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Joel Morrison's new works are part of a three-artist show currently on exhibit at Finesilver Gallery.
An unlikely trio applies form and reference

Finesilver Gallery present the unlikely trinity of Aaron Parazette, Joel Morrison, and Leo Villareal for this years' Contemporary Art Month exhibit. Perhaps as a unifying curatorial factor, the work of all three artists seems blatantly superficial, but in actuality, each artist toys mercilessly with art's recent history, throwing flirtatious winks and nods (however sarcastically) at the aging guards of ivory towers from whence they respectively escaped. Each artist deliberately chooses form and reference over function, complementing expert technique and craftsmanship with hijacked content.

Houston-based Parazette's latest series of acrylic and enamel paintings continue his foray into the suddenly sexy terrain of gestured abstraction. LA-based sculptor Morrison practices contemporary alchemy, spinning pedestrian trash into proverbial gold by melding found fodder into abstract forms in fiberglass and bondo. New York-based Villareal plays with time and technology in his elaborately sequenced light creations.

Parazette's work is in equal cognitive debt to the highbrow tradition of Abstract Expressionism and the suburban semantics of terminally chic interior décor. His new series is anal in its precision, revealing nary a brushstroke nor stray hair. Stylized oxbows of black or white undulate across striped fields of solid color. These sinuous ribbons are open-ended, trailing off the canvas' edge and leading the eye away from the painting itself, ultimately subverting a traditional, painterly figure-ground relationship in a rather pleasing manner.

Morrison's new series of post-modern fetish objects harbor vaguely anthropomorphic aspirations in a wryly comical, literate sort of way. His works are fashioned from randomly assembled found objects, studio refuse, and old art pieces. Each assemblage was subsequently cast and vacuum-sealed in fiberglass caskets for posterity. Some of Morrison's organic gewgaws acquire the sickly posture of picked punks dipped in hard candy coating, resting precariously atop alarmingly spindly pedestals. Others are somehow ennobled by the preservation process, and stand at reserved, albeit somewhat fatigued, attention on thick bases or settle in Kafkaesque repose about the cool gallery floor.

Through August 23
11am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday
Finesilver Gallery
816 Camaron No. 1.2
Villareal's work evokes faint childhood memories of tracers formed when wrestling a Light Brite away from a sibling. All three pieces - one rectangular and two circular wall-hung units - are large streamlined Plexiglas and wood housings fitted with LED units, sequencing hardware, and low wattage colored bulbs. LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are low-tech alarm clock components programmed to execute sequences of electrical pulses used to generate patterned illumination. Villareal expertly manipulates this banal technology into elaborate optical fugues, giving each of his pieces a specific, eloquent tone via palette, configuration, and pace.

Villareal's work doesn't shriek - it softly whispers and gently suggests, casting languid shadows and fleeting visual tracers delicately diffused by lightly textured Plexiglas surfaces. The viewer is slowly charmed, mesmerized by blips of pastel light that ebb and flow, manufacturing points of protracted critical mass, then fade into seemingly exhausted monochromatic pulses. The work appears uncannily responsive, as if it is somehow reacting to the presence and mood of the viewer. The artist's work unhinges convention in a far less sarcastic manner than Parazette's and Morrison's overt stabs at convention. The latter bank heavily on reference, revealed in one's self-conscious dilution of Abstract Expressionism and the other's cheeky practice of reverse fragmentation. Villareal's statement is equally effective, by simply and quietly suggesting the existence of a novel and relatively uncharted mode of strictly temporal abstraction. •

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