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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.

The Art Here Lately Index and The Latest Art Here Lately page

The Texas Biennial Pages: 

The Big Texas BIennial 2009 Page with 55 pictures, lots of art criticism about the Pieces, Places and Spaces of the TX BI 09; The 2005 Texas Biennial — 7 pages of coverage and commentary; Putting the Bi in the Texas Biennial — the 2007 TX BI; and The 09 TX BI Artarama Page - A Brief Preview including which artists from which places got in the 2009 TX BI show.

Art Here Lately#2: Dallas Artists
in the Texas Biennial 2009

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

Harmony Padgett - One State of Content

Harmony Padgett   One State of Content   (detail)

Note: The critical text about each of the following artists may have changed or got deleted when updated on the full TX BI Story linked just below.

I may never be entirely finished with it — I keep going back and finessing or changing words or pictures, but my major opus on this year's Texas Biennial competitive exhibition is finally online. It's got 58 mostly full-sized images of art and Austin art spaces, lots of commentary, and a bid at the bottom for your opinions, with or without signature.

I probably should be writing about the remarkably good and diverse Natura Fragilis show at the Bath House curated by UTD photo prof Marilyn Waligore. I took pix there at the opening last weekend, and have developed appreciations for several specific pieces, but am in the thick of finishing my report on the full Texas Biennial Exhibition (not just the Dallas artists there) in Austin these days, and that task is occupying most of my time and energy right now.

Guess I could simply strongly suggest you visit the Bath House one of these afternoons, and promise your time will be amply rewarded. Once I get the TX BI story done, I'll be back at this blog, once again emphasizing the Here part.

This commentary of the work of North Texas area-related artists
in the 2009 Texas Biennial has grown and mutated over the past
few weeks, What follows is what I more or less originally wrote.
Some of the following commentaries are included in the TX BI 09
story. Some aren't. Not sure yet what to do about that.

Winter Rusiloski - Maiden Lane

Winter Rusiloski   Maiden Lane, 2008
oil and collage on canvas   38 x 85 inches

Visual excitement puts this piece at the top of this page. Winter Rusiloski's wild wide painting instantly reminded me of a Turner seascape, wild with storms of clouds and pre-Impressionist shapes. It helps that I got a fairly good shot of it on the wall at Austin's large Mexican-American Cultural Center's main gallery.

Compressing any work of art to this size and resolution robs it of many visual and kinetic impressions, but we get the gist of of some of what's going on in this vivid painting which, once I got over the J.W. Turner reference, felt more emotional than pictorial.

Small, on this page, it can almost be taken in in one look. Wide and large on that wall, I had to look left, right and center to take it all in, and in those simple physics was an involvement of it, in it. Its size sucked me in, then in this continent's normal left to right, blew me out through wilder and more emotional paint.

When a painting can do that, it's special, and this is a tour-de-force worth posting here on top of this report of the North Central Texas area artists in the 2009 Texas Biennial exhibition in multiple venues across Austin, although there's no real rating of work further on this page.

Harmony P

Harmony Padgett   One State of Content
oil on hand-carved wood   48 x 48 inches

I've written about Harmony Padgett's work on DallasArtsRevue previously, and probably will again. She shows at Mighty Fine Art in Oak Cliff, where there's usually more than just one piece proving her amazing abilities in this odd realm of color-soaked incised wood. In Women & Their Work's winding galleries, there was only this one piece, probably best shown in close-up.

It's the sort of art I feel impelled to visit up close. I always want to smooth my fingers across her subtle textures, synesthese her colors and infuse her shapes into a growing understanding of what this is before me. As if fully feeling it would sate my intellectual understanding.

Amazing texture tonalities coalesce into discernable shapes as we step back, then disappear again if we go too far. I don't know what these shapes are telling my unconscious mind, but I want the conversation to continue.

