Review: Kirk Hopper Fine Art

Installation view of Steel and Light by Michael Christopher Matson.
Installation view of Steel and Light
by Michael Christopher Matson.

Houston artists Karin Broker and Alfredo Scaroina join Dallas sculptor Michael Christopher Matson at Kirk Hopper Fine Art this month for a celebration of diverse media.

Matson creates large monolithic steel sculptures lighted from within.  For this show, recipe he exhibits three new works in the gallery’s outdoor courtyard space.  These pieces use long, pills ribbon-like steel segments to produce the sculptural structure rather than his more typical solid but perforated steel skin.  The daylight effect of these three is a more linear, streamlined statement.  Lighted from within at night, however, they take on a lyrical, ship-like metaphor and appear light as the wind.  As a fan of Matson’s monumental relic sculptures, I was surprised at what a different vocabulary results from this particular use of the same material.  The scale, the color, and the consciousness that his work represents are always impactful.

Scaroina’s paintings are non-representational textural mixed media pieces with a flair for color.  Using a wide variety of media – including junk mail, synthetic polymer, and newsprint – Scaroina produces bright statements reminiscent of German Dadaist Kurt Schwitter’s Merz paintings – but taken to the next level.   Like a community bulletin board where decades of posters have been affixed and removed one on top of another, Scaroina carefully builds up his surface using these various elements and then subtracts the surface by sanding to produce a colorful, street art sensibility.  One of my favorites, I’m Sick of Your Shit, is a large narrow yellow painting with a horizontally slatted surface and the reminders of red and blue showing through.  His titles are provocative – another is Crazy People Go to Heaven.

The third artist in the show is mixed media artist Karin Broker.  She exhibits imaginative, whimsical but satirical work as both constructions – sculptures – and wall art.  The constructions feature found objects:  lamp bases, gaudy costume jewelry brooch-like elements, plaster eggs, cages, and glass-domed wood structures.  The intricacy of workmanship and the imagination of her material choices are coordinated with their titles – From Princess to Pea, A Stilled Specimen, or Empty Nest – and wouldn’t be out of place in a dusty Victorian museum of eccentricities.  Broker’s wall art is primarily two-dimensional nailed metal “paintings” – like modern tin retablo mosaics.  Some of these use old advertising art imagery; in others, she’s created a sort of mosaic effect by combining various sizes and colors of patchwork metal.  These works create quite an interesting foil to the constructions.

The three artists’ work couldn’t be more different, but somehow Kirk Hopper Fine Art always seems to manage disparate artists together in a show that complements all their statements.


Karin Broker: trouble in paradise
Alfredo Scaroina: Quid Pro Quo
Michael Christopher Matson: Steel and Light
Kirk Hopper Fine Art
June 1 – July 6, 2013