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AHL#3: FWADA Spring Gallery Day 09

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

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

Arrow sign

Unlike some stories about arty walky drives that trek us all over strange and familiar cities, this story does not present the very best of this tour. Not at all, though there's some of that here in this oft Off-Topic art exploration. The object above is an actual neon sign long since sans its neon. Said sign is hanging from the roof of a place we stopped at to look at the map to figure out where to go next at the 2009 Fort Worth Art Dealers Association Spring Gallery Night, although we mostly just went to the day parts.

Neither is this a comprehensive coverage of the spring FWADA art tour. I wonder sometimes if I should even include Irving here in DallasArtsRevue, so Fort Worth is the faraway hinterland, out in the irrevocable boons. I started out not really caring and got successively fewer qualms about blowing off more art spaces, although we were sad to learn that both the Modern and our favorite Amon Carter museums both closed at 5 pm on Gallery Night.

We wanted to attend, but we ran late and later, then left early.

AMA's 3rd Floor Patio - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cascade Lights in the AMA's third floor patio

As I build this story, I see a tendency for art to reflect and echo other art up and down the page. I didn't plan it. It happened. Except for the pointer sign on the top, which was last, not first, these images are presented in the same goofily chronological order of our tour.

Maybe like so many people in so many places who invented photography in the same few years, many ideas are just out there and keep combining and recombining in all our heads till they happen all at once. Maybe it has something to do with my taste and 'eye.'

Kid Art at the AMA - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

AISD - Annual Youth Art Encounters at the AMA

At the Arlington Museum of Art, which seems to have reverted to its original, pre-Davidow purpose as a showplace for art by anybody in Arlington, Texas, USA, we found kid art by area Middle and High School Students. While Joan was there, the former department store was mostly better than that, although sometimes they just couldn't help it.

DeOnna Byrd - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

DeOnna Byrd in Ms. Wilson's 6th grade
Art class at Rankin Elementary

These next two are here because they are not copies of of somebody else's more famous work — although this round one might have been screaming on a bridge. There's no computer trickery going on, and there's something to them more than there's to a lot of the pieces hanging at the AMA.

David Ciastko

David Ciastko   Martin High School  
Grade 12 AP Studio Art   Mrs. Stacy Kouba's class

I took the top photo. Anna shot this one. I like it better. Hard to imagine, but it's more colorful. Maybe she's wearing a veil, maybe she lost favor and has been scribbled out, or maybe she is Black. That mass incongruent over the vivid reds and greens. Startling. I never saw it in the sea of me-toos, till Anna sent me her photos.

Virginia Tech Amphora - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Virginia Tech Amphora - 21st Century   Damariscove Conservation Project

"This large scale, badly damaged Amphora reveals the portraits of at least eight victims of the shooting massacre that took place on the campus of Virginia Tech University on April 16, 2007, killing 32  people. Scholars have been able to identify the likenesses of Caitlin Hammaren and Liviu LLibrescu from the vessel body. It is not clear whether these eight have significance to the maker, or are representative of larger series of commemorative works. Some of the damage on this work may have occurred during the firing process, or though its use in a funerary rite."

Poking fun at art is important. Rimer Cardillo / Darryl Lauster at the Gallery at UTA did that in an over-intellectualized manner that got cloying sometimes and vapid in others, but here, it nails it. Have to appreciate the weird lighting.

Plywood Unlaminated - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

delaminate   title unknown   observed at the UTA Architecture Building

It was not clear whether this object was presenting itself as art, on the third floor of the UTA Architecture building, where we were with friends, having escaped the centripetal of gallery night, but I like it as art, just as I like the room full of arches next in that same context another floor up. It hardly matters what it was made as. Artists don't get to decide how we deal with their work. Their notions of what something is barely matters.

Just as beauty supposedly is in the eyes of the beholder, so is art-worthiness and functionality.

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

Arches upstairs in the Architecture Building at UTA

A square room with a rectangular wall motif nearly filled with with quintupled, less=than-Romantic rounded arches with radiating-line supports. I don't remember the pastel colors. I suspect those are photographic, due to the odd mix of daylight, tungsten and fluorescent illumination, although such wild vivid colors would fit right into the subject and lend credibility to the fine-art-ness of the presentation. Which I doubt was the intention.

