop by the opening from 1-8 p.m. Saturday, or through December 27. More information at erincluley.com.


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Sundowner at Circuit 12 Is One of the Most Interesting Gallery Exhibitions This Year

Categories: Visual Art

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Circuit 12
Walking into Circuit 12 Contemporary, the first thing you see is the above photograph. It's titled Sundowner, I've been told by one of the participating artists - the exhibition's curator actually, Gregory Ruppe. But he doesn't tell me whose piece it is. Well, he tells me at first, but then he says the artists are avoiding individual affiliation and want the exhibition to be taken as a whole, yet fluid piece. That's some version of the mumbo jumbo journalists were fed before the exhibition opened last weekend. Mumbo jumbo most of us noted. There are 11 artists in the exhibition, about half of them local, and if you're a local art consumer, you'll probably recognize which piece belongs to whom - anonymity be damned.

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An Art Exhibition Concocts Dreams for You at the Dallas Contemporary

Categories: Visual Art

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Dallas Contemporary

At approximately 2 a.m. Saturday, I jerked awake. In my dreams, my mind had constructed a computer that fabricated dreams based on the tone and pitch of my voice, as I read poetry aloud. On this screen of my subconscious there was a forest scene, and over the futuristic speakers an immediately recognizable "ba bum" played. This dream machine (in my dreams) broadcast the opening credits of Twin Peaks. And that's when I physically shuddered myself out of my dreams.

But here's the strangest part. The computer that fabricates dreams? That was based on an art exhibition I'd seen Friday afternoon at the Dallas Contemporary.


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Five Art Exhibitions To See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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RE Gallery

Peter Ligon
It would be difficult to dig up someone who doesn't like Peter Ligon's landscapes. Even if you're not keen on landscape painting generally, there's something about Ligon's emotive, messy pieces that don't scream of photo source material. The painter captures every Dallas scene from trees in winter to the East Dallas' MSG-Palace, the Egg Roll Hut. His pieces are at once entirely specific and completely vague, more Impressionist than Realist. His use of light is inspired. And he's a longstanding member of the scene, with a history at the Shamrock Hotel studios. See his work in exhibition at RE Gallery (1717 Gould St.) at the opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday. More information at regallerystudio.com.


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Cydonia Gallery's The Depth of Now Prompts Reflection, If No Revelation

Categories: Visual Art

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Julieta Aguinaco
To My Daughter

It's a simple conceit. You can almost hear the artist thinking it to herself: I'll wear my mother's dresses. Entering Cydonia Gallery's new exhibition by Mexican artist Julieta Aguinaco, The Depth of Now, I found myself jealous. At least her mom kept hers. My mother forever interested in discarding. Yearbook notes from college boyfriends? Gone. Bellbottom jeans from her teenaged disco years? Gone. Heaven forbid she keep 10s of outdated dresses. It wasn't a matter of sartorial embarrassment, but an obsession with keeping it simple. So to see the series of photos of Aguinaco in her mother and grandmother's dresses isn't just about her art and a statement about swiftly changing cultures; "To My Daughter" became about me and my mother.

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Five Art Exhibitions To See This Weekend

Categories: Visual Art

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Ed Blackburn's Ancient History
I find myself pointing to shows at Mountain View College's Cliff Gallery quite a bit recently. I'm not sure if it's just a string of good shows, recently acquired awareness of the space, or if the programming has seen an uptick. Regardless, this weekend the space opens another interesting show. Fort Worth-based artist Ed Blackburn demonstrates interest in using his painting to tell stories. His pieces in Ancient History tell the stories of a man man unwilling to accept a repressive program who gets thrown into a lion's den and a woman who uncovers a genocide plot. See it in the opening reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday. Artist remarks at 6:30 p.m. More information.


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