.DallasArtsRevue.com
Dallas' Oldest Art Magazine, Promoting Dallas Artists Since 1979

Home  Index   Opportunities   ThEdblog   Resources   Feedback   Reviews   Google this Site
Art by Members   How to Join   Send Us Stuff   Artists with Websites   Visual Art Groups   Contact Us
The Art Here Lately Index and The Latest Art Here Lately page

 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 #6

Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

Seven of 33 Magick Mirrors
and/or
Altered Egos

Magic Mirrors and Alter Egos - self-portaits in many media by Brad Abrams, Rita Barnard, Tatyana Bessmertnaya, Penelope Bisbee, Judy Buckner, D. Cerda, Maria Cortes, Beshid Dalili Nabavi, Carlos Don Juan, Adrin J. Falcn, Julio Csar Flores, Morgan M. Ford, Gale Gibbs, Ann Huey, Robert Jessup, Gerry Kano, David Leeson, Jean McComas, Julia McLain Echols, Tina Medina, Ruben Miranda, Sandra A. Moreno, Pamela K. Neeley, Amy Newfeld, Anna Palmer, David L. Rainey, Lowell Sargeant, Madeleine Terry, Jose Vargas, VET, Kathleen Wilke, John Williams and Hsiu Ching Yu. Curated by Enrique Fernndez Cervantes opening 7-9 Saturday September 5 through October 10, 2009

  Lowell Sargeant†† Winter Me

Lowell Sargeant   Winter Me   digital print

From over-listening to artists involved, I learned that many of those in Magic Mirrors and Alter Egos at the Bath House Cultural Center through October 10, 2009 have done little in the way of self-portraits previously. They were selected as artists, not self-portraitists, and whatever they delivered was exhibited, so it wasn't a juried show.

Like the Bath House does from time to time to liven its mix of artists, Visual Arts Coordinator/Curator Enrique Fernández Cervantes invited a cross-section of young and interesting artists, threw in a few experienced, more mature artists, and we all get to see what happened.

As usual in any large, group show, a lot of the show is mediocre. Goofy, lame notions and ideas, trite concepts, less-than technique or work by artists lacking the skills to pull off their ideas. But in this colorful community group show that flows out the main gallery into the hallway, there are fascinating pieces of art, and some few of those are amazing.

Several of the better artists in this show are my friends, so I have been careful not to choose any of their work to write about here, although I was tempted. I met David Leeson at the opening. I've only ever seen one of these artists in this review, and I've linked the photo no longer of Kathleen Wilke.

Like many of our understandings of our selves and how others see us, Lowell Sargeant's Winter Me [above] is misty, gray and indistinct. Noticeably unfocused. Of snow falling, even blurrier than the nearly silhouetted figure, the major identifying feature are the wisps of flyaway hair on top and an army blanket coat wrapped loosely around the rest of him, soft brown against indistinct gray. And the snow.

If we thought about it enough, we'd realize that this winter scenario either was made before the call went out for this show, or the scene was faked. I prefer the former, but if it is a mocked-up studio shot, I don't want to know.

It looks like a warm coat on a cold night. The image feels cool, the background a perfect random dispersion of indistinct elements. Negative space with a positive charge. Our hero alone and against the elements. I cropped it out, but a simple charcoal frame matches the shadowy subject, achieving depth without stooping to relative size.

When I photograph these things, I often quarrel with myself. "Now, why on earth are you shooting this one?" I ask, knowing I don't know, and that it will take words flowing, concentration, meditation and time to work out the whys. It starts with a gut feeling. Gradually, I flush it out through the intellect and other portals.

Or decide to leave the vision a mystery.

Kathleen Wilke - Pushed - Self Portrait

Kathleen Wilke   Pushed - Self Portrait   digital photograph

Some of these self-visions elude my conscious understanding. I don't know what they mean, and too often I don't care. Sometimes thinking gets in the way of appreciating art. In the best of them, emotion overrides sense. This one, though it is more allusive than elusive, doesn't get there, either. But it piqued my interest enough to do a little dumpster-diving online for more about what it might have been meant to mean.

