Michael Corris reviews an exhibition of works by Otis Jones and Bret Slater at Holly Johnson Gallery, Dallas, on view through July 28, 2014.
Corris writes that Jones' and Slater's works are "related, but different. Both artists approach painting as though they are making models of painting, and their models churn out paintings that are, respectively, anti-illusionistic and personifications of paintings… Tactile and inviting, [Jones'] work is calculated to be a smack in the face of formalist dogma. A pancake stack of glued plywood, gouged furrows, discs of thickly applied color, and lots of distressed surfaces replace the pure opticality of high modernist painting. What you see is what you get… They exude resolve… [Slater's] small works speak to us, too, but in a different register, a more churlish, impish, and contrary tone. They’re like a plate of steaming sarcasm—but the plate is really nice. Here’s everything that a modernist painting is supposed to have, as well: a surface with no illusion of depth to speak of and just enough figure-ground action to stop short of being a pure monochrome… Slater’s paintings appear cool, breezy almost, without a hint of anxiety, whereas we can taste the effort in Jones’ works, however much they may look like they were slapped together."