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Art Here Lately #9
Intracasies: Ro2 and 1727 Levee August 21 2010
Nancy Lamb Mondo Grey Poodle
We only hit three galleries tonight, and I wasn't optimistic about the third one, but I was startled not to be particularly appreciative of anything at Kettle. That's really unusual, but it is Mercury Ret. Anna liked some stuff and distributed promo cards for EASL's upcoming Heist October 30, and I wandered around outside for photos of local color:
Akimbo Outside Kettle
The most striking art I saw all night was Nancy Lamb's Mondo Grey Poodle at Ro2 downtown. There was lots else there to enjoy, but making photographs was very difficult because of all the reflections in the glass and truly indifferent lighting and haphazard hanging. I tried photographing something by Letitia Eldredge, but it was just too dark.
Luckily Nancy Lamb's pampered pooch was bright. Most art about dogs is bad. Except of course the ones that play poker or ... At first I couldn't think of any I've enjoyed much over the years, then remembered specific dogs in paintings, heads out the windows, or just along for the ride. Might be justifiable that there's more dog art than cat. There do seem to be more art dogs than art cats. This one looks like the singer in a rock and roll or marching band. Something irresistible.
Daniel Birdsong Vanilla mixed media
Daniel Birdsong's wall was of interest. I didn't like the big one, Hound for all its harsh semi-inter-dimensionalities, which were just too blatant for any of my tastes. I was drawn to it briefly, tried to like it but just gave up. Too many competing and disagreeable elements fighting. His smaller, more intricate work, all mottled with colors and dimensions and and around their striking graphic arts bends were more intriguing. The big, dark and bold drawings, like of a rooster on top of the same lilting colors and shapes seemed too blatant on top of all that pastel lilt.
But Vanilla. I kept looking for something even better, and the one in the upper left of his dark corner drew me, but there was nearly no light up there, and Birdsong's work needed it. One piece after another held my attention, but they all suffered under the lack of light. Plus there's that vague visual similarity with the gray poodle and the too obvious girl with the pearl.
Ellen Frances Tuchman CanCan Motel/Daytona Beach 2006
Sometimes it's easy to see a gallery's taste showing blatant, like when Daniel Birdsong's dark drawings float on a gently swimming rhythm of so many mixed colors and shapes so not very far from another unfortunately darkish and dull cubby of the sprightly work of Ellen Frances Tuchman, with so many of those same bouncing colors and cutout shapes.
I'm a long-time fan of Tuchman's intricacies, as no-doubt are many in Dallas, but her work relies on lots of light, and it ain't getting it here. With enough illumination, these glass-fronted pieces would not suffer so from reflections, and they'd be easier to see and enjoy — and photograph. But that's not paint nor collage here, all those hundreds of tiny pieces were delicately placed just right by adept fingers.
Robinson-Hays Tripping 2010 Photo
courtesy of the artist
watercolor and ink on paper and silk 22 x 30 inches unframed
I talked for a long time with Kathy Robinson-Hays about an obvious progression I have seen in her work. Nice to get to watch an artist's nearly every piece over a long time. She's gone from exquisite murk with soft undecipherable shapes floating to rather more distinct objects floating on a neutral ground. The growth is amazing, but long and slow motion. Her pieces, now framed beautifully but behind highly reflecting glass, were impossible to photograph in that gallery busy with reflecting lights and shapes.
Of course I am prejudiced. She's a friend with whom I can always get serious art discussion with, and she's a Supporting Member of this site. But boy oh boy, do I like her work. And that it is so obviously growing and progressing in leaps and bounds is amazing to watch.
Meanwhile, the fourth image down on her member page [link above] was in the show, too, but much as I like it, I'm not even going to mention it here. Then there's another piece with some very similar elements further down this page.
Terry Hays Convertible 2010 mixed media
Her husband Terry Hays showed three pieces. Two boxy constructions of the same sort he's been doing while now, and which I've often found magical, and one, fully-rounded three-dimensional object. Somewhere between fire flames and seaweed (would have been right at home in the next show), it's about the size of a reaching multi-fingered hand, I appreciated its release from his stoic cubic equations of castles and flora. It's got the same outlined squiggles of texture he's used so often for such direct impact on his houses and trees and other boxy constructions.
