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Every artwork on this site is copyright 2009 or before by the originating artist. No reproduction or approximation of these works may be created in any medium for any commercial or nonprofit use. All Contents of this site are Copyright 2009 or before by publisher J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in any medium.
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words + photographs © 2014 by J R Compton
AHL #2 >
THIS PAGE Heart
Dallas Galleries 9
floors up Art
in the Hood Tour Paul Abbott & Charlotte
Rusty Scruby Puck Top Pastel Blankie Enrique's Cart Art Here Lately Introduction
Art Here Lately #1
T. Stone A Heart for Art steel, copper, paint
Desperate for Dallas art here lately, I browsed the Dallas Contemporary's site (still stuck in 2008, not listing anything this year), then called. They have a show opening March 14 I think. The voice said the site was being redesigned, so it's not updated. Dumb reason pertinent only to grave misunderstanding of the medium. I wonder if Joan uses email yet. I was stupid enough to join the Contempt last year, and have heard nothing of an upcoming show. The only Dallas-related art there isn't on the wall yet by an artist who went to school here but lives in NY. I demurred.
Galleries and art centers are notorious for not updating their sites. I understand. Updating a site is a chore, and darned few galleries bother. It's usually useless to link to them to find out what's happening, or I'd think nothing is.
Can anybody out there recommend a piece of Dallas art on a wall somewhere around here? Besides The MAC, which I keep going back to, or the Bath House. I would like to expand my horizons.
After I got over cringing again at their idiot slogan, "Love us for good," (and hate them for bad?) the 500X site shows very Last Century Art forms for their upcoming exhibition. Not there, neither.
So I visit Mighty Fine Arts' site and oomph! That's new. That's weird. Surprise, shock, startlement. Nice, big image, showing serious comprehension of what the web's best at. Simple execution. My compliments to the webby. Luke Side's Toed Camel cast iron and wood sculpture should be seen, probably in person, but online will do nicely.
Only thing bothers me there is ©MMV. Isn't
that 2005? MMIX is now, right? If I were naming a show this year, that'd
have to be it. But our next isn't till 2010 — MMX. Hmm. That's not so
bad a name, either. Having to come up with a name for the DallasArtsRevue
Member Show next January by the end of last month, I went generic and it's
The DallasArtsRevue Member Show. Scinitillating, huh? No blog there till
El Corazon at the Bath House
Julie Zarate Ars Celare Artem assemblage
The Bath House's long-running annual Valentine's Day show, El Corazon can be smarmaloid goofy or bordering on greatness. This one leans toward the latter. My early favorites turned in my mind as I explored all the exhibitions — heart shows in the main and hall galleries, an intense collection of student work from the Creative Arts Center in back and Ode to Audubon in the museum. But these pieces stayed in my mind well past the end of our visit into the week after when I finally began writing this.
In this deceptively simple, subtly three-dimensional jig-sawed heart, pieced together, each fragment pierced with a script capital M, we see an organic, intensely red human heart with gilded pipes. A valentine for an M someone? An elegant interconnection that we recognize as heart.
Not abstracted representation. One of darned few in either show that does not show the so-called heart shape that tells more of symmetry, simplicity and smarm than the bivalve muscle that pumps regenerative blood through our bodies. A physical metaphor, more befitting art and specifically sculpture than the glorified valenties all around it.
This joyous little grotesquerie of assemblage sets my soul on fire. I like it more every time I see it, and I keep looking back at the full-size image imagining I will find still more texture there. Funky little piece of found objects wired together into its own self-halo of combination.
The title translates as <skill method, technique, conduct, character> will watch over art. Proverbs 12, Verse 23 cautions against proclaiming our wisdom: "Ars est celare artem — The perfection of art is to conceal it." Meaning one communicates one's knowledge when it may educate others, but conceals it when the showing only commends oneself.
I see rusty, oxidized textures and subtle metallic colors with a cross dangling like a key on a wired kite on a stormy night. A complete and closed path around which a circulating electric current flows from a tiny, intensely red heart at the center. Life and death and crosses wired in. A religious relic crossed in intention and execution with a spirit catcher and energy transformer. Body and spirit. Medium as medium.
