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Arts / Galleries

Technology + A “Digital Gaze”

Patricia Mora Reports from Erin Cluley Gallery

BY // 06.16.15
photography Kevin Todora

Erin Cluley, widely known for her tenure at the Dallas Contemporary museum, is now receiving accolades for ambitious shows in her new digs on Fabrication Street. For the uninitiated, Erin Cluley’s gallery is located in thriving West Dallas, near one of the city’s trendiest areas, Trinity Groves. Her current exhibition, Zeke Williams’ “Heat Check,” explores the convergence of contemporary fashion, technology and the female form. Williams crops and zooms in on the drape and fold of fabric on bodily surfaces, and Cluley languorously describes the result as an exploration of “the male gaze.” The Dallas-based artist makes no bones about his willingness to dwell over images of attractive models clad in chi-chi designer clothes. He sources images from magazines or online sites and digitally alters them before preparing a vinyl template that is used to create paintings suggesting flora and an array of undulating abstract shapes. Fashionistas will delight in his special fondness for models wearing Valentino; he also takes inspiration from Antonio Marras, Sophie Theallet and Iris van Herpen.

Sexy Stripes, Giant Flower
Works such as Williams’ “Sexy Stripes (orange, pink, gold, green),” 2015, have earned him collectors such as Houston artist Mark Flood (whose own career has exploded internationally). Zeke Williams’ “Giant Flower (green, blue, purple, pink),” 2015, exemplifies the Dallas artist’s exploration of the “digital gaze.”

Occasionally a bit of female form will be readily apparent in Williams’ work; Crop Top (pink, black, orange, green) is one such example. The shape of breasts and hips is discernible, especially when viewed from a distance. However, many times the images are so abstract that any hint of feminine pulchritude is nothing more than a faint allusion. Thus, Net (red, purple, yellow, pink) was initiated as an altered photograph of a model’s caboose, yet it comes off as a straightforward and rippling abstract painting, while Single Flower (red, purple, cyan, green) flairs with upbeat patterns suggesting blooms viewed in a sun-splashed locale.

All of the acrylic-on-canvas works are given a large format — measuring either 96 x 72 or 60 x 48 inches. Thus, they’re perfect for adding a colorful punch to decor, which is precisely what seems to be happening at breakneck pace. When Cluley was last contacted, more than half the show was sold out — prior to opening night.

Houston’s Mark Flood is one well-known artist who recently acquired some of Williams’ work. It was also noted that the name “Heat Check” is taken from basketball terminology. It’s shorthand for an extremely long shot made from mid-court that proves that a player is, indeed, “on fire.” The term seems to aptly describe both Cluley’s new gallery and Williams’ work. So head for the new show on Fabrication and feel the ambient temperature rise. There’s no time like the present to explore work that’s deemed, well, hot. Through July 11.

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