With a shared penchant for vivid color, Faith Gay and Raymond Uhlir make for a comely pair to be exhibiting new work side by side at d. Berman Gallery through Saturday.
But color is about all these two have in common.
Gay employs her signature sense of whimsy and delight, but this time instead of the found and vintage objects she has used in the past, the Austin artist uses simple art and office supplies. Clear packing tape (miles of it), neon-hued labels, colored paper, cardboard and even a little glitter find their way into Gay's latest creations. And from all these unnatural materials, Gay fashions organic and nature-referencing objects.
It's consumer culture masquerading as nature — cheap stuff deployed in our age of economic limitations to make lovely emblems to the natural world. Rainbows, lightning bolts and clouds are cartoonishly rendered in chunky shapes then assembled in layered compositions. Or Gay crafts alluring orbs of various sizes and shapes, stacking them in different arrangements on the gallery floor. In one such arrangement, ‘Zasterous,' more than 100 brightly colored orbs make an mound in one corner of the gallery.
And everything — the layered rainbows, the orbs — is wrapped again and again with clear packing tape. Gay's ersatz natural objects might be joyful, but they are hermetically sealed. For our protection or for that of the objects?
Uhlir, in his first showing at d. Berman, is a storyteller. But in his series of paintings — called ‘Relatively Epic' — the complete story is kept elusively out of reach.
Uhlir's meticulously stylized gouches and oils — with scrupulously pristine surfaces — mirror the look of 1980s television cartoons. Of varying sizes and shapes, Uhlir's canvases spill out in a chronological order of sorts, provided you look for the thread of the storyline Uhlir presents. The tale is something about twins — one representing rationality, the other creativity — separated at birth in a mythological world and then reunite.
But lacking any kind of detailed explanation from Uhlir, except for his crazy titles such as ‘Abandoned at Birth, the Daughter Will Grow Up Without Her Brother (Twins Aren't for Everyone), the tale leaves plenty of room for viewers to fill in with their own imagination.
And that's just fine. After all, isn't everyone's reality a mythology of their own making?
'New Work: Faith Gay and Raymond Uhlir'
Continues from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays or by appointment through Saturday at d. Berman Gallery, 1701 Guadalupe St. 477-8877, www.dbermangallery.com .