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Art Here Lately Index
Here Lately #11
Fort Worth Art Dealers Association Spring Gallery Night March 26 2011
Daniel Blagg Oasis oil on canvas $9,000 at Artspace 111
There's a Traditionof contemporary landscape — remote, too but especially urban — in our sister city to the west that has not gained real purchase in Dallas, forty miles east. It owes significantly to the Blagg Brothers, Dennis and Daniel, who have long shown large examples of the genre in Fort Worth galleries and occasionally here, too. But there are many noteworthy practitioners there, only a few of whom are illustrated on this page.
John Taylor Water Tower 2009 Vinyl
on sand-blasted acrylic
$2,000 at Fort Worth Community Art Center (FWCAC)
With its longish history has come a more-than willingness to play with landscape's forms and presentation. Some noteworthy, many beautiful, a scant few stepping over the accepted edges, and others momentarily startling. I don't know what to think of this white-on example, except I like looking at it, and it baffles my understanding of the genre. I have long documented those big interruptions of the flat-out scene myself, and never once considered them in this much abstraction. It shocks me, and I like the feel of the electricity.
Jo LeMay Rutledge Pork Chopper mixed media on board 50 x 78 inches $10,000 at ArtSpace 111
We visit Fort Worth infrequently and never stay long, so we're blissfully unaware of the petty politics of the art world there, and we soak up what culture we can, then split back to Dollars, Texas and wish we had as pristine an art existence at home. As if. This trip we talked about coming back for a visit but ignoring art altogether, because the landscape is landscaper and the clouds are always cloudier.
Bustling Construction Around the Kimbell's Pristine Lawns
This occasion was the annual Spring Gallery Tour, fortuitously not the same day or even the same month as Dallas, for a big change. I used to invest a lot of time and energy — once attended every stop on the tour — in the Dallas tour, but now tend to overlook it entirely from boredom, and we were glad of the chance to get out of town, though our art touring was haphazard at best, or we would have dawdled longer at the Amon Carter Museum and wasted less at other stops.
Suzanne Perez SH 190 2010 mixed media $2,000 at FWCAC
My eyes were reluctant to leave Perez' sliced moments 'round a curve on a highway, like we didn't want to leave Fort Worth, because it was gloriously there not here.
Unstretched Canvas perhaps unintended installation outside FWCAC
I would have liked to see the sculpture garden at TCCC where I've never been; sorely missed exploring TCU again; and hoped we'd find time to visit that other school in Arlington that closed at 2; but we started late and never had anything like a plan or progression; so we took art as we found it.
Pat Gabriel Color in storm puddles (Texan's twilight) 2010
oil on canvas 21.25 x 16.5 inches $2,000 at Artspace 111
As usual we were thrilled to be in the Fort Worth Community Art Center that used to be the Fort Worth Art Museum (FWAM). Nice digs, gobs of wall space, and a marvelous diversity of exhibition that manifest the distinct flavor of mid level contemporary art in Fort Worth.
Three Rocks in the median between the Amon Carter and FWCAC
Wish one of our Dallas attempts had such a facility and strong sense of fellowship. Such organizations are often initiated here for those local purposes, but we let them — D-Art, The MAC, and long before those, The Dallas Museum of Art, get away from their founding goals to conform to somebody else's.
Fred Spaulding Alt Brick Bundle on Stool clay, steel and stool $250
The Best of Texas Clay 2011 competition at FWCAC in its first year seemed a blur of cute and nearly nothing pushing boundaries — Spaulding's work did, but he hasn't changed it much over the last three-quarters of a decade. Worse, it was stuck in such middle-of-the-room near-darkness I had to lighten this up with long exposure. Much of the rest was good work, competent and well-crafted, but so what. Maybe next year more clay artists will enter.
Don Wall Morning Tranquility acrylic on canvas $995
Following the walls-full through the rest of the building, we discovered several landscape rule-benders and breakers of principles I've not seen challenged lately, though I should pay more attention. It is grand to see so many attempts to crash the gates with complex and simple assaults on stead traditions.
Daniel Blagg Corporate Shrub oil on canvas $8,000 at Artspace 111
Unlike the uptight Dallas Museum of Art, the far-friendlier Amon Carter, with certain exceptions obviously marked, let us take pictures. As I and others have long-claimed, Dallas' best museums are in Fort Worth — except maybe Dallas' one precious charmer, the Geometric MADI at 1309 Carlisle Street in Upper Oak Lawn — and the Amon Carter is still my favorite. Not saying it's the best. The Kimbell looked too busy growing or something, we never really considered it for a gallery tour.
Alexander Phimister Proctor (1860-1950) Indian Warrior (modeled 1895-97)
I love Remington's and others' cowboys and, especially, Indians. That museum's Western take on the beginnings of Modern Art from the turn of the 20th Century, and all those lovely photographs. This composite of Blackfoot men from their reservation in Montana and a friend of the artist's horse held me in sway for many long minutes. I just stared and stared.
Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) Thunder Storm on Narragansett Bay 1868 oil on canvas
But it was this startling black-sky landscape with thin crack of lightning that captured my attention upstairs in the Hudson School show, as the guards kept reminding us we had only ten more minutes till closing. I wish I'd photographed this very scene, capturing so elegantly the nearly theatrical, before-the-storm brightness and dark cool of the coming storm. I shot a small detail of the little boat reflected in the near shore waters nearly central here, but it was the happy-go-lucky boy under the wiggle of lighting near the middle, walking along the beach, that captured my imagination.
Marsden Hartley American Indian Symbols 1914 oil on canvas
I'm a sucker for vivid color in service to Native American symbology, even if it looks a little Klannish. Like Hartley, "I find myself wanting to be an Indian — to paint my face with the symbols of that race I adore, go to the West and face the sun forever — that would seem the true expression of human dignity." One of the sterling moments in my early history was in Wyoming when a Cheyenne spoke to me in his language, assuming I was kin.
W. Lancaster at Camp Bowie
None of those have to do with Fort Worth or Texas, except for being there for us to see. Just startling little lessons in breaking other people's rules from America's collective art history that kept my attention for the longest ten minutes of our visit.
Amon Carter Museum Dome
The only commercial gallery we saw was the one we always visit, because I've been going there so long I know the way (William Campbell Gallery used to sell DallasArtsRevue when it was printed on paper back in the 1980s, and I delivered.) by heart, somewhere on, then off Camp Bowie Boulevard, which ran through nearly all our art-tour travels this busy day.
Tom Hollenback Hopper 2010 Plexiglas and wood 7 x 8 x 6 inches $800
This calls itself hopper, which my Mac's dictionary defines as "a container for a bulk material such as grain, rock, or trash, typically one that tapers downward and is able to discharge its contents at the bottom," all of which ring true, plus there's that translucent topper of vivid electric pink that colors the upper interior with one angling pink slash down through the taper. Beautiful, simple, little piece that set my mind to wandering.
Billy Hassell Roadrunner South of Marfa 2007 60 x 72 inches
Over the stairway winding up to what I've come to expect as the Campbells' new & different gallery was a Billy Hassell Roadrunner on a West Texas Landscape that would fit right into this landscape exploration essay, but what I spent time with was Tom Hollenback small, open-ended enclosure of translucency and wood. On the inside front upstairs wall was yet another intriguing exploration of boat form for which Dalton Maroney is justifiably famous around here and there. I'd show it to you, but I accidentally cropped its prow.
Local Color Big Tulip at Flowers on the Square on Camp Bowie Boulevard
Probably the longest stop in our ersatz gallery tour was at Artspace 111 that's always reminded me — especially before they remodeled a few years ago — of Dallas' 500X Gallery, and the sensation lingers. It, too, has that searing sense of community. We saw more fellow art-gawkers there than anywhere, including the museum and art center, but it was opening night.
Charlotte Smith Black and White Stripe Painting acrylic paint 24 x 14 x 14 inches $3,800
Among much else exciting to see were two pieces by Dallas artist Charlotte Smith, including this surprising new, pure-paint piece. I'd noticed when I saw her nearby big and colorful six feet by six feet new wall piece, Milky Way [now showing here on our Arts Calendar], that those spots are flatter now, I worried she might have had to abandon her paint nipples to the exigencies of shipping and reality, but here was a whole longest pile of paint I've ever seen anywhere. Amazing how she can keep constant the push for new expressions of it.
Camp Bowie Boulevard
We drove almost all the way out, then back and there again to Rebecca Low's studio, out, you guessed it Camp Bowie Blvd., but in the end I was disenchanted with too much densely-packed almost and not nearly enough soaring originality, although I loved it in Art Here Lately 3.
Nancy Lamb Tuxedo Whisperers oil on canvas 52 x 38 inches $10,000
The one other piece I might actually have something to say about is Nancy Lamb's unflattering portrait of big-wig society's precious stage-whispered secrets of petite politics amid the dark mystery of black tuxedoes, hair coiffed within inches of their lives and distorted, post-trophy wives in hideous thick makeup. I imagine this is who thinks they really run Art in Fort Worth.
Dennis Blagg Fire Storm oil on canvas 20 x 40 inches $10,000
I'll end this little West-of-Here and landscape love-fest
with another Blagg brother — Dennis this time — 's big oil of a
bigger glowing mushroom cloud, west, I'll assume, of both here and there.
