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This year's New Texas Talent show is a little lackluster, but these caught my attention:
Lori Giesler The Things They Carried 36 x 32 inches mixed media $2,500
We attended the opening, and I brought my great little art camera and made photographs of the usuals — work that grabbed my attention and kept it; work that pissed me off, so I'd have to figure out why; work I thought I liked for some, often yet-unknown reasons; and work I thought I could say something about, not necessarily yay or nay. I squeezed ten of those images — from the 28 I photographed around the gallery, and set about scattering them down this page, so I could conjure words to fill in between.
But first I chose one I liked best to top this abstracted bit of story, not necessarily best in show. The others were in order of like for awhile, but the more I pondered that, the less I cared. It already took too long to get to this part.
I think of it as dimensional, but in a dimensionless space. I like the way the figure and ground tends to shift and interchange between. Like focusing a reality into a photograph, the dominant back tire repeats softly in other hues in the far yellowish ground and the interchange of lines that get lost in the wrinkled and textured white areas give this picture more depth than otherwise might have been possible — and almost more volume.
Her outlines hold, but the expanse between her and anything floating in this frameless rectangle take us back to the painter's concepts, partially incomplete, with scraps of a duller opaque gray floating by. The child's limited opacity adds to the mix of all that depth fun. Her arms out as if flying through the memories lined and outlined over splotched white and circled memory and laterally-displaced mind and hair.
Adrienne Leprete City Walk with a Rock 7 x 14 inches ink on paper $500
This is a color photograph of a black, white and grays image. A map, I think, and a drawing with a building and a rock and circle-lined trees, three or so of which may nearly dominate this scape in tonal reality, a sloshed watercolor texture for earth and grass, while the rock claims the mass of outlined negative space balancing the building in the valley. Also are houses as lines, roads, paths or directions. I believe there may be scale to the walk's map, but not just that.
I assume the rock is smaller than shown — possibly considerably, though it dominates this rendering's landscape. Perhaps its finder found it nearly first or at an important and perhaps unmapped juncture, because they remember from whence, and everything else about the walk followed that momentous find. It may be tiny in this scale of things. I'd like that to be thus. If we've ever saved a rock from a memorable journey, we know it is.
Gerald Syler UN-7 40 x 30 inches oil on canvas $1,350
First and foremost, I like the colors and the scribbling way they display. I see a kid with an orange T-shirt on the right. I'm not sure he's really there, but it's not my favorite part of the drawing. The dynamic yet amorphous mass on the left takes that prize, this time for mass and those colors. The shape is fine but doesn't rock my boat. But those hues work especially well together with dancing lines and twisting accumulation into a dynamic mass.
Frank Richards Caddo Lake #1 photography 16 x 20 inches $350
Counting this, there are at least three pieces I would have enjoyed writing about, but my photographs (like this) did not turn out well — usually blotted by rectangular reflections in glass or inopportune shadows in poorly-lit corners. Frank Richards' Caddo Lake #1 photograph is right here, because I want to show it, but that nasty reflection of a brightly-framed piece across from it is annoying, still I wanted to write about it. Maybe later, I can get a better image from Craighead Green, even the original, artist's submission JPEG might be better than all this organic shape interfered with a standard white-inlined brown rectangle. Ugh!
This rendition of image is a travesty, and I apologize to the artist. When we see on the wall at the gallery, we can almost overlook those nasty reflections. Cameras, however, must see, and I don't want to mess of the photo stomping out the offending reflection.
But I like this subtle color photograph's long, dark hollow of dripping trees, with its thin slice of skylight sifting down and Great Blue Heron flying away with its gray shadow reflection on the dark water and small leafy plants shining from the balancing side in what sunlight they can find in this darking wet world. All ruined by the framed artwork echoing among the gray and green vegetation. If we cannot view the image without the noise of the reflection, should I even show it?
Should it have been that way in the show?
Chris Bingham Come at Me Bro mixed media 20 x 14 inches $1,200
This is not a favorite, fitting instead into the category of pissed-offed-at-ness, although there seems also to be twice-slashed, almost paralleled diagonals of more abstracted reflection, but maybe that's intentional. Clearly confrontational, Bat Boy with his splatters and splotches on the wall behind him — as if he'd been engaged in a black snowball fight — are ready for a fight or revenge, as his neo-geo veins in pink face, arms and hand rise to meet the occasion of us staring at him staring back, his odd red herringbone skin blotting out all expression, but we know he isn't happy.
Tracey Harris Indulge, While You Still Have Time 18 x 24 oil on panel $5,000
I didn't see the little colored flags fluttering up from the pages of these oddly-titled books till I'd read their titles several times — even lightening one so you can almost read it, but the more I see these, the more I like, and I think they are about to take over the shelf. The blocky shadows give this painting a solid dimension and the titles lend quirk and merciful humor that joins the happy flags flying.
Carroll Swenson Temple of Growing Up 38 x 45 inches mixed media $2,900
This slice of life triple proscenium opens doors to someone's private and inner life and their consequent and subsequent joy, but decorates it extensively in and out of the alcoves, so despite the business of decor inside the succession of rooms, there's where our eyes want to go, then circle back around for all those other details. Maybe I just want to like this but appreciate all the texture lightened in the gold and amber browns and stars against all those growy but darkly greens and busy blues.
Adrei Renteria The Drought 90 x 63 inches mixed media $1,600
This was the first piece I photographed once I'd wandered in the gallery a while. I had in mind going through the show before committing any to silicon, but once I started making photos, I continued semi-automatically. We assume these tattered figures are Indians, who might be getting around to dancing for rain — most are already lined up. The adwear fragments help the post-apocalypticallity of it and push the mix of solid and scribbled lines, odd bits that only look like cloth, shapes and those protruding masses that drip their shadows on the wall.
It's almost an opposite of the piece above. Except for the wild abstracts of color and shape in the costumes, we don't get involved much with the humanity here, and there's no obvious narrative except the woman pouring water. Six or more figures just stand there wearing interestingly textured, colored, and formed clothes and semblance of garments, faces obscured or averted. I'm ready for the dance to begin, but they are not quite ready.
Jeanne C. Neal Reversion 18 x 20 inches acrylic on panel $950 and
Jeanne C. Neal Back Thoughts 16 x 20 inches acrylic on panel $850
Reversion is "a return to a previous state, practice or belief." In Biology, it's " the action of reverting to a former or ancestral type." But how that definition applies to these realities of color and shadow, shape and texture, is beyond my ken. I could like it, but now, and almost immediately, I chose to accept its search for some relation to reality as we think we sometimes perceive it.
The one on the right has solid areas of color with splotches that looks a little like a down-the-mountain ravaging river place with solid areas of pink, black and gray. The other one on the left with pink-orange shadows still baffles me, yet I like them. They are comfortable, but largely unencumbered by object realities, which we sometimes just don't need. I'd worried about the slick magazine publisher editor co-juring with perhaps the most esoteric of our hometown gallerists, and whether they had to agree upon every winner or did they each choose their own, or whether they allowed the other some finite number of separate selections. Or did their mutual confusion dull this show unduly as it sorta so seems?
It's just not as there as so many other New Texas Talent shows have been before. That disappointment led me down the wordless pathway. For awhile, I just lost interest, then the photos I made ganged up on me, and I finally had to write this.
More show info, including Juror's Statement and about them, but I haven't yet seen info about where each entrant is from. I recognize a few names, but I always want to promote Dallas artists, and if I don't know who they are, that task is more difficult.
Who all was in attendance we can not know. Who are not are plain to see. Later, perhaps, more artists showed, so did not here. And some may not have wished to be so identified. We were early, hoping to miss the madhouse CG often becomes, and at least one artist named above had written to insist she was there later.
A busy day of seeing art in late middle July
Anila Quayyum Agha Intersections at the Contemporary
This is the singular image that has seared into my mind, recurring in empty, dark moments and night- and day-dreams ever since I saw it sometime the middle of July this year. The Contemp has had a remarkable series of optical delusions in that space, and this is one of its better.
The box in the middle is a wrought-iron intricacy with a bright light casting delineated shadows filling the otherwise dark gallery. I stayed in its presence a long time, taking photographs I hoped would thrill you as much as it did me and got unrecognizable fellow viewers silhouetted to show scale. Talk about presence.
I just did not give a damn about the long line of very large paintings by some famous painter guy I thought must be dead by now in the Hall of State left from the walk-up entrance. Hardly fulfilling the destiny of an artspace that calls itself Contemporary. Not horrible, just not particularly "belonging to or occurring in the present."
The other large room — the one thing the Contemp has in spades is large rooms — full of stand-up lamps was amusing and more probably contemporaneous, but hardly earthshakingly original or inspiring, though I liked looking and touching and mind-toying the similar shapes and mirrorish repetition of thin vertical shafts supporting delicate bulbs often bare. And the miasma of cables and cords all around on the floor.
Art Jump — Love the Top-Knot floating
More contemporary was this display going on in another large connecting gallery. Seems silly to describe spaces at The Contemp as big, when they almost all are, but it is and I tend to. I think these guys — one on his stomach and the other momentarily floating in air — were not official, though possibly doing it with permission. One of the things photography does well is suspend animation, and I still remember those images in that book late that last century, so this is as good an illustration as ones there. The guy lying down might have read about or seen the famous jump series by Philippe Halsman, or he might have thought he was being original, but I especially liked the top-knot and red sox, though the backdrop art seemed from yet again another era entirely.
art in the steps down to the parking lot under the canopy
After all the art in the Contemp the first time, I think, since I my presence was requested there for video interviews on its presupposed multiple of its founding — actually of the establishment of its first semi-permanent building instead of the organization that just so simply and eloquently blotted out historic facts and added names and confusing factoids to eliminate the org's true founder.
I was distinctly out of my element / hopelessly bored waiting till my dear friend Patricia Meadows, whose interview was scheduled before mine, but she had called to find out, and learned they were running late, and I didn't even have their phone number. But when Patricia arrived, it was old home week, mellow with gentle conversation, although when it was my turn to interview, Videographer Stan Matthews less than subtly nudged me to rant on about all the silliness with The McKinney Avenue Contemporary vs. The Contemp's own history, and I'd lived through all that too long already and didn't want to deja vu all over it again. Besides Patricia and I buried our hatchets at a David & Linda Hickman party some time back.
When Matthews was on the D-ART (or whatever it was called then — I think DVAC) Board and doing a flick flacking that org, he wanted me to spout dirt on DARE / The MAC, but after Patricia and I talked amicably in the waiting / board room this time about happy and less-happy, non-art-related topics like diabetes and other fun stuff, they called me in for my interrogation, and Stan tried to steer me, I wasn't interested anymore, except to say I'd long-ago discovered The Contemporary was commemorating a serious mis-count of anniversaries, because on one, long-ago D-ART newsletter cover, a headline proclaimed about their first anniversary, then in littler print no one remembers, of their new building on Swiss Avenue — neatly deleting their first two years under their actual founder Mary Ward, first in the financial building in Turtle Creek then a minor space at 500X, they were anxious to forget anyway.
Tim Best Under the Leaves Shadows
This sort of thing — both writing on the photograph then scissors-outlining shapes written on over the up-the-tree view have all been done with photography a long time, but putting them all together with ripped and shredded and cut brown paper is worthwhile still sometimes. I'm sure I'll eventually feel need to read the writing, but I like the browns and blues and greens and accidental whites, on brown paper. It goes good. Might be awhile till I track down where I saw this, but at least I got the artist's name and title.
Mi Hee Nahm Writing & Shredding 2014 mixed media
Susan (dark on the left) and Anna (right in stripes) liked this piece. I'm fairly certain I've seen it or something very like it a long time ago. But it was worth taking a pic. It reminded me of finger- and toe-nails in clear vials I saw many more years ago in a small gallery run by a woman whose Dallas Art historic name now escapes, that was the first art opening I'd ever attended. No idea when, but the where was upper Oak Lawn toward downtown — I picture driving up a hill toward Revershon and a small gallery that might have been my first-ever somewhere with official art presence in that area. Except there was a gallery in the mountains over where my mother grew up who did vague Georgia O'Keefe paintings my parents would always drive to when we were vacationing up there.
Trey Egan Renegade Anthem Carry Me On 2015
Anna especially liked Egan's paintings, and after looking deep into their illusory white splat depths floating over bright chromas and swoops, I did, too. Once we were in on it, it was easy to get lost in those paintings, and I had dimensional dreams of them weeks after seeing them at Chris Worley's new gallery on the levee. Odd sweet synthesized moments still sneak in when I'm trying to remember some things totally other. Wish my photo more approximated that sensation.
The depth of some of the components and largely flat elements is more than just apparent. But more perceptible than real, though it is ever so slightly real, also. It is a slightly dished spread of paint. Impasto in its most important, though not necessarily most noticeable details. It's almost more of a sense of depth than anything of real dimension, since mostly this configuration of colors and textured details in this and others of Trey's work, is perceptible rather than physical. And that, I think, may be the fun of it.
Trey Egan Renegade Anthem Carry Me On 2015 (detail)
All the detail s are likewise important, and now I wish I'd photographed more of Egan's images, but luckily Anna Palmer photographed the same one I liked best. This image was taken as close to the details that keep running through my mind that, though parts of them are perceptively out-of-focus, they explain much of what I am trying to explain about them, but I'm not sure exactly what. A painter, which I am not, might understand.
Someone has written for (or by) Cris Worley that, "In Trey Egan’s paintings, channels of rich color intermingle with indefinite organic forms. His lush and abstract oils on canvas exemplify the beauty of pure paint and are made through the artist tapping into his subconscious without the purpose of depicting specific visual imagery."