Grethe Haggerty Karo Man - Ethiopia watercolor
The one piece I liked as it lay against a wall the week before the show was hung — and looks even better now on the wall, except that it reflects work across the from it (which I've partially corrected) — was this ochre tribal gesture of a partially hidden human laughing smile in a body textured with bits of color around its neck and massive tattoing over arms and torso and probably legs in the HeART & SOUL show in the hall.
Kathy Boortz Snake Bird found wood and mixed media
Then there's Kathy Boortz' anatomically nearly correct Nature forms in the White Rock Lake Museum. I am deeply prejudiced for her work because I love them so, and I get to photograph them almost as soon as she makes them. This is one of the marvelous few shows in there that are truly appropriate for the gallery on the lap of Dallas' largest and most diverse inner-city lake.
Out the 9th Floor Windo
From the 9th Floor
I've been photographing art for Member Pages lately, and when I'm out doing that I sometimes shoot something in a studio or out their window (as here) or something that approximates art without actually being art, yet at least. This is from long-time member Dean Corbitt's studio on the 9th floor down into that building's own shadow with reflections of windows from the building across the street. And a telephone pole and grass and a parking lot below. I like the print-like textures, light and shape variations.
Another Dead Dallas Gallery
GP's Dragon Street Digs
Gerald Peters Gallery is dead, officially and finally as of February 14. I'm surprised they made it this long after moving from their long-time, sumptuous, palatial digs in Upper Oak Lawn to where nearly every other gallery is — in a stupid and ultimately expensive attempt to be like everybody else, which they never were and never should have been. What a waste of several million dollars almost nobody can afford to lose.
Old GP Foyer
I only ever visited GP on Dragon twice, although I tried a half dozen times. On both successful visits, I worried they'd thrown over that fabulous building on Fairmount for this?
As shown in these photographs, the Fairmount address is still as they left it. I don't know if they were renting, leasing or still own the buildings. Another misfortune of terrible timing. It might sit there for another couple years.
The new space on Dragon felt awkward and wrong. It wasn't ugly, it just wasn't extraordinary, not nearly as extraordinary as the old space with its multiple hallways, private and semi-private rooms and extraordinary and serene sculpture garden out back. There I always had the feeling that there was nothing I could see that I could afford, and I was probably right, and that was a good thing.
I hate to lose Gerald Peters, always a pleasant art-filled vacation to visit them among the lush old trees near downtown. Something worth looking up to. At openings, I always met or re-met interesting people who knew about art. The Fairmount space was beautiful and elegant; I always felt in hushed conspiracy with the art there.
Ornate Lamp on Facade of Gerald Peters' Upper Oak Lawn Space
The old space had a drive by leave-off, with just a few steps to navigate. The new space's foyer was funked up and confusing. Feng Shui out the window. It was bigger than some, not as big as others on Dragon Street. But it wasn't grand.
Most of the other five or more times I tried to visit their Dragon space, the front door was locked. Locked through Dragon Street's goofy Modern Luxury magazine openings, when they blocked the long street to car traffic while parking expensive automobiles there to show off; locked during major Dallas Art Dealers Association Gallery Walks; generally closed all autumn. Now they're gone.
Another dead Dallas gallery. How sad.
Yellow Stripe behind GP on Fairmount
Art in the Hood '09
Sculpture Garden Below Valery Guignon's Studio
Art in the Hood February 7 this year was a little less than. Half last year's stops. Can it be a tour with just four? Although there were multiple artists at each. We thoroughly enjoyed two of our three, missing one stop running late. We were also disappointed to miss a couple old friends listed on the site (still) but not there, and I know how easy that is to change.
Dragon Spout in Mark Epstein's Funky Front Yard
No maps. We drove first to Brad and Laura Abrams' studio/home, because we knew the way. Expected to pick up maps there, but there weren't any. Laura dredged one up from last year, Xed out all five of the artists not in this year's, and we used that. Printing enough black-only maps at whatever Kinko's is called now would only cost about $30 or so, so somebody needs to work on that.
