Pre post-modern mastery

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The two-year-old Long Hall Gallery occupies the bottom half of a wooden Victorian manse on Craig near San Pedro and Woodlawn, a fair jaunt from gallery-crowded Southtown. The gallery has a relaxed, lived-in, historical feeling; square, high-ceilinged parlor galleries are connected by two, erm, very long halls, evocative of its probable former use as an apartment house. It’s a difficult set-up, tending toward darkness, but an extensive track-lighting system offsets the narrow interior spaces, inviting the viewer to relax and linger.

Long Hall Gallery’s CAM exhibition features prominent artist Coahuila, Mexico, artist Gustavo Möller, heretofore “relatively unknown in the United States,” explains Neal Henderson, the gallery’s amiable, enthusiastic owner and curator. Connected to the Saltillo-based, international-award-winning Möller by “family friends in the Valley,” Henderson is providing Möller with his “U.S. debut,” and beams that “Long Hall is his U.S. representative.”

A generous collection of Möller’s paintings, prints, and photography, most executed post-2000, lines the walls, and an assortment of his intimate-scale “mini-prints” is arrayed in the front gallery. The collection is a terrific introduction to Möller. The prints are standouts; Möller is a technical master, whose scattered, etchy graphic lines and thoughtful use of strong, saturated color evokes both a personal preoccupation with a profoundly workmanlike technique and a deep engagement with art-historical context including Cubism, Action Painting, and Lyrical Abstraction.

Möller’s subject matter can be enigmatic, as in the intriguing, moody print “Hermafrodita,” in which a tenderly curled, sculptural form recalls the mathematical beauty of a conch shell. He also applies his painstaking surface-working to the spiritually devotional, as in the elongated forms in works such as “Sagrada Familia” and “Virgen.” In addition to dry-point and “grabado” techniques, Möller has devised a unique process he calls “colographia,” a proprietary “paint-removal” process (about which Henderson politely refuses to reveal much) resulting in a complex, painterly surface.

There is something refreshing in studying the works of an artist who meticulously celebrates two-dimensional surface; absent here is any modish indulgence in collage or mixed media — there’s a mid-century aspect, a meditation on the modern rather than the post-modern. Möller’s is a world that doesn’t rush headlong into mass media, but rewards patient, meditative observation.



Imaginando Grabado
Gustavo Möller at The Long Hall Gallery
Curated by Neal Henderson
618 W. Craig Pl.
6-10pm Thu & by appt.
Through Jul 31
Closing reception: 6-10pm Jul 31
(210) 378-2287
[email protected]

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