Oct 26, 2011

REVIEW | Texas Biennial | Darke Gallery

Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Accumulation: Pinata Side A, Archival Digital Pigment Print, 35 x 35 ", 2011
I went to the Darke Gallery in Houston,Texas to view the If you didn’t get to Austin to see the Texas Biennial exhibit. This is an exhibit dedicated to local Texas artists. In this gallery, the curator Virginia Rutledge represented 8 artists in the Texas Biennial: Matthew Bourbon, Wendy Wagner, Catherine Colangelo, Kathryn Kelley, Richard Martinez, Marcelyn McNeil, Kia Neill, Hillerbrand+Magsamen. The exhibition will continue to go on display until November 19, 2011. If you really didn't get a chance to attend the Texas Biennial between April and May, it was an event featuring work from 48 artists living and working in Texas.

Darke Art Gallery, 2011
I wanted to find a gallery in Houston that was more 'underground' and I was lucky to find one dedicated to nothing but Texas artists. Attempting to find the gallery in an upscale suburban heights neighborhood was a challenge. When you drive up to the gallery, it is literally placed between two fancy condo's. Parking was also a challenge. Needless to say, this is a very quiet and upscale art gallery. Although it was kind of hidden in this nice neighborhood, it wasn't intimidating like you would think. The doors were wide open, and the curator was very friendly and helpful. This picture is a view  of what you first see when you walk in. Directly infront of you, there is work by a few artists, including Richard Martinez. These shaped canvases with oil, alkyd, and enamel reminded me of picture frames or headboards. The abstract shape of the canvas really caught my eye. The black canvas, titled Aseilus, reminded me of Rothko's black on black paintings.

Hillerbrand and Magsamen, Accumulation Video Still, 2010
To the left, there is a small room dedicated to Hillberbrand and Magsamen. These two artists have a series called House/Hold. It is a photographic series based on the suburban lifestyle of a family, and how material items affect them. There is a 4 minute HD video titled Accumulation, where the two artists make a pile of random stuff in their garage such as bicycles, trash cans, rakes, etc. There is an auctioneer voice in the background, and at the end, the arists, including their daughter, climb to the top and out of a hole in the ceiling. To me, it appears they are referencing how material items accumulate and take over your life. You have to walk over them and leave them behind to get to the top and move on. It was really interesting.
Kathryn Kelley, Barren in That Pregnant Pause of Soul, 2011

To the left of the room, you have to pass this dangling "rubber monster" to walk up the stairs. This huge installation is built with remnant tubes and wire, and it is atleast 7 feet long. It's actually kind of scary having to walk so close to it. This stood out like a sore thumb amongst everything else. Walking upstairs you see more work by different artists such as Matthew Bourbon. It is smaller upstairs, and there are only a few things on display.

Altogether, the different types of art didn't really have a 'theme'. This gallery is simply exposing the variety of talent that Texas artists have to offer, whether it is performance art, installations, or paintings.

-Ashley Green


  1. I looks dramatic and creative. I suggest you add more picture hangers on the wall.