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Modalities of the Visible

The inaugural exhibition at Brookhaven College's new art gallery January 29, 2002

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The new gallery from the outside. Part of a Susan kae Grant photo is visible inside,
through and beyond Juxtaposition, an indefinitely installed sculpture
( not in the current exhibition ) by Brookhaven student Ino Ko ouside.


Our first stop, the pantyhose art of Mary Nicolett, downstairs in the still adjunct, still remote Studio gallery, was fun, funny and visually interesting. It took us awhile to find the new building from there, but it was worth the trip.

Modalities of the Visible - A Survey of Contemporary Art in North Texas, with work by Frances Bagley, Peter Beasecker, Christine Bisetto, Dornith Doherty, Vincent Falsetta, Barnaby Fitzgerald, Harry Geffert, Susan kae Grant, Linda Guy, Tracy Hicks, Benito Huerta, Debora Hunter, David Iles, Bill Komodore, Annette Lawrence, Tom Orr, Andrew Ortiz, Sherry Owens, Nancy Palmeiri, John Pomara, Linda Ridgway, Laurence Scholder, Juergen Strunck, James Sullivan, Lorraine Tady, Philip Van Keuren, Mary Vernon, James Watral and Michael Whitehead opened Tuesday January 29, through February 13, 2002.

Brookhaven's previous main exhibition space was a hallway. Literally.

The old Forum gallery was a grand foyer of a hallway, to be sure — airy, open, extended and large. But there were giant stairways swooping into it, a theatre entrace leading out of it, lots of difficult shadows, not nearly enough usable wallspace and no way to secure the area.

The new space — also called The Forum Gallery — in the new art addition isn't nearly as grand, but it is many times more useful, has excellent lighting, plenty of exhibition space, and it can be closed and locked.

The inaugural exhibition's theme — A Survey of Contemporary Art in North Texas — seems grandiose, more restraining the parameters of this area's art than definitive or expansive of it.

Many other artists could have been included. Some here could have been left out. A few who should be here and are, might have loaned better or more representative work. The choices that are here, however, made for a grand, opening show, offering an intriguing and exciting, however limited, spectrum of North Texas art.

Just inside the front door, Kathy settled into one of the surface pieces Mulcahy Modern has become known for, Tumbling Bee, carbon and latex paint on paper by Christine Bisetto — a smallish line drawing of bees with texture that looked to JR like Braille.

Nearby, JR found hairy — or in motion — electric blue architectural drawings of pots by potter James Watral that he still likes thinking about the blue of. Most of the works in the show, are on loan from the artists, although their galleries are thanked on the i.d. tags.

Curiously, none of the works are dated. I would have liked to know when several pieces were done, so I could fit them into my understandings of those artists' work.


Mary Vernon Shanidar 1,5 oil on paper

We applied terms like vivid, electric and powerful to Mary Vernon's large, cojoined paintings on paper, tacked almost informally to the wall. JR wondered what was going on in the narrative but was hardly bothered by not knowning. After long, further study, he's beginning to think it was obvious all along.

There were an abundance of strong works in the gallery, but Mary's piece — and the equally unsubtle work by Bill Komodore — seemed to take the room in a colorful coup.


Sherry Owens - Man Brain, Woman Brain - crepe myrtle, dye, wax, steel, glass

We both liked Sherry Owen's male and female brains — equal sized, carefully balanced, held high, yet multiply joined and supported with a fragile and complicated foundation. It seemed to float on its steel and glass pedestal.  

Tracy Hicks - Sessions - bronze

Almost hidden in the far corner, thanks to their diminuative stature, Kathy found Tracy Hicks' careful line of pruned purnes to be mesmerizing. When he processed the digital photo above, JR began to understand the fascination — and the conceptual similarity to Rowena Elkin's 1985 cast bronze Life of A Raisin.

Tom Orr - Flag - mixed media 

One of our precious few North Texas masters of three-dimensional art, Tom Orr's optically illusory piece in this show continues his fascination with moiré. Behind is a field of equal, thin, black and white vertical lines. Arching horizontally over them is a similarly thin-lined rectangular grid of fencing, setting up a nearly invisible disturbance pattern. The slightest change of viewpoint creates a visual rippling wave patterns that bend our perceptions along several axes.

Tom's Flag waves in a different dimension. It is at once subtle and outrageous, gentle ( seen from a distance, like in the photograph above ) and difficult to watch, because of the patterning set up — not in the piece itself — but in our vision of it.


Harry Geffert - Jacob's Ladder - bronze in foreground.
Behind it are flowers by Linda Ridgway, then Tracy Hicks' bronzes.


Harry Geffert's tall, slight, tree branch ladder casts subtle shadows along a vertical horizon in an already varied art landscape along the gleaming white walls of the brand new gallery.

Bill Komodore - The New City (Foundation Stones ) - oil on linen

Bill Komodore is one of the grand old men of Dallas painting. The New City is startling to look at — like a flattened, layered Stella. A vivid horizontal landscape that jars the eyes almost as much as Tom Orr's much more subtle piece across the gallery.

James Sullivan's straw man here is not one of his more dynamic or interesting, small-scale persons. It made us long to see its more exciting brothers at Conduit or the diving man at The HOP.

Philip Van Keuren's triptych of out of focus, lone flyers here seemed to have lost their edge of sublime, black and white subtlety in this new gallery's varied field of color and mass.


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