On the Way to Fort Worth - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

On to Fort Worth

We were on our way to another upstairs Arlington gallery, got lost but still thought we could make it back to I-30, so we turned left past the water tower.
 

Glow Box with Steeple - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

glow box with steeple

Our first Fort Worth stop was TCU, the route to which I've got mapped since I've been delivering photos there for the last couple centuries. This is a sign out front of the art building, and I should know what it says on the other side. Probably something generic like Art Building or J.M.Moudy. I've thought about using Google to drive me by, but that's too much work. It's the shadow reflections on the back I appreciate.

Pipes at TCU - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

tube art in the foyer at Texas Christian University's Moudy Art Building

This display in Moudy's foyer reminds me of Bob Nunn's tubular paintings (not now on his page) and another by Austin artist Gladys Poorte in the current Texas Biennial that I almost wrote about but screwed up the shot so bad I couldn't fix it. Tubes are a basic shape, as Herb Rogalla and other artists remind us, although we will carefully circumambulate any notion that tubular artists tend to be oblivious to the phallic manifestations in their work and whatever symbolism viewers might ascribe to it.

Light on the Wall - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Light on the Wall in the gallery in the Moudy Building at TCU

I am almost always comfortable in the little gallery in the Moudy Building at TCU and have often admired the shadows and reflections there, especially in the space between these walls and the wall of windows to the right.

Shelby Meiner - Obstruction - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shelby Meiner   Obstruction   wood, nails, glue and inner tubes

I didn't like this soon as I saw it or much since, but there's something about it — some sort of sneaky beauty or inherent unity to it — that beckons, makes we want to write it out. It looks like a teapot, maybe an escapee from Dallas potter Steve Benezue's tumbly-turvy collection, with up and down spouts.

Its curve-less disjunction toys with Cubism — or Left, Right, Neo-Obsessionism — and the dark connective tissue might be prettier white, but lends this awkward chunk a wavy, dark energy and ersatz connectivity that's tight-enough to hold together its disparate extensions.

The boxes are individually and collectively vessels, no matter what might be in there — or kept out. The form is immediately recognizable. It's a sculpture. Why or what it is about is less clear, but it has to do with tension and lines and solids, staccato here in both forms, wood and shredded inner tubes. Even the alternating grains of plywood layering add to the jangle.

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

unknown title Pierrot   painting

I don't know who this unknown TCU painter believes this is, but it looks like Pablo Picasso to me. Foisted in his own petard. I grew up with a Brush Stroke Print (embossed clear covering on the cardboard color print) of his Pierrot, 1918 and this is just such a ridiculous clown, leading me to believe it has to be Picasso, who in several unlikable ways was clown deep.

But it almost as easily could be Mother Teresa, although perhaps her tennis shoes would not be tied with crimson ribbons.

tcu studio - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TCU Grad studio

I was invited, though no one else was around while I wandered around stealing looks. I had hoped to catch artists in the thick of making art in the studio, but it was Saturday afternoon, and they were out walking the walk or buying groceries.

TCU Easel - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

TCU Easel

Lorrie McClanahan, a Supporting Member of this site, suggested I stop by to see her new work, even told me what room number and about the little gallery down the hall — though I'd been there previously — where I found her piece and the biggest of Timothy Hardings' cut, reconnected and marked paper sculptures.

I didn't realize when I shot this easel how difficult it would be to see it own shape among all those angled positive and negative lines on the paintings and stacks of more behind it. I like that about it.

Edgy Art - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Edgy Art

I've seen many of these over the decades — and yes, centuries — since I started seriously perusing art, and I still get excited by the lines and splatters of dark and color and stains. That dripped-upon carton lower right is perfect.

Lorrie McLnahan - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lorrie McClanahan   title unknown   2009

The Picasso-Pierrot's standing form may echo repeating here in conjoined rippling screened and curtained forms of the reality we think of as photographic. The figures in their half-tone dots and mezzotint may be looking at each other, or us. I found them in DARts Member Lorrie McLanahan's studio.

