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First Friday reviews, July 2014 

click to enlarge From Revolutions: Tex Jernigan
  • From Revolutions: Tex Jernigan

Revolutions: Tex Jernigan
General Public Collective through July 25
★★1/2
A 2D blow-up of Napoleon’s horse from Jacques Louis-David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” and some dude trying to ride it — this is what greeted me as I walked into General Public Collective's gallery space, with New York City-based photographer Tex Jernigan taking pictures of the results. I was told images from this shoot will soon hang on the wall as part of this exhibit. Not a bad way to get people to interact with art. Likewise with his video art on display. Jernigan asked humanoid subjects to stand on a small rotating platform and then photographed them in slow motion. The results, brought up to speed, show blasé subjects frantically spinning through space against a blurry background.

But three photographs of acquaintances seemingly walking on water on the White River left something to be desired, mainly in terms of quantity of work shown. Jernigan’s subjects don't have super powers; they were standing on supports, and in one case falling off them, in keeping with his Photoshop-free approach. (By the way, I didn’t get why several of the people photographed were dressed like Babylon 5 extras, considering the New Testament associations brought to mind by such photography.) If Jernigan is making an argument for his aesthetic here, he needs to show more such work in order to win it.

click to enlarge "Log #1063849 (The stars are our ancestors.)," Bobby Gilbreath
  • "Log #1063849 (The stars are our ancestors.)," Bobby Gilbreath

Flora: New Work by Bobby Gilbreath
Harrison Center for the Arts through July 25

★★★ (out of five)
Suppose an astronaut was sent on a mission to catalog the planets in the Milky Way but lost his camera and computer and was forced to document his findings in written form, in a logbook. Gilbreath’s paintings that correspond to his “log” entries could be surfaces of distant planets. It makes sense: If you pour a bunch of different types of paints together on flat boards like he does — Gilbreath uses everything from industrial chemicals to latex — they may congeal and crack in weird ways, forming an other-worldly geography.

Chance plays a part in the working methods of plenty of artists, but Gilbreath takes this process to its extreme. In several paintings in this exhibition, you see paint congealed around and over the edges of the canvases, and thin layers of paint detached from the paintings, fallen on the floor. Gilbreath may have taken his 2D work as far as it can go, and sculptural work such as “Lunare, Lacrima” may indicate where his next ventures may lie.

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