But this one comprises curves and fully all three assortments of tri dimensional shape. A giant leap forward in such a little piece. Anna and I were both thrilled by its possible new directions.
Fannie Brito Swine Fluness 2010
Another piece that held my attention long enough for the deep dark humor of it to sink in was Fannie Brito's Swine Fluness. A soft blue fog of contagion that might have been a chest X-ray in another incarnation. Fannie is studying for her U.S. of America M.D. tests and likes to visualize aspects of the complexities she's studying so they are memorable to her — and us.
I wanted to write about Alison Starr's fish dangling in the big window in the outside corner of Ro2, but I was not able to separate the blueness outside from the pinkness in. Seemed like a great place to hang two large baggy fish. I probably should have used my flash (which is about as ugly a thing as I could do to a work of art or people), but they looked great there.
I sought in vain for identification, so I could
tell you, and I never managed to get the pic unpink. Seemed to fit right
in at Ro2 tonight.
Beth Hazen Drama School 2010 mixed media $130
Our last stop was at the Happening at CooLWaTers2 at 1727 "on the levee" ... Street off Riverside Boulevard, which of course, doesn't veer near the side of any river, though Levee Street backs up on the big green riser that overlooks the great Trinity basin. We never even found out about Cool Waters One.
I hadn't recognized any of the names listed on the calendar, so I wasn't thrilled about being there, but Anna wangled us press passes and in we went. Two pieces got my attention in that sea of much less interesting work. Literally "sea." They flaunted an oceanic theme and advertised the only show in town with a live mermaid. I think I saw her at the refreshments table, her back to the crowd. I didn't check out her feet, er... fins.
Beth Hazen's Drama School diorama / shadow box was about the most elegant piece I saw all night. Of course I had to photograph it, and it had plenty of light in that deep Trinity studio. I loved the theatric wave of rolling whitecap ocean and the glittering fishes. The shadows look like deep moving ocean. All lovely in that utterly simple blue shadowbox. And they only wanted $130.
Jamie Labar Cirque 2010 $275
The other piece I photographed was an almost. So tantalizingly close to effective abstraction, took me awhile to see the differences. I still like it but less than at first sight. The colors are great, perfect. That's what drew me. Oceanic fishy in layers and splats. Maybe because it's so close without actually committing to facedom.
I like it, then I don't like it, then I like it again.
Something is holding me back. I keep seeing a space alien creeping in all that disjuncted texture with the too-certain circle. I might have been happier with something more specifically fishoid or without the circles and all those horizontal swaths, but then I probably would have complained about that.
I wish there was something here to connect with, besides the color and textures and that odd sense of shape that sends its message without being blatant. Then again, what's so all-fired important that would trump a pretty painting that almost works? So close. And nothing else in any of those rooms got this far.
All to benefit some unnamed organization providing "relief efforts for Gulf Area Wildlife." (We kept remembering parties at South Padre...) And they had a good crowd. I hope they raised some funds, and they actually get to the birds and fishes.
I'm only guessing at the year date on any of these pieces. I always want to know that. Galleries apparently don't want me to.
New Texas Talent Craighead Green 2010
Cande Aguilar Moonwalker mixed
media on panel 48 x 72 inches
New Texas Talent - Mark Aguhar, Natalia Ferber, Rachel Obranovich, Cande Aguilar, Field Harrington, Adam Palmer, Richard Avila, Erin Hernsberger, Amy Scofield, Michael Blair, Kyle Jordan, Cat Snapp, Ben Brandt, Dan Lam, David Van Ness, Courtney Brown, Diane McGurren, Ed Vaughan, Joseph Cohen, Leigh Merrill, Saul F. Waranch, KC Collins, Seth Mittag, Rachael Webb, Ben Epsey, Nolan Mueller, Paul Young, Amy Newland at Craighead Green through September 4
interesting, odd, quirky, mind-boggling, maddening, joyous, strange exhibition.
I keep going back, and I may or may not write about it besides here, but
Craighead Green keeps finding great Dallas-area curators/jurors for these
things, and it keeps being a fascinating exhibition.
