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“It’s Official”
Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, Texas
Recommendation by John Zotos

Vincent Valdez, "America's Finest," 2015, lithograph, 35 x 24", edition of 60. Courtesy of Holly Johnson Gallery

Continuing through August 13, 2016

This is the perfect time of year for a summer group show with no better subject than the celebration of four contemporary artists who were recently appointed as “Texas State Artists 2015 & 2016.”  This designation is awarded for excellence exhibited by the appointees in their chosen medium, as well as their dedicated commitment to Texas and the rich cultural diversity found there. It is the highest level of official recognition bestowed by the state. The artists include Dornith Doherty, Dario Robleto, Margo Sawyer, and Vincent Valdez; which respectively means that the exhibition includes photography, conceptual and installation art, sculpture, and drawing via multiples and editions. 

Sawyer’s signature minimalist and colorful sculptures punctuate the main gallery. Made of steel and painted with a powdercoat medium and automotive paint, these geometric forms have a commanding presence. Doherty’s photographs of seed bank specimens, sometimes radiographs of cross sections of endangered species, are abstract art and collage that engage with the notion of archives and the power embedded within them. Valdez works with paint, pastel, and graphite, in order to respond to the historical past and the sense of loss that exists when people and events are perhaps forcibly forgotten. In "America’s Finest," a figure in boxing gear wears a Native Indian featherhead dress. He stands poised to strike, pierced with arrows throughout his body like an American Saint Sebastian. Dario Robleto’s installations and prints bring together a disparate selection of items for the purpose of investigating lost historical eras. In "The Pulse Armed With a Pen," vinyl records, digital prints and an audio device explore the history of the human heartbeat.  All in all, this show provides diversion from the everyday, as well as the heat.

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