The Botany of Desire
The Botany of Desire - Claudia Borgna, Kimberly Alexander, Ric Heitzman, Rebecca Beachy, Jeffrey Miranda, Tracy Hicks, Vernon Fimple, Lizzy Wetzel, Julia McLain, Bert Scherbarth, Clayton Browning at University of Texas Dallas in the Visual Arts Building through April 23 2011
Claudia Borgna Bend Me, Change Me, Bend Me More
But Don't Leave Me.
We Can Weather Together steel poles, plastic bags 10 feet high 2011
Named after the 2001 book, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan, this show curated by UTD Senior Lecturer Greg Metz, promises to examine "the relational aesthetics visual artists share with the plant world. Whether through metaphor, cultivation, derivation or innovation, there is the sweet, the beautiful, the trippy, the traumatic, and the structural incorporate with which artists, like plants, struggle as co-evolving, reciprocal species."
An academic mouthful, luckily surpassed in intelligence, passion and presentation by the art in it. Not that this Green Art Thing is new or surprising. Everybody and their dog is making art of plastic bags and other ecologically-relevant materials this first decade of the 21st Century.
When I spied Claudia Borgna's multiple-piece installation on the UTD art buildings South Lawn, I perceived it as a statue, which of course, it is. Though it billows and blows, changing shape and mass in any available wind. It did not initially strike me as eco art, although drawing closer revealed its baggy secrets. But I'm still not convinced Borgna's or any nother artists in this excellent exhibition's work is, in any exclusive way, in service to ecology.
As a theme it has proved more cohesive than most themed shows, however. So it's done its Dada duty.
Kimberly Alexander Two Bullets 2011 acrylic on board 30 x 40 inches
Naming it that calls attention to our use and abuse of nature. Making it a root pulls us deeper into the Earth and what fruit and leaves and bugs and bees grow out of it, and how interrelated are its parts. Taking and double-taking this graphic dawns an understanding of some of how it all loops together.
The top piece on Kimberly Alexander's member page linked just above, is also in the show.
Jeffrey Miranda Flora and Her Grip 2010 ink and watercolor 30 x 40 inches
Belying the curator's studies under Lee Baxter Davis' Lizard Cult at East Texas State University in the 1970s and beyond, we have several fine examples of busily replete fantasy painting/drawings here, especially noticeable in the art of Jeffrey Miranda. Lush work in the busy and fine-detailed tradition of Speed Freak Art. Visually opposite the elegant simplification of Alexander's work, Miranda includes a vast selection of themes both ecological and incomprehensible.
Jeffrey Miranda La Troca Cabrona 2010 ink and watercolor 25 x 39 inches
Not sure I'd even attempt to explain what all's going on in this wild, allegorical ink and watercolor extravaganza, but in it, this disembodied gloved hand reaches back to fire a sombreroed and mustachioed bandito with two fists of pistols into the direction of whence it came, as the driver is about to crash his speeding vehicle into a solid and seriously crosshatched wall — amid numerous other textures, events and personae.
I wanted to show you details. Plants and bubbling splatters rise among the skulls and skeletons beneath the spinning tires. Until I understood that, I thought calling this art eco might be a stretch, but now I see the whole picture, I have to believe it fits right in with Jesus, the Incas and a fringe-topped monk running along behind mounted Conquistadors with a very heavy, cruciformed book. Every glory and/or gory detail tells another tale.
Bert Scherbarth Hunyak Ad Nauseum (detail) 2011 charcoal on paper 18 x 360 inches
Hunyak is the informal offensive plural for Hungarian immigrants, we assume, like the Scherbarths, and thirty feet of it comprise wild grayscale, drawn textures feeding the frenzy of fantasy that fits right into Lizard Cult textures by this well-known and often shown Dallas artist and gardener.
Albert Scherbarth From North to South (detail)
Austrian Winter Peas, Arrowhead,
Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch, planted seed, steel, netting 48 x 48 x 144 inches each
Another Scherbarth piece, an installation of growing seeds, may be visually less exciting atop a rise in the lawn north of the Art building, but it will grow Austrian Winter Peas (a long-vined legume especially attractive to deer), Arrowhead (known for its beautiful ground-covering foliage and toxic sap), Crimson Clover (good for improving the texture, organic matter and tilth of soil) and Hairy Vetch (a legume often planted as a companion plant for tomatoes, that provides nitrogen and mulch to keep weeds from sprouting) absolutely qualifies as deep eco.
Julia McLain Yummy #1 2010 acrylic and mixed media 25 x 21 x 3 inches
Off in yet another visual and ecological direction are Julia McLain's two mixed media collages of nostalgic images mixed in brilliant colors and bold presentations that include — in this one — a big, juicy steak, popsicles, rolling dough for bread, fresh tasting bread, peeled red things in Harmony Heaven. Not sure I get the eco connections, but the pieces, Yummy #1 and a dissimilar but densely colorful one that used to spell Smile till the curator put the diptych back together again with one element upside down — with the artist's permission — obfuscating the word. Smile right side up is promoting this show on our Arts Calendar page. I prefer both halves directly legible, but a curator's gotta get some grins.
Rick Heitzman untitled 7 2010 India ink on Arches 16 x 20 inches
Much more organic and apropos of the organic nature of botany (the scientific study of plants, including their physiology, structure, genetics, ecology, distribution, classification and economic importance) is this dark grayscale drawing. Up from the ooze oozes plant life, dark and mysterious.
Vernon Fimple Corona 1961 oil on panel 60 x 60 inches
Also included in the exhibition was this startling image from a half century ago. I've been careful to render it well enough that maybe you can figure out what's going on and what it has to do with botany or desire. I wonder where it came from, and how this Arizona artist's work came to be in this show. Has it been secreted away in somebody local's collection? What's the eco connection?
Art in the Hood Spring Show Sunday March 20 2011 - featureing work by Brad Abrams, Laura Walters Abrams, Matt Bagley, Diane Box, Rita Barnard, Misty Boldish, Randy Brodnax, Michael Christopher, Roy Cirigliana, Cathryn Colcer, Dan Colcer, Carolyn Collins, Robb Conover, Rose Downs, Dawn Dreyer, Dan Dudley, Lori Dudley, Mark Epstein, Deanne Eskridge, Adam Glick, Steve Herndon, Monique Jannette, Jenice Johnson, Suza Kanon, Kelsey Kincannon, Stuart Kraft, Jason LaJudice, Chris Lake, Margo Lee, Keith Livingston, Maja McFaul, Julia McLain, Kevin Obregon, Andrea Power, Terri Thoman, Nancy Thompson, Luis Toledano, Blake Waymire and Karen Weiss
We visited the Abrams Ranch Sunday March 20 to see what's left of the Art in the Hood tour that's not a tour anymore. I was disappointed in a lot of the art for sale there, but there were several 'booths' of good photography, fine and funky crafts and solid good art I did not manage to photograph well.
Plus, I was delighted to find plenty of Brad Abrams & Laura Abrams art scattered around the extensive grounds. Grounds big enough to hold a Hippie Culture Festival. I'd avoid claiming it as all art all the time, but we had a lovely time, wandering the grounds, the labyrinthine studio/store/hot glass area/storage bin, and listening to one really good singer and guitar-picker, who made it sound like a medium-sized Country-Folk Festival and look like a lot of old hippies and new artists.
Except for this one shot, I avoided portraying the quality of most of the art in the bigger form factors at the Abrams Ranch today. I took it as a warning to look further than the obvious. I know not whose art this or any of the instances of it down this page except those I recognized and said so under their pictures.
I hate to put their notice here, but there was evidence of a new press with some interesting art that I really need more details about before I say much, but it seems like a hopeful situation being driven, I think, by Matt Bagley.
Laura Abrams big purple flower
Titles are in title format with capital letters. All lower case "titles" show I have no idea what this or that piece is called. And usually I'm just guessing who made it, although I bet many of my guesses are correct.
Brad Abrams big clown (detail)
If anybody knows better — meaning artist, title, year date, medium(s) and size, in that order — I'd be happy t entertain the notion of crediting and titling these objects to the right persons. I'm unsure about this one, but it was hugely tall, maybe 20 feet up, on top of a very Brad Abrams looking translucent glass base. My latest email is linked from the Contact Us at the top of this page.
Laura Abrams six-pointed star
I may have photographed this piece previously, in another lifetime. I'm a big fan of her work, and have, on many occasions photographed it, and probably will again and again. Nice to have lots of it available here.
Brad Abrams dusty circle
Nice, simple piece reflecting a First Day of Spring partly cloudy day. But it has several millimeters of accumulated dust on its reflecting surface, diminishing the clarity glass usually brings. Looks like the sky floating on its own axis, suspended in our disbelief.
Roy Cirigliani's Photograph Booth
Roy must be absolutely certain of the archivalism of his photographs aiming them on this bright sunshiny day like solar collectors directly into the sun. That's Roy hiding in the shadows behind the photo on the table near the center of this picture, sitting to the left of the woman there.
My Photo of Roy Cirigliani's New Mexico Photo, "Cross Thy Heart And…"
Glass on the front as photographers so often do, so we get to see reflections of everything in the room, and here, with clouds in the photo's background and in ours, and lots of glare. I'm still struggling with putting my watermark on photographs of other people's work, but so many of them have been stolen — not that I think Roy would — over the years (I've seen them in catalogs for big shows with credit for other photos that artists paid for, but not mine whose work they just outright steal. I like the idea of some fool thieving my photo, then looking at it online or in a catalog and seeing my name come shining through. Yes, of course, I'm paranoid about it.
