Dallas Contemporary Features Two Meadows Artists
Ropes, rocks and printable plywood: alumni Kristen Cochran (M.F.A. Studio Art, ’10) and Kevin Todora (M.F.A. Studio Art, ’09) in concurrent shows
Photo courtesy of Kristen Cochran
Dallas Contemporary, a non-collecting art museum known for showing new and challenging works by local, regional and international artists, is presenting exhibitions by two Meadows M.F.A. alumni now through Dec. 22.
In Gallery Two, Kristen Cochran (M.F.A. Studio Art, ’10) and artist Lucia Simek present a two-person show including sculptures rendered in fabric, found objects, mason line and marble. The artists explore the themes of control, order and insufficiency as well as the interplay between text and object. Their work serves as sculptural calligraphy, blending Cochran’s preferences for live art and performance and Simek’s penchant for minimalism and the ephemeral.
"Both Lucia and I aimed at making work that addressed states of liminality, in-betweenness and potential within the strange confines of the long and narrow thoroughfare that is Gallery 2,” says Cochran. “In our own ways, we took advantage of this passageway to interrupt and disrupt movement and vision by creating works that possess violence, sometimes subtle - almost imperceptible - and at other times more crude, using sharp or cutting materials."
Cochran and Simek will be the featured guests at Dallas Contemporary’s “Chit Chat” session on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., a free event open to the public and moderated by curator Lilia Kudelia.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Todora
Also showing now through Dec. 22 in Gallery Four is Kevin Todora’s(M.F.A. Studio Art, ’09) “birchpleeze,” featuring photographs printed directly onto MDO (medium density overlay) plywood. Todora, whose works of manipulated photographs and sculpture have been shown in numerous exhibitions in the Dallas area, says people sometimes think the “birchpleeze” works have the look of Photoshop or collage, but asserts that all were crafted in his studio.
When asked how his master’s education at Meadows has made a difference in his career, Todora says grad school was a time for expansion and reflection. “It allowed me to push quite a few ideas around while getting constant feedback and critique,” he says. “My studio at SMU was like a laboratory and was a great place for ideas to percolate.”
Regarding advice to current students on how to establish a career in the art world, Todora says there are no easy answers. “More than anything, go to galleries and openings and shake a lot of hands,” he says. “Participate any way you can, even if it’s just being there. I’ve been in Dallas for a while and work by day as a photographer for many galleries and museums, so I’m kind of always around.
“It also helps if you aren’t a curmudgeon,” he adds.
While Cochran agrees that networking in art circles is important, she says establishing oneself in the art world can be a strange and precarious thing – and, during the formative years, shouldn’t eclipse the mastery and creation of art itself.
“Making, reading, writing and establishing a pretty solid understanding of who you are as an artist seems really important early on,” she reflects. “That said, meeting local artists and curators, attending art-related lectures and events and basically being curious and open to investing in what's happening in the art community is a good way to set oneself up for opportunities to share work in the context of a studio visit and/or an exhibition, if that is the artist’s aim. That is of little importance however, if the work is lean or unattended to.”