Review: Dream Continuum

Dream Continuum at the Circuit 12 Contemporary, Dallas March 31–May 2, 2012.

There’s a new gallery on Dragon Street in the Design District with a hip twist. Circuit 12 Contemporary owners Dustin and Gina Orlando (she’s a Booker T grad), opened their doors at the end of March with a show Dustin says is a “sampler” of the contemporary artists and the types of work the gallery will specialize in. The current show, Dream Continuum, features a sampling from artists to be featured in upcoming solo and small group shows.

The fresh, newly tricked-out space is an impeccably neutral backdrop in which to view art with its white walls and polished concrete floors. Dream Continuum presents 28 pieces from 16 artists who work around the U.S. The works range from a really great figurative piece by a talented young New York City artist, to a graphic wood assemblage, to a ceramic snake on your grandma’s carpet. But there’s also neon, glass, an assembled three-dimensional architectural play space, mixed media, humor, fantasy, and landscape.

The common element in the works is that the artists’ points of view and expression seem unique. You haven’t seen art that looks like these before.

Tom Berenz’ painting Backyard Jungle is an alluring violet and green abstract which rewards the motivated viewer with a story. The story is about man-made structures, decomposition, and the earth reclaiming the structures we make.

“Striped Dog,” a small square panel, by artist Charlie Immer, also invites a second look. Immer’s smooth colorful style is at once stylish, fantasy-inspired, and sublimely decorative. There isn’t a stray brushstroke anywhere, but the painting isn’t at all fussy or overworked.

The figurative artist, Anthony Cudahy, paints a sensitive portrait of a young man with his eyes diverted in Untitled. Cudahy’s style is loose and natural — he’s painted just enough strokes for us to recognize the subject, and not one more. I am fascinated by artists who know when their painting is finished and for a young artist to get that is really remarkable.

Finally, a three-dimensional glass and epoxy sculpture, Polychromatic Formation 2 by Grahm Caldwell, constructs hard and cold but beautiful iridescent glass with a surprisingly warm and human epoxy infrastructure to create a wall sculpture of triangular shapes. The piece evokes architecture in a Buckminster Fuller sort of way. Leaving the epoxy joints slightly imperfect was the absolute right call. I actually looked to see if there were fingerprints in it.

Circuit 12 Contemporary has certainly opened with aplomb. It will be interesting to see how the gallery moves forward to create their own niche in a district humming with contemporary art spaces.