Kathleen Wilke's two images — the first [below], excessive, dull, inelegant and redundant, shows her nearly submerged under the floating mirrors. Maybe it sets the stage or is there to give away the trick of what's literally up — and down. But it's this shot [above] that almost tells the story.

Wilke pushed several gallery-attenders' clone-accusal buttons. One even asked her if she were "channeling Kenda North." These are underwater shots, and both artists use that blue, low gravity world for its color-bending, reflective and slow-mo surreality, but there's no long flowing garments or mysterious figures here, no gauze — except figuratively. Just an idea that doesn't quite work itself out.

Kenda would have made it work and be beautiful besides, but we've visited that comparison of artists previously. Neither of these photographs are elegant or beautiful, although the concept is alluring.

The various mythologies about Narcissus may have much to do with what we see in these photographs. Born of the river god and the nymph, Narcissus was cursed by a spurned lover to fall in love with his own watery reflection, where he became so infatuated he lost interest in life, and lost that, too.

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

Kathleen Wilke   Dream Keeper - Self Portrait   digital photograph

Without this first (left of her two photographs) and oddly awkward image to tip the trick, we might not so quickly guess that what we see as side-to-side in Pushed, is really above and below, though we'd probably be better off not knowing.

It might have helped if we could see her seeing her reflections instead of us simply seeing mirrors floating, or if her head in both shots weren't just stuck there on the surface, or if she'd simply and strongly shown that one photograph. Perhaps the artist is smitten with her own image.

By insisting on showing Dream Keeper too, she has taught us that the mirrors are on the surface. So, shouldn't we thereby realize she is visually osmosing through the mirrors' unseen reflections to merge up into the light and air, a thick twist on mythology's tragic death?

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

Ruben Miranda   Autorretrato   acrylic on canvas

Ruben Miranda's self-portrait is classically surreal, head and neck of a stereotyped Latino comprising Frank Gehry planes and looping curves with natural colors, leaves and flora. Immediately recognizable, yet subtle, sure and only as disproportionate as real life. Not exactly traditional but manifesting a streamlined modernism executed so skillfully it transcends era.

I've not met Ruben Miranda, but I bet he looks a lot like this. There's so much more talent here in this otherly-revealing self-portrait than most of the work in this show.

Robert Jessup - Fallen Angel Striding the Earth

Robert Jessup   Fallen Angel Striding the Earth
oil on canvas   40 x 30 inches   image from RobertJessup.com

My first impression of this was Brad Holland, an often dark, moodily riveting illustrator whose distinctive and memorable graphic art paintings are dead-on illustrative of the idea, whatever it may be. But these bodily distortions don't fit a single, striking concept.

There's so much going on in this convoluted figure, it needs just such a simplified, short-spectrumed rainbow background. Set against that unified sky is a three-headed monster — a common visual theme among the creatures in Jessup's work — on two thumbs. Three ears on this side tip us that these faces manifest Jessup's tripartite self-identify: looking down; looking up; and experiencing life through his gonads.

This is more than grotesque. Some might consider it obscene, if they could stand to look at it that long. I kept looking at, looking away, then looking back at this monstrosity.

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

Lorrie McClanahan   Under Construction   archival inkjet print

Here, McClanahan manipulates dimensional space, deftly blending flats and curves in tilting and contrasting ways that takes a little reordering in our minds to exactly understand who's holding what up to view by whom, combining painting and photographic realities into a mixed presentation only a couple times removed from our usual realities.

The notion of an artist emerging from her work is a noble one, colorful and real. But the concept isn't as strong as it could be. As good a visual trick as it is, it doesn't tell us much about her, except that she's a talented and skillful artist, and luckily not everybody in this show is. But who is this person emerging through her painting from that cut-out? Where is she, and what's she doing there? And what's all that got to do with the guy in the construction vest?

Not every self-portrait needs to divulge deep dark secrets about its artist, but aren't those that do so much more fascinating?