Leopardskin Hockey mask Installation
My bet's on Brad Abrams as the culprit/artist/installer of this piece, although it might be a collaborative event between the two of them or by somebody else entirely. I liked it immediately and immensely. It shows a willingness to fool around with the mediums. A strong sense of composition and a slightly differing presentation of the hockey mask syndrome so prevalent in our culture since Jason.
Corner Circle Uninstallation
This title and the one above is my own. The one above was an intentional installation. No telling about this one, but I like the dark interplay of circles and angles among entirely errant other chunks of stuff.
White Ladies with Hats
The hats and scarf were for sale at a 'booth' near the shed / studio / store inside the hot house where glass is melted and reshaped. These ladies looked entirely congruous with their funky background from which they notably stood (though bodiless) out.
Chihuly Bowls on the Abrams Sideboard
Chihuly did it, now everybody does, but it do look nice.
Brad Abrams translucent flower and bacon?
Or those colored objects may be somethings else entirely. I liked the simple presentation somewhere in the Hippie Festival, art wherever an opportune placement suggested itself, I suspect, some time ago. Crafts and trash art in other places. People everywhere. I hope the event, whatever it really is deep down happens again — perhaps with somewhat better jurrying, but first ya gotta have more than enough 'artists' to be able to pick and choose among them, happens again. It was a treasure trove of photographic opportunities.
Kevin Obregon Paints a Portrait
Again, my title. I don't know who that is sitting for his portrait. I know Kevin likes to have people watch him paint outdoors and in public, and it looks like he's got a good start going here. I did not check back in all the other things to photograph, but I appreciated the opportunity to photograph him painting a portrait.
Delicate Glass Object 'booth'
I want to call this stuff 'stemware,' because each lovely translucent leaf or flower has a tapering stem, but it doesn't fit the dictionary meaning of the word. I admire the informality of the presentation and the vivid colors the artist and the visitors wear. Pretty stuff.
I brought my 100-300mm telephoto zoom, with which this was shot from fairly far away as these ladies watched and listened to the singer, and my 20mm f/1.7 slightly wide-angle prime lens. I thought I wouldn't have any use for the kit zoom, and I didn't miss having it once. Both lenses fit in a strap-on-my-waist camera case (one at a time), and it was very convenient. I am researching other quick-change lens cases that would be handier and with which I could carry all three of my G2 lenses.
Laura Abrams metal collage
I think I remember this series often involving fan blades and other entirely dissimilar objects collaged together, and I was happy to see it again on the side of their house. Not perhaps the most elegant and flowing of that series, but it shows a willingness and need to experiment with all sorts of materials and shapes to see what held together. Nice.
Laura Abrams Roses
I had not seen these before and welcomed the chance here. Nearly monochromatic, entirely familiar shapes welded (?) together.
Brad Abrams Glass Doughnut
I don't remember the base, but I feel deja vu enough that I'm pretty sure I've seen this circle of textured and translucent glass before, though probably never with this much sunshine shooting through it. Elegant, simple, straight-ahead sculpture. Gorgeous.
Outstanding Singer and Guitar-picker Chet O'Keefe
May have been the festival's only on-stage entertainment, but he was great, singing Townes Van Zandt and other Texas and Country songs. Wish I knew his name. I sat in the arc of comfy chairs gathered a little back from in front of the stage and listened and talked for several minutes before I just had to get up and photograph Kevin Obregon painting a portrait, but I kept an ear out till he took a break. Nice.
Brad Abrams Ducks on the Water
In the extended, now-empty pond out in front of the Abrams hacienda, among many other instances of art and craft and funk. Real goldfish on one not-so-empty pond.
Metal Chunks Scattered and Waiting
Lovely afternoon of wandering and looking and talking and seeing.
This is way too much work to keep up every day. I'm taking the next week or so off. I'll come back when and if I actually learn stuff about the G2, which will be haphazard and iffy, very much like my still-ongoing Canon S90 Journal before it, although I do like this looser way of presenting art, artists and art events, so maybe eventually, I'll just paste these into my Art Here Lately page or go back and forth.
Patricia Forrest at Brookhaven College's Studio Gallery, March 7 through April 7 2011
Patricia Forrest For René hydrocal, mixed media
I remember the late Pat Forrest's work as precious, in the best sense of that word. As was she. Before most people understood how simple things some might call trash could do that — well before recycling found purchase in art. We were not friends, but friendly acquaintances, shared but a few conversations over the years.
I remember everyone I knew whose opinions counted thought highly of Pat and her work. Though I cannot pretend to understand why she did these or how, or what any of this means, exactly, the best of it had a universal truth to it that still goes deep.
Patricia Forrest Do Not Steal This Book collage on paper signed: PF 90
Overt as an eye in art looking back at us here again smaller, or subtle as child-scrawl amid dense scribbles on brown-stained paper edged with gilt.
Patricia Forrest Habits of the Sensibilities collage on paper signed: PF 90
No eye here perhaps, but a gridded cube obscuring text like a pencil-scrawl shadow with a dimensioned still-life down on what I see as a brown tabletop with word textures, shadows and stains into middle distance and out through the shiny gold frame
Patricia Forrest Who Gave To Her collage signed: Forest 91
When I chose these for this page, I hadn't put much together about Forrest's work. Except I was drawn to their lush ordinariness — the dirt, stains, wrinkles and torn edges. I assume that's her writing. Probably the textures were purposed, not just found. But here again is a box floating near the middle of a frame, nearly tactile with words, open for interpretation or to just let our eyes feel.
Patricia Forrest Envy hydrocal
Though not all her pieces in this posthumous show follow such rules, all the ones I either liked or got good images of — amid bright reflections from outside through myriad windows, doors and blinds, did.
Patricia Forrest Red collage on paper signed: Forest 98
Except for Red, which, done nearly a decade later, is mostly math scribbles not words, fading — by then she was on the trail of new sensibilities, though I worry some about that test-tubish flask.
Last time I saw her, we were gassing our cars on the edge of Old East Dallas and being ungently scammed by a hard scrabble kid insisting on helping us fill our tanks. I wouldn't have any of it, but Pat, already slowed by her disease, smiled and paid him a couple bucks.
Patricia Forrest untitled cardboard, hair and wire
This third-dimensional object with floating
Minnie-Pearl tag is as strange and different as anything
I saw of hers, with sliding box nose and bushy mustache, though I may
have misinterpreted that hairy object of those same dark, red-stained
old paper textures atop a pristine white riser. Very odd.
Road Trip - Photographs by the Dead Photographers Society - Ken Blackburn, Dragana Bulatovic, Lee Courtney, Pam Davis, Guy Giersch, Peta Jones, Dora Knutsen, Mel Levin, Brian Magnuson, Roddy Parkinson, Sonja Quintero, Sam Reeves, Don Simmons, Nelson Spencer, Bonnie Slack at Bath House Cultural Center, opening 7-9 Saturday March 5 through April 9
I went back to the Dead Photographers Society show at the Bath House, and I am convinced it's a student group with some teachers thrown in, although you can easily tell them apart. They all went on a trip to some colorfully picturesque town or towns and took picturesque pictures galore. Very little that hadn't been done a thousand times before. Kept reminding me of photography clubs of yore. I was surprised not to find the close-in portrait of a wizened old man smoking an ornate pipe.
One of the functions of a City cultural center like the Bath House is to support beginning artists, give them what may be their first opportunity to exhibit their work. There was plenty of that, and some pieces that depended upon it, weren't even in focus.
The untitled monochromatic Diner photographed by Guy Giersch that I had mentioned earlier is a dark red-brown and white, not black & white as I misremembered. It's quaint and curious and picturesque, as well as charming. I still like it. Unfortunately, there are too many others too like it in this show that aren't nearly as curious or charming. Store fronts and the fronts of otherwise picturesque buildings, sometimes gaudied-up with goofy Photoshop filters.
Dragana Bulatovic's silver print, Suicide Note, scrawled on a window it is shot out of beats that rap handily, with a cowboy hat parked neatly on the sill. Another of Bulatovic's images, the dark grayscale Guarding Your Grave, of a tangle of vines and a ribbon or flower (I can't tell which) attached in front of a grave, manifests raw power with a subtlety that eludes most of the photographers in this little hallway show.
Oh, there are mysterious landscapes like Bonnie Slack's Caddo Lake digital print of a completely washed-out, all white Great Egret flying over dark water reflecting great dripping East Texas trees — which we are told is a digital print, so there's no excuse not to have form-showing tonality in its whiteness, and Brian Magnuson's too-dark though moody color photograph of storm clouds over a rocky shore.
I wanted to like this show. I wanted to like it enough that it'd be a group I'd want to join. Just like I wanted to join the Photography Club when I was a kid just out of college, but I think I'll pass. Not so much because I think I'm so much better, but that I would have wanted to document entirely other sorts of things in small towns and rural places, as I often have in travels short and far. People, for one instance largely missing, except for obviously posed shots here.