I wanted to see Lorrie's latest. She also mentioned that Harmony Padgett worked in the studio, and I'd hoped to see something in the middle of working by her, but I don't think I did. In those studios nearly nothing was signed.

Timothy Harding - title unknown - detail

Timothy Harding   unknown title, 2009   (detail)

This large sculpture occupies most of a corner in the little graduate gallery upstairs at TCU, where it's so massive it sags, gloms and settles. This is a minor detail of that ungainly piece. It's here, because I like the details more than the whole, which fails the grandeur test, although many of his littler pieces scattered around the building are beautiful. They show elegance of form, shape, shadows, line, cuts and scale — and they have identifying labels.

Small, Harding has learned to deal with the contradictions of his paper medium well. Large gets overblown. Small, paper is easy, light and malleable. Large it gets heavy and fails to support itself.

Timothy Harding again - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Timothy Harding   (again)   unknown title
(on the right in the photo below)

I doubt this art form is new, but I always hope. My attention tends toward new forms and new ideas expressed in new ways, although there is much to love and appreciate about old ideas expressed in old forms, too. As we shall see.

Serves as a Gallery - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

little gallery upstairs

What art student area would be complete without the obligatory bedsprings leaning against a far wall? If a paper sculpture has a head, a body and forms that could be arms and legs, is it a human? If so, what is it doing up there braced into the corner?

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

Office at the end of the corridor upstairs

Wandering the long hall upstairs and peeking through windows into offices, I found this open combat among pristine white lines etched in glass and grayscale boxes of translucence.

Susan Harrington's Office - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Susan Harrington's Faculty Office at TCU

Down the hall was this more colorful extravaganza. I met Susan in the hall downstairs at one of the AiM (Art in the Metroplex) show delivery dates and thought she'd come from somewhere else. Maybe she didn't work there then, it was awhile ago.

Light Wave Box - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Light Wave Box (my title; my photo of the sign there)
at TCU's J.M.Moudy Building

Eventually, we left TCU to visit ArtSpace111, where Anna had worked the Mugshots Bureau in a small alcove by the back door during the second, (first Fort Worth) EASL Art Heist last year. We were both excited about returning to the scene of the crime.

Daniel Blag -

Daniel Blagg   Night Walker   oil on canvas   60 x 90 inches   $16,000

Old ideas in old mediums with new understandings.

This is a landscape painting by one of Fort Worth's best and best-known artists, one of two brothers. That's about all I know about this piece or this artist. I know a few other things about Fort Worth. Like that it has better, more interesting cloud forms — more like Austin's — than Dallas. Its storms are stormier. That a tornado took top parts of downtown away some years back, and that being at the big Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival is dangerous.

I was in quiet awe of this painting and just stood there and stared for several minutes. I got the camera out and shot it twice. This is the better, more accurate exposure, darker, the colors more intense. I assume it's of somewhere in Fort Worth, but it doesn't matter. It feels Super Realistic. Noir yet bright. A clear, well-lighted space for a night walk, although the only walker we see's ball head is disconnected and walks on a Warning Yellow sign.

What landscapes are about is space and the interrelationships among objects. There are subtexts and supertexts and extra contextualizations. It could just be an interesting place with nice colors that the artist saw and felt, but unless something of that gets across, who cares?

I care about this space, its complicity of yellows and grays like the sky and street, amid that acre of dark but vivid green. I never noticed, standing there staring, the apparent contradiction of One Way signs and the closest thing to human inhabitation being the white truck under the street sign in the far back right.

Perhaps you can tell, I identify with the time of night and the coalescence of buildings near and far and light and dark and not to even have to mention the starry, starry night of it.

Another of his not entirely dissimilar sensations occupies visual and aural space here.