Which seems an apt description of how all paintings should be created, but surely are not. Egan's Statement makes more sense than most. I cannot allow myself to read another writer's story about this painter — at least till I finish this attempt, but here's a link to John Zotos' Wise with the Feeling — Trey Egan at Cris Worley Fine Arts, and maybe John explains it better than I. I've just noticed that the show runs through tomorrow as I write this, so there's the barest essence of a chance if you haven't already you could see this in person.
I've just begun after too long delay.
Patrick Turk These Serpents Squeeze Tighter cut paper and clear acrylic 50 x 48 inches $7,000
This was at Cris Worley, also. Back off and it looks like an intricate puzzle, come in close and it's photographs repeating into infinitudes, although I believe this is the entire image.
Not Sure Where I Saw This, But Once I Did, I had to Photograph It
I'm pretty sure it was not anything approaching an art space, but it was over there with The Contemp, Cris Worley, Holly Johnson and so many other Dragon Street Art Gallery outliers. Sometimes when I'm in a dimensional art mood/mode I slip dangerously in and out of lines and shadows. Other times I stay lost in them.
I do not fully understand how or why it is that sometimes I can write — or type — descriptions and opinions about art, while most of the time I cannot. And that during most of those times that I cannot, I'm wholly interested, nay, fascinated and almost entirely took up with birds, the photographing of them and the understanding of some miniscule portion of their existence. Why they do what they do and what's interesting about that. And that can go on for months, maybe years, almost always at least weeks.
See my near-daily Amateur Birder's Journal for my arty and non-arty bird pix.
Then something intelligent yanks me back to being interested in art again. Specifically Dallas art. It's not really compartmentalized on purpose. Like Trey Egan's paintings, there's an intentional accidental quality about it. And when it happens I don't always take advantage, but when I do, it is often, though not always, gangbusters fun. I asked Charles Dee Mitchell, whom I still believe to be Dallas' best art writer / critic ever, some time ago why he does not continue. He answered simply that "it's too much work." I understand that, but sometimes — the best of times certainly, the work turns to fun, and I again engage that part of my brain. It happens. I am not wholly in control.
Right now, these moments, it's fun. When it stops, I might just stop in the middle of a sentence and have to wait. Or maybe I'll thoroughly spell check what I've writ, because I'm lousy at spelling and I make up words that even I don't know how to spell, then post it online anyway. Maybe even blurb about it on Facebook or somewhere in a couple days, so somebody might read it.
Gray Aluminum Strapped into Place
Only other art stop I remember from that day this long ago was Sun & Moon photo gallery that always promises to put me on their mailing list but never has, probably never will. It seems a good policy. I don't mob the place, I just bounce in every once in a while, usually after months of not. They had many large and little photographs inside, but probably what I most enjoyed about that gallery, was this large metal object outside, although I like the flowing mass of sidewalk chunks and rails swirling around it, also — although the cars that sometimes park near or around it are of so little consequence that I purposely crop them out of the next shot.
It is this standing-upright, slightly curved object, seen from both front and back in these photographs I was compelled to make when I was last there, on the way to becoming something else? I don't know which its maker would consider front or back. The photograph above faces out from the front of the gallery behind it. The darker gray image below is seen just after exiting the air-conditioned cool of the building and looking out.
The darker side seems to be darker than the once-standard Kodak 18% gray reflectance card, and the lighter side above is lighter. Not that Kodak was necessarily correct in that attempt to standardize exposure-meter-induced camera tonality rendering.
Gray Aluminum Strapped into Place - exterior
I'm a fan of photography as art, and Sun & Moon shows many fine examples. I have never been disappointed visiting there, except when they absurdly promise to put me on their, etc. But this object reminds me of a radar emitter. Years ago, I made a book about radar, with schematics and illustrations from other books I found at the library. Through it, I depicted radar as a communications medium, most of whose emissions never bounced back, so a very imperfect communication. I see no such accoutrements here, but I imagine it is scanning the community like I sometimes do and have over the years. That it does not seem to be electricly-connected makes it even better a device. More powerful, not less.
Here's a Corporate “Art Show” that promised to “bring the digital world back to analog.”
I keep getting utterly terrible press releases from hotels trying to cash in on art. I got the email August 12. Then it took till August 28 to get one image of the work as I requested. But it doesn't change what I had thought about it a couple weeks before. They wrote:
"From palm-sized to life-sized. Be among the first to see the next generation of public art."
I disagreed: Palm-size I think I understand. Life-sized can be almost anything. An old-growth Pecan tree can be pretty big, but a baby human's palm or art that size is still only palm-size, but art of a human palm could be the size of a Palm tree. The hotel's opening phrase just doesn't mean anything, but I guess it sounds vaguely hip, or about as hip as they can manage.
"Hyatt Regency Dallas brings the digital world back to analog with the unveiling of its InstaGallery, a first-of-its-kind art exhibit that celebrates the convergence of art and social media. The downtown hotel, along with a panel of expert judges, has curated a selection of Dallas-inspired Instagram photos, bringing them out from behind the screen and onto the walls of their lobby. "
So, to the Hyatt Regency, showing digital images is bringing digital back to analog, and likewise to their limited understanding, the convergence of art and social media has just this minute happened, and all the brilliance and all the sludge in the form of social conscience that has invigorated and/or plagued Art in the last twenty years never happened, but they are inventing it now.
"First of its kind?" Who's kidding whom? It looks like a Chamber of Commerce booster shot.
"On Tuesday, August 18th from 6 –7:30 p.m. the hotel will host an open house to celebrate the launch of the gallery and honor the photographers of the winning images. Please see the media alert below for more information and let me know if you have any questions. We hope you can join us."
Photographers? Just photographers? What happened to painters and sculptors and everybody else? As a photographer who has had work shown in more than 100 exhibitions, I'm all for photography as art — although it has not always been so considered in my lifetime, but there are so many mediums precluded by this idiot show, why not just call it a photography show. Anybody wanna bet there's some digital imagery included?
Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion Unveils First-Ever InstaGallery
I know she can't help her last name, but what an amazingly appropriate surname name for a Public Relations flak.
"WHERE Hyatt Regency Dallas
300 Reunion Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75207
WHEN Tuesday, August 18th
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
"WHAT An open house to unveil "the city's first InstaGallery," exhibiting 15 Instagram images from Dallasites, showcasing why Dallas is the best place to live, work, visit and play."
I did not attend the show or the hour-and-a-half-opening, but I love that this hotel press release gave us no more than a week's notice of an event they've known about for months. Not that art-knowers or art-appreciators would be this mess's primary targets.
"Hyatt Regency Dallas celebrates a new generation of photographers with the opening of the first-ever InstaGallery, a curated exhibit of Instagram photos, which will be on display in the lower lobby of the hotel starting Tuesday, August 18th.
Do a search online for Instagallery to see just how original The Hyatt Regency Dallas really is. My search page says, "About 364,000 results (0.22 seconds)" but Wikipedia had never heard of it.
"The collection of 16 images were selected by a group of expert judges, including Stan Richards of The Richards Group, Chris Kleinert, Hunt Consolidated, Inc. and John Scovell, Woodbine Development, Jeyson Peaz of @InstaDFW, Fred Euler, General Manager Hyatt Regency Dallas and Pulitzer-prize winner and Dallas Morning News photograph editor, Irwin Thompson. Using popular hashtags, such as #Dallas, #BIGDallas and #Dallasskyline, the judging panel chose the images that best represent 'The Big D'."
This press release calls them "Expert Judges." But experts at what?
Judging from the selected work shown above, they are not expert at judging fine art or fine art photographs — except for the ad photographer and the traditional Daily Newspaper guy who picks photos for the newspaper, there's nobody who really knows fine art, except perhaps where to buy it.
Stan Richards is really really really big in the Ad Biz and knows design backwards and frontwards; and he's the PR-writer's boss, so of course he was selected to judge this … ah … exhibition. I even bet he has a distinguished collection of fine and ad art somewhere. Chris Kleinert is Co-President of Hunt Oil Company, and as we all know well, oil company execs are experts in visual art. Though perhaps he, too, has an amazing collection of the stuff.
John Scovell is President and chief executive officer of Hunt Oil Company — a shoe-in for aesthetic decisions. Jeyson Peaz is an ad photographer. A photographer? Who let a photographer in to judge this contest? Oh, gosh, here's another — somebody who judges photographs all day every day and has for decades, if not centuries.
Finalists include amateur, professional and aspiring photographers. The finalists were: Emma Kitto, Joseph Haubert, Kelsie and Lexi Aziz, Demarcus Harris, Cassandra Sanchez, Michelle Ovalle, Ravi Parikh, Jason Frost, Angie To, Zak Kaiser, Chris Allen, Cam Wetzel, Matthew Rojas and Will Rain. Thirteen winners is pretty amazing in a showing of fifteen pieces. Everybody wins!
"Photo Opportunities: At the open house event, there will be opportunities to photograph members of the judge's panel and the finalists with their images." Oh, yum! My fave kind of photographic coverage of an art opening/show — photographs of the judges and finalists with their images.
Dwayne's World — Irrational City at the Bath House
The Highlight of the Show was a performance by Randall Garrett and this zombie horde.
Not surprisingly, irrational.City was somewhat confusing — and dare I say it, irrational. If there is an explanation for this high and low tech extravaganza at the Bath House Cultural Center through August 1, 2015, it is either in Curator Dwayne Carter's irational.City novella online, the link list to all the artists in the show, or the full-color, fold-out program that attempts to explain it. That vibrant playbill says it's about "personal identities and narratives that are brought forth by the consideration of a fictional disastrous future" — what the show's radio promos called "dystopia."
But if that was this exhibition's theme, it morphed between the plan and the opening, as such grand-scale shows often do — and probably should. I'm not at all convinced that any perceived 'theme' matters. There's scads of good work here, and I have favorite pages in the online version, and I found many choice images and objects in the galleries. I attended and intently watched and photographed the opening night performance by Randall Garrett. I can't explain irrational.City, but that's hardly surprising.
Thor Johnson Didgeridoing Randall Garrett in Performance
It's an engaging romp through the sometimes dystopian mindset of some of Dallas' best visual artists. The show is a multi-media mix of flat, 3D and variously moving video objects on walls, monitors and floors, and audio emanating from a literal black box, and it's worth the visit, to get absorbed into the Irrational.City, and make up your own mind and identity.
Too bad you missed the opening, which had live music — my favorites from that soundtrack included: Thor Johnson on Didgeridoo in at least two places around the galleries, including him Didgeridoing directly into Garrett's laid-back body before his zombie horde stripped him [above], and Jay Wooldridge's haunting electric flute that echoed through the galleries, not to mention Randall Garrett's performance.
I had to go back during the days following to try to figure out some the art on the walls and pay attention to some of the art I'd missed in all the action opening night. On some pieces the lighting was just too much, blasting the middles, but leaving the edges dark, so I came back during daylight hours expecting the sun coming through the skylight would even it out, but it didn't.
Doin' The Shaman Shake — Raising the Dead
Some pieces are startlingly original. Lead curator — of three for this extravaganza — Dwayne Carter's works are enlarged images from his novella, which includes one page — the seventh spread down the website — that I liked mucho. As often, Carter scatters mostly golden-skinned female body parts — arms and hands, knees and a couple breasts, of course, through the composition — some recognizable, many not quite.
In that comic book two-page spread, star performer Randall Garrett in Satanic crimson scatters blurred-out greenbacks (As if the artist were afraid to show those familiar details, but we know it's lucre.) from a bulging wallet in his right hand. Garrett's performance at the opening was less obvious. His persona (identity?) may work better as Lucifer in Carter's Photoshopped novella than Death Warmed Over live and in muted colors in the main gallery. That page is in the online portion of the show, but not in the gallery. Perhaps it was too obvious.
Despite being an almost happy image, it's the devil we know.
Zombie Among Us Before the Performance
The Thor Johnson page (15 spreads down that same online page) I was most taken with is similar, with body parts that seem more human. In a black suit, white shirt and red tie, that young Dallas artist lies on green ground with flowers. Both compositions are strong with minimal captions and a max of exposed female flesh — just legs, a few hands and several arms.
Garrett's very popular performance — I'm not entirely willing to call it Performance Art, although that term is always slippery. And like I say, the crowd enjoyed it. I just didn't see much deep or intellectual lurking beneath its surface. No apparent subtext or dare I say, meaning. Though Garrett may have been distracted by a large and painful, very real-life spider bite on his hip that, while remarkably in character, was so painful as to almost keep him from performing that night.
So we watch Garrett wandering around in a cemetery, where he finds zombie corpses, raises them from the dead, then attempts to teach them to play musical instruments (As in making art?), but they're either too obtuse, spastic or tune-dumb. Then, when they're all up and bumping around, they wander aimlessly through the crowd, then gather back around him and take off most of his clothes, leaving Garrett in the zigzag dress you see above.
Thor Johnson irrational.City 4 digital print
Johnson's irrational.City 2 and 3 on the exhibition's walls are similar in image-looping, repetitive digital visual forms that manifest human, body-like shapes, and I don't think I could have chosen between them, either. But just as I was working up my pix of number 1 [below], I realized #4 [above] had more going for it, in what appears to be a touch more analog, thus slightly more human form. But I keep going back and forth on whether any of that matters, so both are here. And Thor's bad-guy monster face artworks still remind me of the Mangalores in The Fifth Element, though not as much as others of his earlier work has.
Thor Johnson irrational.City 1 digital print
After Johnson's and Carter's large-scale Dante's rings digital prints, I like Daniel K. Böhm's Generator 618, which comprises the showcard and black box [below] with their simple black lines of text and half-tone on white cardstock, and the even simpler black on black repeating circles and rectangles of the sound box with the standout circular GO groove logo.
