Visual Arts

Aaron Parazette's Surfer-Dude-Slang Paintings at Dallas Contemporary

Somehow, Aaron Parazette has made paintings that depict the words "groovy," "bomb" and "juice" worth spending some time with.

Represented by McClain Galley, Parazette is a Houston-based artist who is currently showcasing a series of older works as well as a titanic wall piece at Dallas Contemporary. Art Attack was on the scene over the weekend to observe the word scramble-esque works that hang in impressive digs reminiscent of DiverseWorks.

For this exhibit, Parazette has collected his almost indecipherable acrylic word paintings that were inspired by surfer-dude slang. The body of work features Parazette sketching terms like "stoked" and "kook," scrambling the letters like vegetable soup (and sometimes flipping and contorting the characters) and transferring the creations from the computer to healthy-size canvasses. Seeing the oft-punchy work as a cohesive set, which Parazette has worked on for the past seven years, coaxes the viewer -- dude, dudette or otherwise -- to hang loose and gander at the curious compositions for a while.

Meanwhile, the opposite wall features the abstract and minimalist style that Parazette has sprinkled in and out of his repertoire for years. Expanding some 50 feet in length is a hard-edged, unified pattern painted on the wall, which is approximately ten feet tall.

Out of the gallery's four fall exhibitions, the other one that absolutely can't be missed is Jennifer Rubell's Nutcrackers. The New York City-based artist has dolled up 18 female mannequins and engineered them to lie on their sides. The faux models represent two broad categories of women: the sexualized beauty and the hard-to-manage ball buster.

To illustrate the latter point, gallery-goers can walk to the center of the room, grab a Texas-grown pecan from the one-ton-worth's pit of pecans and do the nut cracking themselves, thanks to a blade on the mannequins' inner thighs that can be engaged by pushing down on the left legs.

These installations continue through December 4 at Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass Street. For more information, check out the Dallas Contemporary website.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen