For artists, by artists

Natalie Gempel, Staff Writer

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Photographed above is one of the installments at the 500X gallery. The environment of the gallery provided no labels to identify the pieces. Photo courtesy of Natalie Gempel.

The artist-owned 500X Gallery opened its annual members show on Saturday, Sept. 5, proving itself to be a platform for the young and up-and-coming of the Dallas art scene.

One of the oldest artist-owned galleries in Dallas, its website states that 500X was created with the mission to “exhibit free of outside influences,” as well as to allow new artists to get a foot in the door of the North Texas art scene.

This year’s annual member’s show, X Proof, showcases the work of 16 artists, at least a few of whom will inevitably gain popularity in the Dallas area.

The airy Fair Park loft was filled with trendy young Dallasites on Saturday night, mingling between vibrant works that ranged from photography, to sculpture to a handwritten note on a desk.

“Artists are accepted into the collective annually by a democratic process [amongst the current members],” explained artist Kalee Appleton.“I am a new member, so System X was my first exhibition at 500X.” The Dallas-based photographer is showing three alterations of one photograph of a young girl in a swimming pool.

“I think of this work as multifaceted in regards to its personal meaning to myself. I remember as a child swimming and it being fun and terrifying,” Appleton said. “I also think about this piece as a symbolic view of life in general. Life is hard and sometimes it’s overwhelming and difficult to ‘stay above water.’”

Her delightfully colorful photographic plays are accompanied by the modern sculptures of her fellow member, Sheryl Anaya.

“Her work is near mine and speaks to it in its form and color … The decision to place them near each other was very purposeful and creates a nice conversation between our pieces,” said Appleton.

Similarly lively pieces came from member Rachel Livedallen. On her website, Livedallen states that her work in print media “explores contemporary femininity as seen through the lens of past histories and mythologies.”

University of Dallas alumni Rachel Muldez also presented work in the show, including an organic sculpture of stones arranged in a semi-circular form near the entrance of the gallery.

While being part of artist-owned gallery affords amazing opportunities to new artists, it also puts much more responsibility in the hands of the artists themselves.

“At 500X, the member artists … are responsible for the running of the gallery. It’s up to us as a group to do taxes, communicate to the public, clean the gallery, etc.,” said Appleton.

But for members, a little extra work is worth the creative freedom that an artist-run gallery affords. The members’ show alone displays an adventurous variety of artistic endeavors unique to the Dallas area.

“I think of 500X as a location for artists to work together as a group to display artwork that might normally not be seen at a standard gallery,” Appleton added. “It’s important for Dallas to maintain a diverse art scene, and 500X is an integral part [of] that.”

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