Manufactured Beauty - Matt Clark, The Halo and The Humbug - Jacobin Van Deer Meyer, Robert Jessup at Conduit. Consumed - Virginia Fleck at Holly Johnson. Boomerangs - Dean Corbitt, Phil Lichtmeham, Sherri Mignonne, Walter Gray Lamb, Jonathan Millet, Judith Seay, Mary Tomas, Jonathan Whitfil at Mary Tomas. Brad Ellis, Justin Ginsberg, Gary Schafter at Craighead Green. Linear Thinking - Ted Kincaid, Tom Orr, Jay Shinn at Marty Walker and Mac Whitney at Kirk Hopper Fine Art
Michel Verjux Downtown Project 2011 life size
The brightest art of the night was Michel Verjux' Downtown Project. The art of it apparently was shining a contained disk of light on the side of an old building in shallow downtown Dallas. We didn't expect much more than that, and we didn't stop long. Nice disk of light, probably could have found someplace more interesting to shine it, but this owner let them do it here. People gathered in the parking lot this side of it, partying, and the celebration would continue elsewhere later. We didn't see the point, thought it should line up with the arcs and semi-circles under bridges down from downtown toward Deep Elm. Or something.
Photographer Ann Stautberg and Painter Francis X. Tolbert, Jr. at Marty Walker
Ann and Frank are legendary in Dallas without even mentioning last names. Used to live in Dallas then up and moved south somewhere. Her for lush soft large print landscape photography, him for semi-myhical animal creatures. Soon as I walked in the door, I recognized Frank and started angling to arrive where I could take their picture. I was there to see the latest by Tom Orr, but his were two archival ink prints in Madras plaids on black, deceptively simple prints of drawings, not deceptively simple sculpture. So the hit at Marty Walker was seeing Frank and Ann again.
Eric Sall Obstacle 2 2009 oil on canvas 36 x 40 inches #2,500
I was drawn to, then struck by this painting. Probably has to do with the dark black, painterly squiggles up front and the obscured over-bright visions it partially obscurs. Or just all that thick, gooey paint. Yum.
Dragon Street Guardian
Then to Dragon Street, its usual class act of great art and new gallery spaces …
I ducked into a white space I later learned was Cohn Drennan Contemporary while my friends were still socializing at Craighead Green, which was too thickly populated for my tastes, and people wouldn't move out of the way being social so I could take pix of art. So I set to wandering down the street in search of less populated art spaces.
Steve Hilton fired ceramic landscape of teapots
I hadn't known of Cohn Drennan Contemporarybut was mildly intrigued by the the floor lumps by Wichita Falls geologist and ceramist Steve Hilton. This setting, though variously shaped and colored, are all variations on the teapot theme, though I didn't discover that till I had this image large on my monitor. Cohn Drennan himself was the director of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art before launching this Dallas gallery last September.
Crowd at Craighead Green
CG was still mad house mob scene when I got back, and from the open loading dock I was able to see I saw bits of art around the edges of still way too many people. Parking along Dragon was solid all through the gallery district. Cars stopped in the middle waiting, hoping for a slot to open up. I wanted out of there.
Next stop down Dragon was Holly Johnson, which was not not nearly so full, as usual. Could breathe in there and enjoy the art. Anna and I had seen Virginai Fleck's post-waste, plastic bag and tape mandalas at the 2007 Texas Biennial, so it was nice to see her progress looping, arcing and rolling around the gallery. The new mandals seemed busier, more activated. I think I prefered the gentler, '07 variety.
James Michalopoulos Backseat Baby oil on canvas 24 x 48 inches $10,000
A quick, duck in visit to The Cameronnetted this one auto vision worth dreaming, but I couldn't get my compatriots past the open front door into this less than gallery with its eminently forgetable tastes. From the 1957 Ford, everything was downhill. More bad art, if you must, is on their site.
Bouquet with Gallery Art
I am drawn to flowers in strange and opening reception spaces and have the sneaky need to show the art there without actually showing the art there. I either spent not nearly enough time on this bouquet, or way too much, although in and odd and semi-disgusting way, it is vaguely similar in several ways to this next shot:
Andela Andeon Hyperion 2011
cold cathode florescent lights, computer case fans, dc adapter 27 x 31 x 12 inches $3,800
Off toward the levees, we found light sculpture in the yet-young Cris Worley Fine Arts gallery that's already established a fine sense of quality art — with more than a little carry through from Pan American Gallery where she used to direct. Even if she shares rent with a space that hasn't and doesn't always or usually.
Harry Geffert The Gorge 2010 cast bronze 42.5 x 48 x 2 inches #20,000
The other standout at Worley was this remarkable frieze by master caster Harry Geffert that had already been sold by the time we got there, we thought early. Delicate looking yet bronze.
From there it was a visual lurch to Conduit, where large, disfigured Robert Jessup paintings leered at us all around the big, back gallery. Somewhere in the middle of the difference between realism and abstraction, these big paintings first excited, then left me wondering what was in the project room, where — unlike 500X's — there's almost always something to either think or argue about.
Jacobine Van Der Meer Game 6 / INFANTry 2011
cast urethane form, vinyl coating, plant material, fabric and embroidery 40 x 21 inches
A little of both this time. Dutch artist Jacobine Van Der Meer's mockingly aggressive, large and small military medals are strange analogs of bombs and body parts. Follow the acrostics to read, "The infantry plays in my back yard."
Jacobine Van Der Meer The Player 2011 coat
hanger, military jacket,
cast BT-ORE, ribbon, hardware and disaster blanket 37 x 24 inches
Although some of her figures are jokes, most probably are not. All her medals toy with our perceptions of the military. Meanwhile, Van der Meer's 2008 paintings remind me more than a little of Robert Jessup's.
Mac Whitney Mosca 1994 steel 14 x 7 x 10 inches $9,000
Mac Whitney: Painting and Sculpture was Kirk Hopper Fine Art's inaugural show and a diverse and historic one.
Mosca is "fly" in Spanish, and from some angles, like the one in the illustrated price list — an idea that's catching on, though not always with the quality of the Marty Walker originals (here, at least). Kirk Hopper Fine Art did an illustrated price list, but the colors were awful and way too blue. Luckily the shapes were right, so I've named and sized these images from it. Marty Walker lists are on cheaper, thin paper and abundantly available, so we freely took them. These were bound in plastic folders and on thick paper, so we did not. I assume that was the plan.
There's a video of the show's opening — with schmaltzy music online, Mac Whitney: Painting and Sculpture.
Mac Whitney Rosillos 1994 steel 12 x 10 x 11 inches $9,000
I know Mac Whitney well enough to shake his hand and tell him this show was really good. It was. I hadn't seen his work in a gallery in a long time, so it was good to see a bunch of them — smallish to humongous — in one place at one time, under a full moon. At best, sculpture is a study in color, rhythm and shape. I'm pretty sure I could dance to any Mac Whitney I've seen. Already have with some big ones. I especially like the rhythm this one has going.
Mac Whitney Lucin 2008 stainless steel 13 x 5 x 4 feet $80,000
The ones outside were a little more difficult to sense since they were glarringly illuminated in the otherwise dark space. Nice, big, dark space that I look forward to seeing more big art in when they finish it out. I felt this piece when I got close. It felt like steel suede, sandblasted, in addition to the surface grinding it and many of the pieces inside have. Not so pretty in this shot — I suspect that's a trick of bad lighting, but the ones inside looked great. I like the way the shadow triple simplifies onto the far wall.
Mac Whitney Escobas 2005 steel 14 x 7 x 6 feet $95,000
Ann Stautberg, Mac Whitney and Pharr 2005 steel 8.5
x 4 x 3 feet $50,000
Kids from Commerce - Val Curry, Ambrea Dean, Sam England, Daniel Kurt, Katherine Klutts, Eric de Llamas, Project Installation - Claudia Borgna at Plush, opening 6-9, Saturday February 26 through March 26.
The Kids from Commerce
Kids from Commerce installation at Plush
Not at all sure what to say about this white on whatever suspension of disbelief. Great job of making a strange-looking installation. Wonder what it's about. For awhile I thought that Easter's coming up, are these cotton-tails run lose? Or something, but ya never know. I'm sure somebody will inform me what it's really about. I'll share it.
Texas Sculpture Association Membership Exhibition with work by Al Moore, Amber Block, Andrea Davis, Andrew Bachenheimer, Anne Neal, Annelies Christian, Art Wells, Cassandra Fink, Chris Lattanzio, Cynthia Daniel, Dan Dudley, Deana Hinchcliff, Diana Chase, Diana Morrison, Dottie Whiplash, Dr. Adriana Cobo-Frenkel, Eli Lorenz, Elizabeth (Sissy) Bingham, Eunice Bridges, Fancy Tanner, Ginny Marsh, Gisela-Heidi Strunck, Glenn Spelis, Hilal Hibri, Kati McAllister Hibri, Reba Browning, Greg Nelson, Jan Ayers, Jerry Freid, Jessica Burnham-Hinton, Joe Laberge, Joel Sampson, Julie Richey, Kate Schatz, Kathy Boortz, Larry McCoy, Lori Dudley, Lottie Minick, Mark Mueller, Mark Sacco, Marvin Crow, Murray Stein, Nan Phillips, Nic Noblique, Pascale Pryor, Pat Moberley Moore, Rebecca Low, Robin Gary, Shelley Kolman Smith, Stephen Potter and Tony Collins at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center opening Saturday February 12 through March 12 2011
Jerry Fried The Waive steel I'm guessing about 15 inches wide
I kept trying to imagine the bafflement and stress for whoever curated the Texas Sculpture Associations Member show at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. All that art submitted, and the need to fill that large space, unfortunately too-close crowded with the detritus of decor, often barely recognizable as sculpture. I was seriously disappointed. I like space around 3D art, to ponder and study. I'd expected an easy collection of bright new pieces from the minds of the best sculptors in Texas that I'd looked forward all day to photographing. Nope
Jerry Fried The Waive steel (back view)
There were two pieces I liked enough to photograph and one I already had. Jerry Fried's The Waive, which I saw as a deep, black humor visual pun simultaneously roiling dark reality and a simplified abstraction of a wave (I keep wondering whether they mistyped the title. Waive is to relinquish a right; wave variously means brandish, ripple, gesture, flow, surge or curl. Surely these latter meanings fit this piece better.
