Co | Action

Leigh Merrill, 2016, This Place

Leigh Merrill, 2016, This Place

Reception: December 10, 2016, 7-10pm

Co | Action 2016

At some point in an emerging artist’s early career, someone comes alongside him or her to give critique, counsel, support, more critique, advice, training, and even to write letters of recommendation for employment or grant opportunities. The mentor-mentee or educator-student relationship is integral to the growth of the artist and mentor, as well as the art community, and it’s this relationship that 500X Gallery will highlight in our December 2016 exhibition, Co | Action. Co | Action will run from December 10th - January 8th. The opening reception will be December 10th from 7-10pm.


Leigh Merrill’s process involves making thousands of individual photographs while exploring a city or neighborhood then digitally assembling these sources to create photographs of imaginary spaces. Certain composite images have some veracity, but more often they suggest visual hyperbole – an embellished scene circulating around a small detail. The subjects in Merrill’s photographs are often ubiquitous objects and architecture, contributing to spaces that feel familiar but not recognizable. They tap into some of the conscious and subconscious visual cues, barriers and borders we create in our environment. Merrill creates both architectural and still life photographs, which act as both conceptual and formal mirrors for one another, and reveal yearnings of desire and fabrication. 

Juan Cruz combines traditional analog photographic processes with modern digital image processing software. Cruz forces the viewer to contemplate both processes by intentionally exposing the brushstrokes of the different tools in Photoshop while at the same time leaving evidence of the analog process such as marks of film and dust on the final print. The subject of his photographs are predominantly mundane objects and shapes that are often overlooked.


Since having worked together when Austyn was an undergraduate at UNT, I have felt that we share a similar wit and wariness in our critique of culture. Though our material approach is different, I believe that our work has a sentiment that easily dovetails. Austyn chooses to evoke a kind of "critique of cool" that is at once nostalgic and searing. His use of material and image appears surface and simple, but those seemingly rote combinations belie the depth and relevance of his satire. 
My work similarly delves into satire, with my foil being overt sentimentality and direct references to homestead nostalgia. I choose familiar, even luscious materials, and subvert their saccharin comfort for my own ends. I am interested in critiquing not only culture at large, but my own involvement in social interactions, and the perversion of social mores that we all engage in. 
I believe that together we represent a well-rounded view of the world that we simultaneously love and loathe; that we relish in the critique of.


Annette Lawrence works with text and information, often in response to physical space and time. Her practice is grounded in autobiography, counting, recording, charting, and layering quiet notations of everyday life. Lawrence's work has been widely exhibited and is held in museums, and private collections. Lawrence lives and works in Denton, Texas and is a Professor of Drawing and Painting at the University of North Texas, College of Arts and Design. For images and more information:

My body of work is strongly influenced by the diversity of my cultural heritage. My four grandparents are from four different, French colonies or/and territories: France, Guadeloupe, India (Pondicherry) and Vietnam (Tourane) and I was born and raised in Paris, France. I juxtapose visual elements from my cultural background to create a unified, imaginary, abstract world where I reveal my identity. I also use my own invented script by mixing the languages that my family spoke (French, Creole, Tamil and Vietnamese). This self-created world, steeped in the diversity of my cultural roots is a dynamic dichotomy: the combination of traditional and non-traditional medium as well as structure versus relinquishment of control. The use of non-traditional medium has given me the flexibility to experiment creative avenues that are unexpected. It is about chaos, breaking rules and exploring freedom. I never know what the outcome will be. Through the process I follow a rhythm that I have created unconsciously. When viewing my artwork, the observer is transported into an imaginative world where multiculturalism becomes one. 


Born and raised in Texas, Kim Cadmus Owens moved to Dallas in 2006 after having lived on both the East and West Coasts as well as Japan. She received her MFA in Art from Towson University near Baltimore, Maryland, and her BFA in Painting and Drawing from the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California.
Her studio practice includes paintings, drawings, prints and installations. 
Kim Cadmus Owens resides in Dallas and is Associate Professor of Art in Painting at the University of Dallas.

Kate Colin is an artist currently working in Denton, TX. Her drawings and paintings interpret expansive hypothetical spaces, inspired by mathematical theories, physical infrastructure, and nature. Her abstract work stems from an interest in unpredictable and systematic processes. Colin’s current work explores the complexity of the conception of hyperbolic structures depicted on two-dimensional planes.