At McClain Gallery, Kelli Vance shares top billing with Alex Katz. Shown: Vance's "All I Cannot See," 2015, invites obvious comparisons with "Fifty Shades of Grey," but also owes a debt to film noir.
Vance's charcoal on panel "So as to Accept What is Waiting for Me," 2015, operates on different metaphoric planes.
Steamy scene: Included in Vance's latest exhibition, "Recital," is this bondage moment, "Between the Before and After," 2015.
Alex Katz's summery silkscreens depict powerful, confident women. Shown, left to right: "Yi," "Cecily" and "Oona," all from 2015.
More of the Katz gals, left to right: "Sharon," "Christy" and "Ulla," 2015, are comprised of 23 to 37 color silkscreens each, crafted in Long Island City, NY, by Brand X Editions.
The final femmes in Katz's "Black Dress" series, left to right: "Yvonne," "Carmen" and "Ruth."
McClain gallerinas Lauren Jamison and Sharon Lott Graham in their own little black dresses pose with Katz's printed ladies.
McClain Gallery‘s summer sizzler gives the viewer pause for thought about the meaning of feminism while serving up some beautiful, powerful and occasionally disturbing imagery.
Senior American master Alex Katz — he of the exquisite lines and elegant economy of means — captivates with a crisp view of nine women rendered life-size, each 80 by 30 inches, in meticulously silk-screened prints. As many as 37 colors are employed by the artist to produce crisp versions of women in the timeless wardrobe staple: a little black dress. Blondes, brunettes, redheads and women of raven hair are all cheekily depicted with a great amount of charm and wit. (The viewer yearns for more diversity beyond the mostly Caucasian flock of femmes, but perhaps another series is planned?)
In a perfect bookend to Katz, the gallery’s adjunct space presents an eagerly anticipated solo for Houston artist Kelli Vance, her second at McClain (the most recent was in 2009). Vance is one of a handful of Texas talents taking up the banner of realism and figuration, standing out in a field largely dominated by abstraction. Working in a pared-down language and with cropped canvases, Vance’s subject is a mysterious woman (oftentimes the artist herself), who is the subject of some serious S&M games. What could be trite and overdone steams with a cinematic uncertainty. Following in the tradition of Cindy Sherman, James Rosenquist, David Salle and even Marilyn Minter (especially evoked in several drawings here), Vance contributes an original voice that sultrily whispers for our attention. (Katz through July 18, Vance on view through July 25.)