Oh. I get it! Maybe it's a verbal pun on the BP spill. Then that dull black roil makes perfect sense. Waive, too. We all lost something in that. I wonder now, and like it even more.)
Someone had been explaining he thought a gaudy, Neo-Obsessive piece I hadn't given the time of day to was "great," because it obviously took such a long time to make. I told him that cut no ice for me.
This, however, must have been just such a time challenge. That's steel. The stuff gets wrinkled sometimes, but it takes powerful forces to do it. I like that we can see seams in the construction, that it's loose, has holes and looks as if it could come apart or break at any moment. The best sculpture in the house, although the competition was weak.
It's hardly grand. Does not employ giant scale or weighty materials (though steel's no lightweight), no aphorisms, pop culture shallows, it's not even gleaming. More subtle and dull-hued, meant to hide itself into the darkness, then it got stuck off in a back corner, because few others saw the shine, but I was drawn to it through the vivid baubles even when I didn't see its true depth.
Amber Block Fly Away Mahogany and stainless steel (detail)
This piece has grace and style and elan. It tells poetical stories of flight. Of such insubstantial stuff as spirit that speaks to us in metaphor. The wood is rich red brown in deeply textured gold and elegantly shaped, and both it and its stories are lyrical and beautiful. Nothing matched it in either room. Joyed to see some sculptors can still engage our spirit and feed our higher needs without plundering our baser desires.
Kathy Boortz Portrait of a Pet wood, clay, metal, beads life-size 5 pounds
The one other piece in the show that naturally caught my eye was Kathy Boortz' Portrait of a Pet, a lush, life-size portrayal of her beloved parrot then ill with an uncertain future but has since recovered. I am fortunate enough to get to photograph her work soon after she makes it, so I am nothing of the objective observer here, but this bit of found wood, attached metal, clay and bead eyes is marvelous in color, reality and inventiveness.
EXPO 2011 - Jesse Barnett, Julie Barnofski, Michael Blair, Angel Cabrales, Stephanie Clark, Kenneth Collins, Desiree Espada, Cydney Ferguson-Brey, Michael Francis, Anastasia Gabriel, Ricardo Garcia, Danielle Georgiou, Bethany Gouldin, T.J. Griffin, Steve Hamilton, Jessica Hargrave, Fields Harrington, Amy Herzel, Michael Hoefle, Hannah Hudson, Lucy Kirkman, Doughtie Laura, Rosie Lindsey, Sara Lovas, Diane McGurren, Ashley Milow, Frank Mosley, Loughridge Murrell, Kris Pierce, Teresa Rafidi, Jason Reynaga, Ryder Richards, Evett Rolsten, Soyla Santos, Michael Scot, Caroline Sharpless, Lucia Simek, Jonathan Snow, James Michael Starr, Tore Terrasi, Jonathan Whitfill, Timothy Wilson, Trey Wright, Virginia Yount and Sarah Zapata and juried by Marty Walker at 500X, reception 7-10 Saturday, February 12 through February 27
Ryder Richards Go)a)I(d) Antelope 2010 gunpowder, gold leaf, acrylic, wood
Curator Marty Walker had more to work with in what has become one of Dallas' most prestigious competitive presentations of new work. I felt more comfortable here with this many new ideas and forms and contexts whizzing around upstairs and down.
I like the cross-fading oddity of this juxtaposition of sharp, white, pristine scrolly flatwork with that dark fuzzy horned thing missing some tonalities, as if acid etched. Like some chariot of strange gods come to visit us and confuse. It worked. I love it, and I really have no idea why. It's much taller than I with serious presence, even if it's only inches off the left wall just into the X's pit area, where they almost always place the best and strangest work in any show.
James Michael Starr Ripple 2010 book covers, wood and welded steel
Here's another case of benign unobjectivity. I know these guys, have written about them before, may even have their progenitor, that Jim showed at the last DallasArtsRevue Member Show. Mine (a couple clicks down that show's blog) that Jim called Diet of Worms, after the Catholic Church's legislative assembly in 1521 that addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.
But I live with it and looking up at it while doing sit-ups can only imagine it as a giant box spider, and I am The Incredible Shrinking Man (some puns intended). These are taller, thinner and have fewer legs/tentacles. The inside of mine's box is wallpapered with bug etchings, as if it had dined on them earlier and they'd stuck to its innards. I am not nearly tall enough to look into these boxed bug bodies but I wonder what's inside..
Steve Hamilton Repack 2010 spray paint and stencil on cardboard
I'm pretty sure I saw this same woman in a perhaps Polaroid snapshot upstairs on the north wall near the windows out looking at downtown. Nice bit of spray paintering, love the white star burst behind her or is that a him? and the matter of fact command. Cardboard is compelling.
Upstairs I found much to startle and settle in with, comfortable or not. Ways of working materials I hadn't anticipated and only begun to appreciate. Such an amazing flipside from the timid TSA show. These artists had it and were flaunting it. Ours was to find something to mind meld with and quickly grow synapses into new meanings.
I kept wondering why the new Xers put numbers by these, then did not put those numbers on the price list. Maybe I could have figured out what this was if I'd busied myself with geographizing pieces instead of finding ones that yelled at me. Like many large works in most galleries, it's badly lighted, so the photograph isn't entirely accurate — that dark shadow lower right is not on the piece. I only wish I knew whose it is.
I like the mix of textures and colors and shapes and gestures and just about everything else. Space, transitions. I am drawn to some areas and mildly repelled by others, but I'd still love to climb inside and play among the shapes and places and lines and maps. Get lost in there.
This might be Evett Rolsten untitled 2010 inkjet print
This the left of an unconnected diptych on the south wall upstairs. The other image is also a man standing in a landscape. He in dark trousers and a long-sleeved blue shirt and standing, it appears, in a puddle in a river bed, the over-bright sky whiting out over trees and reflecting along the shallow water before him. This guy's more informal, dripping something — beer? — on the concrete while a dark night sky performs a similar task over the complex' barely lighted windows and doors.
I don't think it's two guys or even one guy appreciating the wonders of nature, although what he is engaged in is unknown, perhaps unknowable. There's a sense of dark and light in both but especially this one. Standing figures in natural and citified landscapes. A little lost. Maybe some pensive, too.
Julie Barnofski Cottage Laundry 2010 archival pigment print
Down that same wall overlooking the front staircase was a triptych of similar prints, although its similarities escaped me, and/because I only photographed this one. The informality of presentation made it different enough to pay attention, and the details sucked me in to explore the bright-colored laundry and other details along that rough wood stairway back to the house, which frames this tilted back yard. Everything's rendered sharp, trees and rocks and plants. The dark light of the cottage and rickety banister diagonally down frame the dark yard, so our attention rockets in on laundry. Exquisite.
probably Caroline Sharpless Blue Green 2010 oil on canvas
I have two more images to show, that took a long time to deduce, because I don't know which wall X calls what number, and because the aforementioned gallery numbers stuck near the pieces don't cross-reference, I can't even guess where I was standing to shoot these, or what number X decided that wall was. I'm making educated guesses at identify here. If I'm wrong, someone who knows should tell — I and the artist both would appreciate it.
probably Caroline Sharpless Blue Green 2010 oil on canvas
I love a good, solid tape and bed job. Hardly revolutionary technique, but solid implementation. Both with the slight informality of the somehow familiar exterior space above and this, nailed down nearly perfect — there's a slight anomaly on the floor just behind the second slat back from the interiorly intruding short wall at top left. But then to watch that brilliant yellow sluice through the reddish rug-like space that ties in the florid arcs on the far wall, wow.
And plenty more I could have noted. I've just stuck with first-impulse favorites.
Breathe, Walk, Look and The Overuse of Everything and
Breathe, Walk, Look - Michel Verjux, The Overuse of Everything - David Willburn, Rest in Power - Sour Grapes at Dallas Contemporary and 601 Elm Street, reception 8-10 Saturday February 12 through March 27
Yellow metal thing at the Contemp
It was dejá vu all over the place at The Contemp tonight. I know I've seen and photographed this object, whatever it is, there before. I liked it the first couple times, but now in the spotlight and mirrored in the windows, I'm not sure it's worth throwing around the various galleries anymore. Oh, but when it was lost in space out in the huge warehouse that goes on forever in the concrete prairie along the northeast wall. Oof! Beautiful. Now it seems like they're making too much of it. It was already art. Shining a bright spot on it is diminishing, not enlightening.
