Glenn Downing: The Showdown
Might Fine Arts
Through June 3, 2012
Review by Rosie Lindsey
I attended the opening reception last evening for The Showdown at Mighty Fine Arts featuring the brash and colorful work of Glenn Downing.
Gallery owner Steve Cruz first noticed Glen’s work at a show at 500X several years go. He was attracted to Glenn’s use of color and his stream of consciousness approach. Steve also likes the use of lines in his doodling. Steve previously showed Glenn’s work in his project room, but because the artist has spent years traveling the world working with Nam June Paik; Steve wanted to showcase Glenn Downing in the main gallery. He feels Glenn deserves more recognition and exposure of his work.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the gallery is the scale of the pieces. Large,colorful and complex they dwarf everyone in the room. Glenn is from Waco, Texas and has been described as a hillbilly. This is certainly reflected in the work although not by his looks or personality. Cowboy hats and boots suggest a western theme. He told me he doesn’t work in series so that although the major works on display have a similar color scheme and texture they aren’t to be viewed in relation to each other. He states his works are stories and epics.
The inspiration for Chicken Fried Steak At Midnight was suggested by comments made by one of Glenn’s students. He thought the statement was fun and combined that idea with his love for the music of Vernon Oxford. He also worked from a photo of a friend’s race car to complete the redneck flavor.
The Showdown is a personal piece that illustrates a complex relationship he’s had for several years. He uses several media from crayons to oil paint. He described it as a landscape with symbols of his friend growing out of the tree with his image on the outside ready to fight.
Although, Mr. Country Western appears to be a collage, it’s really various paints on red paper. Glenn says he didn’t plan anything beforehand on this piece except that he wanted to work on red paper. The image of bear and coin is based on a good luck candy he saw in New Mexico.
My favorite part of the show were the ceramic heads lining the project room. Little grotesques of animals, skulls and humans are represented, Glenn mentioned that he is primarily a sculptor, so when he was offered the show, he went into the studio with the thought of having some fun with the clay. He made the heads quickly to accentuate the primitive and whimsical look.
Mighty Fine Arts is located in the heart of the Tyler Davis arts district. Glenn Downing: The Showdown runs through June 3, 2012.
Click any of the below thumbnail images to see a gallery of photos by Rosie Lindsey.