You can read the card and know pretty much what it's about and know also that that info is most of what it means, which, like the photo it contains, has its own positive, wires-crosssed sensibility. The sounds it makes are happily spectacular in a color cartoon kind of way, and the whole loop of flat, printed black & white and sound is intriguing simple, entertaining and with that half-toned photo and the electronic resonance emanating, almost perfect, though only Böhm is credited.
As always, some artists tried too hard, and a few manufactured copies. I saw one either unconscious or indefensible Frances Bagley rip that too-resembled her first public notes wall a few years back, although it might just be a case of great minds flowing in the same gutter. In the four-color fold-over that must have had an earlier deadline than the show, the curator goes to complex lengths to explain what the show is not, more than what I think I saw there.
According to Chief Curator Dwayne Carter:
“The irrational.City exhibition focuses on constructions of identity amid an imagined post-apocalyptic cultural landscape. The artists featured in this show use a variety of media to create personal identities and narratives that are brought forth by the consideration of a fictional disastrous future. By imagining scenarios and environments that are discordant in some ways with our current perception of the world, the artists explore issues that are associated with human responses to an irrational setting…”
Randall Garrett reading Canto I of Dante's Inferno
I keep wondering whether this show's artists knew that.
I didn't see much of identify, although I'm not sure I would recognize it. Identity is first-person-insular, and art as object, only can be. The artist's identity may show through their work, and if an artist is free to create, their personal style shows, while the artist has little or no control, which is as it should be.
Many artists either ignored or were ignorant of those defining dictates while providing something close to the realm of their response to the post-apocalyptic dystopia I kept hearing about on the radio (90.1 FM) the week before the opening. And there was a good, standing-room-only crowd in attendance, though many couldn't see much of the stage action, because the dead zombies, headstones and most of the performance occurred on or close to the floor.
Graveyard Swag by Randall Garrett $300 each / $5,000 total
There were also dribs and drabs of three- and two-dimensional objects scattered around the galleries. My favorites were the shaped gravestones that set the graveyard scene in the Garrett performance.
Along with the other curators, Carter organized the various, parts and events — an art show, several sound and video tracks and that one performance approaching art into one opening night. I wish I could explain it, but relying on my eyes, ears and photographs, I did not get close to twigging its essence.
Probably my own fault, I was focusing on focusing. One camera quit doing that, and I never really caught up with the action after that.
Dwayne Carter at the Opening
On my third trip to the Bath House, still hoping to figure out the show, I watched every minute of the French Y... Me, video collection showing on a white monitor at the main entrance to the big gallery, because its explanation, which I'd photographed, said it was about identity. That reservoir of five videos bills itself as "A Small Examination About Constructed Male Identity curated by Colette Copeland," and it comprised "five selected videos [that] employ absurdity and humor as a tactic to communicate different aspects of male identity."
Those rich, clean, and often subtle videos by French videographers might have been the best sub-collection of visual art in the show — and they kept moving. It was interesting and beautiful. I kept wanting to photograph its actions, so I could show you here, but there were bright reflections in it from across the hallway.
All the humans involved in irrational.City are linked & listed at irrational.City and it is a captivating romp through cyber space.
See also — more info from the pages of DallasArtsRevue
Michael Helsem's Can Painting Be Saved featuring the work of Dwayne Carter in DallasArtsRevue. Madness Culture Wars Turning People into Zombies Dark Bible Poetic reinterpretation of stories tells us more about ourselves And Carter's own site.
Prisoner of Pop: Randall Garrett's first performance and A studio visit with Randall Garrett in 2008
One of my faves among the humans in irrational.City is Thor Johnson's page, and though I haven't linked them all yet, every one I did, I found fascinating. Some even include full videos of the work in this show.
Mostly according to Wikipedia but slightly rewritten here: "Rasquache is a Spanish term of Nahuatl (Aztec) origin that started with the negative connotation of being lower class or impoverished. This sense was then revised by Mexican artists who transformed its have-not sensibility into a positive style. "Rasquachismo" is suited to dealing with the material and professional limitations faced by artists. It combines inventiveness with a survivalist attitude."
Rasquache art uses the most basic, simplest, quickest and crudest means to create the desired expression, in essence, creating the most from the least. The term can also be used to reference the bicultural inspiration from which these artists draw inspiration.
Artist and Writer Amalia Mesa-Bains writes that "In rasquachismo, the irreverent and spontaneous are employed to make the most from the least. One has a stance that is both defiant and inventive. Aesthetic expression comes from discards, fragments, even recycled everyday materials. The capacity to hold life together with bits of string, old coffee cans, and broken mirrors in a dazzling gesture of aesthetic bravado is at the heart of rasquachismo." When employed by female artists, she calls it Domesticana, but cautions that these terms should not be understood as applying to all Chicano artists. Making the most with the least is a statement of irreverence and is is both "defiant and inventive."
Rasquache has non-artistic usage as well and can be used to mean "ghetto." Behavior such as reusing plastic utensils and zip top bags could be described as "rasquache." Beyond being simply frugal, the rasquache philosophy also involves inventing new uses for conventional objects. This often means giving a new function to something that would conventionally be considered broken.
Glad we got that out of the way. Bernardo Cantu's show in the first gallery we see through the big rusting steel doors at 500X was Rasquache Wave.
The work is beautiful in lush colors and great composition, and when we get close-enough to see and understand more, we are offered the sweet treat of understanding Rasquache in more depth than we expected. The materials are common and cheap, but Cantu's art works its magic, and we understand. What we first conceive of as beautiful, upon closer inspection, reveals its common, sometimes tawdry materials, and that understanding brings more of a joy, like a joke on the art world.
That Stupid Horse Again …
It might be spinning by now, but I no longer care. One pair of pegasi is enough for this two-horse town.
I'd hoped to add this shot at the bottom of this story, where it belongs chronologically. But it looks so awful in its supposedly refurbished renewed older outer layer, I thought I'd bring to your attention up here.
Oh, and the new and old Pegasi have something else in common. Neither is spinning. Which made seeing and photographing it easier, but it was supposed to spin just like the older, higher Pegasus used to until 1974. I'm not disappointed. Spinning these things is expensive idiocy, and both Pegasi should be allowed to just stand there looking beautiful, except, of course, the new one doesn't quite do that.
Maybe I should add a "yet."
Trouble is, we can get far enough away from the old one to not see its warts, but most people can't get far enough from the new one, unless they're are in or on a downtown building with a view of that corner of the hotel. There aren't many street-level viewpoints, and there will be fewer when all the hotel's new trees are installed.
And the Old Pegasus atop the Magnolia Hotel looks new.
But I really needed the tele to photograph the older Pegasus. The new one stands close where we can see its rivet-like acne, but the old one is far enough away that we cannot.
Lowering the second half of the skeleton
Not sure why Dallas needs four Pegasi, but right now we got 'em. I have a feeling The City, in its near infinite lack of intelligence, will soon be wanting to get rid of the old red horses flying. What-do-you-wanna-bet?
In the early decades of the 20th Century, Dallas was often ridiculed as a one-horse town, but in 1934 it officially became a two-horse town when the two-sided Pegasus was mounted on the top of the tallest building west of the Mississippi. That Pegasus symbol was originally trademarked in 1911 by the South African branch of the Rochester, New York Vacuum Oil Company, which had originally used a stylized red gargoyle to advertise its horse-drawn carriage and steam engine lubricants, well before gasoline became a product.
A red gargoyle seems a more apt symbol for an oil company than a Pegasus, but red gargoyles were already atop The Old Red Courthouse, now the Old Red Museum, that was built downtown in 1892. Those terracotta figures are more properly called acroteria (architectural ornament) and are shaped into wyverns (Latin for serpent), which seemed appropriate for the seat of government.
Many of the facts in this story are from the American
Oil & Gas
History of the Dallas Pegasus
(She's not really an Historian just because she says so.) and CBS/DFW's Pegasus Relit from June 2013, when the old Pegasus
was again re-illuminated — and all their quotes are in quotations in this story that I have significantly shortened. I have
also been rooting out many of the already elderly and newly made-up factoids and historic inconsistencies.
The 1934/1999 Pegasus photographed from the Second Floor of the Omni Hotel
It has been unable to revolve up there since 1974 but it could be seen by the new Pegasus,
who is also not revolving yet. I bet this one just got dizzy and had to stop.
Completed in 1922, the Magnolia Petroleum building was the city's first skyscraper, and the tallest building west of the Mississippi. It may also have been, much later, "the first high rise in the United States to have air conditioning." Standard Oil of New York (Socony) acquired Magnolia Petroleum Company in 1925, and in 1934 the first Pegasus was raised to their roof, 450 feet up, and it's still there, although there have been many changes over the years. In 1955 the company changed its name to Socony Mobile Oil, and in 1966 shortened it to Mobil Oil. The Pegasus atop the Magnolia building continued to spin slowly until its motor stopped in 1974.
The big red horses on top of the Magnolia Building have long appeared to be looking back over their shoulders at something. Now we know its their projeny.
Raising the bolted-together halves of the skeleton
In 1977, Mobile Oil sold the building and its glowing sign to the City of Dallas. In 1994 the neon around the edges of the twin Pegasi stopped glowing, and the Magnolia building was restored and transformed into a 330-room luxury hotel, which reopened in 1999.
Project Pegasus raised more than $600,000 to repair and update its tower and rotation system, but the porcelain-coated steel signage and neon tubing had to be replaced with 16-guage steel panels, and "more than 1,000 feet of new neon in an attempt to remain faithful to the original design." "At Midnight on December 31, 1999, fireworks and celebration welcomed Pegasus back to the Dallas skyline."
My Moment of Recognition as they raised Pegasus' steel framework — Oh! It's a flying white horse.
In March 2013 the sign was turned off until the neon could be restored in June, and the much-updated old Pegasus has since "shined from dusk to dawn."
This, new, pristine, white, unibody skeleton is newly-created by Dallas' Tony Collins Art, but an updated version of an older red skin will be attached to it. That red, removed from the older Pegasus, was long an important part of the Dallas skyline and was recently discovered in a warehouse near White Rock Lake.
I kept waiting for the big red flying horse to show up, not realizing that the white steel grid I was watching being bolted together right in front of me was the Pegasus and would soon be mounted onto the base at left above.
It was at this point that the photographer achieved enlightenment, and the latest version of the Pegasus, which until early last century was usually presented as a big white horse that flies, achieved its latest identity. Eventually, the base will be covered in glass, to make it more of an adventure to climb up.
Pegasus Takes Flight
After slowly being raised and turned around, right about here the Pegasus, accompanied by a small drone (below) once again began to fly, to where it will spend the next however many years slowly turning around and around and around, supposedly impervious to strong winds and Dallas weather.
The new Pegasus lifted toward its swivel stand at left
We'll see. Downtown Dallas is far windier than The Windy City. And so far in the horses long history, everyone who has promised that their latest version would last, has been wrong, although the early promisers were right longer than subsequent ones.
Our older Pegasus still atop the Magnolia Hotel can be seen by the new Pegasus as it slowly turns around and around in its going-nowhere circles, apparently because the 1934 one did that. I think it probably got dizzy and just finally put on the brakes in 1974, and I don't understand why we should keep the symbol of inspiration and power — according to Greek Mythology, "Pegasus originally carried thunderbolts for Zeus" — turning slowly around and around in front of a hotel — nowhere near the 450 feet above street level where Dallas' older Pegasus used to twist in its circles, but now, since 1974 has stood its ground.
Both Old (high above in red) and New (not yet dressed in its refurbished
red skin from the Pegasus on top of the Magnolia Hotel) Pegasii
In its heyday the old Pegasus' neon lights (upper middle, above) could be seen from as far away as 75 miles, although pilots aloft said they could see it from as far as Waco (100 miles south). The new one can be seen from a few places around the hotel and maybe from atop the Magnolia Hotel, where the senior Pegasus can look down over it shoulder at the newbie.
There's a few places in the immediate neighborhood where it can be seen through the trees, but not much farther away, unless you separate yourself from the surly bonds of earth. I walked all around it the day its red skin was first supposed to be attached, but they were still fiddling with it and taking selfies up there, and it still was not revolving. I think it would be happier holding still.
Most recently, The City and others have been calling Pegasus "a symbol for creativity," which I hadn't heard before, but it's one of many things Pegasi signify. Among others, are knowledge, glory and inspiration, power, speed and imagination, heightened power of natural forces and the innate capacity for spiritualization and inverting evil into good; clairvoyance and the ability to perceive the magic within humans, strength, virility; lust, and sexual energy; the new millennium and new consciousness; the Muses, of inspiration and the beauty we bring to our life and the lives of others. Hoo haw, Dada.
Then there's springs, "According to legend," Wikipedia's entry on Pegasus reminds us, "everywhere the winged horse struck his hoof to the earth, an inspiring spring burst forth. And indeed there was a spring underneath the Magnolia Building that feeds Pegasus Park. Will there also be a spring under the new Pegasus in front of the Omni Hotel? The place is ripe for a pond or two.
Looking up at the low sculpture in front of the City's Hotel — before its revamped red skin is attached
I'm dreading the red and greatly appreciate the abstraction of our new white Pegasus, as is. Seems more like art and sculpture now — and less like another sign or corporate logo for Big Oil. But I'll be there when they finally get the skin on. And take one more picture.
Hecho in Dallas
The Atrium of LCC's back gallery — The object in the middle of the floor is a stool.
I tried not to think about it as I wandered into the two, widely separated and quite different besides, exhibition spaces of Dallas' Latino Culture Center, but my beautiful bird photographs were declined for this show, and it didn't make any sense that a committee — two women; two men, all with full Latino names and massive art educations — had instead selected what I saw there, about half of which I did not altogether appreciate.
