Shambhala is a Sanskrit word meaning a place of peace, happiness or tranquility. In the Buddhist tradition, it is paradise. It is also a meditation technique and, tellingly, the name of Paul Fleming's latest exhibition at Barbara Davis Gallery.
In "Shambhala," Fleming fills the gallery with bright, sleek color as he creates wall installations composed of identically shaped resin-filled objects arranged in straight lines and subtle patterns. The main body of work is All my friends are here, which takes over the first half of the gallery across every available surface. Repeating blocks of pigmented resin are arranged in single file across the walls like some broken code of color samples, available in every color of the crayon box.
Other installations sprawl across the wall in a controlled chaos. Fractured From the Fall is a massive piece that strikes the back wall, straight strips of hydrocol and resin crossing each other like a broken rainbow. Other pieces aren't as neat and exact. In Papillae, red-tipped cones disperse from a center, while Our Nature features blue objects that climb up the wall and onto the ceiling, like ornate thumbtacks mapping population demographics or the spread of a disease.
Still other pieces emphasis connectivity, with each part making up a tightly wound whole as in These Subtle Agencies II, a punishing square made up of countless blue, green and purple pieces arranged in a flowing pattern.
Between these tight grids and the loose, pixelated wall installations, there can be a lot of white space, and it all makes for a somewhat sparse show. There's not too much going on here for deep contemplation, just a lot of eye candy.
"Paul Fleming: Shambhala" at Barbara Davis Gallery, 4411 Montrose Boulevard, runs now through June 1. For more information, call 713-520-9200 or visit www.barbaradavisgallery.com.
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