David

David Leeson   My Life with Mneme   color photograph

I listened to David explain what he thinks this image is about. At length, but I hardly understood a thing he said. Perhaps that's why artists make art instead of manifestos — though the room was loud. So I looked up that last word in his title. Among the comparatively few online dictionaries willing to define it, the gist is that it is about the persisting effect of memory of past events on the individual or the race.

Okay, but what I see is a guy who's just been hit — or slammed into the invisible ground — so hard that either parts of him, or that sand all over his face, has suddenly separated from him like sweat knocked off a boxer who's just been roundhoused. We all know that cartoonish splattering blood, though nicely executed, is just a special effect, but it does add to the shock.

David Leeson - Clouds of Creation

David Leeson   Clouds of Creation   color photograph

There's a much less powerful, more staged and even hokier shot of and by the same guy shaking chunks of something else off his head, while bluish fog hovers overhead, parked over the sign-in table in the hall just under the show's banner title as if it were the best this show had to offer. Shedding seems an ongoing theme in this artist's work.

I'm still not sure why some artists got two stabs at this self-portrait business, while most of the show's artists only got one, even though one was always plenty.

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

Carlos Donjuan   Mi Boo   mixed media on birch panel

One last image that keeps drawing me, though I can not name why, is this odd landscape with two human-ish figures and three birds.

Could be the birds. The dripping sky, the hole in el cielo dripping blood like the exclamatory bursts arching out over the head of the artist's companion. Or the paper airplane slinging toward our hero and his boo.

Probably though, it's the lilting colors. And the shapes that hold them in this terraformed landscape. With their holey plywood clouds, intercut wood-grain sky, rolling jigsawed hills, conical trees and bold dark earth. Set against the more and less realistic, nearly photographic figures, it's enough to set this self-portrait off from the me-too wonders all around.

There were other fine images in this show of self images, but these are those that grabbed my attentions — and kept them.blue square to indicat the end of the story
 
   

Hecho en Dallas

Hecho's Archival Light - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

LCC's Archival Light

We knew which places we'd visit, though we probably won't include the TVAA on our lists anymore, since their whole building was closed before their stated closing, after we'd put four quarters (ten minutes per) in a meter across the street, and once again found the building's doors locked.

I had considered joining the TVAA till I realized how much I'd have to pay or work to park there. The MAC and Contemp both have free parking, though darned few exhibition opportunities for its members while the TVAA has many. It's about time for a grassroots arts org to start up again, just never expect their noble founding purposes to last more than that exciting first few years till it is co-opted into somebody else's dreams or the-best-they-can-figure what to do at the moment.

 Brent Kollock - Stray Animals Discussing My Fate - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brent Kollock  Stray Animals Discussing My Fate

Next was the Latino Culture Center — like Latinos really need yet another one of those, but this beautiful, fake adobe building has always been a colorful draw, though it'd been awhile since our last visit. Hecho en Dallas is the LCC's one big stab at local art participation each year, and I try to attend, but its in-the-shadow-of-downtown-Dallas location is off most of my beaten paths to art.

We saw kids learning something artsy-craftsy in the front room surrounded by non-hecho art no muy interesante. Especially the Dallas Sores pegasus occupying space on the sun-drenched patio with the much more elegant, albeit elderly art of the late San Antonio artist Luis Jimenez.

The Hecho (Made) competition is in the interior gallery lit by sunlight streaming in from the top, a really bad place to have an oil or any delicate medium the sun degrades.

Kathy Robinson-Hays - Recurring Dreams - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kathy Robinson Hays - Recurring Dream

I knew Kathy's piece was in this show, because she let us know as soon as she got in so we could link her name to her member page, but I assumed it would be a stand-out in the little show that time forgets. Most LCC art shows involve artists who are either long-dead or not likely to visit their traveling exhibitions in the provinces. Unlike our community Latino culture centers like the Ice House in Oak Cliff and the Bath House in Lakewood, which show Anglo, Latino and Black artists from this community. Only one other couple was there while we were that Saturday afternoon.

