At Wilding Cran Gallery

Let’s Go Kick Some Booties

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With the cheeky title “… a pointy toe boot up the backside” and the matching attitude, Houston-based artist Christian Eckart packs an incredible number – 30 works by 10 artists working in H-Town – into the modest spaces of Wilding Cran Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. There is enough hanging on the walls to comfortably fill a wing of any museum. As it happens, Eckart’s curatorial intent is equally ambitious and grand. He likens the progressive potential of Space City’s art scene to that of Los Angeles’s own from the past several decades.

Beyond the tipping of a cowboy hat and the booty kicking, however, there is not a stereotypical trope in the show that suggests that the works are quintessentially Texan — a welcoming fact. Framing the fellow Houston artists as hacking away in the post abstraction environment, Eckart presents versatility of their talent over any one Texas flavor of the month. Stylistically, the artists match up nicely like a carefully cut dovetail joint. Brooke Stroud and Geoff Hippenstiel emotively capture the atmospheric moods as the sun sets and the dusk reigns in the night. Marcelyn Mcneil and David Aylsworth playfully render the nuanced rhythmic dances of loosely geometric misfits.

Susie Rosmarin and Tad Griffin meticulously pursue precision, creating reverberating optical illusions that blend the digital with the analog. Joe Mancuso’s latex and epoxy sculptural floral paintings complement the glazed and waxed surfaces of Sharon Englestein’s surreal ceramics. Though the materials quite differ — industrial as opposed to artisan — their slightly off-white appearance bring to mind George Segal’s figures save their coarse textured skin.

In addition to these apparent matches, the unique standalone-rs help describe the potential of Houston as the viable creative environment. Aaron Parazette’s slick and clean, hardedge geometric paintings, parts of which resemble mutated alphabet letters by Bart Exposito, echo Parazette’s California heritage. Painting one of the two largest canvases, which spans nearly 10 feet across, Paul Kremer speaks with his inside-out, Jo Baer-esque minimal black rectangular mass, accentuated around the edges with overlapping bright red orange and sky blue. The source of influences and inspirations is eclectic and so is the output. No pointy toe boot or ass kicking alone defines what is happening in Houston.

“… a pointy toe boot up the backside” is open for the last day today (Saturday, 11/7/2015) at Wilding Cran Gallery. It’s a LET’S-PUT-ON-OUR-BOOTS.

All images courtesy of gallery.

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