Mark Epstein's Exquisitely Funky Pottery
on multiple shelves on the back porch
We were happy to know about it even if the invitation didn't include a map, which has to be important for a tour. Their "printable" online version printed as illegible mush. But even though The Morning News didn't list this year's, the lot across from the Abrams was near full and there were as many people at the other stops as last time we attended two years ago.
Work in progress in Carolann
Haggard's studio continues the funk.
I'd been looking forward to the Hood tour — and I'll go back in another year or two. We enjoyed what we saw in formal and informal display spaces, booths in a backyard and garage, plenty-hot glass furnaces and especially a glimpse of new art in one of only three working studios on the map — two in one stop.
Laura Abrams - a fresh batch of Manta Rays
Laura had promised me a manta in exchange for some quick high-res photography, and I'd hoped to pick it up on the tour. Actually, she gave me two, saying she didn't want them to get lonely.
Funky Glitz at Ranchito Abrams
Unlike some tours, this is not all about process, though more of it might help. So would more artists. I'm sure they're out there in the Hood.
Brad Abrams untitled totem
Some art was difficult to distinguish from busy backgrounds.
Laura Abrams untitled propeller shape
Others seemed to fit right in.
Not exactly performance art, we saw
this between stops in The Grove.
Tours are never as easy as they look.
Abbott & Smith at The MAC
Paul Abbot (left) and Charlotte Smith - The Journey
digital photograph and acrylic on wood panels
36 x 24 inches
Reason I attended The Synthetic Landscape talk by collaborating artists photographer Paul Abbott and painter Charlotte Smith January 28 2009 is because I was so taken by their work together in the project room at The MAC and that I like to stare off into space in darkened rooms while people talk about art.
Here were two practitioners of the craft of landscape flinging off on individualist yet complementary tangents from classic landscapes. Whose work, despite all that abstract conception, were immediately recognizable as landscapes. Even though upon closer inspection they distinctly are not.
Charlotte Smith The Journey 2009 acrylic on wood panel 24 x 36 inches
I was fascinated to see how closely — in their divergent mediums and from differing viewpoints and needs — these two have grown their collaborations over the five years of their friendship. Neither Abbott's photographs nor Smith's paintings are what they first may seem.
Not actual landscapes interpreted in gloomish surreal tones and colors, Paul Abbott's pieces are abstracted photographic topographies digitally created to resemble terrain, much as Smith's otherwise abstract paintings become the physical features of her own, interior landscapes, confusing figure and ground, object and environment.
Both play visual tricks with the elusive third dimension that has forever eluded painters, photographers — and many sculptors. Abbott toys with our understanding that photographs represent three actual dimensions out there somewhere, while Smith extends the language of landscape into her otherwise flat paintings that are incised with tiny-scale, three-dimensional elements that protrude from or channel through her monochromatically painted fields.
Then both artists present their carefully considered extrapolations as nearly flat entities hanging on gallery walls, sometimes juxtaposed to show off their differences and sames.
Paul and Chuck at the media table during their talk
As I often do, I brought my camera. As I sometimes do with my silent little Canon S5is with its articulating LCD (so people can't tell what I'm photographing), I surreptitiously made images of the speakers and audience during the event.
I brought the cam to take photos of the art in the galleries, but when I'm trapped in an audience and I cannot easily or anonymously get up and wander around, I need something to occupy my mind.
Man in Audience Holding a Cup of Liquid
Taking photographs does that for me. Gives me something to do with fingers and eyes while my brain is glued into artists' ideas, hopes and intentions. It's also a bit of challenge to make photographs in near darkness, always without flash. My big Nikon makes loud ker-plunk noises when I press its shutter button. If I have it set correctly, the little Canon doesn't even peep. It's all electronic, and comfortably quiet.
See also J R's interview and visit with Charlotte Smith for the Fierce show in the summer of 2008.
