|JULON PINKSTON + ERICA STEPHENS
at R02Art through October 12
by Todd Camplin
When heading towards the Design District after visiting galleries from Deep Ellum, one commercial space
bridges the gap of worthy art locations in the middle of downtown Dallas, and that is R02 Art. The gallery
has hosted some pretty wild shows of late, like their cluttered pottery show and show titled CHAOS, which
was an explosion of random small works on the wall. In fact, Julon Pinkston and Erica Stephens both had
small pieces in that show before this current exhibition paired them up. Their show has been up for a
month and closes down this weekend, but I think the Luscious pair of aritsts’ paintings are a worthy visit.
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|space feels cleared out and each art piece is given enough room to demand your attention.
Julon Pinkston shows paintings that almost feel alive with thick paint that is surely still drying.
Many of his globs of paint remind you of candy or icing on cake. If you told me six years ago,
while we were both at UNT, that Pinkston would be making paintings like these, I would not
have believed you. The groundwork of this development into abstract in Pinkston’s case
comes from his understanding of the representational object. In grad school he was creating
realistic charcoal drawings of objects found on the side of the road. As individual parts, each
object was rendered realistically, but as a whole, they became abstract. Now I see his paintings
and I can’t help but think realistic content is still being pulled in to make these abstract images.
Pinkston was simulating tape and stickers with his paint, but then he got bolder with his paintings.
Abandoning strong visual references for an all over feeling. Candy Forest is one of those paintings
that gives you the impression that it is a muddy mess, but then the painting pulls you in and
make you want to touch and taste it. Grackles in Flight on an Alabama Night remind me of
Charlotte Smith’s early works of populated paint drips on works, only Pinkston has allowed
his to go wild and woolly.
|Erica Stephens (L) and Julon Pinkston (R) sow new work in Luscious at Ro2 Art
|The other dynamic in the duo show is Erica Stephens. She has a long history on the Dallas art
scene with a brief time away at grad school. She was busy hanging out with the cool kids of
Oh6 Collective at UT Dallas while I was working on a humanities masters there. They were an
inspirational group and I saw several of their shows. Stephens continues exploring aesthetic
boundaries with her Frosted Florals series. It is rare to make a painting that manages to be in
imposto style while remaining flat because of her color choices, but a work like Unidentified
Poppy manages this masterfully. It reminded of faded wallpaper, but clearly the thick paint
stands in contradiction. The Ladies Biedermeirer: The Erica is one of a few small piece with
flat elements and globs of paint. The globs make the paintings of flat flowers feel off kilter
or spoiled. For me, Stephens pushes the garish and goodie into an aesthetically interesting
|Julon Pinkston - Fraught and Gossamer
|Erica Stephens_Frosted Florals, Unidentified Boquet
|into a few more shows. They would be crazy not to. Luscious ends October 12th.