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Joseph Phillips / Shawn Smith
at D Berman Gallery, Austin, Texas
Recommendation by Annabelle Sanders

Continuing through October 9, 2010

This two person exhibit of work by
Joseph Phillips and Shawn Smith use traditional drafting and sculpting methods to cast a sharp, expert light on the increasing commodification and digitizing of the natural world. Phillips, a master of gouache painting, offers full-color schema depicting combinations of geology and architecture as they might appear in some divine IKEA catalog of utopian real estate: cottages swaddled in vertically arranged beachfront property, subterranean reservoirs of energy topped by tidy storage buildings, discrete units of improbable curbside appeal enhanced by non-indigenous foliage and packaged for some fantasy marketplace. Would you care for a side of julienned tectonic plates with your order, sir?
On the other side of the gallery, Shawn Smith eschews the merely two-dimensional and provides sculptures of wildlife: various birds, the heads of antelopes, a fox. All of these creatures are built from hundreds of hand-cut lengths of wood and rendered as collections of solid pixels, as if the inhabitants of some 8-bit computer game called \"Woodland Creatures\" had manifested themselves beyond the screen. The effect is consistently gorgeous and jarring and, especially in the case of one piece depicting a vulture perched triumphantly upon the shattered remains of an antique typewriter, more than a little unsettling.

D Berman Gallery 

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