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Tom Molloy
at Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Texas
Recommendation by Katy Crocker

Continuing through April 14, 2012


Irish artist Tom Molloy makes work that addresses current global affairs, collecting together and subtly altering political imagery. "Shake" stretches around a central wall in the gallery, featuring 59 black and white photographs of various world leaders — Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush included — shaking hands. Each photograph includes a handshake or embrace; usually the men are smiling, the pictures mounted in ordinary, household frames.  


Along the back gallery wall spans 50 years of tiny protestors, cut out to form human shapes versus straight edges, each standing upright on its own — a makeshift pop-up made up of thousands of photographs. "Protest" features women demonstrating for equal rights, civil rights activists, and hundreds more. The little protestors have no voice, however they are shown shouting, an appropriate metaphor for the impulse toward reform in the face of  powerlessness. 


"Dream" (2009) is a re-envisioned set of book covers, cased in Plexiglas boxes, to text presumably written by Barack Obama. However, our President’s black skin has been cut out and removed, leaving nothing but the white background of the paper in stark contrast to his lips, eyes, hair and clothes. Questions arise like: Would America view Obama differently, if he were white? Or, did the art directors of these book covers intentionally lighten his skin? Molloy says his work is not didactic. However, the artist has amassed a collection of images which seem to make an informed and pointed statement about real global politics.

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