Nov 8, 2011

REVIEW l Jon Langford's Art Show l Yard-Dog l Austin, Tx

Don’t Be Afraid
    Mixed media painting. Signed on the back.
 24 x 24
Jon Langford
 Yard-Dog, located on the busy South Congress St. in Austin is a diamond in the rough. Approximately 9 feet wide by 16 feet long this tiny art shop has many very interesting collections’ on display at this current time. This space is filled with such a calm feeling and wonderful natural light that anyone walking in feels like they are right in the center of Austin’s earthy arms.

The curator of Yard-Dog set up this space in what seems to be a bit of an unorganized style. There are pictures covering practically every space on the walls. The pictures are erratically arranged: some paintings are touching one another, while others are placed one above another, while still even others are spaced about half an inch apart! To try and place which artist is which is complicated enough. Trying to discover the name of the current display collection well…that was done via the internet and not so much with the help of the gallery. Another unusual thing that the curator has done is created a top heavy space by putting the larger paintings above the smaller paintings. Yet, somehow this tiny space with its warm dark red wall and high-gloss white wall, with its thick beam through the middle of the shop, cozy back corner, and old scuffed wood floors makes one feel right at home.

Cash In London
  Print mounted on wood, touched up and varnished.
11.25 x 8
Jon Langford
As I entered the well light space through a beautifully scratched up white door my eye immediately went to Jon Langford’s Art Show on my right. Langford gets his inspiration from old country western photos and old country western comic books as well as music surrounding his life as part of the British rock band, Meknos. Langford creates an unstable surface for his paintings by first placing acrylic paint down onto a canvas. Following the acrylic paint he then takes pictures resembling 1940’s commercial print advertising and creates what seems to represent pointillism. He does this by creating an uneven surface with pastels, more acrylics‘, sharpies, felt pens, white out and everyday materials he finds. He makes pointillism present within the hair, eyes, face, lips, and clothes of the characters in his pieces. Around the main character he seems to have a consistent pattern throughout his many paintings that are of doodles dealing with: hearts, (x)’s, music notes, miniature guitars, and stars. He uses famous characters such as Joey Ramone and Johnny Cash as well as sea creatures like The Octopus. He also seems to do a collection of pieces that involve men with devil horns and women with devil horns.

   Cup Of Bitterness
   Mixed media painting on plywood.
19 x 16
Jon Langford
Jon Langford’s Art Show seems to be a play on the impression that commercial print advertising has on an audience. His collection was large and there were many different size canvas’ but all in all the commercial print that was used seemed to have an underlying meaning. For example his group of pieces that had men dressed in suits talking to one another and talking to women with devil horns seemed to represent what cannot be seen on the surface of an advertisement. An advertisement usually comes across to the typical viewer as trying to sell them something, what Langford seems to be getting across is the sinful/dark side of advertising. How if affects our subconscious mind into thinking that it is an important addition to our lives by selling us on going to fancy dinners, dressing up in expensive clothes, drinking cocktails, buying items, and spending money. By adding devil horns or comments such as “Drink the cup of bitterness” he is helping state that what is being sold is corruptive; It has a tendency to want to put you into the same category with the rest of the population or create an uniformed group of people all fitting the same form and helping to contribute to the materialistic side of the economy.

I think through Jon Langford’s Art Show the curator accomplished a few key points. Such as the fact that the most interesting pieces by Langford are right by the door, drawing viewers in. He puts the smaller paintings towards the back of the building and does not put them all together. So just when the viewer thinks they have seen all of Langford’s exhibition they are surprised by a whole other group. On a negative note, there are too many pieces of art work in one spot and the separation of his collection is not useful. Although entertaining because of the fact that there was more paintings then originally anticipated the fact that they were separated can be confusing, it makes the viewer think that it is another artist. I think that concerning the art shop the idea of placing the two groups separately may be good for business, but concerning viewing and taking the pieces in, it is not clear and concise.

Yard-Dog’s unique location and great vibe fits hand in hand with Austin and with the art it displays. Jon Langford’s Art Show will be on display from October 22 until November 13. Langford’s art is incredibly interesting and in my personal opinion defiantly unique in its style, representation of advertising, and famous people. What makes the trip even better is the idea that if you love a piece so much you do not want to leave it behind, you can always take it with you!

- Kristi Underwood


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