When I speak with Alfonso about her performances, she refers to them as “unresolved,” a sentiment several of the artists in Simply BOLD seem to share or gesture towards. Harris Chowdhary and Jason Koen use the language of “models” and “tests,” rather than “works,” to refer to their sculptures. Such framing points to the unsettled question of materiality in their respective practices. Chowdhary works primarily with discarded materials salvaged from around Dallas. Mostly industrial scraps and fragments, the materials speak of an interchangeable and ultimately nondescript postmodern architectural style, used to build frozen yogurt shops and medical centers alike. Chowdhary is not convinced of the neutrality of these modular bits, which he reconfigures into sinister foreign structures. Having lived in Dallas his whole life, Chowdhary speaks of the “oppressive normativity” of new developments here. One “model,” comprised of the metal frames used for silkscreening, invites us to consider how materials literally frame our perspective of our environment.
The works of Sati Zech toggle medium as well, occupying some space between collage, painting, and sculpture. After tearing apart sheets of canvas, Zech reassembles the pieces in columns and rows with glue and thread, before adorning the canvas with repetitive patterns of crimson paint. Ragged and ritualistic, her works more readily bring to mind Lascaux cave drawings than contemporary painting. Her primary interest is “language beyond normal language,” how people connect beyond ordinary speech. In her works that seem almost archeological, it is as if she is producing the relics of the non-verbal, connected society that she imagines, fusing together invented past and future temporalities.
In Automatic, Tony Lewis creates small graphite impressions by flinging rubber bands that he had previously dipped in graphite powder at the paper. Rather than being constrained by the unforgiving nature of graphite, he plays with its propensity for chance. In Untitled, Lewis integrates organic shapes of both graphite and colored pencil. The forms seamlessly overlap, no trace of friction, yet at the same time the rendering is smudged with graphite fingerprints. The work is executed on notebook paper, suggesting it is one of several explorations. The paper is then grafted onto board, as if after some consideration the artist had approved his own hypothesis. Alfonso’s performance ends when she has nearly erased the line of her own construction. The wall may be almost back to white, but Alfonso stands before us covered in dust, as if she has just stepped out from inside a chimney. Perhaps this is the task of the artist, to tangle and explore for us and to come out the other end with more mess than order, with more questions than resolutions.