Dallas' Oldest Art Magazine, Promoting Dallas Artists Since 1979
Home Index Opportunities ThEdblog Resources Feedback Reviews Google
Art by Members How to Join Send Us Stuff Artists with Websites Visual Art Groups Contact Us
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 without specific written permission from the originating artist.
Art Here Lately #4
The Art Here Lately Index and The Latest Art Here Lately
I avoided attending f.i.g's D Art Slam until I couldn't anymore. I was impressed by that many people crowding the halls of that big a space full of what purported to be art. I have doubts, and once there and around in it, my major concern was that my pod-clone music didn't stop and that I got through the show/sale/scene quickly, though I kept going off-course and was never sure if I'd seen this or that already ten times.
Entered downstairs off the garden, climb stairs up into the space and walk around. I think they were taking admission, but I headed straight for the show I felt compelled to see, much as I didn't want to. Outside the hall were a scattering of decent serious artists.
Fig Slam Scene
George Tobolowsky and others' were garnering zero interest from this crowd. Inside was wall to wall insipid, a nearly unrelenting circus of colors and shapes in search of a concept.
Or aesthetic. From the truly awful to the merely misguided, these were predominantly Dallas' fourth- and fifth- tier artists slammed (I wondered why they called it that.) together in an everything-must-go open market setting with some few really fine art lost in the clutter.
Katherine Baronet, Ivan Stoyichev
I kept hoping these people weren't under the delusion that this was Dallas' best fine art. But I doubt they care. This crap spoke to them. They seemed excited to be around it.
This event was advertised as being juried. By whom? I wondered if they knew anything about art, let alone in Dallas.
I saw rip-offs of many favorite artists. David McGlothlin must have seen Kim Cadmus Owens, though he's mixed in other artists' forms, styles and content, though not composition.
Wrong again. David assures he hadn't seen Ms. Owens' work till he checked it out after I wrote this, then he liked it. My examples aren't perfect — and I didn't want to spend more time there tracking them down, but several friends commented on on all copies shown in this show & sell.
In Lisa Hill's work I saw Munch screaming through Lautrec shapes and 19th Century colors, not a bad thing. Hers was some of the interesting work at the slam. A lot was not.
But Kathleen Wilke takes the cake. She has obviously seen Kenda North's elegant, understated, surreal underwater photographs, copied the style and format, then notched up the color density and saturation, incorporating classic poses into ... well, this.
Kenda has had her own Red period and Blue always but manages more rich subtlety and, of course, originality. Maybe KW is a KN student or fan gone too far, though she seems to have won some sort of D Slam prize for her uh... inventiveness.
I was there under one hour. Copies and copies of copies and so much predictable, fad art robbed the patience I'd need to ferret more authentic, innovative art, if it was there. All that crap art made me nervous, uptight. I couldn't carry a simple conversation, but I did find a few exceptions:
Jorge Rivas' photographs were an island of cool and dark architectural shapes tunneling through to a clarified space and depth without kowtowing to the commercialism all around. Good stuff. Nice chunk of white space punctuated by it.
Katherine Baronet has something, not sure what, that's graduated from the decorative, with a loose but personal distinction. Always before she's had a gimmick. Here, that might be the asterisk instead of a cute little green space alien, but it didn't overshadow her colors, textures and paint.
Lisa "L.A." Hill and Mitzi Watts
Hal Samples showed a single, large color photo, a simple, straightforward document of a long rail seat, clean shapes amid signs and transit clutter in an overwhelming overhead glow of fluorescent green.
Elizabeth Lavin shows, as many here do, a serious sense of design. Her photographs and other ographies manipulated beyond photo have an edge of geometric taste (Dare I use that word here?) forming an abstraction of form in Black & White, or almost.
Lynn Noelle Rushton
Several DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members were nearly lost in the melee. Tiana Wages had just three soft abstracts in homage to Leonard Cohen — 3 Life Cequences — and a pencil I could borrow. Ann S. Adams had one long and four square floral abstractions arranged just-so with almost enough white space to isolate her lush color, simple shapes and smooth textures from the idiocy all around.
