April is one exciting art-filled month in the Dallas area. Among last weekend’s festivities, which started on Thursday with the preview gala of the Dallas Art Fair, was the opening of Julian Schnabel’s and Richard Phillips’ respective solo shows at the Dallas Contemporary. The Design District-based gallery was booming Friday night with international art insiders who gathered outdoors by a freestanding bar, whilst DC’s members and VIPs took a first look at both artists’ retrospectives. The enormous space provided the kind of unrestricted setting for large-scale paintings, making it one striking art show.
Schnabel’s exhibit, “An Artist Has A Past (Puffy Clouds and Strong Cocktails): 15 Paintings Over The Last Decade,” showcased huge canvases where reappropriated blown-up images (an elephant in the desert, an awning, a wooden piece) were transformed with different medias, and according to the artist, were a poetic representation of his “concerns over the past ten years.” When speaking about his creative process, Schnabel mentions the freedom and poetic quality of using everyday objects for his pieces. “I do it so I can find something in the process of doing it. But I don’t have a preconceived idea; I just know where to start.”
Saturday morning, Phillips joined art dealer John Runyon in a commentary about the artist’s show “Negation of the Universe.” Standing in a gallery that featured his imposing art from years past, we were taken by the fact that all the works were still very relevant today. Known for depicting pop-culture icons like Lindsay Lohan, Justin Timberlake and ex-President George W. Bush, Phillips explained that his work is a loud commentary of our image-saturated culture and the unreserved quality of misappropriating images, which he defines as the basis of his work: “art beyond the confines of litigation.” Phillips’ film work was also showcased and included “First Point,” starring Lindsay Lohan in this surf film that originated his oil painting on exhibit in the gallery.
This major, unreserved show has us hooked, and you’ll be happy to know the exhibit is at the Dallas Contemporary till August 10.