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Photos and Story by J R Compton
Drive-By 2 - Oak Cliff Gallery and Studio Tour with Scott Barber, Steve Cruz, Chuck and George, Doug Darracott, Doug Dover, Dot Duvall, Eterno Metal, Julie Gleber, Rosemary Meza, Mulcahy Modern, Oak Cliff Coffee House, Deidra Pope, Irma Ramirez, Thomas and Hall Gallery, M.L. Jenson-Tomas and Marla Ziegler noon-6 Sunday April 29, 2001.
Not sure how I managed to miss Drive-By One, but as nice a place as galleries usually are to see art, there's nothing like finding art in its natural habitat — in artists' homes and studios.
There were only a dozen stops on this Oak Cliff tour, and I hit them all. Unfortunately, I was so engrossed in looking and seeing art and homes, I neglected to take notes till well into the tour. There was so much more than just art to see on this very pleasant little tour.
Whenever I saw something that visually intrigued me — a piece of art, a window view ( above ), a room, a mantle ( below ),or a back porch or deck, I took its picture.* I put the best of the pictures on this page, and I'm writing what I experienced along the way. Later, I'll find out whose stuff I didn't manage to properly identify the first time out — a task immensely simplified by participant Dierdre K. Polk's participation in this task. Thanks, Dierdre.
* Except at Marla Ziegler's studio
The major criticism I have of the tour itself is that several spaces either did not at all, or only barely, identified themselves as stops on the tour. I remember dawdling on at least three front porches, unsure whether I'd found the right place, the right north or south number, the right street — waiting for someone else to show up gripping the yellow map, so I could follow them in, secure at last that I wasn't walking blindly into someo citizen's home.
Most tours standardize on same-color balloons or banners or streamers. The map was clear, although the scale was not. I'd originally thought it'd be good for me to walk from one end to the other, get some exercize, and not have to mess with parking.
Still, it was grand fun snooping through people I didn't or did know's homes. Artists take special care to show their personalities off — heck, it may be one of our most important jobs in life — and Drive-By had lots of marvelous opportunities to do just that.
Camera flashes make it possible to see what some, ancient cameras cannot otherwise illustrate, but this bedroom scene seemed much darker, and the string of lights barely visible here, framing the pictures over this table / desk, fairly glowed when I saw it in real.
The kitchen conversation was so lively, I dared not intrude to ask what this stick collection was all about, but I was truly fascinated by it.
I'm a sucker for translucent glass, and this bright shelf top display in someone's aery front room caught my eye and photographic attention. Some artists seem to live more simply and elegantly than I've ever managed. It feels kinda sneaky sometimes, but sometimes it's nice to tour their homes without meeting and greeting.
Discovering new art was a special treat at Drive-By 2. I checked out as many back rooms, bathrooms ( Chuck and George's was, by far, the best on the tour ), bedrooms, back porches, and other open doors as I could find to discover the art artists live with or are still working on.
I just never know what treasure I might find behind that door back, beyond the kitchen ( above ) I am continuously fascinated by the drawings of Rosemary Meza, and I wish I'd spent more time looking at this unexpected gem, but I later spoke to another Meza art admirer who hadn't gone past the kitchen. So he missed this dense drawing on the wall in the library.
Another trove I wished I'd spent more time on was this stack of down-home protest art in a back room in Dot Duval's home. At the bottom of the central, 'Notice' piece, it says "West Dallas Lead Smelter: The Senator Visits."
The piece itself fairly shouts of the danger the smelter posed for the citizens of Oak Cliff. "NOTICE: All employees, visitors, contractors or anyone entering this plant must wear safety glasses, respirators, long sleeves, sagety shooes, hard hats, etc. at all times. No Exceptioons!" Too bad the same warniings weren't posted all around Oak Cliff.
Of course, it's not a real Van Gough, but for $80 I seriously considered it. I have a fondness for outrageous fakes, and it'd be the only VG I could ever afford. it was among many other copies in the back room — through a labyrinth of halls and doorways — at the Oak Cliff Coffee House, 334 West Davis.
More real and honest were these real-life, oil and resin, food and exercize images by artist Deirdre Pope, above. Hanging on her studio wall, many of these images are works in progress. The black-framed chubby baby on the lower right was a gift from artist Brian Jones.
This was, I think, the first time I'd ever seen any paintings by Doug Darracott. I was taken by the lilting colors and feeling of depth and space but a little concerned with all those horizontal stripes and backs turned. I also greatly appreciated seeing Doug's cool, light and elegant home.