Tiana Wages Homage to Leonard Cohen 2009
I almost didn't recognize Glen Comtois' monochromatic tone texture studies. You can see all of Chris Lattanzio and Igor Khunteyev's work in the Slam — and more — on their recently updated members' pages.
Lynn Rushton's space was my aesthetic rest stop, where I'd pause to watch real brushstrokes in subtle service to representation and emotion, not garish commercialism when I could find my way back there. I hated to go back to the circus again, kept my ear music loud, got out of there soon. I wasn't then, but now I'm curious about the smoke crisscrossing the landscape in the dark diptych above.
Zaha Hadid Bench in
the DMA Sculpture Garden
I fled the florid flea-market through nervous trees, green and concrete back to my car parked in front of the DMA's sculpture garden, stopped in to see friends resting eyes and minds with feet up in the shady garden wet with the sounds of falling water, where was art a mind could sift into slowly, unjangled.
500X Open Show, Delineation
Penny Bell My Dad's Jacket 2008
Some of the more interesting art we've seen lately — although I hadn't really been looking — was at 500X' very sparse annual open show, Delineation, themed on the concept that each piece should be based on drawings, which made little sense, but I'm sure there were wildly differing rationales the work shown. Whatever. It was a remarkably interesting exhibition held together better than most. More for the quality and divergence than the theme.
From the X's website:
Delineation: 500X Gallery’s Annual Community Art Exhibition is an ideal opportunity for artists to show their work in one of Texas’ oldest alternative galleries. Run by a co-operative of artists, 500X Gallery is a high profile environment for emerging artists.
As the title suggests, this show’s focus is on materials, processes and/or concepts based on drawing. Absolute beginners to seasoned professionals are welcome to participate.
This show’s focus is on materials, processes and/or concepts based on drawing. Absolute beginners to seasoned professionals are welcome to participate.
Thanks to the economy or the X's popularity, there were fewer takers this year for their major annual fund-raiser, which has got to be one of the great bargains of contemporary Dallas art. Especially on an off year when there's so little low-grade competition. The show may have been marketed to schools, and that's a great idea, but they could use a little emphasis on attracting professional artists, too.
Each piece is $25 to put in the show. No curating or jurying. You pay, you show. Many artists have found the beginnings of a professional career in this big, little show. More, I suspect, than in Craighead Green's much ballyhooed New Texas Talent, which only promises that.
Themed exhibitions are always an iffy business, especially for a pay as you go. Some interpretations of this one were drawings, as if artists couldn't imagine any other use for the medium. Those seemed limiting and limited. Others incorporated drawing, and those seemed less restrained. Others implied drawing somewhere in their conception or execution, and those were probably best. I suspect more than a few never once considered a role for drawing.
I.e., rules are made to be broken, and nobody ever enforces themes, even at theme-happy spaces like The MAC, whose next theme is the nearly brain-dead "XV."
Penny Bell My Dad's Jacket 2008 (detail) Full piece above.
First piece we noticed just inside the big rusty doors into The Pit, was this seemingly simple large painting that we just stared at. Amazed at the thick, expressive paint, the simple shapes, the oversized garment, the no-neck child in it, the scribbled purple horizon, the detai-less feet, the featureless face. The direct appeal to emotion without getting all human about it.
We didn't worry about the red dripping arms. We just took it in. I stopped on the way out after seeing everything else in record time and shot this detail, as if a detail might explain our quiet amazement. It doesn't, but it does tell of details and color mixing all the while not once mentioning drawing.
Robin Gordon Cetaceous Laporidae, Large Sea Hare 2009
lost wax cast bronze 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches
Here's a joyful little lump of rudely formed and attached metal. I can imagine messy drawings of it, but I hope there weren't any, that it just grew. It's cute without being cloying. Materials aren't cited, which is usually sad, but difficult in the hurried procedure of an open show. The rust and green oxidation give it a red and green dichotomy that's pleasing and alluring, as fanciful as the rabbit lump itself.