Gabriel Dawe Plexus no. 4
I know I've either seen and photographed and loved this one before or one very much like it, and I can't imagine Dawe doing two there in the same place. It's nice thinking it's been in that unfinished gallery with all those lights shining on it day in and day out since I last saw it. Think of the electric bill. Kids still love it. I still do, too. Beautiful to watch or walk through the stringy colorful gauntlet of it, always being careful not to be enraptured by the siren call of moiréing string patterns in impossible colors and intricacy.
I didn't know where to begin photographing Fort Worth artist David Willburn's also intricately but on a differing scale drawing of real and drawn details all around a room I easily got lost in. Like easels watching easels making self-reflexive drawings in that watching.
Sour Grapes Rest In Power last week (detail)
And who hasn't seen large-scale graffiti on large walls throughout the city? Here, in a building with hugely expansive tall walls in every direction, Sour Grapes was relegated to the narrow main hallway backbone of the Contemp, so everybody could see it up close invading everybody's personal space. Not one but a series of wild-colored expanding universes of color dynamic.
The Bath House Cultural Center
Roy Cirigliana Cross thy Heart and ... digital infrared photograph 2011
printed on traditional Van Dyke Brown with welded steel frame 20 x 24 inches
image courtesy of the artist
Every year about this time another Valentine's show opens at The Bath House. It has not been stellar for years, but there's always good work there worth ferreting out. Less, perhaps, than there used to be. Like any group show, it draws many to the facility, although it is not clear how well either those participants or attendees help support the center, which either is or is not in a dire financial situation like everything else these days. Or come back to show again.
I have written extensively about The Corazon Show in 2002 2003 2004 2005 and 2007 2009 and 2010, and each year I promise it will be longer before I write about it again. Then I go again hoping the quality of the work will have improved.
I accidentally deleted my opening reception shots of this year's event, where I found several worth remembering, and I didn't brave the ice to go back quickly, because I wasn't sure I wanted to finish this story. While I was at the opening, I liked Roy Cirigliana's elaborately framed photograph enough to ask for a jpeg of it, since all I could get was reflections in its glass.
It's slightly more floridly ornate than this image, with stylish signature splash in contrasting silver. I like it for its mesh of sequined metaflake red heart and monochromatic cruciform in stone or whatever. It looks real and fake and religious and not at all, all at once.
Cirigliana's efforts in that show over the decade have been stellar, and I have come to identify his photos with the show. Click through the links above, and you'll see what I mean.
Like the Bath House's annual Day of the Dead show — Dia del los Muertos: 2001 2002 2004, also curated by Jose Vargas, this show's best work is behind it. Perhaps I'll like more work when I go back to see it without a crowd and all that dangerous, sugar-laden opening reception food — when the ice melts. Well, not much.
Teresa Megahan Sucker Punch acrylic on canvas
I didn't notice this piece in the crush of opening night, but I couldn't help seeing it when I came back later when the gallery was otherwise empty of people. Yeah, it's a broad cartoon, and a little rough around several edges. But it's fierce
I'm not sure if the subject has just received the sucker punch in question — her muscle-taut neck and shoulders look tensed for just such a coup de grâce, but her tiny tapered arms don't look like they could deliver much a punch. Her lips and nose and eyes look more like they've just been dealt one than much anything else, even if her forehead is smooth.
The oversized glasses contribute to facial distortion, which seems to be reversed in her delicate little fists. Studying it now, I'm not so sure what's really going on in this picture, but when I first laid eyes on it, there was no doubt. I immediately understood the reference to the I-could-kill-you attitude, with maybe even a vague reference to the Saint Valentines's Massacre.
Her shoulder tat is a cheap knife spurting blood and a "Live Through the Pain" legend. Sweet Val en tine.
I have to wonder why this show continues drawing such mediocre work when other shows the Bath House used to present did such a stellar job of showing the best Dallas had to offer. Especially I am thinking of its long-time annual competition, Outside the Lines, with which I have enjoyed various degrees of personal involvement — I wrote about Somebody Else Jurrying It, won a $50 prize in it, and I helped jury it a couple years later. I have entered it, and have had work declined for it and work in it. But so have many name Dallas artists, a good number of whom were later invited to exhibit in other shows there.
I also have also written about Outside The Lines: 2001 - 2001 2002 An Artist Complains About a Review She Insisted I Write in 2002 Me Jurrying it 2004 2005
So this is not just an objective desire for the community. It was an interesting challenge, and I miss it, and I miss its opportunity for young artists in this community. It did and could again significantly raise the bar for the Bath House's reputation for showing quality work. And it could easily be held only every other year, alternating with some other show they don't want to lose — like their long-running annual Day of the Dead Show of amateur altars and an intriguing mix of sometimes pretty good art but always a lot of pretty bad stuff, too.
Sure it brought work that literally colored outside some lines sometimes — and some jurors must have thought that was cute enough to pass for OTL, but it also made consistently serious attempt to present work beyond the usual ken. And often succeeded.
I know, I know, it's expensive. Which is why I'm suggesting that DallasArtsRevue sponsor the show, pay its many expenses and help reorganize it. See my burgeoning blog on that possible next DARts show.
Four New Yorkers who visited Dallas four times last year have written in their recommendations [linked just below]that Dallas needs more experimental arts. Outside The Lines could be a community-based force for that opportunity, but it might have to buck a few annual events whose purpose seems quite the opposite.
Creative Time Meadows Prize Report, “Building a Thriving Artistic Community" in Dallas (Don't bother with KERA's badly formatted text version on Arch & Steep, go directly to the lushly illustrated PDF (and I hate PDFs) of the actual report on SMU's website.
Four visits for dozens if not hundreds of local art forms, groups, organizations and spaces seems woefully and inadequately absurd but not atypical for some local dogooder organization to sponsor. They even talked to some artists, although I did not hear them list whom. By its very nature, it had to be a con job, but any report from New York City automatically gets more attention here than anything we've been saying for decades.
So it may be worth a read.
The Tom & Judy ShowBows & ArrowsDarknessAloft
Love and Hares: The Tom and Judy Show - Tom Sale and Judy Vetter at Bows and Arrows, 925 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, January 15 through February 18
This was the funnest show of the night. A pre-Valentine showcase in a narrow shotgun storefront on Lowest Greenville Avenue, quilts and quilt-like and art on dark sumptuous material from Judy Vetter's extensive collection, with easy humor and gentle imagery sewn in. Pinky Diablo's alter ego and his art partner Judy Vetter in their fourth year of collaboration.
Big quilt detail almost full image above to the right
The show, its artists and attendees lent a quality of small-town camaraderie to tonight's silly excesses. The lights worked. Pieces were identified right on the wall next to them. Hard objects, light words and soft, sensual fabric. It was easy to like.
Tom Sale and Judy Vetter If you were a jackalope and I were a cowgirl
A place of warmth and humor, Tom/Pinky's odd excesses tuned
mercifully down by Vetter's gentle warmth. Both conversant in the fun
and funny sides of art you could hang on your wall or your towel rack.
Winter Show 2 presented by Ro2 Art - Sibylle Bauer, Cabe Booth, Chris Bramel, Michael Christopher, Ron Criswell, Linda Guy, Nicholas Mayeux, Steve Prachyl, Ryder Richards, Sue Anne Rische, Alison White Starr at Aloft, 1033 Young Street, Dallas, January 15 through January 31
Art this Dark from Ro 2
When we got there it was dark. So dark art was difficult to see. Ro2's worst stand yet. You'd think they would have checked it at night to see if anybody could see the art. Either they did not or we got there before the lights were turned on — though we couldn't see any other lights that could be turned on. Another Mercury Whiplash moment. A deep disservice to the participating artists. And to think I complained about their music being too loud at another of their earlier temp venues.
Linda Guy Radiolara Series
I admired Linda Guy's Radiolara Series, although I cannot vouch for the correctness of these colors, since it was so very unlighted in there. Disappointment in the dark. There were at least two from the series hidden in the gloom of the residence's foyer.
We later got a not from Susan Romans saying she was sorry we
got there before they turned on the lights.
Glitch, a group video show with Jon Cates, Pal B Davis, Kyle Kondas, LoVid, Shane Mecklenburger, Tom Moody, Vjanomolee (performance at 7 p.m.) and Jerry Vogel curated by John Pomara and Dean Terry with Metroplex Video in the corridor at Centraltrak January 15 reception and artists' talk with Jon Cates and Tom Moody 5:00 Saturday, January 29 through February 5
Video at Centraltrak
Must be me, but I don't care about hardly any video art I've seen in a gallery during the last 20-year history of it except one small, looping piece at AND/OR before that great little place became yet another Dallas Temporary Gallery, and some I've rented from Netflix. Has not video art progressed in all those years since its exciting beginnings in the last century? What we saw then is still being splayed in bigger projections on bigger screens, but with few exceptions it's all the same. Peated and repeated ad nauseam. Somebody point me at some really good video art. Please?
See Shane Mecklenburger intriguing letter on our new-for-2011 Feedback page.
Big crowd, though at CT, all dressied up. That because Centraltrak
has so carefully built an audience for this drek, or because they're an affiliate
of UTD, and all the teachers require students to attend?
