The Importance of Being Earnest
BRET SLATER IS AUTHENTIC—TO HIMSELF, HIS WORK, AND THOSE WHO’VE INFLUENCED HIM.
n the 5th day of January, Bret Slater was still wrestling with a title for a large painting. Leaning against a wall at Liliana Bloch Gallery, the work awaited installation for his solo show opening the next day. Titles mean a great deal to the artist, which he says are “about things I’m experiencing. A lot of the time it’s influenced by music I’m listening to while I’m working, and things that I’m vibing— maybe even characters from books I’m reading.” Slater says Herman Hesse, the late Nobel Prize-winning novelist, poet, and painter, is one of his all-time favorites. An excerpt from Hesse’s Demian accompanies Slater’s exhibition. But there are also titles borrowed from the old British rock band, T. Rex, like Spaceball Ricochet. “His titles are really good, funky, and just so fresh,” says gallerist Liliana Bloch. This is the artist’s first time showing with Bloch who says they’ve been talking about doing a show together for a year and
a half. “I’ve always been very intrigued by his work and have followed his career for several years now.” A native New Yorker, Slater received his MFA from Southern Methodist University and was once a Dallas-based art darling, beguiling collectors at every level with his small-scale works, first exhibited by the muchmissed Marty Walker Gallery and later with Holly Johnson. It’s been a couple of years since he’s had a show here, and it’s good to have him back. Effortlessly earnest, we’ve missed his arresting tattoos, inexhaustible energy, and mostly his work. Through February 10, Bret Slater displays the demure paintings for which he is known, though void of the remembered bright colors, in addition to three large canvases. The show is described as a “dynamic shift in both scale and technique for the artist.” While all the paintings are uniquely Slater, the sizeable canvases are something he’s just come back to over the past couple of years. “You get to miss making larger work.” He reveals previous attempts were
Published on Jan 29, 2018