Raychael L. Stine - The Annunciation, 2008

Raychael L. Stine   The Annunciation, 2008
oil and acrylic on canvas   24 x 20 inches

As a good Catholic boy I knew that The Annunciation was when the angel Gabriel told the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) that she would conceive a child who would be born the Son of God. I'll assume that's what the mouse on the left, standing on the aqua cut-out platform is doing for the virgin Dachshund who stars in this tableau of mixed paint swirls and blank canvases. I don't know what its two-tone friend on the right is up to, however.

Perhaps a parable of Art to come, premonitioning the next piece and the one after that. Preparing the world for the next masterpiece. A story staged to prequel something momentous, and what could be more earth-shakingly consequential than the Birth of Art?

Interesting mix of characters, not unlike the Disnification of traditional folklore or Douglas Adams instruction that the mice are really in charge of our delicate, little, but mostly harmless planet.

Sweet, cute even, visual simplicity set off with a conceptual cosmic back story provided by the title.

Kim Cadmus Owens - National

Kim Cadmus Owens   National   DVD projections

I was excited to learn that Kim Cadmus Owens' work would be in this Texas Biennial, but disappointed that, instead of her amazing paintings that deal so uniquely with space and spatial relationships, what we'd see there was that video we'd seen enough of already.

I'm deeply prejudiced, of course, since she was the artist I chose to present at John Pomara's Critic's Choice Pix2 show at UTD last year. The video, which has been shown in several venues here, is a motion exploration of the painting I chose to present there. The painting is amazing. The video interesting in its recharacterization of the elements thereof — parts spin in four dimensions, the couple barely discernable in the lower right, walks through the space without getting anywhere, and the complex superstructure middle right dis- and re-integrates.

It's not a bad video. Just that the painting — like most of her other paintings — are so much more interesting and explorative. Compared with other videos in the TX BI, however, it's spectacular. I mean who really needs to watch Paul Newman emote on the wall of a darkened room or watch as stacking chairs make it on a tiny screen on a portable video player on a pedestal, all of whose claptrap are bigger than it is? (More about all that later.)

Simeen Ishaque - Textual Dynamite - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Simeen Ishaque   Textual Dynamite
painted wood and fabric

I didn't forget Simeen Ishaque's piece at the Mexican American Cultural Center. Not by a long shot. Just that what I've said about  her work on these pages before still stands. I doubt I could add much to it, although I missed her haunting, empty figures.

Still, this piece adamantly occupied a big corner of the Austin Center, and brought back everything I've ever seen in or thought about of her amazing calligraphic abstractions. Dark, indecipherable words dancing in the light.

John A Spriggins - Inwood - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

John A Spriggins   Inwood, 2008
acrylic and newsprint on canvas   72 x 48 inches

First time I saw one of John Spriggins' newspaper collages superimposed with an acrylic architectural space, I was excited. I remember it was in a room off the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art space at the Meadows Building in Dallas. An interesting exploration of painting, architecture and background texture.

The more of them I've seen, the less I've appreciated them. Like it's new for a few nanoseconds, then it becomes old hat, all without presenting much more than buildings and old newspapers and not progressing from that simple beginning.

I've never read the text, which may be reflecting too much daylight blue in my shot of it here — I always think of that ground as subtle and a monochromatic relief from the rigidly delineated spaces of the building, but this is what my camera saw.

Kana Harada - Umbrella, 2008 - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kana Harada   Umbrella, 2008
foam sheet/ mixed media   30 x 25 x 25

A similar excitement found me when I first beheld one of Kana Harada's dark shapes, I forget where in Dallas, over the last couple of years. When I look at this photograph, that enthusiasm returns, although in the gallery, the light in the piece was so dark, it was hard to see it.

As often with Harada's work, the shadow is more interesting than the work itself, here shown at the Women & Their Work space on Lavaca Street just under the University of Texas campus. It seemed an inspired juxtaposition there between two mandallas. Itself a dark mandalla, intricate of shape and delightfully three-dimensional in presentation, always nice to have a blank wall for its shadows to project onto.

