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MARILYN JOLLY
SINCERELY AWKWARD
at Circuit 12 Contemporary
by Todd Camplin

Dada was a short lived art movement in the early 20th century with earth shattering influence on
contemporary art. At the time of this movement, artists were questioning the definition of art and
they began expanding what constituted as fine art. Some even attempted to negate art by
presenting anti-art works that broke conventions of established critical norms. Mid to late
century, Neo Dada, Fluxus, Conceptual and other art critical movements were created to
explore that question of “what is art?” I reflect on Dadaism, because Marilyn Jolly’s work
at Circuit 12 Contemporary seemed to be playing with similar themes, only with a twist.
I was fortunate to have a friend with me this month to see all the openings in Dallas. We had
visited one gallery before we dropped by Circuit 12 Contemporary. We looked at a group of
paintings that had rough treatment that made the work look earthy. Some objects were also
attached to the canvas. I commented that much of this work was more decorative because
each move felt forced, and for the sole reason that maybe the particular feature on the
painting was popular. But when we saw Marilyn Jolly’s show, we could tell that although
the rough unfinished feature was there, items were not randomly added to the paintings
or sculptures, but rather were essential parts of the art work. Also the work varied a great
deal so you got the sense she was interested in experimenting with form, rather than
repeating what was popular.

Marilyn Jolly will be showing a ton of her work in a show titled Sincerely Awkward at Circuit 12
Contemporary until October 12th. You can also find her teaching at the University of Texas at
Arlington. I may have to find my way over there and talk to her about her teaching philosophy.
I wonder how her art production influences her teaching methods.
But what about that twist I was writing about in the first paragraph, you might ask? Well, I see
Jolly’s work as having the feel and style of Dada, but she is not asking the same question. That