Dallas 500X Gallery is a treasure map for discovering new artists

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Earlier this month, three new exhibitions opened at the 500X Gallery Artist Co-op, located in a former tire factory in the Tin District. Showcasing abstract, conceptual and textual works by four local artists – including a 24-year-old painter who graduated from the University of North Texas two years ago and who has already received her first jury grant – the exhibits are still on display. ‘displays until the end of this week.

The smallest exhibition, Invisible view, presents two works each by artists Max Marshall and Kay Seedig. Marshall’s two works, “Build-a-Cam” and “The Birds Are Not Real”, although distinct, are interconnected: a camera placed on the plastic pine that constitutes “The Birds Are Not Real” films them. viewers which are then displayed with a delay on a monitor that is part of “Build-a-Cam”. Juxtaposed, the two works pose dark questions about self-perception and identity.

Meanwhile, Kay Seedig’s work “I just want to masturbate in pieces” – a cross made of embossed plaques with different interpretations of the phrase “Before you go to bed at night, give your problems to God. He will be up all night anyway ”- stings and provokes the relationship between religious culture, cultural religion and sex.

The largest of the exhibitions, bleached cowboy, is a solo exhibition of the work of Stephen Abernathy, a painter and sculptor from Dallas. He uses Sketchbook to draw paintings on his phone, then projects them onto the canvas and paints them. The resulting works resemble a non-figurative Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Two of Abernathy’s paintings on display at the 500X Gallery were inspired by the music of Blackbear. “You Think That You’re Vogue” (the opening words of Blackbear’s song “Role Model”) is a pale pink and dark green composition that subtly examines the way people use clothing and other exterior adornments to express their superiority. . . “Teenage Waste” (also the title of a blackbear song) is a hot pink composition covered in the rubbish of adolescence: condoms, pills, “money, power, sex, fame… drugs, party, rules, game, ”says Abernathy.

The other personal exhibition, ground rituals, highlights the sculptural paintings and textual works of Dallas artist Elizabeth Hill. This is Hill’s first solo exhibition in a large gallery. In 2019, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UNT, where she majored in studio art – focusing on painting and drawing – and with a double minor in art history. and in women and gender studies. She is currently one of 16 artists in residence at the non-profit Cedars Union arts incubator. Incorporating design approaches inspired by history and philosophy, Hill’s work grapples with sanity, stereotypes, and identity.

“The way I do my art is my response as a black woman with my intersecting blackness and femininity,” says Hill. “All my art is a response to the world around me, to all the stimuli that surround me. I have these box shapes that were literally just physical representations of mental compartmentalization. “

Mental compartmentalization is often a process of acknowledging negative feelings and pushing them back for another day, Hill argues. But the process of creating works about mental compartmentalization is therapeutic for Hill as it forces her to put herself in her head – to recognize and process what she’s going through and what she feels in response.

“A lot of my works are visual and physical representations of mental compartmentalization and try to sort out that scrambling ball of whatever is in your head,” says Hill. “A lot of my work focuses on my sanity, my handling of things, and visual representations of what the inside of my head looks like. Some of my works have scribbles. Personally, I deal with depression and anxiety, so it represents this inner monologue. “

In April, Hill began incorporating text into her works, writing in a conscious manner to overcome her perfectionism, writing “whatever she had in mind, as she puts it, to” present it in the way exact ”. she had thought about it. She created the installation word vomit for Terrain Dallas, an outdoor gallery in Oak Cliff, for which she wrote her thoughts on 30 hot pink panels placed around the lawn.

“People were welcome to come at all hours and watch my thoughts,” says Hill. “It was very new.

Ground rituals is a continuation of word vomit. Hill has reused the pages she’s written in her journal and sketchbook over the past year – about her habit of falling to the ground whenever she’s overwhelmed, anxious or depressed – as a work of art of art. Ground rituals is an attempt to capture a holistic process, a whole body ritual, with words and lines. She even included a video of her bedroom ceiling, filmed from the point of view of lying on the floor.

The goal, says Hill, is to allow “the viewer to come into that part of me and into that space that I’m in.” For this reason, she has arranged her gallery space like a little nook or nook, so that viewers feel as if they are “entering an environment that is slightly different from the rest of the space,” she says, adding : “I wanted this wall to act as if it enveloped you and surrounded you.

The result is both deeply personal and intensely political.

“I realized that I was doing myself a terrible disservice by [repressing]Hill said. “Like, one, because it’s just not healthy. And two, because I lent or added to the whole ‘strong black woman’ archetype. Because I have the feeling like trying to be good for myself all the time, but most of the time for others too. And it’s like, I’m not useful to myself or someone else if I don’t agree with that.

“I don’t want to lie to myself anymore and I don’t want to lie to others. And I feel like once I start to accept that I’m not well, I can give myself what I deserve and I can. open myself to receive what I deserve.

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