Violeta Gutierez - Vehicle

Violeta Gutierrez   Vehicle   etching, collagraph, chine colle

But what to our wondering eyes appeared but that visual sameness that obtains when a strong-willed or -eyed juror selects works for a competitive exhibitions, though it was more subtle here than at Charissa's New Texas Talent show we'll get to in a bit. There was a stylistic familiarity among many of the winners in this little show. At first eye-full, it almost looked like a solo. The jump from the minute textures of Kathy Robinson-Hays to the grotty grunge of Brent Kollock, whose work I'd last seen at the Dahlia Woods gallery a few hundred feet away, was subtle, though the similarities may have been more felt than seen.

Morgan Ford - Get Touchably Smooth

Morgan Ford   Get Touchably Smooth   Lambda print and beeswax

Perhaps because of my years as a typographer, I appreciate text as texture, but even though I long ago taught myself to read backwards and inside-out text quickly, I rarely bother anymore.

Don Carol Espinoza - Send More Troops

Don Carols Espinoza   Send More Troops   acrylic on rag paper

Exciting to see work by politically-inclined artists. It's especially interesting to see these showing the pigs our politicians become. It's always telling when we elect an anti-war pigident who starts another billion dollar war we can't possibly afford that kills thousands more Americans and dozens of times that of whatever country's natives we've invaded this time, just to prove a point. We elect anti-war politicians who get us in deeper. Other Espinoza pigs oinked through this otherwise quiet show.

Cuyler Etheredge - Zimbawe Vote 2

Cuyler Etheredge   Zimbabwe Voter 2   monotype

Next to that were more political art, this time more positive about the possibilities of democracy in Zimbabwe. Red ink on strong textured monochromatic brown fingers and faces comprised a short series of powerful yet simple monotypes.blue square to indicat the end of the story

 

15

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

Mary Benedicto   Phallus Shurzz

Anna and I each delivered work to the insipidly-named 15 show at The MAC, celebrating their 15th anniversary with that lame show title and theme that darned few of the pieces we saw lining the walls adhered to in any way. Which is entirely normal for that show and fully appropriate for this one. I was surprised to learn many months ago, that though I did not make a tree ornament they could sell too cheap again last Christmas, they would still allow me membership privileges, like getting info about each new and upcoming exhibition and entrance in the annual member show.

Which is more than I got by paying for a membership in the Contempt. Next time I'll put my money or my ornament in the org that lets me show something. All I got from Joan & Company this year were endless opportunities to send them more money. I've always thought of the two organizations in the same breath — DARE came about when D-Art went away for a few years, then DARE more or less became The MAC and D-Art the Contempt, and it's just so ironic not getting to show at the Dallas center I did join but getting to at the one I didn't.

Like many artists in the MAC show, I don't know if my piece is adequate or awful. We saw a lot of both. As always, it will be interesting to see how they're all hung and what's juxtaposed. They generally do an outstanding job of hanging this disparate exhibition.

Wouldn't it be nice if The McKinney Avenue Contemporary could get it together to have one other, perhaps competitive exhibition opportunity for Dallas-area artists each year? Maybe, like so many of The MAC's shows, it could be sponsored by some self-serving local gallery.

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

Wrapping

I remember a muffled and monochromatic single tree that had more to do with one than fifteen, but it hardly matters with this lame theme. I only happened to have three pieces in the last few months that counted 15 of something, although considering my status there and that I always grouse about it, towing the theme might be intelligent, but only for me. This piece not only does not hew to the theme, it was submitted not as art but is the detritus of wrapping art, in thematically circle-ish mellow translucent browns that go very well with the floor.

 

Neo Geo at The MADI

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

Madi Exterior Detail

Next stop was The MADI Museum, whose name is often redunded to include Geometric, which is what the International Madi Movement is all about. If you haven't been, you owe yourself a visit to Dallas' most charming art venue, a place that even shows local artists. The promo for this show proclaimed, "local artists," then did not name them. Pulling that info out of them was a challenge I was up for.