It's always been a mixed show, and when artists enter competitive exhibitions we literally or figuratively pays our money (This one was free.), and we takes our chances. Unfortunately, this exhibition has too-long been separated into two distinct venues that look like two different shows — the elegant, back, atrium gallery whose skylight was screened back after I wrote sometime back about how delicate art on paper or fabric could be damaged by the direct sunlight slanting in.
And that long, ill-lit front room that also serves as an extended classroom.
Their atrium gallery may seem too small for an important, regional competition, but I believe a better implemented, smaller space might be better. Maybe add one, movable wall slanting out from the short, dark wall in the photo below, although that could, cut back on their other, multi-purpose uses for that space. I was dismayed when I came back to photograph the rooms, to see the atrium gallery filled with chairs. But within 20 minutes, they had the space wide open again.
The Back Gallery with the Atrium on the right
There's just too many pieces now, as there have been every time they've tried to fill both spaces. The only other, ongoing local metroplexian exhibition that widely samples art from this corner of Texas, was called Art in the Metroplex, though many of us just called it "The AiM show," which in many ways, it was. It had the quality we all aim for, and it often pointed artists into new directions many hadn't considered. But many successful years, AiM blinked out of existence without financial backing a few years ago.
It's back, though I haven't driven to the Fort Worth Community Art Center in the old FWAM (Fort Worth Art Museum) building to see it, so I can't say if it has maintained the superb quality of its earlier iterations. In its glory, AiM showed in a small gallery in the TCU Art Department's J.M. Moudy Art Building, and it was always a delight to wander with my camera through the rest of the building when not much was going on in the little gallery downstairs, and I discovered several remarkable Metroplex artists on my unescorted traipses through the less public parts of that building.
TCU's small space meant just a few pieces could be selected, which usually made it an amazing show, truly the best in this area. It helped that they hired singles of big-time art folk from out of town to jury it. I suspect if the LCC could bring themselves to use only the smaller, back, atrium space, this show could once again, be its own amazing. But the LCC's political need for a massive art show has become a distraction.
The Latino Culture Center's Educational Area cum Front
with its Dangerous-to-art Fluorescent Tube Lighting at full blast.
First thing in the front, educational room — where I have watched scattered groups of kids engaged in craft-like experiences with messy materials that seem the perfect activity to fill this expanse — was a truly mediocre photograph of our Million-dollar, Big Time Art Guy from Out of Town-designed bridge which connects downtown Dallas with its latest, let's-turn-some-slums-into-the-new-real-estate-heaven along Singleton Avenue.
I have made many mediocre pix of that bridge, and as much as I like having our very own bridge to nowhere right here in Dallas, I have seen many photographs better than this one, though none of mine. But the bridge will be there awhile, so there's still hope.
I can't show you how ordinary that bridge photo is, because wherever I stood to watch it, it gathered reflections. It's a big, kinda nice looking, bright white bridge against a night sky, with dimly-lit colors on downtown buildings on the far side. It is nice that we can see the shadow-and-bright latticework under the bridge, but otherwise it's a shot we've all already seen near to death of.
• Duke Horn The REAL Fun House 2014 oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Duke Horn's Fun House features way too many icons of popular culture to even begin to take seriously. Most of the characters in this glitzy, sexist fun-house presentation are scantily-clad young female humans. Whom we are to identify with, perhaps, are two short figures who might be children watching the extravaganza from the lower left corner. We see them from the back-only, and neither wears a shirt.
I like the machine between the woman in yellow and the one in red upstairs, though I'm not sure what it does or is supposed to. At the upper right of this busy painting is a mouthless blue native character with glowing yellow eyes and no mouth or ears, whom I like more than anyone else in the painting. Its down-turned palms hold vivid lips and teeth, in case it has anything handy to tell us. Meanwhile, The largest figure on the ground floor, is somebody's glorified hero, an unnamed Joker somebody must recognize, and I'll leave it to you what all this has to do with anything, including Latino Culture.
• José Cruz ¡Yo Pagué el Patol 2013 acrylic on wood, found chocolate tins, 24 x 24 x 2 inches
José Cruz' Yo Pagué el Patol (I Paid the Duck) grabbed my attention from the split second I saw it, well before I attempted to translate its title — and well before I sussed the emanations, but I have finally read the fine print down the right side. Those notes say, in English, "Warning: Evil has a maiden name! She will open your heart but devour your soul! When you sleep with the devil … you will get scorched! Revenge is a dish well served cold! Assumption is the Mother of all Fuck-Ups!"
That last, most famous four-letter word is chastely ripped and torn, so it doesn't really say fuck.
But I am taken with the dynamic feel of the painting and the contrast between the light penciled, bug-eyed duck on the left with the hind end of a dark, ivory-colored pig on the right. I assume those are farts it is lofting, a condition all humans and nearly everybody else on this planet shares, one way or another.
José Cruz wrote: "¡Yo Pague el Pato!" means I paid the duck! An old saying my mother would say much like "I Paid the Piper!" and it's an inflatable black pig in a girdle farting." Thanks, José.
Maureen Greenwood Mayan Creation Dance 2014 metal sculpture 6 x 6 x 20 inches
Inexplicably, there has almost always been jewelry in the Hecho en Dallas show, and it almost always seems out of place. This, too, but I suppose I could see someone wearing this to a Mayan Creation Dance, where I might think of it as art. Maybe. I like this mostly unidimensional sculpture well enough, but the copper chains may be a bit too much — our Meso American history lesson for the day.
• Tom Field Seascape in Gray 2015 acrylic on canvas 24 x 12 inches
There are several exhibition pairings that bring a bright spot to this sometimes dull and overextended show. Here, we see a horizontal perspective near full of perfectly-aligned fluffy white, look-alike clouds diminishing into the far, flat horizon beyond an ocean of likewise diminishing waves — all in gray, and matched below with a flat, gray painting by another artist of the words "Grey / makes/ me/ happy" in all cap letters, gray on gray — and nothing more except the impasto letters that separate the gray words from the flat gray ground. Pairing this piece that I like with the happy gray painting is a bright spot, but a light one. Reminds me of similarly juxtapositional delights in the annual membership shows at The Mac. It's probably good that somebody had fun hanging this show.
• Beth Ritter-Perry Azucar! 2015 mixed media wall doll 32 inches high, and
Angel Gonzales JRF 2014 mixed media 48 x 25 inches
And here's another odd juxto. Azucar is Spanish for sugar, and these otherwise unrelated pieces I won't say of art, might better have been made of that sweet substance, they're so sweetly corny, although these oddly juxtaposed bits of smarm are not quite as sweet as the pairings above, they do tend to merge in very nearly the same space.
• Sarah Westrup Huevos Rancheros 2015 waxed linen, eggs, cactus net 12 x 12 inches
In rich contrast to the above, this sculpture is smaller, richer-colored and substantially more enigmatic — as well as connected. Its dual egg collections, five on each side, may even offer a sly reference to race — or at least skin color. Great selection of native materials, utterly direct presentation, and I'm still thinking positively about this one, which looses our imaginations without step-by-step instructions.
• Roberta Masciarelli Lux Brumalis 2014 wall hanging assemblage sculpture with found objects
22 x 13 x 5.5 inches
Compare these, so well organized intricacies and colors, with the Mayan costume jewelry above, and we may begin to understand the differences between art and craft. That jewelry was nice enough, but this is amazing, a visual treat of color, form and organization. I keep scrolling back to these assemblages, and her other piece is only slightly less interesting, if even that much.
• Jim Bowman Eschatology of Radiology 2013 concrete, cast glass, x-ray tube 10 x 14 inches
Continuing up that side of the front room I found two assays in the contradictions of transparency and opacity by my friend Jim Bowman, who used to toss early examples of this glass and concrete series in his garden at the outer edge of his front yard when he lived at the bottom of my street. I loved them then, as I love them even more now that they've grown more sophisticated and elegant, and it's almost always a delight to find more.
About that catalog: The 12th Annual Hecho en Dallas catalog is an expensive-looking book of full-color images of this show's diverse population of craft and art. But Bowman's piece tends to die there, because their photo does not show the important transparency of this piece. Eschatology, my dictionary tells me, "is the part of theology concerned with death, judgment and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind." And that's something that desperately needs a little transparency.
Other pieces look distinctively different in the catalog than on the walls. Llillian Alrbritton's Bulto, Dallas, Texas, 12/6/14 is contrasted up from the dull photo of a procession for the Blessed Virgin Mary down a street. Oscar Duran's Book Light is shown glorious with no reflections whatsoever; Jacque Forsher & Sharon Neel-Bagley's Saint of Compulsions (That us Catholics used to call 'The Patron Saint of …)" acquired an overtly distracting black, tapering bold border all around its long, tall form in the catalog — mid the last century, such black frames meant the framed person had died; Duke Horn's REAL Fun House… has lost most of its darks and glitzy brights; Sherry Houpt's Ghost Ranch Sentinels have contrasted up its soft but already vivid colors; Roberta Masciarelli's Lux Brumalis has dulled down and lost most of its color and sense of shape to shadows; and Sarah Westrup's exquisite Huevos Rancheros got smaller, lost all its contrast, nearly all its color, and is left lost in a sea of dull white textured wall. And no one is credited for those photographs.
• Jim Bowman Power Station 2014 blown and cast glass, copper 14 x 8 x 8 inches
Positioned a little too close to the artist's eschatology piece, this an exquisite electronic chalice in which you may find yourself reflected, as I did too late to remove me from it. There's some art I don't mind being part of.
• Armando Sebastian Eyes That Don't See, Heart That Doesn't Feel 2014
oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches
Is that a tiny, white tear falling down the left side of of her nose? Or is it a he, who has cut out his/her own heart? But there's no blood on the knife, and they are still standing there against a graduated blue sky and all those floaters.
I'm combining my commentary on these two, cartoon-like pieces by Armando Sebastian and Eric Rodriguez, because of their obvious similarities and rather different dissimilarities. I prefer the smaller Kahlo-esquery above, but that probably has more to do with my age than any understandings. That painting has the vague feel of one of Frida's break-up paintings, all piteous and symbolic.
• Eric Rodrigues Untitled 2015 acrylic, spray paint, house paint 48 x 48 inches
If any of Rodrigues' characters showed an iota of emotion, they'd comprise more than a nose-thumb to culture, but not a mean one. I love their evenly-spaced, nearly invisible, whole-body white tattoos. But Mickey, the four-eyed boar and the diminutive, mustachioed, gimme-hatted Elmer Fudd head being eaten by the Monkey God, all live in perfect harmony, if only with each other.
All that color and there's nary a hint of human emotion in this hapless trio. I Love the hats and masks, especially the Long-eared Owl over Mickey Mouse, whom in another world would be natural enemies, and the mouse would be gone in seconds. In Centuries past, The Disney Maffia would track down every non-authorized use of Mickey or Donald or even Pluto's visages. It's probably just as well they finally gave up.
Justin Burns Disinherit 2013 mixed media 78 x 66 inches
Here's another ironically juxtaposed placement pair, but one that I may be the only to perceive, if there's any linking factors at all. This dishevelment looks like a chicken coop to my deranged eyes in matching lurid pastel pinks, a fleeting few oranges, reds, browns and grays unto white. The chain link circles give it away. I know, I know, no chickens. But that valuable function is fulfilled by its nearest art neighbor:
• José Cruz Hen Laying Egg! 2015 acrylic on wood, mixed media 48 x 48 x 3 inches
More visual animal fart jokes from Señor Cruz. Primitivity revisited and made abstruse fun of in words and colors and shape. Gas-expelled eggs, what a concept! Great, gaudy fun, and a cutout circle game to boot that I have not yet fathomed, nor have any great need to.
Sara Lovas Trust #2 of 10 2014 cast resin, steel, enamel 16 x 11.5 x 2 inches
I didn't see the other figure in Sara Lovas' symbolic sculpture till I saw the piece from a different angle in the glossy, expensive catalog, but there is another body, lying down under the far, low, right/front side of the black sheet this poignant small white figure holds up.
Du Chau Memory No. 18 (Soldiers) 2014 porcelain, steel wire 60 x 38 x 15 inches
More small humanoids — and they are still popular in art forms after all these years. The format, however, is slightly different. This time they're ringed in two circles and one, somewhat more peculiar, teardrop shape — maybe somebody bumped into it, and nobody bothered to fix it (On my second visit a couple days later, that bent shape was back to full circle again). I don't know whether they're red because they're Chinese, or they're red just because red is noticeable. What this multiple of multiple of little red persons are up to, strung so eptly into steel circles, is not altogether my concern.
Oscar Duran Book Light 2015 photograph 16 x 20 inches
First off, my apologies for the light reflections and seeming light smears in this photograph. It was very difficult to view some pieces, especially those protected by glass without the inevitable reflections. Translucent tungsten light creates the gold of this photograph, and I love it, splaying knowledge into all directions sometime in the night.
My Fave 10 from Family Ties: Brooklyn/Dallas @ 500X
or I really wish I hadn't blinded myself to who made this art before I chose whose work I liked best.
1. Gwendolyn Plunkett Flight of Fancy oil and cold wax on arches paper for oils $800
Had no idea what the show was. I get notices, but all I really pay attention to are the dates for openings, which I'd prefer not to attend, because there's so much more time and space and light when I go the next day or week. I found myself putting the pieces that will end up in this review in the order of my appreciation. The price list is in such a cockamamie order I just ignored it till I got home, and then struggled with the damned thing for every piece, but I thought I had been careful to photo each's work's number pin.
This whisper of a painting slides by near silence with a short spectrum of textured tones and that one intense ochre — lots of spooky shadows and a gentle interplay of dark on medium darks and light on both. It's soft and plush. I saw flowers and figures and maybe a wash line folded neatly [But those were gone when I looked back later.] into this moving deckle-edged daydream. Its subtle complexity just beat out Variance After Agnes next.
