BY NANCY MOYER
SPECIAL TO THE MONITOR
“The Big Bang” exhibition is a broad reference to the creation of all things, including not only the works themselves in the gallery’s premier exhibition, but also the new Cosmos: Work in Harmony workspace that hosts this event. Four artists Mathew Jobson, Toribio Palacios Jr., Mariela Gonzalez and Timothy McVain demonstrate an appropriate diversity of creative inspiration. Each artist has a dedicated space allowing the viewer to become intimate with every separate style without visual discordance.
While McVain and Gonzalez joyfully embrace the appearance of this world, Jobson and Palacios employ art to look deeper. Created before the COVID-19 season, but serendipitously apt, Jobson’s series, “Invasive Species”, consists of paintings and illustrations about life forms — perhaps alien, perhaps already here — taking over the world. “I imagined them being the little homes that we see in these works,” he explained. “They are the invasive species and they seem almost like little alien worlds; each has a distinctly different flora and fauna. I just wondered how many different places I could invent with little homes.” Although he says the invaders are ambiguous as to being good or bad, some of the illustrations depict the world trying to rid itself of the invaders. “They just happen to resemble human houses,” he added. The illustrations are small ink and color images crowded with conflict through imaginative shapes. With his larger paintings. Jobson moves into an abstract mode that is effective as a means to express the energy and determination of an invasive species.
Here the species start to take over with explosive brushstrokes, referencing the unstoppable power of the Big Bang; houses are also taking root as slashes and sweeps of paint create their own existence.
Palacios goes within himself to express feelings of discovery through the abstracted image. Interested in the process of imagery, the artist paints with both hands in these works to more fully explore his inner experience. His rich surface textures evoke the sense that these images, like Jobson’s, are in the process of becoming.
Pitting line against shape against texture, the painting “Control” is a dark statement of attempted actualization; the broken white line resonates with our psyche.
Gonzalez has a gentle view of nature for “The Pigeon Series.”
The gallery space that hosts her paintings can only accommodate a portion of the fortyeight paintings that she has produced for the series, but it’s sufficient.
The small works depict different breeds of the birds against a variety of flat color grounds. Accentuating the distinctive feather and color patterns, her smoothly painted representational style focuses on educating the public about the surprising variety of pigeons. “Some people do not know that some pigeons are white with tail feathers resembling a peacock’s tail,” stated Gonzalez.
McVain, an artist based in San Antonio, finds the man-made world of cities preferable to Gonzalez’ natural world.
A travel enthusiast, his whimsical illustrations of cities stem from photographs that he has taken during his travels. He builds his imagery of iconic cities and places with drawing and collage, ultimately producing them as prints.
Cosmos is intentionally designed as an open fluid space where exhibition spaces support local talent.
“Art educates, inspires, and helps societies grow more cosmopolitan,” stated Jobson, Cosmos Art Director. The Cosmos gallery spaces will be available for artists who are interested in showing/selling their work and want local visibility. Exhibitions are planned as one or two-month shows within a venue that is easily accessible for visitors.
Nancy Moyer, Professor Emerita of Art, UTRGV, is an art critic for The Monitor. She may be reached at email@example.com