Most of the time I seem to either obsess about certain things or they whimsically fall into my lap. The later is sort of how I met Rex Dingler.
I had always been aware of his NoLA RISING project since Katrina, but had yet put a face to the name. Through several friends and a local event, we met and chatted.
The chance meeting left me inspired as well as intrigued. So, like all GenX'ers I googled Nola Rising as well as Rex himself. Here's the first thing I read on The NoLA RISING website nolarising.blogspot.com
"NoLA Rising is a non-profit art campaign that promotes accessibility to art regardless of socio-economic status and aims to broaden perspective and opinion on public art. The organization encourages and helps artists and residents to publicly display works of art for the purpose of rebuilding and restoring the human spirit."
With that statement, Rex was setting the stage to proclaim his passion for social change through art and expression. Recently, Rex invited me to his studio to discuss his latest project, "The Dinglerization of America" and his subsequent opening coming up this Saturday.
During Rex's initial tour through his studio, I took in his diverse and substantial body of work. He began to point out recent works which will be featured during his opening and I could not have been more impressed. His range includes extremely symetrical pieces which remind me of Mondrian, to the bold and brazenly textured lines which make up "Anarchist, Agitator, and member of the Church of Satan" - the titles some of his most ignorant detractors attached to him. Rex denotes the statements as "kind words from admirers, malcontents, and people who make me smile. These are the truest of thoughts, straight from the soul." He describes this series appropriately I think : "As if Basquiat and Haring had a love child." That's Rex's John Hancock!
After making the rounds with Rex, I made my way through the selections alone. As a graphic designer, I was initially drawn to the expressive bold lines of the aforementioned pieces, but my true favorites are his cityscapes.
Each of the small to medium sized square and rectangular pieces hung along the vaulted ceiling, panting for it's last breath before coming to be completely dry. As I began to look closer at the contrasting urban elements of the richly impasto covered oil paintings, I noticed an element of them that I very rarely see. As each layer began to dry, Rex would carefully etch away at the layers to reveal the stark white remnants of the canvas. This technique moved me. Pure genius!
Ironically, one of the pieces is called "Degenerate". Rex also takes his expressionistic style a bit further with a few selections that are fashioned with the most contrasting colors...black and white. Color for me is easy, but conveying something in black and white has always been my very own little unicorn. Rex delivers with ease.
Most of all, I was thrilled to spend some time getting to know Rex. For me art is hard to quantify just like movies, music, and why I'm enamored with the opposite sex. On the other hand, don't they all move us in some way? If you are a human and not a zombie, those feelings are always genuine, real, and instantaneous. Rex is genuine when he speaks about his passion for the arts and social change and it's reflected back to us through his artwork.
THE DINGLERIZATION MOVIE