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Big As Night

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

All contents copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Opportunity to show your work at the next Big Night

Simeen Ishaque - closet ghost

Simeen Ishaque installation

Instantly recognizable as her work, but darker, coarser than I before. I like the spook coming out the closet door, wrapping along the bright contrasting, finess-free walls. A whole upstairs outside room full of dark, human shapes weaving in and out windows and walls.

Big As Night was as much about interior space real estate as art. More maybe. But the art it was about was noteworthy. More than just real estate texture. Pushing some envelopes and some buttons. Kiting others in the wind.

Polly Perez - Transam Test #4

Polly Perez - Trans Am Test #4

With so much already going on in this deeply layered sandwich, I couldn't see not adding my reflection to the multi medium layers of content never quite losing their way through it.

I wanted the etchy painted gold in front to contrast up, add that smidgen more depth, but my lens got suckered by wall texture.

That green, yellow and blue polka-dot wall back there is part of it, too. So delicious. I never once wondered what it meant, why this or that. It all seemed so ... right.

Stairtop Scribbles

Stairtop Scribbles

The artists selected to participate in making the up- and down-stairs front and back spaces on the southwest corner of Tyler and Davis in Oak Cliff, on the left side going down the one-way — look like artists' studios hewed a jagged line through the frontal lobe of contemporary art marking a bleeding edge through naughty, nice, strange, strained and absurd, mixing ugly and beautiful, always choosing the outer edges —


Sidewalk Arrows

Sidewalk Arrows

Although some of the more odd, if not outrageous, room and suite decor was left over by a graphics art firm and other former tenants.

3 People in Art Space

3 in Art Space

Decor in a hurry with depth and a spectrum of textures. Stuff out back couldn't tell if it was part of the deal or just there.

Dial O for Operator

a sample back yard

Doors open for perusal. Dark predominated the mini tour of empty space wrapped around a tax office promising cash returns and Mighty Fine Arts. Few bright rooms.

carnival colors

Carnival Colors from Tyler Street

Interlaced with carnival colors, strung lights and wicked senses of art and humor, maybe a little madness. Lotta talent in low light.

Fortune Cookies

Chuck & George
Beware The Melting Parfait of Flattery, Two

I hadn't seen Chuck & George's work since before Gray Matters went black. Their pieces here, lurid mixing the mediums, including I assume —

Chuck & George

Chuck & George - Patrick/Patriacia and Veranda

themselves in altered egos — letting a lot hang out tying together with other forms, are rich, laugh-out-loud funny and inter-texturally intense.

Veronica Tosten - At A Body-building Contest

Veronica Tosten - In A Body-building Contest, 2006 - digital print

Who chose, and why these artists, and how fast it took to put it all together might have been a fun video. I imagine fast-forward paint going on, texture in strategic places, art in all those quick easy tradition-crushing display modes — just pin it to the wall and Plex it over. And we wern't there early but watched some installation, layering more density yet better, richer. Missed the performance.

Christmas Tent

Ongoing remnants of Pajama Party @ The Club House
with Randall Garrett's name scribbled on the wall

The artists are of a certain flavor. Insiders who work in directions different from most, outside the ken, edgy artists selling real estate with individual flair and a feeling for community. All comfy, easy for conversation and joining in. Ersatz art talk circles everywhere.

Circling the Spiral

Spiral Floor and Dark Art Space

I told Steve Cruz (MFA director and the instigator of all this) I'd been quietly hoping for an Oak Cliff tour ever since Drive-By Shooting some years ago. Lately thinking it might actually be possible. Then came word of Big As Night. Didn't know what it was from the PR, but I couldn't miss it. No idea what to expect. Better than I could have hoped. Artists from all over Dallas. Doing strange things in two and three dimensions.

Omar Hernandez

I hated this first four times I looked but kept looking. Still gives me an uneasy feeling. I rarely know how it was done or why with paintings. There's a feel I feed off...

With photos, I may know too much. A snapshot at first glance. Then repulsion from 'bad' Photoshopping. Waved over pulling disparate elements together and wrap it into ... something worth persuing.

Buying time to watch the alterations in size affect spatial understanding. Romp through the twirled expressions; juxtapositions layering in like enclosing walls; formal settings mix dress modes and codes, junior debs in suit-thrall and the bear's pet drinker. A twisted tale I still don't understand. Who are these people?

More of this and other distort ilks on nearby walls exploring other directions. But no I.D cards to know titles or artist. Hadda ask. Business card in his car.

Erik Tosten - Tofuworst

Erik Tosten - Tofuworst, 2005
plastic on MDF

All in easy walking and up and down stairs into and through interlocking spaces. Bumping into old friends and seeing art by people I'd seen at alternate spaces before and some I'd never heard of before. A great tour without getting lost between stops.

Charley Mitcherson - Untitled Coachella

Charlie Mitcherson - Coachella Untitled, 2006
Performance Tent - digital print

They call those humongous biannual activities dealers associations have that involve every possible art space for miles around Art Walks, but nobody could ever. Here, you could, did. Natural, like walking down to the corner, noticing something in a window and going in to look. Obvious. Easy.

Uncurtained Windows

Uncurtained Windows

Art and installations by Veronica De Anda, David Bacon, Brennen Bechtol, Iris Bustillos, Lou Chapman, Ken Craft, Steve Cruz, Shelby Cunningham, John Hartley, Omar Hernandez, Simeen Ishaque, Brian Jones, Jon Lawrence, Tina Medina, Charly Mitcherson, Harmony Padgett, Polly Perez, Joe Riley, Brian Scott, Erik Tosten, Susan Whitmer and Eve Zangaro with ...

Art Truck

White Trash Delight

A stage in the rectangle, but we missed the play, though characters in costumes walked around loose.

Floor Scrape

Floor Scrape

... Brennen Bechtol's Art Truck featuring White Trash Delight, and Pajama Party @ The Clubhouse curated by Robert Moore with Val Curry, Randall Garrett, Robert Moore, Michael Wynne and Jason Villegas.

John Hartley - Green Match

John Hartley - Green Match
oil on canvas

The event was one-night-only from 411 North Tyler 6-10 pm, Saturday September 23, 2006, and there was some interest in renting some spaces and a possible other building nearby that could use a little celebration, but I'm glad for one big night of indie art.




DallasArtsRevue Members have been invited to participate in the next Big Night October 28 (yes, soon! later this month) in the same studios next to MFA gallery. If you are not yet a member, but have been thinking about it, and you'd like the opportunity to sell or show your best work in this popular venue, here's your chance.

Email the publisher to let me know you're becoming a member this week, send a check for $75 (or more) made out to J R Compton — don't mention the publlication or my bank won't accept it; we can photograph your work for your page on site, and you can show in this yet-unnamed one-night-only exhibition.

Information about helping support DallasArtsRevue —
including a new, Easy Guide to Joining this site
is on the DARts Member Page Index.