reviews > Austin, TX

Ismael Cavazos
Ismael Cavazos

7/12/09 12:54 PM

Is a drip painting ever really just drips? Are abstract squiggles ever really just abstract squiggles? Clement Greenberg would say yes, you heathen, but even Jackson Pollock underwent Jungian analysis in an attempt to better understand the meaning of his own gestures. The work of Ismael Cavazos tackles this very conundrum as its raison d’être, making a comparative study of the abstract picture and the figurative images that arise from within it. One piece, “Asleep at the Wheel,” even directly references Pollock, the king of drip painting, by pairing a monochromatic drip canvas of Cavazos’s with a drawing that mirrors the drips but also reveals the picture of a person napping in the driver’s seat of a car. Leaving aside the possible connection to Pollock’s own vehicular death, what’s particular compelling about this pairing is the implication that dreaming is somehow involved in seeing through to the images that live in and among the otherwise non-objective lines of abstract compositions. The Surrealists would certainly have agreed.

—Lori Waxman

Watch the artist's narration of his critique on YouTube