In Between, Austin Chronicle, February 17, 2006.

by Benné Rockett


Julia C. Butridge Gallery, Dougherty Arts Center, through Feb. 28

I’ve always been captivated by the liminal moments of an artist’s career. Most of the art in my own collection consists of the moving through and beyond identity as the new direction is being defined, as it is being lived. In those moments, the artist is a pioneer, whether self-appointed, invited, or recruited. This is a time (sometimes months to years) filled with tension and crisis, ultimately arriving at a new beginning. The resultant works are seminal and distinguished.

Composed of projects, maquettes, proposals, and large-scale installations, the exhibition “In Between” provides the viewer with a rare opportunity to interact with the ideas that inform the exhibited works. Psychogeography, dimensionality, technology and the sonic environment, material manipulation, and public space reallocation are the themes behind the works of Alexander Villareal, Jacob Villanueva, Cole Thompson, Terra Goolsby, and Hunter Cross. If you are thinking you can’t imagine how some of these concepts translate into art, don’t worry. You don’t have to literally understand the ideas.

Writings by each artist become our map for understanding this life between borders – conceptual dead-ends to physical execution of ambitious projects. An added bonus is that the choice of materials have easy associations: Gold painted laminate brick flooring takes us to Oz; translucent spheres injected with nail polish recall the injury-inflicting Clackers of the Seventies; a multiperspective video installation takes us to the underground world of cellars and basements; golden statuettes arching across a stairway lead to discourse concerning competition; and breathing plastic polymer walls conjure time spent blowing up beach balls or balloons.

Peering into the space between is a gift; one experienced and one to be celebrated by all cultures and all communities. The transitional is where our rituals and tales come from, where we move from childhood to adulthood, from descriptions of love surrounded by the language of grief. Each stage of the project helps you, artist and viewer, become more articulate in the realities of impermanence and more prepared for what is to come; that you are left to imagine what is possible.