Outside of UNT’s graduate student art studios, a window illuminates with a slide show of photographs showcasing things like portraits, nature and the sky. This window is an art gallery, one which can be seen without stepping foot inside the building.
“Titan II” was an art gallery projected via slideshow from room 135B, the office of Christopher Evans, a UNT third-year graduate student majoring in studio arts and minoring photography. The photos in the slide show were photographed by Antone Dolezal, a photography professor at Southern Utah University, and David Steinberg, a third-year graduate student studying photography at Syracuse University.
“I’ve known Chris since around 2015 in New York City, and then we both enrolled in graduate school at the same time,” Steinberg said. “We’ve been talking for a while about doing something together and I was excited when he mentioned he was starting this projection gallery. Antone and I overlapped at the Syracuse University MFA program by one year, and I’m very excited to being showing work alongside him.”
The gallery was presented from Nov. 11 – Nov. 15 for two hours. Evans said his gallery represented never ending art.
“I kind of liked this idea of art happening all the time, art never stopping,” Evans said. “When you walk away from the gallery, the art doesn’t stop because you are not there.”
Evans said the art gallery was intended for people who are passing by to see the art Dolezal and Steinberg created. He said his inspiration for the window gallery came from a window gallery he saw in New York City, from there, he said he fell in love with the idea and wanted to bring this idea to his own artistic practice.
“It’s been great because I have been able to show off work from my friends, reach out to other artists I admire [and] I otherwise wouldn’t reach out to and get to make art all over the place,” Evans said.
Evans described Steinberg’s photography style in “Titan II” as looking toward the sky and described Dolezal’s as looking toward the American landscape, but they both show the celestial myth of how we place ourselves in the universe.
“The images exist as a constellation of objects meant to question the natural structure of the universe,” Steinberg said. “I use scientific imagery and phenomena though varying degrees of human perception I highlight the indeterminacy of the photograph as a means to deepen our understanding of the structure. Through each image, I isolate objects and spaces to emphasize their unique ontological presence, detached from their relation to our own presence. Throughout the work, there is a palpable sense of searching and blindness from the perspective of people.”
Steinberg said that “Titan II” started off as an observation and understanding of space, and then he said the concentration switched to the relationship humans have with the ecology around us. He said he used his photography to highlight the calmness and chaos and said he framed his photos in a strange way to keep them slightly askew and uncanny.
“This project focuses on new religious movements in the deserts of the Southwest, a place that holds a fascinating history of secret government programs, passing transients and utopian communities,” Dolezal said. “Here, these layers combine to compose a strange and imagined realm tracing the varying fragments that influence the evolution of modern-day myth.”
Dolezal said while he was researching, he saw common myths shared between differing religious faiths and he said he traced these beliefs to Eastern and Indigenous mysticism. He said he also traced these beliefs to 1940s and 1950s sci-fi movies and the 20th century astrological literature turn.
“Photography allows me to engage directly with the world and with the people who are characters in these stories. It is a hands-on experience that I am ultimately drawn to,” Dolezal said.
Evans said “Titan II” did not showcase any of his work because he already has a studio to present his work in and he wants to highlight other people’s art. He said creating shows gives an artist a voice to decide what goes into the gallery. Robert Irwin, a sculpture artist, is the inspiration for Evans never ending art, which he said is because Irwin creates large art installations that affect the way someone sees the space. Evans said he would describe what Irwin does to a space as manipulation.
“Understand the moment of beauty,” Evans said. “You can have art exist and maybe not everyone realizes the beauty, but it becomes attainable in that way because it’s not trying to do anything to speak to everyone. It’s really about the hidden gem element of it. It is accessible to anyone who’s wandering by it. It’s just always happening, there is no opportune time to see it.”
Featured Image: Photographer and sculptor Chris Evans poses for a portrait with his artwork on Nov. 13, 2019. Image by Grant Beardslee