Imprints: Three Generations of 500X - Tom Orr incorporates and abstracts his fingerprint in a large-scale silkscreen, Vance Wingate's drawings investigate the intersection of mathematical ratios and human intuition and Natalie Macellaio poetically addresses the cracks found on the gallery floor. Excellent Specimens (in Nines) - Scott Hilton, Inter-dimensional Relics from the Barrio 2 - Bernardo Cantu, From out of the Clouds Came Forth Bunny God - Jessica Nelson and Shelby Cunningham in the Downstairs Project Room, Nate Glaspie and Zack McDowell in the Upstairs Project Room at 500X January 15 through January 30
Scott Hilton Excellent Specimens (in Nines) detail one of nine
I can't get past that the new 500X bunch keeps doing retrospective showings of former 500Xers who have made it: big, bigger, whatever, over the decades since it started. Of historic interest, yeah, maybe. But seems a big group new member show is in order, in order to show us who they are — not whose faded glories they're hiding under. Too weird.
Musta taken Scott Hilton hours and hours and hours to piece together all those chromed metal contraptions with hanging magnifiers like from the century before last. The photographs were nice, but suffering from wretched excess with all the contraptions. Lovely wood. Nice contrast with the chrome. Odd to have a lens on the base with a device holding a photograph. But all in nines on every which wall downstairs in the past-the-pit gallery. Too much of too much.
Bernardo Cantu The Wonders 2010 mixed media 24 x 24 x 4.5 inches $1250
But Bernardo Cantu blew us away. Again. Great show, startling images like we've not seen anybody anywhere else ever do before. And lots of them, twenty-two works up and down the walls upstairs at the venerable X. Startling, amazing, shocking maybe, Almost like a new art form, except we've been watching his progress these past few years with great interest. Wow.
Bernardo Cantu Cactus Pudding 2010 mixed media 24 x 24 x 8 inches $1600
Knockout show. The night's biggest hit, even if he didn't get his price list available until later in the evening. We came back for it, since I always photo the numbers, to ID the work.
Bernardo Cantu Barrio Blaster (or Neo-Geo Tex-Mex Shaminist Lite) 2010 mixed media 51 x 48 x 15 inches
The one wild extravaganza somewhere between Darth Vader light sabers and Mexican wrestler masked marauders installation at the far end upstairs was over enough any top to render it silly, but everything else was remarkable. Nice to see where he goes when he goes too far, though. Probably good that he does, so he can keep his body of work out there, beyond the reach of mere mortal artists. Although that one's price was negotiable.
Bernardo Cantu The Art of the Naguals 2010 mixed media $1200
Like stations of the cross, we carefully attended each piece, with a little meditation of amazement at the audacity of combining such diverse materials into art, and trying to pick the absolute best. Will give it a week and go back, hope it's warmer then, but Cantu's art is hot. Might be interesting to see it in reflected daylight, if any this winter, to see what colors the colors really are.
Beasts & Bunnies
Helen Altman, Frances Bagley, Celia Eberle and
Call and Response Collaborative Installation at The MAC
I did not want to write about more shows, hoping instead to find one or two, max three all night, pieces of art worth a few paragraphs. Coming home I thought I hadn't found any, but upon further study, maybe I did.
We got to
the Mac early so we could follow the advertised tour of pieces in the quirky
big show that spread through both large galleries. By the time the four artists
finally did their talk, we'd seen everything a couple times and would not
have minded hearing what the beasts were up to. The artists talked informally
about the fun off putting it all together, but there was no tour through
the spaces and no real explanation, which was probably just as well.
Not A Tour: Celia Eberle, Margaret Meehan, Frances
Bagley and Helen Altman
Trailing the 53 people gathered semicircle around them in the foyer through both big galleries would have been a logistical nightmare that apparently no one thought through before advertising the pre-opening tour. Though I doubt identifying even some pieces would have taken much magic out of it.
I enjoyed the collaboration
in the main gallery, and discovering oddly collorful details around the
mostly monochromatic garden and its exquisite shadows. I might even need
to revisit to stare and wonder, maybe figure out more connections,
but then again, perhaps once was enough. After the collab installation, the
gallery show in the other big space seemed ordinary, except for this:
Helen Altman Goldfish 2009 cast
plastic epoxy, lead weights, monofilament line,
45-gallon aquarium, stand, miscellaneous elements 57 x 37 x 13 inches
Though hardly new, Altman's Goldfish presented a stark visual without involving 45 gallons of water, or this photo would have serious distortions. Not sure what to make of it, though I was drawn repeatedly to its details. Had to have taken hours and hours and hours. I would have liked hearing her talk about this one, although explaining art is usually redundant or absurd.
First seeing the list of artists for this
show I wondered if it might be The MAC's Dallas-specific response to the
Contemp's Big-time Art Guys From Out of Town syndrome running rampant across
town. Probably they didn't plan it that way, but it was an interesting, sometimes
intriguing, but more often confusing, and occasionally vapid, reply. At
least The MAC featured superb local artists in the important spaces instead
of in some ersatz, low-ceilinged ghetto gallery.
Frances Bagley Fury 2010 digital
print, video and dvd players 73 x 53 x 5 inches
I've never understood Bagley's scattered placements of eyes, let alone moving video ones, but I like the feel of this horse's rage, wanting, I suppose, to free itself from those constructed constraints. At their base, photographs are documents. Somewhat higher in the order of existence are visual puns. This cast horse does look as if it were trying to escape. I would have liked experiencing the actual object photographed.
But I'm not sure it rises much higher.
Those eyes just creep me. A little guidance from the artist may have helped,
Bagley can be very entertaining. Or not. But I was several times
drawn to this large image. There's a whole corral of life-size horse statues
along Irving Boulevard through Trinity Industrial that we often admire getting
lost on the way to The Contemp, I wonder if this one is kin?
Helen Altman Dog's Kitty 2005 found
object on blanket with string 30 x 31 x 2.5 inches
I wonder, too, whether Bagley built the stockade
or just found and photographed it. Either way, and even with the eyes, it
fits ideally into this show's theme. I may like the construction of it more
than the event, the pun. But even the towel-wrapped, ready-made horse does
its dada duty here. Those eyes just float.
Margaret Meehan Feral Nature 2010 prosthetic
boxing gloves, paint, faux fur, wood, ceramic 16 x 24 x 6.5 inches
I like a little shock in my art, but some of these
just seemed inept, Gone to some other world. From whence they might return
and put fear into humans. But I think we're used to that, although
Altman's grisly Anchovy
Skull reminded of maggots, thus fulfilling the prophesy. Nice to catch
up on Bagley's work. I'd seen the Zebra two years before the date on it here,
Isabelle Scurry Chapman Cardinal 2010 mixed
media, recycled materials larger than life
Chapman's lint-bag birds, though mounted gaudily against vivid warning red walls, were goofy fun and quasi realistic. I liked the Cardinal for its verisimilitude — more obvious farther away — and the Roseate Spoonbill for its literal spoon bill though otherwise unlike any spoonbill I've seen, but her Black Vulture, Robin and buttoned (love them buttons) back Dove were mostly wads of lint, not much resembling anything avian, except we knew they were.
I have more pictures, some quite nice, but not
much more to say about other shows that night...
Dallas Art is often amazing, but some nights of it — attending openings around town — blow my mind how good it is. We started at Barry Whistler in Deep Elm where Linnea Glatt showed elegant shape studies — variously textured sewn circles on roughly rectangular paper, framed or hung free.
Linnea Glatt -
When I started
photographing and writing about her work three decades ago, those were also
circles in squares and rectangles, only they were three-dimensional with
heavy stone and wood and hydrocal. These latest pieces extend her long trajectory
of simplified geometry. Now, that third dimension is tiny — threads,
tufts and knots on paper waving slightly off the gallery wall.
Linnea Glatt signs a piece for Dan Pritchett
Many of Linnea Glatt's
(pronounced linn A glott) early work were personal spaces. She
called them "A Place to [something],"
like A Place to Perform next to the Bath House Cultural Center or
the earlier, A Place to Gather, on the campus of Richland College,
when she taught there. All these decades I've enjoyed contemplating and
photographing her work, this is the simplest, yet not without texture,
line, shape and a deep feeling of space. These are not new. Took
me awhile to get into the sewn circles.
Linnea Glatt Merging 2010 thread
on mulberry paper 12 x 20.5 inches $700, 850 framed
Her work is so serene I am shy to junk up the experience with words, but I'm still startled how close to the bone she makes simplifying her visions ours.
Linnea Glatt Random Gradation 2010 suite of 25 drawings
individually signed and numbered 36 x 36 inches $2,500, 2,950 framed
From a foot tall to room-size here, her textured
simplicities are as gorgeous close up as a room away. Varying sizes of thread
knots comprise the three-d gradation of this circle.
Here in close-up detail is an intersection of two shapes. A circle in the middle (right) and ground texture on the left (outside).
Christine Bisetto Therewithal 2006-2010 paint swatches $300
simple and more complex:
Continuing 500X artists' long-time fascination with and exploration of mundanity,
here are a stack of paper color swatches tacked to the wall, rendering common
objects into noteworthy fine art at an affordable price, and if you don't
like something, how hard would it be to reshuffle?
Christine Bisetto After 2010 rope and tape $300
White rope and pink tape etched into a dimensional jumble. The shadow hard to the left, because this piece is just inside the front door, with bright, diffuse daylight streaming in the big rusted iron door. More mundanity become art by intention and hanging on a gallery wall. And, of course, because an artist put it there. Beautiful and enigmatic, a tangled narrative, a puzzle of sorts with jig-saw shapes. A story line leading into itself but looping aorund, too. Like most of the best art and stories do.
