at Davis Foundry Gallery through July 26
by Todd Camplin
Erica Wickett is bringing her work up from Waco to Davis Foundry Gallery in the Oak Cliff area of
Dallas. I shared a studio with her for a while and I had some interesting conversations about her
work and in which directions she would like to take it. Critics Walter Robinson and Jerry Saltz
might describe Wickett’s paintings as part of the Zombie Formalism. Both see a glut of abstract
art that in their opinion are reductionist and attempt to be hip. Saltz named John Bauer and
Jamie Sneider as examples of this kind of work, which felt a little like Wickett’s paintings.
Maybe it is because I talked with Wickett and shared a space with her work, but I wouldn’t
read her work so harshly. Lets deconstruct her work and see if I am clouded by my personal
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|paintings. His abstractions are a clear influence on Wickett’s paintings. Umlauf makes bold
gestures with paint like a neo-expressionist from the 1980’s. A large chunk of his work looks
like simulated decay of walls or structures. Almost all his work is dark, many times earthy, or
he simulates motion in a few pieces by depicting what seems to be water waves. His painting
style seems to have a strong influence on the local Waco art scene, because several artists
in the area follow a similar look and style. Another artist sharing our studio space was Brandon
Reasoner. His large canvas paintings contained similar elements to Wickett, but he uses more
colors and sometimes hinted to other images he would layer over to create a sense of depth
and history in his works.
|Erica Wickett’s abstract paintings resemble a section of earth or maybe a portion of a decaying
building. The textures are thick and rhythmic with black, white, and grey mixes of paint. You
generally get the feeling that Wickett is tapping into a purely primitive aesthetic. Not primitive
in the sense of 'untrained,' but more like Wickett is reaching back into our base experiences as
humans when we first moved into caves or shelters. We as humans needed the caves for their
consistent temperature and easy defense. I am reminded of the cave walls of the I35 caverns,
between Waco and Austin.
|For me, Wickett’s charcoal drawings are her strongest works. Her drawings are complex and
tend to be figurative in nature like Jackson Pollack. These works are also in black and white,
but every mark is enjoyable while the overall image seems to imply something less abstract.
In our conversations at the studio, I often encouraged her to go to grad school, but a few
artists-in-residencies would be great for her too. As for Zombie Formalism, I think the jury is still
out. She is definitely in the danger zone. I see Wickett’s personal voice whispering in her
paintings, but I would rather hear her screaming out her uniqueness. Judge for yourself
at the Davis Foundry Gallery on 509 West Davis Street in Dallas. Erica Wickett will have her
work up until July 26th.