Robin Gordon Cetaceous Laporidae intended presentation image provided by artist
Strange and wondrous. I'd like to know its size and weight (here provided by the artist, as well as a correct presentation image). I didn't try to heft it, but would like to. I couldn't walk through it or share its space any other way, my hands want to feel its heft and density, meander its joins and prongs. Not much sculpture makes me want to do that anymore.
The piece would have been much more approachable if it had been displayed correctly, usually an issue between submitting artists and installation statff, that requires very specific and easily followed installtion instructions, preferably with a drawing and installers who care.
Lorrie McClanahan Hollywood and Highland 2009
I was deep into enjoying this collage of textures, shapes and colors when I realized that this Lorrie McClanahan was the same who is a Supporting Member of DallasArtsRevue. That realization surprised and pleased me. I think there may be a story here, but I don't care much about that. It's more likely that a grad student (at TCU) would have incorporated drawings in her process, even if they were photographs.
This looks photographic in its disparate delineations of masses and arrangement of spaces. The door, the walls, the black people — not necessarily The Black people, although that obtains as well, in the lower left; the simplification from and layering over. I like the impending collapse of bricks and separation of and contrasts with shapes and color, texture and treatment, oddly giving this painting more depth by flattening its strata.
Alison Starr Bravo 2009
Alison Starr has caught our aesthetic attentions before. Almost every time in a new medium. I have a bowl she made that I greatly admire, and we've seen piles of stuff in the X's Pit before that startled and surprised us. This flat Target bag with cascading hair and dark drawing was another startlement and half of a pair of them, emphasizing the materials and textures, the drawings along for the strange ride.
It looks better than this photograph of half of it, and I'd like to show you both elements, but the lighting was so bad I can't make an acceptable image of it. This is a mediocre representation also. But it's in the ballpark.
Shafaq Ahmad Ya Noor (The Light) 2009
One of the problems of a biggish show like this one and its mass installation and likely last-minute hanging is that some work, especially larger ones, don't get the lighting they deserve. Ahmad's painting (I assume) here is a case in point. We don't see the shadows when we look at it, but a camera is less forgiving.
I liked it anyway. Those slashes probably mean something, but I like them for their abstraction and color, shape, and more than any meaning, their movement. In fact, meaning might detract from my appreciation, so I'm glad they seem foreign. The dynamics are amazing regardless of tradition in their use. I see rounded and looping shapes changing color and shade as they move toward the center.
Abraham Medina Hip Hop 2009
The light colors at 500X are are inconsistent, so this — and maybe others here — may slightly differ from reality, but I like the direct confrontation of this drawing probably based on a photograph. Anybody who can draw this good, even from a photograph is someone whose work I can appreciate. I like the color, the tones, the outlined shadow shape, the informality of the portrait and rendering of textures. Although the jacket may be a little overdone, or my photo of it is, this piece is plush and busy softening its subject, which may be the artist's intention.
Norman Kary Composition III 2001
I not only know and like this guy, I know his work and have talked with him about it in depth. I even have one, a gift from a long time ago. Plus he's written reviews for this site. If you do a site search here for "Norman Kary" as I just did, you'll be as baffled as I am which pages to cite.
This is not a new piece, but neither were the pieces he hung at the show with painter Nancy Ferro we'll consider further up this page, when I regenerate the energy for another review later. Not to say because they're not new they're not wonderful. Only that he's saving his best, new work for his individual showing coming up at Craighead Green. Makes sense putting his best work in a venue where he'll get the most profit if he sells any.
And in a way, it makes sense to show his older work in venues where sales are hardly part of the plan. Irregardless, I like this piece, and I'd never seen it before, and I'm glad to see it now. Especially happy to see it in this open show. Delighted that seasoned, professional Dallas artists find it worth their while to show work in a community event that helps a struggling local space with a long history and indistinct future.
What we see here is texture. It's a box of textures, wood and others, not just in it but on it and of it. The only figure, if you must, here is that die dangling from a string off a cork. Many of Norm's pieces have something strung up in it or by it. The rest here is shape, color, form and texture. The letter or note or whatever is that, too. I didn't read it, did you?