Michael Tchansky - Medicine Wheel 1

Michael Tichansky   Medicine Wheel 1   2006   acrylic on canvas

Michael Tichansky's work fits remarkably well into the Madi Oeuvre, manifesting geometry into a twisting, lilting third dimension that's fascinating to follow.

James Allumba - Corona

James Allumbaugh   Corona   2003   galvanized steel

As is the utter simplicity of James Allumbaugh's wire Möbius. I remember an EASL fund-raiser in recent years, where a very similar Allumbaugh work went untaken, on the assumption, that anyone could have done it with a chicken wire strip, neatly side-stepping that the trick was conceiving it.

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

Madi's Pylon Farewell

The geometric undersides of traffic cones bade us goodbye from the right-of-way around Dallas' most intriguing, little museum.

 

Quick through Pan Am, PDNB

Ted Larsen - Eyedazzler

Ted Larsen   Eyedazzler   2008   reclaimed sheet metal and annealed wire   58 x 50 inches

We stopped briefly at Pan American Projects, and found our usual nearly nothing of particular interest. I'm not sure why we keep bothering ourselves back, except there might be something new there, maybe a Charlotte Smith, but before it moved to Dragon Street, that gallery was utterly fascinating most of the time. They come, they go.

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

PDNB Porch

Since it's mostly filled with photographs often behind reflecting glass and I've been unceremoniously run off for daring to rephotograph some of those I wanted to think and write about, this is the only element I found worth saving. A lilting lightscape that changes every time somebody opens the front door, down the steps to the right.

 

New Texas Talent at Craighead Green

Lisa Barker

Lisa Barker   XS   clay   40 x 38 inches   $1,200

Craighead Green's latest very competitive — I incurred the wrath of a potential client by suggesting they shouldn't get their hopes up about getting in — and neither of us did — New Texas Talent show, as juried by Dr. Charissa Teranova (See Jim Dolan's telling and very recent interview with her in Big-Time Art Person From Outta Town Weighs In On Local Arts; Locals Breathe Sigh of Relief.) proved a remarkably definitive edition of that show that changes every year, not always for the better.

New Texas Talent at Craighead Green - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.
New Texas Talent

Though the jurors keep changing, the show itself has grown stale and safe. This edition has set it on its edges — and ours, making it a more important must-see than most of them in recent years, and her choices much less safe.

Lesli Robertson - 33' Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lesli Robertson   33'   cotton, concrete   size variable   $2,200

It's not so much the quality of the work that makes this show, as the quality of the seeing and understanding of it. How we see it more powerful than the what is seen. By choosing startling work, Terranova has set our expectations on our ears — or eyes and minds. This is a show that both trades and toys with our perceptions and understandings of what is acceptable in art, without really extending those definitions very far.

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

Left to right: Patrick Pagesutter   soft udders   steel and latex   40 x 36 x 8 inches
Janet Morrow   Hydra   fabric and metal   82 x 27 x 27 inches
John Swanger   Oct 15 Silver Red   acrylic and aluminum on paper on canvas   36 x 36 inches
Gregory Zonlin   Time Segment 44   mixed media including clock motor   24 x 20 x 2 inches
and the barest edges of Andy Amato's Green, illustrated better below
 

This scene could too easily have been photographed 10, 20 or 30 years ago. In many ways this show is a throwback to more heady times. The ideas that emerge from it are both elderly and avant.

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

Glenn Comtois   Slue   acrylic on wood   34 x 48 x 6 inches   $2,500

Though there are ideas few would have thought of incorporating into art then. Anytime someone can juxtapose this many differing hues and lines and shapes into attractive and mind- and form-bending art, they've got my attention awhile back. That these rich colors undulate like waves in an invisible box adds to their appeal. I wish there were a full image of it on his member page here, but Craighead Green has one in its show slide show here. Apparently I didn't shoot it that way in the gallery. Now I wish I had, though I still prefer this close-up un-bound view.

