Layering [fall 2015] presents three painters’ distinctly different painting styles: Lauren Muggeo‘s free-form floating images, Arthur Peña’s meticulous checkerboard façade, and Marjorie Schwarz’s cautiously layered opaque ground. [Click to scroll to gallery.] Slide I can’t tell you anything more about what you are looking at than what you see. Get up close. Step back. Get up close again. Peek around the sides. Can you smell the paint? The wood? The glass?

Will you look at these works with me? Will you slow down with me?

I’ve had the honor of knowing Joan for the better part of three-and-half years, and she has always gifted me enthusiasm and support. I remember the first time we sat down and talked. It was at Los Lupes down the street from where SITE131 stands today. It’s been painted bright yellow and looks improved, but my diet has changed significantly since then.

SITE131 gives us the first pairing (tripling?) of artists Lauren Muggeo, Arthur Peña, and Marjorie Schwarz. I can’t tell you anything more about what you are looking at than what you see. Get up close. Step back further away. Get up close again.

I have known Arthur Peña for five years now. We met in Providence, RI, while he was in grad school at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). He asked if I wanted to watch a bootleg Lil’ Wayne DVD he bought off the street in NYC, and from that moment on I knew we would be great friends. I’ve always connected his work with one of my favorite genres of music – Black Metal. I’m listening to Lunar Aurora, a Bavarian black metal band that formed in 1994, as I write this. It’s a grainy, harsh, analog representation of spiritual nihilism. From the tie-dye bed sheets and hydrocal casts of a VHS tape (made while he was walking across the stage at his RISD graduation ceremony (disclaimer: he showed at my former gallery, OFG.XXX, in 2012) to paintings referencing hospital beds to being covered in razor blades, he continues to sculpt intensity, intimacy, remorse, and hope.

I wish I could say Marjorie Schwarz showed with me, but such was not the case. Her works always surprise me in the best way. She is not one of my best bro-friends, but she is someone I regard highly for her consistency and quiet power. She’s definitely one of the most underrated artists in Dallas. That’s why it is a joy to see her work again. Especially after her older series of family portraits were exhibited at the Goss-Michael Foundation earlier this year.

The artist I have had the pleasure of learning about through Joan is Lauren Muggeo. She’s new to Dallas’ art scene and making a vibrant debut. Her small and intimate works display clever use of figuration and abstraction, landscape, and expressionism. Displayed alongside Peña, there is a calm to the radiation of color and form inherent in Muggeo’s work.

Through her works and the works by Schwartz and Peña, we see a considerate collection of paintings that take us from catchy simplified forms to obscured still lives and further to an infinite realm of colorful cells. At the essence of this show we find the representation of three artists addressing a starting point and creating an (open) ending. That’s the beauty of these arrangements.

Everything is new again. It’s an appreciation of the moment, of the space, of the time, of the people that make this worth anything. SITE131 is a huge gift to the community. I thank Joan Davidow and Seth Davidow for taking on this venture and creating a warm, inviting, thoughtful space were art can be shown for art’s sake.

I can’t tell you anything more about what you are looking at than what you see. Get up close. Step back further away. Get up close again.

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