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at Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX
Review by Charissa Terranova

Curated by New York curator Regine Basha, 'Seedlings' is proof of the old Miesian adage that

Curated by New York curator Regine Basha, "Seedlings" is proof of the old Miesian adage that less is more. The works of nine young artists sporadically fill the giant industrial box of the Contemporary, to good effect. The red thread connecting this collection of motley works is Ms. Basha's interrogation of the natural-artificial duality. Maneuvering outside of the binary, Basha brings together the works of "seedlings," the artists of her show, to reveal that a new semantic territory is emerging in which the natural and unnatural are a dialectical unity. This is perhaps more pithily stated in Basha's epigraph from Goethe: "The unnatural, that too is natural." Two works at the entrance by Hilary Berseth and Christopher K. Ho offer a misleadingly timid introduction to the main exhibition space just beyond. Sitting pristinely inside of a plastic Plexiglas box, Berseth's Programmed Hive #6 is the carcass of a beehive touched up by paint. The word "program" in the title suggests a new media intervention somewhere within the honeycombed projections, but alas there was none. Ho's pastel watercolors lining the wall behind are small and meek. More distinct in presence are two pieces by David Brooks and Virginia Poundstone located just inside the main gallery hall. They are arresting in scale and diversity. Brooks' Still Life with Cherry Picker and Palms presents an aerial boom lift, the upper most cab of which is filled with live palm trees. Further inside the space, Poundstone's Illiquid is an installation in which a plastic skein of photographic imagery, showing a giant picture of a verdant hill, rolls onto the ground from off the wall. A crumpled steel plate bearing another photographic image, of purple flowers, is mounted on the wall. Sitting in front on the vinyl sheet is a white rectangular countertop upon which sits a colorful blobby sculpture. Much of the work in this exhibition, especially Jedediah Caesar's mound of earth on the floor, is reminiscent of the earthwork experiments of Robert Smithson and Robert Morris. To this sensibility, "Seedlings" adds an air of political correctness. The impoverished quality of certain works coupled with a theme of nature-consciousness constitute a strain of contemporary "conceptual" art (a replaying of the "dematerialization of the work of art" for the umpteenth time) which adds unnecessary moral weight to a show that otherwise leaves an imprint of post-apocalyptic oddity.

This article was written for and published in art ltd. magazine art ltd logo sml

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