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

Andy Amato   Green   mixed media   72 x 36 x 36 inches   $1,000

I liked and disliked this one so many opposing times in so few moments that I guess I just have to write about it. It's the strings that catch my attentions like dream-catchers and cat's cradles. I'm only just now acknowledging a penta-podded office chair holding this muted pastel object up. Like many of its constituent parts, they are by turns obvious and absurd. The colors as important as its shapes and form. It reminds me of Longfellow's The Wreck of the Hesperus, of Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa as well as Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat.

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

Andy Amato   Green   detail

If Andy hadn't gooed it to the plywood, it might have been fun to scoot around the gallery.

Timothy Harding - Powdered Graphite 2 - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Timothy Harding   Powdered Graphite 2   paper, gesso, graphite, staples, wood
42 x 41 x 32 inches   $1,600

We became enchanted with the inherent contradictions of Timothy Harding's soft paper sculptures while exploring TCU's art department during FWADA's Spring Gallery Day earlier this year. His work has changed subtly since then, though perhaps not to the more subtle. Their phantom exoskeletal spines may be missing now, but there's plenty pliable and soft-textured about them. Like black abstract drawings wadded up and stuck to the wall.

Timothy Harding - Powdered Graphite 3 - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Timothy Harding   Powdered Graphite 3   paper, gesso, graphite, staples, wood
22 x 20 x 15 inches   $1,200

Other times more prosaic or poetic, loosed from the usual constraints of sculpture. Presented like paper flowers without the distracting realism of color seems a laudable escape plan. Art that looks like art without representing anything always a noble ambition.

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

Jeff Whatley   The Healer   concrete, steel  48 x 33 x 12 inches   $4,500

Took awhile to find the right angle to see this cantilevered balance of smooth and rough, clean and dirty, structure and non. I neither understand the artist's own photograph of it as previously shown in the gallery's show of images submitted, nor why, having seen that, the juror chose it. But from every side, I see those juxtapositions, contrasts and real and implied balance.

There are pieces in the slide show I do not recognize from the show and others I don't remember. Some, like Brian Benfer's untitled (multiple personalities) ceramic for the best of reasons. Anna keeps reminding me of Gabe Hochmuth's Tracy plexiglas and hair piece, but it never entered my vision or mind. There's a lot about this show that didn't.

Susan Giller - At the Gate - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Susan Giller   At the Gate   clay, wax resist, raku   18 x 25 x 8 inches  $1,500 each

Veering dangerously close to representational art, these pairs of striped, cute, flop-earred furries — in bunny shape that were so very popular a few years ago — in a singular piece bridging itself and sparking slight amber from neutral space, telling secret stories about balance and family and texture. And those nasty black horizontal stripes that make me think there ought to be a ball and chain in there somewhere.

Brian Przybyla - Untitled - Iron Candles - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brian Przybyla   Untitled   Iron Candles   cast iron, stainless steel, string   80 x 54 x 3 inches   $1,000

Przybyla's simple piece is one of the show's more elegant, especially up close, although the apparent blue below is probably a photographic trick of daylight mixing in from the big front windows over tungsten lighting.

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

Przybyla   Untitled    Iron Candles   detail

What initially utterly fails to inspire, begins to upon closer scrutiny. String again executing a tensioned line while the hangers make the mass, the art of it another balance, and until Anna called them candles when I showed her this page, I hadn't recognized those familiar shapes. Concentrating so much on the abstract, I missed the real. Not that much a leap in this pushy contemporary show.

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

Michael Christopher   The Constructed   intaglio, arches paper   size variable   $600

Drawn and painted boxes and wrapping is nothing new. Neither is the jumble of forms. The shelf, the I.D on the wall nearby notes, is not included in the price for the piece, but neither is it part of its texture, color or organization. Oddly discordant in all those aspects, I guess it's all the gallery had. Not sure why its 300 constituent cubes couldn't have just floated on the floor. It'd be fun to kick them around down there.

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

Lesli Robertson   Past Participants   cotton, concrete, silk, polyester   6.74 x 65 x 3.5 inches

Concrete struts emerge from a white gallery wall. Not like it hasn't been done before, although they don't always call it art. Again a balance. Again a spatial interlude of emptiness connecting visions with negative space.