According to Peggy Epner, Plunkett is from Houston, and this is ont one of her works. Whom's it is, I do not know, but it's still number one.
2. Matthew Neil Gehring Variance After Agnes oil on linen $1,800
The order changed several times in the making of this story, and it'll probably change again.
More soft, and gentle tones and color. A dab of this, a concentrated smear of that. Utter simple. Concept and execution. Textures so obvious I can almost feel those soft colors with my fingertips. I didn't in the gallery, but I still can. Synesthetic touch important in both paintings this far down this page.
I'd have to admit I wasn't paying much attention to the title or anything else about this show or these shows or whatever I was watching. I didn't expect Brooklyn, even though the name of the show clearly says that, or I might have gone off somewhere else. Last thing I wanted to do is promote some Brooklyn artists, even if they are awfully damned good. Oh, duh, again. But at least I metaphorically blindfolded myself before entering, didn't look at the idiotic price list until I absolutely needed it for captions. I recognize some of the names on the work I chose, but I barely noticed who was from where. So I guess I was objective about it.
I needed a little symbol — • — to show which of these artists are from around here. I keep wanting to busy myself only with Dallas-area artists, and I keep bumping into BTAGsfOoTs instead — Big-Time Art Guys (or gals) from Out of Town. I was being careful to fly blind. Guess I should put my glasses on and pay more attention to the exhibition title.
3. • Peggy Epner Tway found metal, wood and wool $350
This one, too. Our first Dallas artist. Soft, a little fuzzy wrapping the lethal end of a pitchfork hung with a metronome tocker. A blue sky tacked to the wall behind, their shadows mingling. Like many works in this show, it comprises an unlikely set of mediums. I especially like it for the sense it doesn't make. For me, at least. But it's beautiful and gently fierce, with carefully limited colors that help set the mood — like the ersatz sky and that TinkerToy-like tocker (as in Tick and) that grabs us with the perfect color star-opposite kick.
The price list is alphabetical by first name, and the numbers are listed in the first column but not in order. Sizes are not included, but prices are. 117 is the largest number, and with that many pieces jigsawed across both walls upstairs at the X500 in this show curated, it says on the bottom of the price list, by Bonny Leibowitz and Julie Torres, it's amazing to watch. I wonder if I went back next weekend, I'd find more Dallas-area artists' work to like?.
I heartily recommend the show, which continues through May 3. 500X is open noon till 5 Saturdays and Sundays and weekdays by appointment, 214 405-5993.
Thanks also to Peggy Epner for supplying more reasons to put •s by names in this story.
4. • Ryan Goolsby Untitled wood, paint $800
Photograph copyright 2015 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.
I loved the shadows and this is my second take on the ladder placed too high on the wall to take us anywhere but in dreams and other notions. Terminating at the top like the house in Ray Bradbury (I think)'s story in an inter-dimensional unreality. Two rich colors, wood and red paint near-perfectly offset each other. The steps extrapolated from the wood almost ladder, almost box as if it were, like its shadows, in another dimension.
I more notably copyright some pix, because I put a lot of work into producing them for here, and artists sometimes steal my pix, even though everything on this site is automatically copyrighted by its owner, me. They're for showing here on DallasArtsRevue. If an artist wants to use my carefully presented photos, they can pay for them — or trade for art.
Shadows are such important elements of sculpture. Sometimes I like them better.
This far down, simplicity has won me over every time.
5. • Julia Trinh Joy Element - CM1514 acrylic and magazine papers on wood panel $450
A colored accordion-style fan cut straight with greens, blues, reds, yellows and neutrals. As if a land — or pond — scape. Some folded edges shredded. I want it to unfold into a vague Monet waterscape. No idea why the edges are abraded, but they add a certain flair, almost like trees with flyaway bark around the edges of a pond. Really lovely and subtle.
6. • Deana Wood Traces collage, gouache and encaustic $1,200
I looked at this, thought, my gosh, that's sure been done to death by now, then gave it a couple more chances, because it spoke of memories and home and places and the negative-space person with the painted flower bifurcated along the edge of the old house in nostalgia green. Something growing and something misty like the distant past cohabitating a presentational plane. The life in the blossom above the memory, growing.
I didn't realize that when I saw it in the gallery and gave it its chances, because my first notions thwarted seeing.
7. Maria Britton Bulk acrylic on hand-sewn and stretched patterned bed sheet $800
Photograph Copyright 2015 by J R Compton.com All Rights Reserved.
This borders on Craft but as an abstract in color and multiple-folded dimension without stooping to tell a story or make a recognizable shape, it shines. From the moment I saw it, this odd-tucked item I thought might be a hand-colored silk scarf held my attention. I only hope I'm rendering it here in something like its own reality. Brava!
8. • Erica Stephens (Courtesy RO2) Full Frontal Floral acrylic and mixed media on canvas $1,275
I carefully squared off this pic, then shot as close as my usual art zoom lens on my Micro 4/3rds camera would get (much closer than this image) and it still looks dangerously delicious to this sugarholic diabetic. Thanks to Jordon Roth (literally the 2, or at least second of Ro2 Art, for choosing the right title of the two I thought this might be.
9. • Susan Cheal Untitled auto filter and feathers $600
Not hardly last place, this tenth position was a difficult choice. I loved — well, I'm guessing here. I was careful to photograph this other piece that looks like icing on a cake, all in pinks, pristine white, red, gold and black and apparently applied through a cake baster, but my best guess as to what that was is acrylic and latex paint, spray paint, vinyl spackle, plaster, graphite and insulation foam.
Color me curious how this became an art notion. Looks like the little accordion-folded object the guy at Quickie-Goop inspecting my car always brings into the waiting room to show me how vile the cabin filter has got, accompanied, no doubt, by someone who looks kinda like a real mechanic who mutters to the effect that "it's not the worse one I've ever seen, and it's certainly not the best I ever saw," while I decide whether to pull the feathers out myself or just get overcharged for a new filter.
10. Helen O'Leary Geometry of White egg tempera $2,200
This simple stack of windows kept my attention in the gallery, and I kept coming back to it, complaining it was too simple, but that's this rag-tag trash rescue's glory. I had to keep working on the photo to get it this close to right. If I'd known there'd be a preponderance of Brooklyn artists here in my top ten, I'd have gone back and gathered more Dallasites.
I wonder if Brooklyn would show all 117 pieces in this exhibition.
• = Dallas-area artists.
Dallas Art Fair 2015 @ FIG through April 12
Patio and Trees Out Front of FIG on the way to Stephan Pyles
I doubt I would have attended this year's art fair if Alix Dana hadn't sent an invitation listing the fair and the private "Collector Luncheon at Stephan Pyles" (The sea bass was delicious!) next door. I didn't go the last couple of years, and I didn't think I would have minded skipping another, but I had been thinking way too much of reporting only on Dallas art, artists and art spaces again, and three out of three ain't bad.
What follows are my impressions of the best art I found at the fair. Being at the Preview Gala Thursday, April 9, 2015 felt like falling back into the groove. I'm sure there were abstractions I've glossed over here, but that ancient form still has its uses, though this was not all abstracts, as some artists fretted.
My lanyard pass declared I was MEDIA, and if I'd arrived at the basement door instead of street level to get the pass, Deputy Dog wouldn't have insisted I wait the 20 minutes I was early to allow me in. If I'd known to just walk in, I wouldn't have met that ill-advised hall monitor. But he didn't know nuthin' and told me less.
The 2015 Dallas Art Fair costs: one-day general admission - $25 per person, 3-day pass - $50 per, students and seniors $20 with ID. Show hours and other info is on their info page, where you'll also find other events.
Margarita Cabrera Space in Between (detail) Talley Dunn Gallery
Thought I must have missed Talley Dunn Gallery, though I might still have missed other Dallas galleries in the labyrinth. I was so lost so often, I'm not at all surprised, and I felt blessed to have found the second floor. I was mostly interested in Dallas art, but I photographed everything I liked, and that included work by wildly diverse artists in and out of time. I would not, however, want to go back. The above image is a large detail in a row of, oh, maybe six or seven mostly similar soft statues at what I thought was the main entrance but was not.
I like the partially deflated cacti of Margarita Cabrera above and was surprised that her upstairs entryway art was so perfect it should have been downstairs, where most visitors enter.
Sarah Williams Denton Drive 2015 oil on board 12 x 12 inches Tally Dunn Gallery
Haunting glow colors in the darking night. Not a face, exactly, but a spectre, albeit a pleasant, even nostalgic one. Many artists paint houses, and they are such informal versions of ourselves, I am fascinated to watch back. I liked both Williams' house paintings there, which I only much later realized must have been at Tally Dunn. Nice.
Erick Swenson The Pest House 2015 silicone, resin and acrylic 13.5 x 11 x 9.5 inches Tally Dunn Gallery
Very realistic scale models even looked slimy. I wanted to touch, but the friendly gallery person was right there explaining how realistic it looks. I wanted to feel the slime, but now, looking at this, I can.
Rachel Hellman Oblique 2015 acrylic on board 17 x 13 x 3 inches $2,500 Gallery Urbane Dallas
I'm surprised I like this but I do — especially the subtle colorations and color textures within the sections and how closely my photo resembles the one of it on Rachel's own website.
Otis Marion Dozier Landscape with House 1982 oil on canvas 48 x 60 inches $75,000 Valley House Gallery Dallas
Didn't know his middle name was Marion, loved the landscape soon as I set eyes on it — and wanted to go there in a stagecoach, although I may well have seen this place before, and the sky and farther landscape is pretty and amazing. West Texas, New Mexico — somewhere out there.
Mark Messersmith Shadow of Days 2013 oil on canvas, carved wooden pediment, mixed media predella and carved embellishments
88 x 66.7 x 9.4 inches $18,000 Valley House Gallery Dallas
I like this one for its complexity and its nature elements, both animal and vegetable. I don't understand the stakes and flags, real or painted, but that doesn't phase me. I am especially fond of the birds, of course, and I may yet use the image of that Roseate Spoonbill by the big brown bear near the center line of red flags to promote this story on the cover. And I've only just now realized the flamboyantly folded blue critter on top is another bird. I had to look it up: a predella is a step or platform on which an altar is placed, or the raised shelf above one.
Unidentified Valton Tyler painting Valley House Gallery Dallas
Valton Tyler (American, Born 1944) Tat-Tat 1975 oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches $3,800
I assume this surreal machine is by Valton Tyler, but it really should have been identified, even if this was preview day, and there were many works without such niceties scattered through the event. It looks like a Valton Tyler, perhaps even from the last century when Donald Vogel, who started Valley House Gallery used to provide Tyler with paint to keep him working. And, of course, Valton sold it. So Valley House ended up with a trove of the painter's early work, now much-prized by collectors, who sell them back and forth to each other.
Monday following the fair, Cheryl Vogel sent me an email thanking me for "focusing [my] attention on Dallas galleries, and thank [me] for all the mentions about our artists" and attaching the intended label, saying "Sometimes in the installation of labels, the adhesion causes a problem."
Another fallen label stated: "This painting by Valton Tyler was exhibited in at (sic) the Galerie Claude Jongen in Brussels in 1977. Specializing in Surrealism, this gallery exhibited works by Magritte and Delvaux, among others. Edward M. Gomez wrote of Tyler, "Abstract, surreal, cartoonish, sci-fi fintastic, metaphysical, apocalyptic-Baroque — all of these fit but also fall short of fully describing his art." (The Living Arts, The New York Times, June 13, 2000, p. B2)
Sedrick Huckaby Rising, Sunny, Son 2013-14 oil on canvas on panel 72 x 48 inches
$38,000 Valley House Gallery Dallas
This guy's work blows me away. Huckaby's self-portrait had already sold — along with four other pieces — for even more, but I was taken with the direct emotional immediacy of this striking painting. Sedrick Huckaby's work in several mediums amazes me, and after I think I have an understanding of what he's doing now, he shocks me again with the next batch. Then I'm eager to see even more. He's been at it already a great while, yet he continues to shock, awe and amaze.
Jim Woodson Committed Synchronous Contemplations 2014 oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches
$8,000 Valley House Gallery Dallas
I fell in love with Woodson's ornate upstairs interiors many years ago, met him and was again impressed. Now every time I encounter a new one, it's wowser all over again. All those distinctive realist textures and that feeling of the immensity of his space floors me. It's another of those Western landscape abstractions, true in every finite detail.
Barnaby Fitzgerald Eavesdropping Lines 2013 egg tempera on birch panel 15 9 x 19.9 inches
$3,800 Valley House Gallery Dallas
The artist and his model with a big, nosy neighbor window-peeking. Not much to see so far, but probably more — or less — than enough. But worth looking in regardless.
Brian Adam Douglas A Quietus 2014 cut paper on birch panel and acrylic 26 x 36 inches Andrew Edlin Gallery NYC
Here we veer off the Dallas track to join the Andrew Edlin Gallery in, oh, wherever. I had a book with everyone listed. I wonder where I've left it. It was stuffed in my pocket on the drive home. I don't really care, but I tried (and apparently failed) to visit every Dallas gallery space at the fair, although I was lost most of the time.
But I still like this painting. The dark, cloudy storm; the limp, phallic down-and-up zeppelin that dominates the upper landscape; the hill somebody's living under; their yard and matching white furniture; the forest beyond; and the yellow sky past that. What a delight of ironically juxtaposed items and spaces, cartoonishly rendered. I want to go there, maybe even by zeppelin, although its exterior seems off-putting.
Chantal Joffe Green Strapless Dress 2013 oil on board 72.5 x 48.5 inches Galerie Forsblom
Who doesn't love an ever-so-slightly more dimensional cartoon character staring askance off the painting she occupies? Knowing. Questioning. A little concerned. We have to wonder at what she stares, why she's there and where that is.
