Benjamin Lima

  • Matias Faldbakken, Mesh Container Sculpture, 2011, two mesh containers, lever straps, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks December 07, 2011

    Matias Faldbakken

    In his current solo show, “Oslo, Texas,” Norwegian artist Matias Faldbakken pursues a brand of relentless denial and disavowal, presenting one medium after another as exhausted to the point of self-parody. On the ground floor of this new exhibition venue (and former power station), 20,000 Gun Shells (all works 2011) are scattered across the concrete ground, perfectly treacherous for visitors in high heels. A series of eight framed cardboard “Flat Boxes” are presented on the wall with tape and marker applied; they extend Faldbakken’s previous explorations of quasi-alphabetical, quasi-gestural

  • Dion Johnson, Accelerator, 2011, acrylic and Flashe on canvas, 40 x 60”.
    picks October 31, 2011

    Dion Johnson

    Dion Johnson’s colorful paintings are vivid and crisp, composed of tightly compressed contours that jostle each other in overlapping rows and long narrow layers. This sharply focused show consists of five works in acrylic and Flashe on canvas, all from 2011. In some, the forms hang down, like a rack of tools or pots; in others, the shapes stack up in ways reminiscent of layers of sedimentary rock. The colors are auto showroom–ready: phthalo blue and heliotrope purple, apple and lime green, gamboge and brilliant orange.
    The works gain traction through three basic, generative forms. First is a

  • Raimund Girke, The Force of the Vertical, 1997, oil on canvas, 79” x 87”.
    picks October 13, 2011

    Raimund Girke

    White, one may conclude from the eighteen paintings by Raimund Girke in this exhibition, is most evident when sharpened by the contrast of grays and blues. In these works, characteristic of Girke’s late output of the 1990s (he died in 2002), overlapping fields of white give way with partial transparency to contrasting blocks of darker colors. Girke’s ambiguous, suggestive treatment of white, which he called the “queen of colors,” opens the door to symbolic associations, like snow and purity, without quite insisting on them: Although Girke’s trajectory derived from his 1950s rejection of art

  • Jim Lambie, Danceteria X, 2007, broken mirror, handbag, glue, 59 x 33 x 18”.
    picks July 23, 2011

    Jim Lambie

    Jim Lambie’s work explores the way that processes such as projective fantasy and glamour, as well as totemism are particularly important between popular music and its fans. In this exhibition, a sense of theatricality is established by the extravagant, discolike Zobop Fluoro, 2004, where fluorescent vinyl tape covers the floor in alternating stripes, outlining shapes defined by the perimeter of the gallery that shrink toward the center of the space. Another prime element of glamour in Lambie’s work is the decorated, cutout head shot of a pop idol; in Careless Whisper, 2009, the face of George

  • Mary Temple, Northwest Corner, Southeast Light, 2011, acrylic paint on existing architecture, hardwood, wood stain, varnish, 40 x 44 x 15 1/2".
    picks May 14, 2011

    Mary Temple

    Mary Temple’s new installation Northwest Corner, Southeast Light, 2011, creates an empty space for contemplation behind the glass front wall of the Rice University Art Gallery. Inside, the cool white walls are empty; they surround a white oak floor, or rather, a platform that takes up all but the front and left margins of the gallery, slightly sloped upward toward the rear. Visitors may walk on it only after removing their shoes. The crucial element here is the subtle, almost invisible arrangement of light and shadows—silhouettes of trees seen through windowpanes—that fall across the walls and

  • View of “At the Edge of Scarcity,” 2011.
    picks April 27, 2011

    Miguel Ángel Rojas

    Miguel Ángel Rojas’s subtle, affecting new works, which comprise strict text- and grid-based compositions that do not disguise the poignancy of their subject matter, implicitly trace the corrupting effect of the cocaine trade on Colombia and the United States. Many of the pieces in his latest exhibition, titled “At the Edge of Scarcity,” use coca leaves and dollar bills, cut into countless uniform dots a few millimeters in size and fixed on large sheets of paper in low-resolution patterns. These works resemble the output of a giant dot-matrix printer; this, with the Tron-era typeface (as in

  • Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, Dead Cat on Movie Mountain, Sunrise, 2011, color photograph, 43 1/4 x 54 3/4".
    picks April 21, 2011

    Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler

    The psychological, interior world of cinema, with its complex temporality and ambiguity of reference, has long been central to the concerns of Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler. Their recent work explores the traces filmmaking leaves on the people and places connected to it. “Filmstills: The End,” 2002, a photographic series on view at Lora Reynolds, records the facades of old, run-down movie palaces (continuing a theme from the 2008 video installation Grand Paris Texas). These were once grand monuments to modern life, distinctive and central in their small-town surroundings. Their decay

  • Michel Verjux, Deux portes (découpes de tables), 2011, two profile projectors, metal table, wood table, dimensions variable. Installation view.
    picks March 07, 2011

    Michel Verjux

    “Breathe, Walk, Look” offers a rare occasion for American viewers to encounter Michel Verjux’s light-based works. The last such opportunity was in 1997, when exhibitions took place at Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery and at Xavier LaBoulbene in New York. Six pieces by the Paris-based artist now fill the Dallas Contemporary’s vast, rugged, and chilly space, while an additional work is installed on Elm Street downtown. Akin to his previous output, each work is titled in French (the artist prefers not to include English translations) and features a bright light projected from a single source

  • Stephen Lapthisophon, Spiral, 2010, ink, latex, spray paint, coffee on paper, 48 x 34 1/2”.
    picks January 27, 2011

    Stephen Lapthisophon

    “Spelling Lesson,” Stephen Lapthisophon’s latest exhibition of readymades and mixed-media works on paper, is a study in antinomies of the structural and the somatic. Spelling can serve as a figure for any code that invisibly regulates patterns of expression; lessons can be the disciplinary exercises that enable and govern one’s entry into the world of social interactions. Here one may spot an understandable ambivalence about such codes and exercises. Works such as From 1655, 2010, focus on the artist’s signature, sometimes written backward, or splitting up into pseudoletterforms as it degrades

  • Erik Parker, My Inventory, 2010, acrylic gouache and phosphorescent pigment on canvas, 53 x 60”.
    picks January 27, 2011

    Erik Parker

    This compact selection of works showcases Erik Parker’s adept combination of trippy biomorphic figuration and aggressive neon palette, to jolting effect. The canvases and works on paper can be sorted in terms of their (distant) family resemblance to traditional genres, such as portrait and still life. Several of the paintings depict a single head above an ambiguous slogan (as in New Freedom and Sink or Swim, both 2008). Here, one’s sense of the head’s structure, its basic shape and form, is undermined by the full frontal assault of intense color and wildly gyrating decorative elements. A certain