J.T. Kirkland @ GRACE

As I mentioned last week, I made a lightning trip up north to Reston Va (a suburb of Washington DC) to see J.T. Kirkland's show at GRACE.

I was interested in seeing the space becasue I'll be showing there this fall - it's nice, with a lot of small wall areas and movable walls. It feels like the area of Reston it's in - as if it's at its beginning and brand new, with some kinks to still work out. Reston is a planned community and the area GRACE is in in the "Town Center" with high-rises going up all around it. I liked it a lot - it has the sort of fake, unreal feeling of a new suburb.

Kirkland's show is really good - a strong showing in a much more appropriate environment than his solo show last year. On the white walls here his drilled wood pieces can really be seen - the patterns of holes, the shape of the cuts and mostly the wood itself. They are playfully minimalist, being nothing but themselves but still alive and fun and energetic on the wall. His patterns go biomorphic and geometric, but the show-stealers are the 3D pieces - stacks of wood that seems to defy gravity and hang together, all held together visually by a carefully drilled hole pattern.

Kirkland also gave a short artist's talk, which gave some perspective to the work - his family relationship to woodworking and how he went from the paintings he was making a few years ago to this stripped down body of work. Stripped down to wood and holes (not-wood, air), but filled up as well. The obviously careful decisions of wood choice, composition and craftmanship make these anything but casual, but the simple description of them - drilled wood - seems so basic. Pieces like these have to work to convince the viewer ("I could do that!") and Kirklands do.

I won't be posting any other pictures of the work as Kirkland is putting images online, on a day, from the show, so you can see them on his blog. I will post a couple more times about the show over this month and I encourage anyone in the area to go - especially those DC hipsters who might glance at this blog. GO!

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