Ola Kolehmainen Hagia Sophia year 537 V 2014
No other identification than his name under this large photograph, and I didn't note the gallery, but I adore the repetitiveness of the scaffolding and clerestory, Roman-arched with inset windows and everything else in this enormous artwork of an even more gargantuan inner space. The Internet tells me this Helsinki artist "who lives and works in Berlin, is well-known for his large format photographic work."
David Goodman Composition #1 2012 paper, suede cord, paint 37 x 32 inches
Although I think this is kinda ugly, I was taken by the folded, waded and otherwise stressed paper medium and the way it is so beautifully ugly. See also MoMA PS1 Studio Visit
Dayron González High Voltage 2011 mixed media on canvas 42.5 x 30.8 inches
$13,000 Cernuda Arte Coral Gables, Florida
The current is on, the citizen is vibrating wildly and likely vivid in pain, but the politicians are happy for the moment though still always a little worried somebody might talk and somebody else might listen. Dayron González
Roberto Fabelo The Greta Bird 2014 acrylic on silk 93 x 48.5 inches
$50,000 Cernuda Arte Coral Gables, Florida
Big black bird upended by its mate, a bird-head helmeted woman clad only in the straps that hold her appendages on, long stockings and heeled shoes amid a wallpaper rain of stylistic flowers. Its eyes are open. Is it dead or merely waiting? Both figures would be familiar to Fabelo's fans. Roberto Fabelo. Huffpost review. More images. Cuban Art News conversation. Images.
Hung Liu Equus mixed media on panel $20,000 Turner Carroll
White and black dimensional elements floating over a woman in soft pastels against a drawing-rich ground almost alive with history, fantasy and botany. And I still see surprising depth similarities in these last two paintings hereby juxtaposed.
Gary Ruddell Blind Faith 2015 oil on panel 54 x 54 inches
Two children climbing shakily unbalanced chair ladders into a smoky sky, themselves nearly as abstracted as the splotched and splattered dark-cloudy ground while what they climb slowly disintegrates and takes them with it. More images. KQED video interview.
Eric Zenner Gateway 2014 oil on canvas 48 x 60 inches
Instead of menacing and disintegrating smoke, this blue vortex rises from a pool against a background that wouldn't be out of place in a landscape 150 years ago. Water rising with maybe another little more energetic transubstantiation.
Sarah Ball Accused - Prostitution and Accused - Forgery both 2015 oil on gessoed panel 7 x 5 inches
Conduit Gallery Dallas
Actual images of persons accused of crimes painted with permission from the accused via police mug shots. Most vivid mugshots I've ever imagined.
Luis Enrique Oroz Raise oil on canvas 73 x 59 inches
A less-than-cute, but eminently recognizable mouse holds a disfigured baby and both cry oil paint tears that smear and fall.
Mark S. Nelson Relational Object Distortion 2014 acrylic on panel Ro2 Art Dallas
I wanted to show you my photograph of my friend Terry Hays' The Exlipse (Island No. 1), 2015 but it was so poorly illuminated I had to demur. But then I attended the preview gala and there was plenty of disarray going around. I hope they fixed the light by later, when the masses attend.
I haven't formed many ideas about what this scene is about, but I like it immensely, and if I could figure out how to describe it or what to say, I might, but many art is better left unsaid.
Fred Eversley Indigo Vision 1976 cast and polished polyester 20 x 20 x 4 inches $90,000 David Richard Gallery Santa Fe NM
I shot this object three times. This was the third and last. The first had a guard behind Indigo Vision as a truck entered the space from the right. My second had the guard in white walking past the blank panel on the left while the also white truck entered the delineated space on the right. I almost used each of those but finally settled on the emptiness of this one. $90,000?
There were so many other artworks I wanted to or did photograph, but too many of those showed reflections or discolorations or unamendable distortions that I abandoned them, but these two dozen suffice. If you want to see more, I'm sure they'll sell you a ticket and let you in, and I'm amazed I got in free when there were so few others wandering from space to space.
Bent Building Framed by F.I.G., where much of the Dallas Art Fair is.
This scene-setting image turned out far more abstract than I had any right to expect. The door to the waiting room is just to the right.
Framing Desire at Fort Worth's Modern
Allison V. Smith Parked, May 2011. Mar fa, Texas, 2012 Chromogenic color photograph 46 x 46 inches
This and one other Allison V. Smith piece were described as attempts to photograph details of Marfa, Texas that had not yet been taken over by the art and art commerce mob. Image courtesy The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
@ The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through August 23
On our way to Fort Worth, I kept wondering whether huge rooms in museums were really the best place to show photographs and video. I often think a good monitor makes a better venue, so I listened to the press tour guide long enough to learn I didn't care about most of what she was saying, but looked long and hard at pieces that caught my eye or mind, and ignored too many others.
My conclusion? Video, even projected large in full quadraphonic sound is nice, but though I'd rather enjoy most photos online where light comes through them (making them much more vivid) than see even well-illuminated art in large and darkened spaces I'd have to go out to and probably pay to get in, it's really difficult to get the sense of visual comparison only one image shows, and even on a giant monitor, one to four images is usually about as many as I would want, although video flows a lot of single images into my mind quickly.
The first compelling series I noticed was The Brown Sisters group portraits I'd seen in Aperture and other photo magazines and books in the mid-to-late 1970s, portraying Nicholas Nixon's ongoing series of portraits of his wife and her three sisters. And they were again engaging, although I didn't give them their due attentions till I opened the PR thumb drive with miniatures, but if I had given all the pix and vids in this exhibition the time and attention I should have, I might still be there.
MAMFW only includes every fourth or fifth year of Nixon's 40+ year series. 25 are here, and a video I had to turn the sound off does another selection of 25. I'd love to experience a quiet vid of all 40, but if that were readily available, they probably wouldn't sell enough books.
Part of the DFW Art Press Gathered for the Press Preview of Framing Desire
I think I understand that most art writers who gather for museum press previews would rather be taken on a show-an- tell tour than wander around discovering art by themselves, but maybe that's just what museums believe. Unlike The Modern, the Kimbell opens the galleries while the press gathers and eats, so some few of us can watch the show till the tour begins and maybe on through it as well, depending upon who's talking or what they're saying. I always get a much better idea of what exhibitions are like and about by seeing them than listening, although sometimes I remember to bring a recorder so I can listen later, and there was a time when I could remember great swaths of verbiage.
A few museum talkers are utterly riveting — like Kimbell Director of Conservation Claire M. Barry, but I can usually pay more attention to the work during tours, only latching onto a few particularly pertinent phrases.
My Favorite Signage at the MAMoFW — Ironic Juxtaposition?
I have no idea who the Hallmans are, or why their names are there.
I vividly remember when Larry Clark's book, Tulsa, shocked the photography world with its startling, real, dark, unposed documentation of people we hadn't yet seen in Life magazine or on TV. Amazon has the book and clicking on it yields an almost adequate selection of images, but you might have to buy it to see what that body of work was really about, and it still might take awhile to get though the shock waves.
Thanks to the Modern's press kit, I can present the following tidy bit of ironic juxtaposition involving two women photographed in houses — first by a woman then by a man — which is more sexist? I don't remember how close they were in the mu, but they weren't together.
Laurie Simmons Walking House 1989 pigment print 83.5 x 47.5 inches, and
Arne Svenson Neighbors 2012 pigment print 29.5 x 44.5 inches
I was just beginning to get into Svenson's Neighbors photographed through their home windows when the tour ended, but I'm much more curious now, after I found an intriguing news story about it on The Guardian. Googling Laurie Simmons, I found some remarkably similar images, which brings us full circle around and through the above juxto.
Looking without reading I.Ds, I was visually fascinated by a series of color photos only one of which I could find online and had not the sense to document in situ. I did stare and wonder, then mis-guessed they were about hands, only later learning the series was called Holes, a collaborative series of images shot through various apertures by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler billed as Hubbard/Birchler, and I wish I'd glued into them longer, but that happens attending press previews instead of spending time enough in an exhibition to get my money's worth.
I keep wanting to show Dallas artists first and foremost in Art Here Lately, but it took till I was nearly through this story to google enough search to find this gem of online video showing many others of Allison V. Smith's Marfa pictures, again contending online video with big photographs in big rooms in big museums. And a number of other Dallas and former Dallas photographers' work in this show.
$10 adults, $4 seniors and students with ID; free for children 12 and under — Framing Desire: Photography and Video at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through August 23, 2015
Foolin’ ‘round with my camera & some Art
impromptu Paper Napkin Art by Richard Ray on a table at The Bath House
The distracting lines on the table were already there.
The Bath House
First stop was El Corazón at the Bath House Cultural Center, which show I have a piece (nice placement, thanks) in. Must say the this-time competitive exhibition (Vargas seems to be alternating invitational and competitive each year) was noticeably better than usual, as nearly everyone I talked with about it there agreed. Good job, José Vargas. I was sitting at a table in the foyer talking with Richard Ray, when he clumped some Kleenex together, tore out the middle leaving a ragged hole, then compressed that middle wad with some-liquid-that-was-not-blood but-it-sure-looked-like-it red.
This was neither submitted nor selected for the show, because Richard made it right in front of us just then, but it's certainly more expressive than some of what was shown, and the process was quick but fun to watch, although at first I wasn't sure what he was up to with the Kleenex, from which this expressive, tattered, textured, red-tinged, though maybe a little gruesome — heart emerged.
I was in a mood to photograph whatever pierced my consciousness, and had brought my favorite, little art-documenting camera. Not sure we can exactly call this story art criticism, but I can't really help myself but opine when I write, so this time the story is charging through me about as fast as stories used to do a year or so ago, when I was hot to write about art so often it fried my brain there for awhile. Welcome back, Lightness, My Old Friend.
Alice & Anna in Parking Land
Downtown galleries almost always have a problem with parking. This is where we usually park to visit Ro2 Downtown, if we can't find on-street parking, and we almost never can. Down Main Street a few stores past Akard Street where the gallery is, left up the ramp that we often almost miss, and just a couple bucks on the way out — beats keeping track of a meter and is maybe a half-block walk.
Danielle Georgiou self portraits $75 each
She's the dancer and choreographer I may already have written about too much, but I love her visual and often verbal work and love to photograph dancers doing her dances, and I may yet write about her more. Easier, however, to photograph photographs (seems to be a sub-theme down this story) of her looking back from several personae, which reminds a little of my friend, the late Linda Finnell who did self-portraits as differing persons of varied genders so long ago.
Do a quick Sites Search for "Georgiou," and you'll see plenty stories, usually profusely illustrated, about her dance and performance and art.
Little Girl in a Red Dress at Ro2 Downtown
I'd got entranced with this child's dancing, little-girl red-dress motions earlier, before I got the exposure right in that crisscross of gallery and general illumination, lighting and dark floors of art spaces. I photographed her at least a dozen or twice that, but this is my favorite and best of the night, and I appreciate the copse of dark shoes, sox and legs growing up around her.
James Zamora Camera Profile $2300
I identified with this, because for most of my first 10 – 15 of 51, so far, years as a photographer I was strictly black & white, and I once had a camera that looked a lot like this, only it was brown leather and more rickety — that I'd rigged it to use 35mm film, and that worked pretty well there for awhile. So I especially liked slowly synching into the notion of a black & white painting of a black and white photograph of a black & white camera. Much of Zamora's Ro2 show was paintings resembling photographs of various tech reproducing machines, and I at first wondered at the concept, then sifted into liking the idea altogether, since it made overt, physical sense as well as being an allusion to an illusion, like better photographs often are.
Ro2 Downtown Glass Case of Small Art
Colorful, bright and nearly tactile in shapes and tones with so many circles it must be a game. Some jewelry thrown in that I didn't mind at all; usually art-like jewelry makes me nervous and antsy, because it's so often bad, but this isn't, at all. Instead, it was a lively box of energy just waiting to burst forth. Especially liked the Santa penguin in a rowboat on a pier with lotus blossoms, but there's lots to look at here.
Fashion Medium at Ro2 Downtown
Last time I reviewed something there, I photographed what people wear at gallery openings, because that world is still rare and strange to many, especial artists out there who are not sure yet why they feel the way they do and need so desperately to make objects, and haven't figured out what all that might mean, where they'd go to talk with others about it, and what they should wear when they get there.
I like this photo, because it has that marvellous floor circle game that almost matches the gold nearly everybody posing here's outfit includes a little of, there's all those women in black & white or red and tan, kinda dressy-upped, with plenty else of the spectrum of what people wear to art openings showing in the gallery all around them.
Vance Wingate West Texas Talisman #2 (Talismans for Sullen Entropy)
walnut ink, acrylic & graphite on paper 2015
I liked the ritual sensibility of the repeating pattern of this undulating snake form so often understood as change itself for the couple minutes I stared at it, and the minute or more it took to photograph this central detail of it, also:
Vance Wingate West Texas Talisman #2 (Tailismans for Sullen Entropy) (detail)
walnut ink, acrylic & graphite on paper 2015
I just had to show you all the painted quality of applied colors here, lest you think Vance had rendered it too high contrast, essentially black & white. No. There's all these wonderful splatters and mixes of primitive colors. Yum!
The following words are former and current gallerist and painter Vance Wingate's from a sheet titled Ergo: Superego: New Work by Vance Wingate / February 7 to March 21, 2015, which must have been the title of the show I hadn't heard a twit about, but Anna knew and drove.