It is, in fact, a box of boxes. Nearly aligned, its colors complementary and cohesive. Shape, texture and tonality for the sake of those things, those ideas. Four-squared and projecting a cubed sextet of more, smaller squares. That makes about a dozen boxes, not all equilinear, but all square.
James Lassen Cell Phone Users #35 2009
Besides its squiggly textures, informal and photographic framing, I like this drawing for its humor. Even cell phone users decry other cell phone users' stupidities and inconsiderations. This being number 35 means there's a bunch more somewhere, if only in the artist's imagination. I can't tell what is going on on the front of this guy, the dangling wires and bunched up clothing shapes confuse me. But I don't care about all that, I want to know the joke.
Judy Clark Beaster 2009
Usually I have a hint why I like something. A random overlay of face shapes in a lot of different colors that don't seem to go together at all but do, with other textures showing through or on. I again wish I knew this one's dimensions, so you'd think about its size, which was bigger than a bread box. I'd guess around 3 by 5 feet, maybe more. That's important here. Maybe I should bring a tape measure so we'd know. Some spaces include full information. 500X does not.
It's the same face repeated like stars in a field on a flag, although not lined up in neat rows. There may be a message in that, but it's not connecting. The faces are decorated differently and jig-sawed together with varying chunks removed. Some look male, others female. A few androgynous. It might help to read the text, but I treated it like more texture, which it probably is.
The colors are all over the spectrum but seem happy enough together here with all that white. The darkness at the edges is probably the uneven lighting. It hangs on the wall like a sheet, sans proscenium. I like that. The more frames artists do without, the better.
But it doesn't mean anything. The story is lost in transmission. I still like looking at it but I need more. Maybe it's a multiple self-portrait.
What was here a little while ago — mostly not about art or here — was moved to the more appropriate venue called ThEdblog, in which the Editor blathers on about stuff of concern to him, although it's sometimes a lively venue for tempests in teapots and other scandals.
This move is an attempt to re-re-purpose this page as one for art here lately, which is a noble notion. Now I gotta go out and find me some art here lately. Wish me luck.
Part of the DADA Tour
What is it? It was on Dragon Street. Can it possibly be art?
We decidedly did not attend every gallery on the DADA list yester. A lot of our stops on this tour weren't even on the DADA, but we had monkey-barrels of fun, got to mix it up on a downtown intersection with the Secret Service and saw scads of art, shared gossip and inuendi and took lots of photographs.
Remember when I used to attend something big like an art tour, then turn around the next day with a big ole' page of pictures and opinions about the event? Well, I did it about the DADA art tour yesterday and today, and it's up now, though we did manage to skip almost entirely the deep walk.
More info, pictures, art, art spaces, gossip and fun on the brand new DADAYADA09 page.
Frances Bagley The
mixed media 145 x 101 x 132 inches
I'm thinking again about that Frances Bagley show at Some Gallery [below on this page as well as up here] and being amazed that those pieces are for sale. Can you imagine propping up one of these in your living room.
Wouldn't fit in mine, and I didn't like the little pieces all that much. Looked like lumps of flesh wrapped in something. Even stranger than the big work, and I've got weird things hanging on my wall, but a Frances Bagley — I never got one of hers when she wasn't selling all that much, and now I couldn't afford one, but I'd have to clear a whole wall for it, so I'd only think about that one piece, and it wouldn't get lost.
I'm calling this a 'lump of flesh.' I looked at it at the gallery
a half dozen times or more and never made the connection
with the nearly same green wrapped shape in her big piece
called Happy Daze in the gallery around the corner from this.
She used to do wonderful things with shards of wood. My friend KE had one in her living room that I always admired. It's good to be smart enough to buy works by artists with obvious talent early, before their reputations and prices rise. If I'd been more active as an artist then I might even could have traded. But realizing what I could've done ten-twenty years ago now, is a little late.
Oh, darn! I thought I was through with the price list I grabbed at the gallery, and I musta jettisoned it into the miasmas that is my office. Times like this I miss the Valley House Gallery practice of putting every piece in a show on their site, with titles, dimensions, etc. Sure would make it easier for folk like me.
