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moderndallas.net
Special “Eye” to Watch
June Mattingly // contributing art writer

Cris Worley Fine Art Opens with a Flourish!

The extension of the Dragon Street Gallery District on Monitor Street (off of Wycliff) is a brand new,
stunning gallery opening September 9 run by Cris Worley, full of charm, good looks, intelligence
and connections to some of the most exciting Texas talent. No telling where her artistic “eye” will
carry her way beyond the blue horizon. Cris is well remembered as the director of Pan American’s
past local branch where she worked with some of the artists she represents. Two of her gifted
artists in the opening group show “Epic, Epoch” on view until October 16 are below. Two other
artists, Rusty Scruby and Ludwig Schwarz are very familiar to local art enthusiasts.

Incidentally, Galerie Urbane run by Ree Willaford, a relative newcomer to Dallas with a well-
respected gallery on Main Street in Marfa is under the same roof with Cris. While run totally
separately these two spaces offer a double treat for gallery browsing!
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“Entropy,” 2007, inflated steel and paint, 60 x 48 x 24 inches
“Push,” 2009, raw steel, black shoe polish, 108 x 96 x 24 inches,

William Cannings

Cannings casts his color charged full of cheer inflated aluminum and steel sculpture
delightfully without a soul-searching message for a much appreciated change; a
teenager or young art student would easily enjoy and comprehend!  The work’s key
attraction to viewers is trying to figure out how this free-standing art is technically
constructed. He doesn’t cast from inflatables, rather he fabricates the work from
scratch by welding sheet metal together. There’s a similarity in Johnson and Cannings
art - the presence of the speech bubble and balloon-ish shape but with no relation
to the motive. Quite distinctly, the allure of Canning’s Pop-like, kitschy, look alike Jeff
Koons’ stunning pieces is their purely decorative quality, seductive sometimes actual
cast shapes in shiny hot delicious colors.    
For his solo show for the 2009 Texas Biennial at Okay Mountain in Austin, Cannings said”
…the point seems to be that just because something isn’t new or revelatory doesn’t
mean it isn’t great art…”
A Britain by birth (1970), Cannings is a professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock;
he received his MFA from Syracuse University in New York. The Anya Tish gallery who
represents him in Houston gave him a one-person in 2009.      
Elliott Johnson  - Hiding in Plain Sight, 2008, acrylic on panel,   6 x 9 inches
Elliott Johnson

Distinctive rococo motifs originated in Baroque especially reminiscent of the Versailles
Palace outside Paris and the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. An ornate, fluid and
playful 18th century style of decoration, furniture, architecture and paintings full of
rich curves, asymmetrical compositions, intricate patterns and natural elements as in
the shapes in Johnson’s paintings except Johnson adds slightly ambiguous, easy to
relate to light-hearted 21st century text. Messages in cartoonlike “balloons” with no
human presence elucidating them as “I’ve made such a mess of things” tactfully
signify a personal confession of moments of commonplace indecision or mistakes
made in life.

“A Shame and Dread That Lingers Still,” 2010, acrylic on panel,   4 x 6 inches
The motifs in Johnson’s muted backgrounds represent a past dreamlike “epoch,”
period or style consequently most fitting for the title of the “monumental” show
Epic Epoch or as Cris explains,” ‘Epic’ – a word which refers to the ancient
Homeric tales, is now used in modern-day context to connote something
monumental. An ‘epoch’ is a period in time marked by something distinctive.
So, the title of this particular show has many layers of meaning.”  

Johnson (born 1975) was represented by long gone Road Agent gallery. His BFA
is from North Texas University, he was born in Irving and lives in Dallas.
Chris Worley Fine Arts
2277 Monitor Street,
Dallas, Tx 75207.

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