Talisman for Sullen Entropy
"I heard the words 'sullen entropy" in a Robyn Hitchcock song many, many years ago, and it struck me as an elegant way to describe natural forces in the world and also the way I physically make artwork; things modify and evolve, but not easily, and not without pushback. The 'Talismans for Sullen Entropy' series are figures and objects depicted with degraded, overworked surfaces using copious amounts of graphite, oil on canvas or other standard drawing materials, usually on paper. They involve a large amount of stop & start, make/discard, discovery and change."
Door and Fan at Gray Matters mirroring Vance Wingate art
I once again fell in love with this beautiful swinging door set of repeating patterns and rich wood tones crowned with that big brown fan. Too many people were in the office or I might have found something interesting to photograph there, too. But these were a wonderment, and I stayed fascinated with the similar shapes and deep browns and light chromes and tins for many minutes. Unfortunately, my photograph of this lush scene tilted back and angled in several directions I only hope I got mostly straightened out here, but it still seems to tilt in impossible directions, and I am not at all convinced I got the proportions right.
Gray Matters Alley at Night with Unplanned Self-Portrait Shadow
I've photographed the magic of these aging barns down the alley beside the gallery in evening and night before, years ago when Gray Matters was one of the best and most avant galleries in Dallas, before Wingate went (back?) to school at SMU, got a degree and became much more serious an artist. I was killing time on the front steps, waiting for the entourage to catch up, and clicking my way back into impromptu photography of whatever was available, digging photographing anything that volunteered. 2/7/15
On a Satty Afternoon Watching Art
Ryan Goolsby and Timothy Harding collaboration in a series called Telephone
2014-2015 9 x 5.5 x 1 inches wood and paint
Thought I had several hours to kill and only the notion again, but I surprised myself and acted on it, drove to Deep Elm to see art. I admit I'd been visiting 500X lately when they were and weren't open, but this time the big rust door was wide, so I wandered in looking, thinking and taking pictures.
The project room of flat colored objects precisely daubed with colorful paint grabbed my attention. I know Tim, curated him into a show a couple years ago, after discovering his work upstairs at TCU's Moudy Building during Art in the Metroplex shows. His early drawn-into paper wads thrilled me. It shouldn't be difficult to see them in these collaborations with Ryan Goolsby, but it's a stretch.
Tim's a shapist whose work tends to subtle forms with sometimes color — which aptly Goolsby's work I found online as well, although his sculpture is more linear than spatial. Tim experiments with shape better than anybody I know — I've watched him stand staring at a flat sheet of dark texture I'd wondered about, till he folded it once on the wall, producing a roll-top gentle falling curve, and let it drape.
But Harding's only half of this, and I don't know Goolsby, though I'm willing to learn and was impressed by the spareness in his sculptures. What I learned online is "wood with a hint of color," even if there's a lot of the latter covering dimensional silhouettes of the former in this showing at the X.
The phrase applies to both artists, and those undercurrents might be what brought them together — that and that both are fairly recent TCU grads andcurrent 500X members.
untitled Ryan Goolsby and Timothy Harding collaboration 2014-2015 detail 12.5 x 12.5 x 1.25 inches wood and paint
I liked mostof these and there wasn't any I didn't, so I took my time to choose just these two. This is the close-up of the lower right corner of a shape that looks a little likethe side-view of a pan a bent-up handle. In both, the ground is solid wood with flat solid color with the grain or not-grain showing. But it's the fussy little applied blobs that make this these objects sing. Together there's a curt, colorful Ryan amd Tim combo.
Great collab, especially when we can't see either's style clearly, just them together.
Laura Garcia Altar Installation upstair at 500X
This is not an altogether new or unusual sight on the X's far end upstairs. I remember other strews and altars there. That bright end of the great nave-corridor seems ideal to put one and stand there drinking in its rich color and littl eritualistic offerrings. But this view reminds me too much of my photo of Commerce Artist Ashly Bryan standing before Val Curry's The Everything Window in 2012, though Curry's strew was better organized and had no need of an altar. The two are eerily similar, with tall, cylindrical verticals and small pieces around.
Laura Garcia Altar Installation detail
More original are the richly colored, chunky organic objects on this deep purple altar nearly filled with dense reds, oranges, yellows and greens that match and mingle. Lush solids and powders, cups for but no liquids, and another big phallic candle to remind us of all the littler ones scattered below. Contrasted smartly with dull pastels through the windows from across the street. Nice.
Sergio Garcia Somehow everyone knew Lil' Timmy would kill it on Wall Street 2015
fiberglass and resin sculpture with acrylic paint $3,000
Next stop, more because I knew right where it was, was Kirk Hopper, where I've only ever been disappointed twice in its history. Kirk was taking his dog out for a ride when I walked in. We said hello and smiled, but it was a bright and happy day. Felt like too long an absence, but I was all too glad to stand and stare at ripe, abstractish paintigns like the ones I'd already fallen for in email and the internet. I was already intrigued by those paintings, but it took awhile to settle into the real thing, so much bigger and airier than the little Jpeg in an email.
Sergio Garcia's sculpture should cost an arm and a leg.
Mac Whitney Big Bend 1976 hot rolled steel 23 x 15..3 x 6.6 feet
I always check out the back yard/sculpture garden and there saw a shape I either hadn't ever seen before or not since the mid-70s, but I knew whose it was, by shape, sensation and that they had it, even with the built-in bench, a place to sit, briefly related to Linnea Glatt's elderly series of places to, holding the verticals together. Sorry the clutter back there I wanted painted dull like the walls, so they'd bland out and not compete, and it needs be pulled away from the confusion and that wire, but I like the sky on it and imagined it dominating my back yard.
Nicholas Mathis Untitled 2014 dimensions variable $1,200
On the wall left of the Mac Whitney out the back door was this. I keep seeing these in postcard announcemnts and jpegs and I haven't figured out why yet, but I like them inordinantly. Something about a collage or mellange of tiny shapes crowding together from the corners or beyond, to mix, mingle and crush, eventually integrating into the interior. Nice, too, that it transitions to 3-D mesh up her legs, coalescing pattern and shapes, as do the paintings' interior I couldn't stop watching and wondering how on earth I'd explain why I'm including them, but my eyes like resting and investigating there.
Nicholas Mathis Untitled 3 2014 mixed media on canvas 72 x 84 inches
For awhile here, I saw two guys at a table playing cards, the closer one on the right more massive, wearing a party hat and is that a bright paper party horn? Guy across the table a thin spectre smoking a flaming cigar. But after more staring the vision calmed and I was left with another mallange of competing color splotches arranged like derranged Chinese Checkers coming in from the dark corners gaining hue every hop.
Nicholas Mathis Untitled 1 mixed media on canvas 28 x 22 inches
This might have been the one I saw on the advert. I passed it right by on my way in, but it grabbed me when I got near again, and held. Nice of those flat paint areas to relent into apparent 3D by the middle left, just under its optical center and outlined in dimensional pink.
I didn't know, but only hoped most of these artists in this show were from around here. I asked much too later, and Kirk Hopper Assistant Director Casey Stranahan told me, the three artists "are all Dallas-based." I like when that happens, but don't usually even ask.
Deep Elm Orange Bird on the Brick Wall among dark metal spikes and stairs
Out in Deep Elm's colors again, I found this interstitial bird sliding in and out of one sort or another of reality, vivid in its stay, but might flit off at any moment, likely in the direction it's checking out. Gotta watch birds in the moment, when you can. They don't stay long. They busy.
Terrell James Paladin 2011 oil and graphite on canvas 66 x 41 inches $14,000
West toward downtown, a quick right into the parking lot at Barry Whistler. Catch my breath, hold it, turn off my audio book, sit in the quiet maybe a minute and walk in. Suprised myself being taken by this. Liked it, wondered why and watched it awhile trying not to people it with faces and places, but I think they're there anyway. From the Latin Palatinus — officer of the palace and a 50s TV show western I adored and used to sing all the words to his song.
Barry Whistler Gallery Front Door from inside color JPG messed with subtly
I took this after I got the mood of the place, checking every piece through the place. Uncomplicated space with moments of clarity and a view of the parking lot, I always feel at ease in there, especially when there's no mob. Like a pleasant warm Saturday in the middle of winter everywhere else but here.
Tom Orr Dutch 2014 Polygal® digital print on sintra and ink 33 x 24 x 12 inches $5,000
I'd seen something similar to this Polygal® material in a supplies catalog, where I daydreamed using its double wall plastic to insulate my back porch for the winter. Orr's use spectacularly more interesting than mine. He was showing older work that's hard to tell sometimes from the newer, but I was excited to be standing in front of something I'd never dreamt of. I think Tom avoids me sometimes, because I'm such an embarassingly big fan of his work from the first time I saw some in the 197. Couple times when we met all I could do was gush about it. I don't blame him. Somebody did that to me — and nobody has in way too long of forevers, I avoid em like the plague. He seemed to falter and attempt escape, now we just talk about something.
So nice at odd time not to have artists around when I'm watching their art. And a real delight to have all the caption information on tags obviously close to the works they describe, making my job almost easy. Wish all galleries could learn that trick.
But his work still grabs my breath. Move your head a fraction of an inch either way straight on at this, and the colors lineup changes in that queasy optical dillusionary way. I lined this up so carefully, I didn't even notice I'd chopped off the shadow below. But I stood there longer than in front of anything all my mad dash art afternoon. Still steals my breath and mind.
Barry Whistler Office Door
The tag was hung just left of this door, and I had to wonder a while if it could be another Tom Orr, till I realized it pushed into an office. So just a door, and Barry told me later the tag had to be away from the piece some, especially in a crowd. I've always loved the serenity of Barry Whistler Gallery, why I spent such a long time polishing my portait of their front door darkness and light.
Tom Orr When they take away your crown 2014 digital print on PVC 25 x 80 inches $7,200
By about this time I realized I was probably running way too later than I'd imagined, but I so much liked being out on the prowl for art again and in those so comfy familiar places, I'd have to get back at doing it. Writing about it now redux the feel.
The persistence of myth: Why Flash Photography is Prohibited at Art Galleries and Museums
4 Wet Allusions
Rance Jones Roundstone Harbour watercolor 27 x 19 inches $8500
Of course I love the detail and resolution in this nearly photographic watercolor — I got up close as I could and stood there staring at each succeeding element, watching all those sharp shapes quietly interact. Many decades ago, I fell hard for Superrealism [images], of which I still have a book that thrills me when it bubbles to the top of the heap, but this image fits the category with all its exactness and apparent reality. There's even almost emotional content.
From that dark brown, tarpaper-like surface where one guy stands looking down at another, crouched over a trap unloading a lobster, back across the shaded harbor to the bright seawall behind, all with the precision of vivid boats moored between, we are dosed with a miniature universe of crisp details a little too often executed in primary colors.
Then comes the successively darker, duller indigo of Bertraghboy Bay, the even darker rolling foothills with houses and trees behind it, then the softened successive peaks of the Twelve Bens. Each layer behind layer offers slightly less detail. So we not only get the succeeding stratum of sharp to dull, and dark to light and back to dark again with colors repeated past the seawall, and out to the mountains, we get perceived depth upon depth, each layer with its multitudinous specifics.
I wish I could remember where I saw this painting — or most of the others in this story, but I sure like looking at it and learning about Roundstone and its little squared-in harbor on the west side of Ireland not far from the Atlantic. Where the guy on the right has pulled a dark lobster out of that black trap in the foreground shadow that frames this fishing village harbor, almost over-filled with boats that appear in many of the Yahoo Images and paintings of that busy little town.
UNT Grad and Commercial Artist Rance Jones must have stood right about where we are, between the harbor and the bright line of shops behind us on the other side of that wide ersatz road where vehicles keep falling into the drink. I like the feel of this painting. I loved exploring Roundstone online, and the only parts I really don't care for are the too-sharp, bright white, little and bigger boats pasted out on the bay.
Rance replied via email: " I'm grateful for everything you wrote, even the comment about the "pasted on boats" that now look … "pasted on" to me. Thanks for doing what you do with the website — I'm now a regular follower from now on.
Kathleen Wilke Samurai color photograph 10 x 10 inches
This is one of the three best pieces at the current Bath House Cultural Center exhibition called Levitas — involving 17 invited photographers visualizing weightlessness in the Hallway Gallery that I also have a piece in. Standing before this one, Anna and I long wondered whether Wilke had used Photoshop to float him there, because except for a wisp of hair on his forehead, he didn't look wet, his clothes weren't very floaty, and some of the edges seem a little too crisp.
But surely his position would be untenable without buoyancy. Even if it were faked photographically, I like the sensation of him suspended in liquid, holding his breath long enough for the photographer to take several shots, and still smile, although his red-eyed stare might put him under real water, even if real water is usually not that clear or evenly illuminated.
I don't know what that sharp texture behind him is about or why it doesn't continue under and to his right. Are those the breathing bubbles that would have helped establish where our floater was, even if none of them cling anywhere to him? I'm not sure I appreciate his overexposed hands and wrists, but I really like the sword balanced jauntily across his shoulders. Do you suppose they posed his jacket floating straight up like that?
I don't know, but doubts are sewn, and though I want to believe, I really can't tell — nor do I believe it much matters.
artist & title unknown
I've seen piles of rocks like this and wanted to photograph them unto art, too. But I never knew or thought about drawing into the print, nor would I feel comfortable in that medium. Like just clicking the shutter at it would give me all the depths and colors that probably aren't there. There's a lovely sense of spacial complexity in this painting. Great shadows, I want to step on the flat stones up from the liquid red-brown base, maybe rock up and back a little on the loose ones.
The white and gray stone outlines work well. Everything feels in just the right place. I wish I knew who did it. I almost always photograph I.Ds, if I can find them, and strangely lucky for this story's headline, this rock pile is right on the edge of a body of water, blue with a squiggly, moving reflection top left, which adds to the sense it belongs here.