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

Miriam Mendoza   Heal   canvas, acrylic, pins, wire   12 x 14 inches   $1,000

I was more taken by Miriam Mendoza's pile of golden scraps than her wrinkled hanky, but there is a lean toward opposites in this odd pairing. Ochres vs. magentas, innies vs. outties, loose organic shapes and taut, stretched and plastered.

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

Miriam Mendoza   Hurt   canvas, acrylic, pins   12 x 14 inches   $1,000

Maybe a little too simplistic and barely avant, except historically, another blast from the time- and material- honored past.

David Lindsay - The Four Cardinal Directions - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Lindsay   The Four Cardinal Directions
oil on panel and acrylic on wall   $900

Then there's the obvious. A painting emerging from a black, dripping hole in the gallery wall. It wasn't angled in the artist's submitted image, and it seems goofy to have done that here, but it's so so-what anyway, who cares?

Juliana Robles - Emotion Series: Fear & Confusion - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Juliana Robles   Emotion Series: Fear & Confusion   mixed media   9 x 49 x 27 inches   $2,500

I get so used to seeing certain materials and combinations by some artists — Frances Bagley springs readily to mind regarding these, in the headlessness and materials and colors — that when presented with the same materials in the same forms and shapes, I wonder why it wasn't better crafted.

The discontinuous sewing isn't the issue. It's the mangled central expression of "emotions" (quotation marks intended) that distracts. If you're going to wrap headless humans on the floor — a surface nearly as interesting with its natural and unnatural flush textures as this soft piece — why not do it better and differently from other artists, especially really good ones?

Of course, Frances is aeons ahead of this slow, simplified thinking, and years beyond in craft, but she probably didn't enter this show for emerging artists, since she emerged some years back.blue square to indicat the end of the story

 

Bert Long at HCG

Bert Long's Dove of Death - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bert Long   Dove of Death   16.5 x 27 x 2 inches
acrylic and cadaver of a bird on gessoed white pine board with
frame of gessoed white pine, acrylic paint and barbed wire

Old friend, former fellow art journalist and Houston artist Bert Long's piece at HCG would have felt right at home in the historic newness of Charissa's New Texas Talent show, although neither Bert nor his work is anywhere approaching new newness. It's political art of the first order without being tied to a single skirmish. Its forms and presentations are both exciting and inciting. Much of what Tre Roberts and I collaborated into a story about his work in 1987, is still true, though he may be a little more subtle, and of course I love the white frame that gives way to the white gallery wall to emphasize the roaring red painting.

 

Conduits 25th Anniversary

silver balloons out front at conduits 25th - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Celebrating Conduit's Silver Anniversary in the Front Gallery

We didn't actually attend the party celebrating Conduit's 25th anniversary, probably because it's been years since I felt comfortable in there, although I was joyed to help them celebrate their 20th that many years ago. Of course, that celebration (presented in a series of six of these pages, all of which is Indexed here) actually involved art and the making of it, and was a remarkably intelligent way to celebrate their continued existence. Although, for all its intelligence, or perhaps because of it, the rest of the media all but ignored that celebration.

Not that there was much of an art media then. Now they probably all attended this party and made cute pix of people standing with drinks in their hands, smiling.

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

The Back Gallery Ready for Partying

This one was a party, out and out, gala in ways I've only vaguely overheard about, somewhat more appreciated this time. We only wandered by a half hour before it started. I just wanted to know what it looked like. We did that, and went off to something more interesting.

Congratulations from this thirty year old entity to Conduit's 25th. I'm sure it means something, but I don't know what, except if Conduit hadn't moved into the area, nearby but not adjacent Dragon Street would not now be synonymous with art and art galleries, even if some of those were there then and still are. Conduit moved where they moved. Craighead Green got what they could find close by, then everybody and their Aunt Tizzy followed up and down Dragon.blue square to indicat the end of the story


See the continuing
ThEdblog for oddly illustrated notes on my progress through this website.

 

Continued on Art Here Lately #7
 

All Contents of this site are Copyright 2009 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.

 

 cumulative index count

 #6