Two Balls, a Lawnmower, A Fence and Downtown - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Balls, A Lawnmower, A Fence and Downtown

Another landscape reminded me of Stanley Marsh's (He owned it. I don't know who created it.) The Giant Phantom Soft Pool Table TJ and I visited in the hills over Amarillo, Texas the summer of 1980, although these objects — yes, that is an old lawn mower on the right, naturally — don't sag, and are enclosed by a woven metal fence in the back side yard of ArtSpace111 at 111 Hampton in Fort Worth, the skyline beyond the trees.

ArtSpace 111 Back Door - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Back Door at ArtSpace111

I hadn't visited 111 since their major renovation with new walls and ceilings inside and landscaping outside. It still reminds me of 500X in Dallas. Big, red-brick building near a clanging railroad. That sensation of nothing fancier that what it needed to be cheap and possible. That they've kept the details is important and symptomatic of urban renewed art spaces.

Kevin McGeehee -

Kevin McGehee   Building Blocks, 2009   blown glass

I remember being mobbed at the Fort Worth Community Art Center. And that I was so tired — in general — and of art by then, that I could have slept for hours if only I could find a pallet on the floor. Instead, like the walking wounded in the thronging crowd I kept seeing art and more art that I could not deal with and most of which I didn't want to.

So it was comforting to find something that looked not only new and different, but simple and new and different.  A shadow of boxes and straight and curving lines. A spectral transformation among objects and their textured reflections and shadows.

SiNaCas Studio School of Glass

Don Beck   Infinity Table, 2009
with reflecting glass school sign

The purple, blue and black is one piece. The Green, cyan and yellow is the reflection of a studio glass school sign over it. Seemed appropriate reflecting here, adding to the short, already vivid spectrum in this deep black box.

Yellow Glow - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Don Beck   Cocoon #16, 2009  
illuminated glass, wood and rice paper

This fire-browned, melted marshmallow on its dark pyre of pointed sticks woke me up in the crowded heat of too many bodies at FWCAC. Most blown glass has nothing of the fire that made it still in it. This melted, slightly sagging subject impaled by thin black lines advertises its heritage. We saw more of the same work in differing colors later at Rebecca Low's, our next stop, far out from the city's center.

embroidered sweater - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

embroidered sweater   at Fort Worth Community Art Center

Honest I didn't plan the reflections of natural forms below or the embroidered flowers above. The flowers was a grab shot around a former museum corner, the heart-backed metal weeds below were already an accomplished composition when I happened along to Low's extensive yard storage. Rebecca told us "photographers love that stuff."

Rebecca Low - Raw Materials - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Low - Raw Materials

Watching a sculptor's bone yard is almost like peeking into their volitive creativity, except that Rebecca Low (pronounced like the last syllable of allow)'s work tends toward the obvious, even from such esoterica as this field of growing plant against its corrugated sky and recess of clouds.

I want there to be 3D artists who can think these juxtapositions through with subtlety and finesse, but there probably are.

Rebecca Low - Raw Materials - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Low - bicycle wheels

When I looked at these stuff leaning against the fence at Rebecca Low's scrap yard of raw materials for future sculpture, as now every time I see this photograph, I think of Tom Orr's work involving circles and reflections. Not that I expect the finished piece to be Tom Orr-like. Not at all, but here, in this happenstance stand of materials, it surely does resemble such excellence.

Rebecca Low - tractor seat - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Low - Raw Materials

Oxidized metal: warm color against cool blue and brown leaves in this informal sculpture in the wild.

Rebecca Low - Fire & Rain - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Low   Fire & Rain   $5,000

Anna and I both liked Rebecca's two-elements sculpture dripping a doughnut of clear water into the frothy foam of this fiery fountains' collector base. The title names just two of all Five Elements present — air, earth, fire, water and aether.

Rebecca Low - Bent Pipes - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Low - bent pipes

Again it's a feeling, some deep-running sensation synapsed by the juxtaposition of forms and shape, relative size and position. Tubes, boxes and the subtle fall of light or sparkle in the night.

Rebecca Low - Spiked Punch - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rebecca Low   Spiked Punch   $5,000

Rebecca Low's sculpture's got better and her gardens have grown since our 2001 visit. Exploring them was a high point of this sojourn west.


Continued on Art Here Lately #4


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