A pile of rubble rocks on a beach somewhere with built-in graffiti, drawn edges and rough and smooth tones look real enough. Maybe a little past that. It registered soon as I saw it. No dancing around in incomprehension. Instant dimension communication. Formal, as in of or related to form, shape transmission mind to mind. I want to believe these shapes, colors and tones bad enough they already are.
It speaks directly to the fleeting random concepts that fill my mind sometimes when I'm thinking into dimension through the flat viewfinder of a camera.
artist & title unknown
These reds pissed me off when I sighted this concrete overlook with city behind, but I still haven't figured out the pattern of depths here. I like the plooched wrinkle and the feeling of space looking out and down, from both sides of the rail. The yellows and purple, blue and grays are near perfect. The space and sense of it seems close. But the red tightens up my neck and shoulders like a deep muscular cringe with two sudden fists. Otherwise, I could enjoy the view and feel of those expanses. Purple is just gray brightened a little, and I knew the orange belonged when I finally realized it was there.
Now I'm settling into this little paper painting push-pinned into the wall, the ocean or whatever that mass is out there upper and right feels ominous, like a giant wave under a multicolored sky. And I'm only now willing to talk about the stripes and color slashes. Except for the red, I don't mind and/or I like. The artist conveys something by stacking them like that, and it seems to be working.
The wet here is mostly the medium, and I've been staring long enough I know the aqua of out there cuts down the sides of the gray mass inside amid the washes of yellow and orange, and there's a deep shadow, purple to indigo with a smear of red immediately contrasting something like the side of a pit or pool, the colors vague like they're moving, with smudges on the side. Shadows tell us shapes except for the crease, and I keep wondering if this is real or an imagined place. If I knew where I saw it, I might figure out more. But I like it already.
Remembering James Watral at the Tin Ranch
I met James Watral in Commerce, Texas at one of his ceramic sales in the mid-1970s when I needed to get something for my mother's birthday. I'm sure my dear friend, the late Carol Wilder told me about it, and Mom loved the closed-top pot, but it must have got broken, because I'd hoped to get it back when they moved to retirement. I returned to his studios several times, and eventually photographed him with his latest work for a story in Texas Monthly written by my Austin Sun friend Carlene Brady.
I was always going to get another one of his pots.
Much later, in Dallas, I loved his calm presence in his and my rare talks when he lived just east of Central Expressway. And I remember long, rambling nonjudgemental discussions and his smile, then I didn't see him again till he settled in at the Tin Ranch, which resident MaryLynn Bowman (hugging above) accused me of naming in a headline of a story about it in the old DallasArtsRevue on paper, repeated on this site bout a year after my first visit.
I'm not identifying everyone here, because I don't know all their names, and making this into a Who's Who doesn't seem right, although it seemed like James Watral was friends with everybody. We were there because we wanted or needed to be there.
These photographs were taken from 3:22 till 5:21 PM Saturday November 8, 2014.
Singing, Documenting and Accompanying
Burying Some of James Watral's Ashes
The Rest of the Ashes Held Firm
Moment of Mirth
Dog with Shadow People
Hands Full of Flowers
Out and In
with The Remember Wall
James Watral Plans
A Transfer of Spirit: Artists who studied with Roger Winter at Kirk Hopper
Tracy Harris 1980 Wheel 1989 oil and encaustic on wood panel 36 x 60 inches NFS link
Roger Winter was an art teacher and Professor of Art at many schools and universities — including SMU — from 1961 through 2005, during which time, he affected many artists. On a lark, I asked my only friend I still know who took classes at SMU about Roger Winter, and hit pay dirt. See the bottom of this page on his website for a full listing.
Dallas Artist Pamela Nelson told me, "I am his friend. He and Jeanette and Bill and I were neighbors and took vacations together. I left school early to get married and never had Roger as my teacher although [I was] aware of him. He modeled his authentic commitment to helping and sharing his love of art, even out of the classroom."
In this story, year dates directly after artists' names under artworks are, if I could find it, the year they earned their first SMU degree. If I could find a website with enough of their work, the word link at the right of captions links it. A few of these artists were students at other schools, and I have not tracked their degrees.
See Note below from Roger Winter, who curated this exhibition, about my early errors, have been corrected.
Tracy Harris, then called Tracy Hays Harris' piece is first here, because it was first in the show soon as I came in the front door. A pleasant surprise to see it again. It took me back decades. I wasn't sure whether I liked her work when first I encountered them, then I saw many of them, and liked it more every time I saw another, and now I'm a fan of this work, but not so sure about her more recent work she did when I wasn't paying attention. Art and life is like that, I guess.
Now, looking back, this just seems scrumptious, and it near perfectly embodies the spirit and reality of this show's title. All that ectoplasm is going somewhere and doing its duty.
Dan Rizzie 1975 Landscape in Black and White 2006 acrylic, enamel and Flashe on canvas 48 x 36 inches link
Perhaps I have too long clung to my early 1980s theory that it takes at least a dozen years for an artist with an M.A. to figure out who they really are enough to get beyond what they were inculcated with in grad school, so they can apply their true selves to their unique vision. I had noticed how that worked before, but I began to understand it when two friends were in grad school together at SMU in the early 1980s, although they seemed immune to academic indoctrination, and instead took the opportunity to try everything as they flashed through the last hundred years of art history.
Seeing this remarkably diverse show and the quality and individualism in it, I began wondering whether my theory dismay might have been displaced. Then I remembered my art hero, the former Fort Worth Art Critic and later Las Vegas Academic Dave Hickey had set forth a similar thesis in a lecture I attended at UTD on March 1, 2003.
See Emotionally Abused and Battered Grad Students See Hope.
Charley Aberg Standing Woman 1981 oil on canvas 83 x 53 inches NFS
I am a fan of Roger Winter's work, especially his cows and dark urbanscapes from the last decade and a half of the last century. Just when I was wishing there were collections of contemporary artists as replete as for classic artists, I found Roger Winter dot net, where we get to see a lot, if not all, of his paintings from many segments of his life.
One of the high points of my art crit career was when the late Photographer Andy Hanson photographed me mooing in front of one of the cow paintings by "former Dallas Artist Roger Winter" in a photo in the November 1992 edition of D Magazine — on the same page with Tom Landry and Trammell Crow playing Monopoly, and the "Chairs of the Cattle Baron's Ball" "wagging their tongues."
Brian Cobble 1977 San Minato 2012 pastel 17 x 38.6 inches NFS link
Seeking visual clues in students' work to match their teacher's seemed at first a fool's game, but they're here for all to see and few to understand. Clicking through Brian Cobble's Pastel Gallery was a deep and shadowy revelation of echoing images and techniques. There sometimes are teachers who make it too easy for students to copy their work, which may already be a copy of somebody else's, as I discovered a couple years ago when I reviewed the Estate Sale of Ann Cushing Gantz, another Dallas teaching icon who lived not far from The Winters.
In the short video Roger Winter and the Line on his website, Cobble, John Alexander, David Bates and others testify about Winter's teaching more realistically than anything I could write.
David Bates 1975 Fillmore Avenue 2007 oil on canvas 24 x 30 inches NFS
Though I chose visually interesting art, not names, many of the artists in this show whose work I include are now famous — some few more than others. Many of their work is distinctive, and though I can usually tell when I'm standing in front of a David Bates or a Dan Rizzie, much of the work here seems strangely foreign yet attractive and interesting. It's a great idea for an exhibition, and a good-sized one at that, comprising 48 pieces, including a few sculptures and other art forms.
Lilian Garcia-Roig 1988 Palm & Fronds 2008 oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches $12,000 unframed Courtesy Valley House Gallery
I can't help wondering how teachers influenced these artists' work, and whether we could see their influences. I know there were visiting professors in various media staying semesters or more at SMU. One, of whose work these two pieces reminds me — whether or not the visiting teacher — Neil Welliver, back in the 80s — was actually involved. He popularized dense, detailed arboreal paintings, often large.
As I was with many of the so-called super-realist painters, I was a fan of Welliver's work, even after I heard plenty complaints about his teaching.
Kathy Windrow 1986 Cuero Y Salado Wildlife Refuge Honduras 2012 acrylic on canvas 36 x 72 inches $4,500
Lilian Garcia-Roig's treescape and Kathy Windrow's Cuero Y Salado Wildlife Refuge Honduras almost immediately brought Welliver's dense Northeastern forests work back through the years, although I know when he visited. Windrow got her MA there in 1986, and Garcia-Roig her FA in 1988 and Welliver was there earlier.
Laurie Hickman Cox 1978 Spinnin' Girls 1990 oil on canvas 50 x 50 inches NFS Courtesy Valley House Gallery
The joy in this painting reminds me of what I perceived of as wild fun in much of then enfant terrible John Alexander's early art. His piece here, seems subtle and gentle for what I remember of his wild and strident early work. Laurie Hickman Cox's large painting broadcasts a much more overt sense of joy with her muted, color coordinated kid figures among a mélange of nearly abstract color forms in a plausible yet visually unlikely scene.
Sally Shiels Schupp Night Sky in Tela 2012 collage on canvas 36 x 36 inches #1,500
Here's more spatial abstraction and many, more vivid hues. What felicity! We know right where we are, even if there's no way we could be there, sandwiched in with the chickens and dogs and impossible houses under that scalloped, inverted-umbrella sky.
Jan Lee McCommas The Kitchen 1973 acrylic on canvas 24 x 36 inches NFS
Then, in this more precise step into spatial abstraction, we find a charming red rocking chair in a child-drawn room oddly framed with splattered leaves on vertical yellow tape a little like Matisse. We know right where we are, and with that soft rocker, we know we'll be comfy.
Carol Hoy 1970 Animal Refuge with Still Life 2013 encaustic and mixed media on panel 40 x 32 $4,200
We can see into this room's corners, past its odd furniture, animals, people and who knows what all, with Jill and her pail of water and Jack getting up from his fall. What's next?
John Alexander 1970 Mandrill 2014 oil on panel 20 x 16 inches $15,000 link
I spent about an hour in Kirk Hopper photographing the art that made me stop and take notice, all while wondering where it would lead. I'd shoot the piece, then the name and ID on the list, later the work and just the numbered pushpin to cross reference them later, neatly glossing right past several artists' names whose work I would liked to have noticed, known who did what, then gathered data for future forays, though I would have been collecting primarily for personal reasons having not nearly enough to do with this survey.
Daniel Heyman Ride the Son (Dartmouth) 2013 oil on Mylar 42 x 30 inches $16,000 link
I liked this when I saw it, photographed, then only much later tried to parse its visual sense, when I realized that for all its prosaic lines and colors, Ride the Son is deeply political art, because so much is going on, in so many different directions, dimensions, forms and colors, and because some former Roger Winter student artist out there is listening to his own mind and heart and doing art from his soul. I wonder how many years it took.
His earlier work on this same subject — he's been at it awhile now — was simpler, more prosaic and to the point, a Feiffer-esque cartoon of some guy surrounded by his swirling words — narrative writ large, but so much less soulful or visually interesting. It's always a trade-off. The red hoods are our first tip-offs. We know that's Abu Ghraib. Then we peel back the layers into new horrors.
Peter Julian 1975 Volcano 2009 gouache on paper 11.63 x 9.75 inches NFS
Regrettably, there was other work I liked but could not photograph well — and so could not spend time appreciating or understanding, mixing or matching them later, and others were lost behind reflecting glass. This one's a thematic transition from Heyman's and visual a segue into a flaming White House early in American History.
Barbara Fontaine White 1984 The Legend of Dolley Madison 2012 oil on canvas 30 x 30 inches $3,000
Legend has it Dolley or one of her slaves liberated a second or third copy (with careful misspellings on a book spine about the "United Sates") of a prized painting of George Washington looking as he does here, from the White House before the British burned la Casa Blanca late in the War of 1812, when contemporary stories described her as petite and thus unable to reach as high as the painting hung to thrash the frame and liberate the painting. Here, it's the Father of Our Country who's petite, and she looks like she could knock down the flaming walls.
James Dowell 1972 Cecelia 2012 oil on canvas 48 x 28 inches $5,200 courtesy Valley House Gallery link
And here's another shero in white perhaps late in a life, whence may be a decent place to end this story. The show closed October 25 2014.
See also a 1996 Richard Brettell review of Roger Winter's art work and life's work.
On October 18, 2014, after only five persons had seen this story, Roger Winter wrote:
from Show Curator Roger Winter
Many of the artists in the show were from my classes other than those classes at SMU. Robert Yarber, Carol Hoy, Tim Coursey, Charlotte Seifert, Arleigh Stark, and Stephen Mueller were my students in the museum school at the old DMFA in Fair Park. Jaq Belcher, Hiromi Majurimuno, and Melissa Guion studied with me at the National Academy School in NYC. Daniel Heyman worked with me when I was a guest artist at The University of Pennsylvania and over the years in private critiques. Leah Goren was my student at Julius Schepps Jewish Community in Dallas. I curated the show because no one else was around all those times and places. Perhaps you could have found out more about the origins of the show and my guidelines for choosing the artists. But nevertheless, thank you for the article. The works in the show are worthy of the attention you have given.
Thanks, Roger. Guess I should have delved deeper, but I was already so late in visiting the show, and I never saw any of the pre-show publicity. But once I learned of it, I knew it would be a fascinating subject. I have updated your new information into the story, which previously only mentioned SMU.
Thank you for your timely corrections,
J R Compton
As always, if you see something that's just not right or know of a link that should go on this page somewhere, let me know. I want these stories to be as accurate and true as I possibly can, and you can help by emailing me at the contact link at the top of every DARts page. Thanks..
All Contents of this site are Copyright 2015 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All the artworks shown on these pages are copyrighted by their originating artists. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are copyright J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.
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