“Stereotropes” art exhibit: The Mokah Art Gallery

Maddie Pelletier, Contributing Writer

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University of Dallas graduate students Thomas Menikos and Tony Veronese, who are studying Printmaking and Painting, respectively, joined forces this summer to create “Stereotropes.”

The collaborative art exhibit combines their drawing styles into a series of images that, according to the show’s advertising, look at “the relation of tropes, archetypes and clichés as parallels are drawn between subject matters.” The drawings are conversations between the two artists, with Menikos’ contributions to the project in red marker and Veronese’s in blue.

The result is a creative exchange “in a visual language where voice becomes color as two voices build a new narrative from opinions and memories,” according to the Dallas Observer. A container of 3-D glasses and a 3’x 8’ poster of a cat wielding a lightsaber are at the entrance to the show. (I kid. The glasses are there, no poster … yet). A sign above the glasses reads: “1. Obtain glasses. 2. Equip glasses. 3. Enjoy artworks.” According to the opening reception’s Facebook page, these 3-D glasses are available “so the viewer can decipher each voice separately, along with seeing each image in all its collaborative and chaotic glory.”

And “collaborative and chaotic glory” it is. The unassuming red and blue drawings that make up this show vibrate to life through the red and blue of the 3-D glasses. Through the colored plastic, the viewer is confronted by glowing references to Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Oregon Trail and a myriad of more elusive references that altogether make the viewing experience, stated simply, fun.

Senior art major Cecilia Lang, described “Stereotropes” as “trippy,” as well as “eccentric,” “quirky,” and “animated.” Though dizzying and a little disorienting (I would not recommend this exhibit if you are epileptic), the show remains lighthearted, with some touching, nostalgic moments and others where you cannot help but laugh out loud.

“Stereotropes” is hosted by Mokah Art Gallery, which is, according to the Life in Deep Ellum website, “an extension of [the cultural center] Life in Deep Ellum that serves to promote culture and art in Deep Ellum and surrounding communities. At the Cultural Center, Mokah Art Gallery exhibitions feature contemporary art of local artists from the experimental, the emerging, and the established.” The gallery space is sandwiched between a coffee bar with the same name and other various rooms and offices, though it still maintains a professional gallery feel while fulfilling its mission to promote the arts in Deep Ellum.

The opening reception for “Stereotropes” was Friday, Aug.14, and included an artist talk by both Thomas Menikos and Tony Veronese. “Stereotropes” is definitely worth the trip to Deep Ellum and will be on display at the Mokah Art Gallery until Sept. 19.

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