Current, mostly new artist members downstairs.
Rosemary Meza-DesPlas The Good Body 2010 hand-sewn human hair
an all-star collection of work by artist "graduates" from Texas'
oldest art co-op in a show I had to stop and ponder every few feet all
around. Amazing variety of superb work by artists who have or
are becoming Dallas' best and best-known artists. But a few names conspicuous
in their absense.
Bryan Florentin Sontag 15 photograph (ink on paper) 2009 $350
I liked this series of "quotes" from
Susan Sontag's On
next frame was a near-total blur. The last was a quote
from Nietzsche, "To
experience a thing as beautiful means: to experience it neccessarily wrongly." Odd,
perhaps, for art to directly quote from books, but it works, makes us
think, ponder, wonder, feel. A few paragraphs later in the book, Lewis Hine says, "If
I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug a camera."
Nancy L. Brown untitled
Deja vu left me to track down my Of
Wallpaper & Ohter Repeating Patterns story about a similar night of
art two years ago, when Nancy Brown showed similar shapes and color combos
at MFA, probably after perfecting them at the X.
Pauline Hudel Smith Between 2 collage / works on paper $1,000
The was the right one of a pair of collages. I've gone back and forth on that other one, automobile-related, maybe, but subtler, smudgier shapes and colors that eventually rubbed me wrong. I liked it, then I didn't, then I did, now I don't. No telling how long I'll stay in this camp. Unlike the hard edges in this discomposed poster — if that's what it it, I love the chair and still life on the table, left for us to fill in the details.
The other collage, that I admired the effort of but did not want to present here as something I like enough to show, because I don't quite, has colors merged in a murky fleshy yellow-orange. Is something so wrong, it almost acquires rightness. Worse, it's flattened by a piece of glass that always reflects paintings on the other side of the room, further confusing the issue for this photographer.
Something there has always been at the 500 that's
more experimental-willed than successfully secured into space. A willingness,
if you will, to fail. The attempt more important than any resulting aesthetic
success. Better to bend the minds of the eyes watching than to make it perfect.
C. J. Davis Plan #9 2010 Playground 2010 Better Fashion 2010
paper, acrylic, ink, crayon, tape and collage on paper
I couldn't choose among this trio. Kept coming back to photograph another one. I may yet use the image of just one, but all three still startle my thinking when I see or remember them again. Boggle my brain. I remember when Davis was the first I saw who incorporated bumps — big ones near protrusions, not just painterly impasto piles — into small paintings. How can anyone stay surfing on the front edge of wave after wave. Hardly seems likely. But here he keeps it going in subtler dimensions.
Amazing that 500X grads keep making art that moves into stranger new territories without lifting pen off paper, mind off art. The one on the right may yet be my favorite. So loose, so free, so perfectly balanced and composed, and not just the shapes. A perfect imperfection floating in all that ground white. All three together, The Orange sisters in Trio Vision.
I'm still torn among showing all
three small and one large, whatever ends up in
the space above.
Diane Sikes Delineate (Study) altered book 2010
Obviously a 500X member hanging onto its heavy Graphic Arts Sensibility phase. I'm not sure who started this book-shredding continuity here and there and probably everywhere, but I like it. Only seems natural when book covers and pages and books themselves are blurring out of our collective reality. A familiar object. A goldmine of references and materials we identify with and into. Now art of its detritus, separating into component elements of intended and unintended grace and beauty.
Jennifer Pepper Luna Caterpillar drawing on magnetic tape case 2010
graphite, gesso, paper, plastic
Soon as I figured this was one not two I did not like it (the left one first). But the feeling stayed intense, so I photographed them. Then I came back to photograph again. On the third visit I shot both, having finally realized the obvious diptych. Still so much about it that irks. But it's a more appreciable antagony every time I see it.
Randall Garrett Been a Son Bleeding Vessel Rock Fu
Every single time I see more Randall Garrett art,
it is different from the last seventeen times I saw some. And these three
are obviously of a series. The mind that must conceive these strange visions
and still is able to organize other amazing artists to show at Plush
is beyond my ken.
Iris Bechtol Something watercolor
and charred material on paper 2010 $250
Chuckled when I saw this. Then I thought
it through, realizing how well it fits in the art anti-art zeitgeist
that's so often experienced at 500 over the decades. Reproduced small like
this, the image looks more like something a little more than just something. Maybe
a piece Bechtol muffed in the making and brought anyway — or
it was always planned to be the smirch it appears. Maybe it's just
something that happened made manifest. Whichever, it's deeply appropriate
in this building. Some thing. To think about or be.
Shelby Cunningham Bunnies in Boxes $25 each
Cute Bunnies in clear plastic boxes for Christmas
on a table with other $25 items for Christmas sale cheap. In vivid reds,
pinks, orange, blacks and white. Almost too cute for comfort, but even at
$25, they didn't move from the table in the little members' space around
the wall from the office downstairs. In the same space many other artists
have presented toy-like objects over the decades.
Mark Clark Merry Christmas paint on cardboard $25 each J R Compton Collection
I bought a firecracker by Matt Clark — art that looks like one — one of maybe a dozen, hand-painted, each slightly different, on the table where the Bunnies in Boxes were, each repeatedly warning Merry Christmas.
Such a visually percussive end of the year celebration, Solstice, Christmas, New Years, whatever. I liked the iconic juxtapose of concept and execution in the simple, red cylindrical shapes with a long woven white fuse. An explosive Merry Christmas. Perfect for the holidays now or my living room later. Nice, too, buying from 500 X gallery-sitting members who'd never heard of me or probably this website. And it came in a genuine 500X paper bag.
Dodd Scrapyard Icon steel
Dodd is a juxtaposer of not-all-that-absurd sculptural combinations.
Color, texture and shape combos either nobody ever thought of before,
or they dared not express those dimensional notions. Dodd does, repeatedly.
Playful, enigmatic, impossible. Unexpected mixes of color, shape, pattern
and connections that seem all the more
plausible, practical, probable given a little willingness to suspend
disbelief. Yet with sometimes a wicked sly sense of humor running through.
Jerry Dodd Goalposts
of Life (slight detail) steel,
From classical sword shapes to abstract
visions in unlikely architecture, Dodd's work is crafty, colorful,
intelligent and deeply amusing. That big roomful of sculpture at
the Bath House is like a scattered little circus and bigtop
Jerry Dodd Shelter steel
Some could even be mistaken for the circus tents,
with us audience looking through, into and out of.
Jerry Dodd Green Pliers (top detail)
What other sculptor would want to or even could put this odd, complex steel flag on top,
Jerry Dodd Green Pliers (middle detail)
... connect those disparate elements with a monochromatic
pincing pair of green pliers in the middle, then finial the whole incomprehensible
collection into an almost ordinary stand?
Jerry Dodd Flail #1 2010 paint
Of all his intra-juxtaposed pieces in this diverse little show, however, it is Flail #1 that best exemplifies that ability to pull off marrying such diverse forms into one entity. It's my favorite and the hardest to-get-my-mind-around piece there. All these flailing bits of metal oddly melded into such an implausible combine that I still shake my mind in wonder.
Conjecture of flow and shape unions tie all together in time, space, color and shape. And Flail as a name is just short of magnificent. This self-divergent base somehow holds all those colors, shapes and other dimensional shenanigans into one remarkably disparate work, squirting up from its triangular fortress base and out on all of us who dare enter that circus of sculpture.
As the opening reception thinned out, I asked Dodd how he managed to put together all that diversity, each time a different batch, into such unity, he said he'd been doing it a long time.
Having a Wonderful Time Wish You Were Here
mixed media collaborative collage
Smarmy title but a tight composition on top a pile of classic postcards. Monochromatic old brown with subtle bits of pinks, oranges, blues and white. Both transoms really help, The central dark city guilty of perfect placement. The best of the bunch.
Show organized by Susan Lecky, who started this collaborative collage on its way with that stack of postcards through and among a set group of women artists who have done these sorts of collaborations over the years. Mayhaps a figurative map of all the places it wended its way back and forth across the US of A to be seen and shown in the hallway at the Bath House Cultural Center.
Irwin Lightstone For My Aunts 2010 archival inkjet on canvas stretched on fabric
24 x 48 inches $1,200
Irwin's a bird-photographing friend I had no idea had quiltist tendencies, beyond the birds. But this was the only among the quilts and quilt-like objects in the back room I liked. Its colors are not to be denied. Its digital photo heritage probably more obvious than I can begin to understand. When I asked him at the lake as we watched a mob of coots, ducks, gooses and pelicans, he said the image for each square was folded eight times.
See the continuing ThEdblog for oddly illustrated notes on my progress through this website and the rest of my life.
Continued on Art Here Lately #12
All Contents of this site are Copyright 2009 or before by publisher J R Compton.
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cumulative index count
#11 - count since December 17 2010
= since September 13 2010
1432 @ #9 w ro2 & Levee
174 when bunnies up ; 260 b4 cantu; 595 b4 corazon; bout 640 after tsa; 928 at FX; 1102 b4 pat forrest; 1259 b4 hood art; 1322 b4 botany; 1369 b4 Fort Worth, and with numbers like this, I'm on vacation.