Harada's work is gently subtle, needful of its shadows and unique. I've never seen anything quite like it before or since. Several other artists have said of it that its shadows are the most interesting part, but I like the dark skeletons of it as well.

Juan J. Hernandez - Micitan #1

Juan J. Herenandez   Mictian #1
oil on canvas   48 x 39 inches

Juan J. Hernandez is another name DallasArtsRevue readers have probably seen before. I'm a big fan of his work, although I did not at first think this piece was as strong as others of his that I have seen and often photographed in little and big shows in Dallas. Nonetheless, it embodies the best of his work.

It is simple in composition, subtly colorful and redolent of Latino culture, and graphically strong in a way a graphic artist can make it. There's almost always meaning running deep through what we see. I don't see that so much in this paintings, but I'm really proud of him for finding his way into this major exhibition. He deserves it.

Charlotte Smith -

Charlotte Smith   Yellow Stripe, 2008
acrylic paint piles and wood panel   36 x 31.5 inches

Another amazing Dallas artist whom you've seen on these pages before is Charlotte Smith. Some time ago, she discovered a format that presented her concepts in a memorably unusual way. More than that, she's continually extended and finessed that creative leap forward by finding amazing new ways to use, present and sell it.

My interview with her for the Fierce show is informative about that technique, showing it step-by-step, and there's a brief story about her collaborative show with photographer Paul Abbot at The MAC somewhere below on this page. It's been exhilarating to watch this very popular artist's work grow as her reputation arcs upward.

See below on this page for another of her Yellow Stripes and note how noticibly different this is from one very early in 2009.

Anilla Quayyum Agha   Are We Tuned In?   (detail)
mixed media on mulberry paper   36 x 36 inches

This is a detail of Anilla's piece shown above right of the mandallas. My other shot of it wasn't that good. She is a former DallasArtsRevue member, so I follow her work, which has also steadily improved and got more interesting — usually manifesting her interests in strong patterning and subtle textures guided by her ethnicity.

As a photographer, I know how difficult it is to visually side-step textual information in a piece of art. So perhaps I should have read the text, but I am much more interested in how it looks and goes together than its literal sensibility. I'm sure there's a message here that entirely escapes this reviewer, but her ongoing sewn-in, soaked-in and stuck-on textures — and intricately pieced together symbols — are fascinating.

Celia Eberle -  Shadow, 2008

Celia Eberle, 2008
Reckon   scrimshaw technique on bone   7.5 x 4.5 x .375 inches;
Walled City   carved bone   4 x 7.25 x .375 inches;
Shadow   bone, coral, jet   7 x 4.25 x 3.5 inches

Always interesting to see Celia Eberle's recent work. Each new series another revelation. Usually startling use of familiar materials. A long journey from faceless fluffy toys I first encountered at Mulcahy Modern Gallery in Oak Cliff, but I still hesitate to ask that same question, Is it art?

The question almost answers itself. Of course, of course. But what's going on here with these bones? The castle is clean, pristine. Why does it need those other pieces flanking? I just wonder about that, and perhaps that is my unhappy lot as a writer about strange art.

In the single-fold cardboard brochure in the $10 catalog box titled "DIY: Double Wide," curator Michael Duncan writes, "The cold carved-bone creaatures and towers of Celia Eberle whisper open-ended tales of lost lovers and isolation" as if that explained something.


Probably Not Art - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Probably Not Art, But In Many Ways More Interesting
than some of What Was Called Art at the Bi

Spent the weekend in Austin exploring the third Texas Biennial, including several artists from around here, which will get the once-over on this page and probably more than that on this year's Biennial page, which I've started but so far has nothing to do with the actual show. Once again, I have lots of pictures of what may or may not be the best art in Texas. We'll explore that and other notions soon as I get finally catch up with my sleep.

Not Art in a Gallery - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

This is even less likely to be Art, but it was in a gallery.


Art Here Lately continues on Art Here Lately Page 3.