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Deep Art WALK
Page 3 Continued from Page 2
We liked the space, the art and especially the remixed wood floor. But were perplexed by a long rambling schmooze by a co-owner who'd never heard of Boyd Gallery, a previous gallery operated by agents for, and dedicated to showing the fine art of, professional graphic artists, only a few block from this one, until three years ago. The Boyd was more comfortable and less prone to hype. These guys are slicker.
New to the area, Pawn was inordinately proud of their new patio, as if everybody down there didn't already have one. But the gallery seemed to be succeeding (showing, not necessarily selling, although with prices like this, they could stay with us awhile) with a bold and comical kind of art we saw at several galleries that night. Bolder and with bigger signatures, from artists from Europe and America and Texas.
More graphic-artsish (that word again), but with a fierce quality, if not exactly emotional content. Tending more toward illustration than fine art, but some of the prices were very down to earth.
Great floor. Rich lovely wood instersticed with gray and black bits. Spotted with marks and spots and miscolored lots stired straight into the slotted lot. Lines disrupted. Familiar forms remixed. Formerly gymnasium, it might be possible to miss it, treading its visual topography. Like the dark sconces and artifacts in the Continental Loft and the pipes in the Continental Gin, this new pawn shop floor lends character and presence.
We thought we were through art for the night, but heading up Main Street we noticed a queue outside near where the dessert place used to be. It looked more like gallery overflow than from a bar — since people don't usually take drinks outside bars, so we stopped and found the night's smallest space and most colorful display.
Vivid rich colors. An appealing sort of primitivism. Simple, enticing, very much the flavor and sensibility of illustration and GA (okay, I'll stop saying that, but that stuff is everywhere in art now. Used to be a separation. Now nobody knows where lies the demarcation.) With two precarious shelves of dark precious pottery in the middle so tentative and I wondered whether someone would bump and shatter one.
We're often intrigued by the art galleries put in their offices and bathrooms, so we peek in doors left open and are sometimes rewarded for our nosiness. Anna found this and pointed me at it.
I entered the tiny bathroom and pressed myself into the opposite wall enough to capture it whole. Took some Photoshopping to render it "evenly lit," but it's vividly attractive, though it could have used more space and light in there, and I bet it wasn't terrible expensive. Wish I'd asked.
Much to like in that small storefront. Color, the crux of it. Not pushing many edges, even falling back on some, but not dull, either. Then again it could have been that it was the last stop on our tour.
We couldn't find a contact to get identifications for these pieces later. There weren't many at Sling — although we came away with two complete sets of I.D sheets to numbers with no indication which galleries, so we might never know. But we liked this ultra colorful painting, and some others, despite their naive sensibility. Or maybe because of it.
Hardly expected to find a black & white crosshatch print in that colorful place. I'm not thrilled with the goofy cartoonishness of the four corners, and I guess that's a burger chef from the golden starches, but in that bright little space I was ready to entertain anything .
We'd noticed 500X' big steel door open on our way into deepest Elm and had planned all along to stop in there on our way out, even if it wasn't on the DEEP tour itself, though it probably should have, although there's always been some discussion whether Fair Park and Deep Elm were geographically compatible. Then we nearly forgot but happened to drive by, so went in. I know I do the calendar here, and I should know all that stuff, but a good show is as much a surprise to me as anybody else.
We were wowed by daring young men in half black and skin in the X's pit and up the short stairs into the middle of the main gallery downstairs. Posing in stretching gestures and a gazes transcending place or meaning, very properly presented as art, lighted and on pedestals amid a crowd carrying on as if there weren't half naked guys standing right there looking down at us — a bit of art in itself.
It reminded of Gordon Young's 80s installation in the member's gallery a few feet down the hall. His Man in Black, a butch guy in black leather open to the waist, seethed with male power. These guys were time and space removed, Young's fierce intensity only vaguely reflected twenty plus years later.
Cyan and green were not in this original work as displayed in the X's project room. I was fascinated to watch my camera flash colors as I shot different exposures of this surreal enough already scene. Colors not in the scene. Those smaller pieces were pink. Cameras always change things anyway, but I can put up with blue blending into green in the video projection portion of John Oliver Lewis and Alex Soto's Float Bloat Burst, if you can.
That same wall has shown long series of small works over the years. Something about that space lends itself to a trail of little images. I remember Bill Nelson's compilation of Oak Cliff sunset Polaroids and others. Tina Medina probably has a long story for these people but I avoid reading long words for short art. I liked the variety of styles, probably a lot of different people, maybe all linked like the soap operas that are all our lives.
I wasn't careful selecting these three faces, but they are distinct, that dull olive tying them and contrasting the flesh and reds. If I'd looked more carefully at more faces I might have recognized more people. I'm pretty sure I know that one in the middle.
Five Hundred X has long been where artists who practice questionable materials in quest of art show their bumps and smears and rips and oddly little piles of pins or needles, spin awhile then centrifuge into even stranger combinations. CJ Smith and many before him have lent this place a colorful — sometimes nearly neutral — history of odd mediums in service to and poking, prodding and propping up art. Splat!
Something there is about threaded lines that thrills, then dangles the loose ends. I have a piece I bought from 500X in the 80s that sews together quilt patterns and Clement Greenberg. Here a spare bedroom scene sets a scene for a thought.
This roll of green and yellow scrolls was inside another one of those precariously opened doors. Looked like a storage room/office. Lots of art crowded on the wall, identified only by an artist's name on tape. We had the feeling we shouldn't have been in there, but the door was open, and some of the art, like this, was very attractive. Probably from a recent X show I missed.
Vivid shades of Billy Hassel. With the rude interruption of the homely plain home in the big middle, a lovely romp neatly combining two- and three-dimensional tonalities in the more or less current style, the post-post-modernist inclination to combine bold graphic art into questionable fine art.
The yellow ring in the middle, itself concentric inside the smarmy purple flower ring, repeats "Home Again" in all-cap yellow on orange. Homing in to that dreadful house painted drably, like the journey is the thing, and once you're finally home, it's the same old same old again, and being home is no great prize, but the journey's a marvelous little fantasy.
No idea who is the guy in black shirt left of the ladder (but I'll happily I.D it) that's always there on that corner into the rafters above. Mayhaps someone at the X will tell. But his semi portrait sets off my ladder so fine.
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