Garage gallery and clean well lighted place, Goodluckhavefun is featuring a nebulously named show “Austin does Austin.”
Tim McCool and partner Kira Prentice asked five former GLHF exhibition artists to ask five friends to join them in submitting an artwork, leaving it up to the viewer to guess who invited whom.
Of the ten works, nine are abstract or play with abstraction. All are heavy on color and many possess a strong graphic sensibility. Some paintings explore the relationship between flatness and depth, and of the eight non-three-dimensional works, half are a screen-friendly square.
Like a Mondrian “Lozenge” Christina Moser’s “Soft Shoulder” (2022) is oriented to emphasize its diamond shape. A product of the University of Texas’ undergraduate art program, Moser primarily works with airbrush acrylic on canvas investigating color combinations and their expressive potential. Her painting’s illusionistic blue cube set against a yellow background glimpsed through a pinhole might force the questioning of formal space while also suggesting calm to the viewer.
Offering additional geometric abstraction are Daniel Hurlbut with his “Untitled,” acrylic and gouache on cradled board (2022) in which neon yellow and orange cubes emerge from a grid, and Natalie Keuss with her “Waves of Gratitude” (2021) which explores light and a curved prism effect through different values of the same hue family.
Michael A. Bullock’s “PORTAL XV” (2020) is abstract adjacent as it starts with a representational photo (of a palm tree-lined path?) over which a large flat golden circle is superimposed. Obscuring much of the natural scene with a human-made force makes for conflicting impulses when trying to navigate the work. Bullock’s website says he “explores urbanism, development, and our surrounding built-environment.” Like Moser the artist expresses an interest in seeking serenity in a chaotic world.
Molly Knobloch is a Tulane grad and member of Contracommon, a collaborative artist space and gallery in the Austin suburb of Bee Cave. Dosed with graffiti style, her expressionistic canvas, “I’m not patient, are you?” (2022) is layered with slashes, dashes, dots and Basquiat crowns.
The most seasoned artist in the group is former University of Texas Professor, Bradley R. Petersen. Less hard-edge, more Leger-like “With” (2021) is a small oil on panel crammed with abstract slices and stripes of light, color and pattern. A hint of horizon lines with dark blue trees aligned along it, peeks through the wonderfully crowded composition.
Matthew Langland, who had a solo show at GLHF in 2021, reappears here. His 50” x 32” acrylic on canvas, “Regular Formality Threshold” (2022) resembles a shield with symmetrically arranged symbols strategically arranged to float on top of a black backdrop. Their emblematic nature remains elusive though the artists cull imagery from numerous sources.
Two sculptures satisfy a three-dimensional need. Susannah Haddad’s, “Antelope Canyon” (2022) uses painted and cut wooden shapes stacked on one another. Silhouettes resembling hands reach for and frame a blue spot stretched across an amorphous support. The organic qualities of Haddad’s sculpture set off the geometric and synthetic properties of Emily Hoyt-Weber’s work. Hoyt-Weber’s “Polly 45 meets 90,” is a steel sculpture painted in bright pink auto body paint (2022). Slender steel arms project outwards like a high design shoe rack left open, and there’s something really enjoyable about the work’s quirky “readymade” approach.
The figure finally arrives from a set of four paintings titled “Ye Are Not Your Own” (2021) by Hayley Labrum Morrison. The small work on paper depicts a large photorealistic hand entering from the corner only to have the tips of its fingers graze the head of a recumbent female. The forms hover over a spray painted, split-fountainy swirl, abstract like the exhibition’s focus.
When asked where he finds his artists, McCool says he found a lot of them on Instagram. The value of social media for artist self–promotion and potential sales is undeniable but can be tinged with aesthetic reservations thanks to its inherent ask for photographability. GLHF’s selection of work does seem particularly photo-friendly and conducive to today’s tireless mid-century tastes.
The gallery was founded during the pandemic, a remarkable feat, but they are still in somewhat of a DIY phase. In other words, don’t expect any supplementary text in the form of artists’ statements or CVs on-site. The name memorialized in the gallery’s pink neon sign, reminds viewers not to make too many demands other than seeing fresh art on the walls. Just, “Good Luck, Have Fun.”
“Austin does Austin” continues through April 8 at Goodluckhavefun. Available by appointment, 1207-B Enfield Road, glhfgallery.com.