Thursday, June 18, 2009

Decorative Rituals

Rex Ray New Works, Heyd Fontenot, Get Your Woods On and Alejandro Diaz at Conduit Gallery

Danette Dufilho from Conduit mentioned this Rex Ray show during a conversation back in January, and it has been on the calendar since then. His work is highly decorative, using custom printed papers for collage on panel and canvas. The paintings have a great impact at the larger scale and the coating has just the slightest sheen which compliments the work. Out from the decorative springs images that appear botanical on some occasions, as still-lives and other times like something out the book
Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.

Heyd Fontenot's installation of drawings, sculptural work and assorted ornaments had the feel of a secret society lodge with a twist. The installation appears to be in some part inspired by the work of Matthew Barney. It feels too easy to make the reference, but with pagan symbolism and ritualistic artifacts it's hard to get around it. This is not a bad thing. The works on paper are often unflattering portraits of people wrestling, riding or sitting with their doppelgangers. The fetishistic feel of the work could have easily been off putting, but there was something about the show which was undeniably fun to walk through.

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