Mark Monore & Natali Leduc - To Paint
a Bird's Portrait interior detail
All that stuff came from inside the new Contemp building
Saturday is the Deep Art Walk 6-11 in upper, downer and all arounder Deep Elm, plus the probably posher Dallas Art Dealers Association Spring Art oh, whatever 2-8 in the Elm.
The DADA thing ought to hire buses to haul us all around, get a little camaraderie going, those places are so far apart. The Deep Walk has a better chance of actually being walked, but it'd still be a stretch. Their ad-laden website does not have a downloadable or legibly printable map, but you can pick up a list with a tiny map at one of the stops. That's my plan. There's no map on the DADA site, only lists of geographically similar locations, and that'll probably do, but barely.
Should be interesting, and it's way too many 'openings' in one day, but we're going to give it a try. We'll be whup by 7, I'm sure, because I have it in my mind to attend every gallery on the tour, even if we only spend three minutes at each. I plan to photograph the front or facade of each, then whatever strikes my fancy, the wall I.D or price list if any, then on to the next.
By evening, we'll welcome the less posh list of art spaces on the Deep tour, which we did all of once before, and had a lot of fun finding funky venues that weren't there before and aren't there now..
I feel guilty for not going to galleries in a long time, and it'll probably be another long time before I do any again. I far prefer out art centers, despite my often contradictory criticism of them, but I keep going back. There's more info about both on our Art Calendar.
Mark Monore and Natali Leduc To Paint a Bird's Portrait
Thursday April 16 I attended the Open Street Party at the new Dallas Contemporary's space at 161 Glass Street in the Trinity Industrial Area. The band was loud, but I got there late, so I managed to talk some with Mark Monroe about his and Natali Luduc's site-specific installation To Paint A Bird's Portrait, hung on the front of the building.
It's the Contemp's first On Site Project and it was made from materials found during the cleanup of the former industrial building. Of course, they couldn't just call it their first on-site project. No, it's their 1st On Site Project @ 161 Glass.
I was late but the crowd was paltry, maybe two dozen people counting the band. Maybe everybody else left earlier.
The Back 40 at the New Contemporary
Building's still there, and walking back through it's immense space for the first time today I remembered cleaning up The DARE Space the current Dallas Contemporary director, then DARE Board Member Joan Davidow found for us in the warehouse district that used to flank Elm Street at the elevated Central Expressway overramp. That whole warehouse district is gone now, replaced by inner-city condos.
The DARE Space was a similarly large warehouse where Betty Furness used to tout Westinghouse products on TV and was a great space until we cranked up the AC bill and had to abandon the place when we couldn't pay DP&L. I suspect The Contemp will manage theirs a little more intelligently.
Felt nice wandering the Back 40 on this cool spring day. Come summer, it'll be like hell warmed over, and AC-ing the place could drive them into the poorhouse. Interesting possibilities with all that space, though. I am imagining a little room for an art lecture series like DARE's.
Later this week we are going to [try to] visit every gallery on the Dallas Art Dealers Association Spring Gallery Walk. It's a noble ambition. I did it alone once at least two decades ago for either Chicago's New Arts Examiner or Atlanta's Art Papers, I forget which. That was a real scramble.
I can do a decent show in under five minutes, if I don't find any see any art worth photographing, thinking, maybe even eventually writing, about. But I'm hoping to find some decent art, especially by Dallas artists, and when I do, I'll photo them for a big-page tour story. No more chunking up this blog with long stories. Our tour should be a real race by late afternoon. Hope it stays cool.
Weatherpersons say rain, so it'll be another Art Splash.
19th Century Chinese Phoenix Wedding Hat
leather, paper, cloth and faux pear beads on wire armature
14 inches long See Joel Cooner Gallery detail page for more info.
By "every gallery" I mean all of them, even the funky and pseudo historical ones. Only one I can imagine skipping is Joel Cooner Gallery where I spend five hours of one afternoon most weeks, although I might post one of the more interesting pieces Joel's had me photograph lately.