Rusty Scruby there, too
Rusty Scruby Curved Vessel (above) paper
construction 36 x 9 x 9 inches and
Curl (white hanging helix piece) paper construction and monofilament 36 x 10 x 14 inches
I liked Quin Mathews' movie documenting Rusty Scruby's art and process more than I've liked all those collaged images never quite achieving cohesive shapes that came before these pieces in the gallery when I attended an art talk by Charlotte Smith and Paul Abbott at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary.
But I was wowed by these smoother forays into sculptural art, even when they did not incorporate photographic imagery and was startled and surprised how well his Beach Couple abstracted the third D into his spheroid shapes. Remarkable.
Rusty Scruby Beach Couple photographic
reconstruction and monofilament 74 x 50 x 30 inches
See also The Drama of Discontinuous Space by Michael Helen about Rusty Scruby and others, and J R's review of Quinn Mathews' film Beyond the Plane, A Portrait of The Artist in Motion about Rusty Scruby.
Dallas' Top Restaurant
From the Restaurant at the Top of the World
Anna's son Aaron is a pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's new restaurant on the top of Reunion Tower. As 'family,' we were invited to Five Sixty's dress rehearsal opening with amazing and fabulous foods all comped, while we sat in the revolving ball atop our local space noodle.
A little too much attention form the hot and cold running wait staff but I et things I'd never seen before or heard of and it was almost all excellent, especially, of course, the pastry desserts. Watching Dallas slide by below us, especially when we rounded past skyscraper downtown was stellar. I have video, too, but it's a tad dark.
In the pic above, that's cars on Stemmons (I think) streaking on the left and Anna in the reflection above with the rest of the restaurant.
Packaging As Art
Blanket-protected Art Ready to Leave The Winter Show
know whose art is swaddled in the pastel
blankets, but I liked the idea of art so obviously art yet unseen,
and its packaging become art seen. Turns out the towel art was long-time
Bath House Cultural Center Visual Arts Coordinator / Curator Enrique Fernandez rescued this cart from the dumpster in the parking lot overlooking the center, and he has since slightly modified it and loaded it up with tools and materials useful for hanging art exhibitions.
I kept thinking I was going to put this picture on The Winter Page, but it never made it there, and I think looks good here, and another new beginning for this page, which hopes to journal intelligent art in Dallas.
The stack of chrome chevrons behind it are
chairs on a roll-around. Over the nearly ten years Enrique has
been at the Bath House, he's gathered a remarkable set of tools
for this part of his job.
We arrived before Enrique Cervantes, so we waited awhile
in the cool crisp air.
Artist Michael Helen, so he could pick up his piece in The Winter Show, us so
we could see whoever else showed up to pick up their work. CA January 3 09
Odd to start a journal called "Here Lately" back so far in time, beginning at the bottom of what I expect will grow to a long page of art and artifacts, but there are reasons. Here's where and when I flog the blog to 'splain why I'm presenting this format scattered with artsy photographs and very short art criticisms instead of individual pages that almost nobody will visit till months, maybe years later.
I've been addicted to this "bottom line is on the top" format for local birds on my Amateur Birder's Journal nearly three years now, except those pages are loaded down with many more photographs, becoming huge and slow to download by the end of the month.
When I finally realized that was truly an addiction, not the excuse for a longish walk every day I've long claimed, I jumped that track to present the best of the photos I take, not only of art that attracts my mind and attentions, but the concomitant images in pursuit of the art, often of artists and the situations of art and artists.
After they've been here awhile, stories and their photos will jump off into more easily downloadable chunks, which this page will then index at the top, maybe even with short explanations, like chapters in an old-fashioned book.
I've long understood that DallasArtsRevue, especially when it was printer's ink on paper, as for all of this century online, is more a history channel than the latest news with my peculiar stamp. My peculiarity continues, of course, and news this old will always rest near the bottom.
Art Here Lately continues on page 2.
This story continues with many more stories and pictures of Recent Art in Dallas. I have the pictures and am adding text this week. Then I'll go out and gather more art and ideas and fold them into the recipe.