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VERNON FISHER + ERICK SWENSON
at Talley Dunn Gallery through february 25
by Todd Camplin

If you haven’t been to Talley Dunn Gallery for a while, you should see the changes. In fact,
changes will be ongoing throughout the winter and spring. The main gallery now has an
added space walled off for small exhibitions. One of the old office spaces in the middle
of the gallery is also an exhibition space which doubles as a film screening room. There
will be some big changes in and around the main desk as well. I don’t know all the details,
but I understand that the main desk will be a nice transition to the main gallery. The space
will not have the look of a storage area. I personally don’t mind looking at shelves and
shelves of art. However, someone new to art galleries might think they are walking into
the private area of the gallery and miss the main gallery.
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Missing the main gallery this month would be a real shame, because the gallery is featuring
Vernon Fisher. If you look at this body of work, you might notice that the work references iconic
cartoons, blackboards, and a few bits of chemistry class. In fact, you might think Fisher is pulling
from his experiences of K-12. I certainly do, but something dark and sinister is also lurking in these
images which makes me conclude that life wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine.
Fisher’s content and images have been influential (directly or indirectly) to the current wave of
artists, and street artists. I’m not talking about the self absorbed graffiti artists that only want to
tag their name on everything, but rather the street artists that are interested in content and
image. Artists like KAWS who just had a show at the Fort Worth Modern, Ben Eine, or M-City
all draw references to pop culture, but also attempt to fill their work with more conceptual
content. Messages, moods, and emotions can be drawn from their works while still having
the characteristics of cartoons, or directly referencing pop culture. You might say Andy
Warhol had a bigger impact, but Warhol’s philosophy that the image says it all and
nothing is below the surface don’t ring true to this generation of artists, so that is why
Vernon Fisher is a more relevant to the driving force of street artists.
In the front room are Erick Swenson sculptures. The stein with snails climbing all over was a big
hit with my six year old daughter. I love the detail painting involved in the snails. The detail
on Swenson’s depiction of the decaying deer was astounding. You have to look really close,
but the exposed bones had drawings on them. Don’t forget to check out that new back room
with Margaria Cabrera’s nonfunctioning bicycles. These objects are quite humorous to behold.

Both Vernon Fisher and Erick Swenson will have shows up till February 25th at
Talley Dunn Gallery.
Keep watching the gallery for their remodeling and new exhibition spaces.

Vernon Fisher - Dark Passage, 2016, Oil and acrylic on canvas,
60 x 60 inches at Talley Dunn Gallery
Vernon Fisher, American Landscape, 2016, acrylic on canvas,
45 x 54 inches
Ne Plus Ultra, 2010, acrylic on urethane resin with MDF plinth, 17 x 72 x 54 inches, edition 2 of 2.
Photo credit: Kevin Todora.