If I didn't work there, I'd be sure to visit his large collection of mostly antique African, Oceanic and other tribal art and objects from around the world. I'd look forward to it. Heck, I might even spend some serious time in there. But I'm there too much already, and it always feels weird being there for Dragon Street gallery stay-opens or art walks, although we still might drop by.
But that was before I had to coordinate attendance times, and that did not work.
Frances Bagley at Some Gallery through April 25, 2009
Frances Bagley Unvoiced Question
mixed media 42 x 36 x 40 inches
Two years ago at the Second Texas Biennial in Austin, Frances showed a large, oval human-hair rug that looked like a normal woven rug. If it had been exhibited on the floor, I would have mindlessly walked on it, and kinda wanted to anyway.
Unvoiced Questions, #1 and #2 in this show, have much in common with that rug, except these look full of wind and neither moves an inch because they're stiff as a board. And no human hairs are involved.
They only look like they're flying. But they're her latest markers on a long, evolving history involving notions of vessels and draping that might be better understood if we take a few steps in Tom Orr and Frances Bagley's shoes through a visit to their studio a few years ago.
My story Exploring the art of Tom Orr and Frances Bagley tours us through their large adjoining studios back in 2005. There you'll see Tom's grids, his clear and obscured optical illusions and projections, and Frances' draped, molded and lumped shapes, all of which still figure in the current work.
I started Art Here lately as a blog, then I pushed page-long stories into the format, blowing blogdom out the other end. And that's just wrong.What I gotta do and have only now started again, is write every day something about art.
Mine some of the time, since that's whose art I do the most of. The making of and thinking about my own work perhaps as important as figuring what other artists are up to. It'll have to be first-person singular some of the time, although sometimes I get energy up to see other people's.
And there's shows I just have to see. Some of those will accrue into the AHL blog, others will find their way into whole-page stories in the Art Spaces, Art Crit, Shows and other directories on this largish website. But the short commentaries, similar to the short reviews that land on The Calendar, will snag here.
When this site started I saw a lot of other art, went to a lot of openings. Now I do that when I need people to talk with, often about art. But art at openings is a lost cause. Too many viewers screw the broth.
Frances Bagley The Strategist, 2008 (detail)
mixed media 145 x 101 x 132 inches
I see husband Tom Orr's grids and Frances' three-dimensional Hanging Garden of Babylon [from the sets and costumes the couple collaborated on for Verdi's Nabucco at the Dallas Opera in 2006] snaking through this extended mixed media piece now at Some Gallery.
It also reminds me of a series of cords, cables and plugs in parallel and series at Gray Matters a decade or more ago. Only here those materials are more elegant yet informal. The lamp shade obscured by a bar in the black grid above reveals electric light in outlined letters saying "SHADOW,"
And the shadows on the wall parallel the objects colored objects in neutral gray.
Now, soon, I'll stick those pages back into the directories where they belonged all along, and settle into Art Here Lately the way I've only learned how to do it by doing it wrong, wrong, wrong so far. We stopped on the way to two birding sites at Some Gallery to be completely flummoxed by Frances Bagley's latest art. We've been startled and amazed and full of more questions that we could say about her art before.
So it wasn't all surprises this trip. Because just when I finally think I've got a grasp on what she's been up to lately, like this new series, I get a new series of shocks and startlements I have to think about a whole lot again. That come back to me in unwatched moments, when I thought I was thinking about something else.
Frances Bagley Happy Daze, 2008
mixed media 145 x 101 x 132 inches
More Orr griddling and optically diluted transparency here. The loose and misshapen vessel form to the left serves as 'main' object, but it has lots of competition in this media bright presentation of new ideas, many of them too subtle to think about till later, then you're back home wondering what did I just see, and why?
This story will grow and mutate over the next few days. But right now it's more important to start the process, than figure it all out or put the pieces together.
Pieces is what we all work with. Them coming together comes later. Though I'm not sure these pieces go together, except that all but one of her works is in the front room at Some Gallery.
; j r
Continued on Art Here Lately #5
All Contents of this site are Copyright 2008 and 2009 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.