K C COllins - Untitled, Head mixed media on panel 24 x 24 inches
When we got there the first
at the opening, friends were lined up and angry, saying it wasn't
much of a show, that there was nothing new about it, and it was
terrible. But it was; there was; and it was not. I figure any
show that pisses people off that bad has got to be pretty good to start with,
and I liked pondering a bunch of the pieces, especially including these.
Rachel Obranovich Shards and Spills mixed media 11 x 10 inches
I really don't want to have to write about it, since I've written about it so many times over the years, and it'd really be nice to do something else this time around, but this is a show that would almost be easy to find good things to say about, if I wanted to do that.
It may or may not be the best one they ever had, but it's a good one, and I may have to go back yet another time, and find some more gems like these.
So far, all the ones I've been drawn to photograph
and write about have been difficult, maybe even worthy of an extension of Difficult
Work, which I've had great feedback on so far. Seems appropriate. It's
a difficult show. — J R Compton
Borders at The MAC July 31 - August 28 2010
Stirling Barrett Dancaster Place ink jet print on canvas
Okay, we went back for the opening, and of all the pieces showing there that weren't showing there before, this is what lives in my mind, and every time. Hardly new or startling technique. I used to do a long series (several decades) of Stairs, Chairs and Fences, and I still think about those borders and repeating patterns, a lot of which are right here in this bright-hued front porch scene. I just like it.
I won't show you Anna's piece, because that would
just be too unprofessionally unobjective. But it's a beaut.
Melodee Martin Ramirez Border: Orpheus 2010 oil on canvas 24 x 24 inches
Much better photo courtesy the artist
While Anna delivered her work, I wandered around looking at what was already there. I thought I was just taking photos for notes. Gradually, I figured I should write about some, since there was so much good work to pique my consciousness. Only then did I attempt to shuffle in identifications, and I did not always succeed.
Not all pieces delivered till one hour before the final delivery deadline — when we were there — were visible or photographable, and I didn't see work that came in that last hour. We suspect there was a lot. There's probably some still coming in.
What drew me to the above painting was that it
was dark, intense and had an indescribable power. It felt foreign, I thought
those white and yellow clouds were flames or explosions. Somewhere between
a protest riot and a circus. Now I'm less sure. I like the mob scene effect
with only six discernable figures, and although I don't know what's going
on here, I don't really care. I was surprised when I learned it was by Melodee
Martin Ramirez. I know her. She's a member. She doesn't do work like that ...
but she obviously does.
Sal Barrow Build It and They Shall
Come — Still
I can't really say that I "like" all these selections, but I was affected by them. I haven't always, but lately I've been ignoring themes. Those silly things just get in the way, and most artists either ignore them or use them so subtly, ferreting out their adherence seemed futile. The central negative space object here, however, appears to be a border. A wall.
I especially appreciate the anarchy of figuration,
although all the hippies lined up along the bottom begin to be tiresome.
Still, there's energy here and a certain linear dynamic the variable figures
on the wall appear to be in charge of. I especially like the dark ones near
the middle and the guy with the parachute.
Alison Jardine On The Edge 2010 8
x 10 inches
Not sure what the point is, but it works.
Simple. Colorful. There's an odd depth that flits from light and medium to
dark and back that never once interfered with my seeing. Like the subject
has slipped the surely bonds of pseudo-realism, splashed through a little
high color contrast abstraction, then eases back into whatever's left. Artist's
Cathey Miller title unknown
I reviewed another of Millers recent / ongoing
mustache series in the I Am Woman show at Rising in Difficult
Work, my latest attempt at serious art criticism. This is dimensional 3-D
gender bending against the flat planes of nearly monochromatic mundane
space. Someone has caught her on the toilet and fired a flash. Her secret
self revealed and archived. Her work just keeps getting more interesting.
Merry Fuhrer Neighbors ink,
gouache, colored pencil 16 x 20 inches
Another fence through another fantasy world,
not altogether different from Sal Barrow's above. Love the
moat and the boat twisting into this dimension. Fuhrer's tiny, floating characters
remind of the guy who used to do the Dallas phonebooks. The picket fence from
the cutesy castle transitioning into the barbed and razor wire border that then
trashes out and rends apart a barely moored and floating other side is intimidating.
Alan Siggers Semblance of self in
a deep-piction July 2010
oil on panel 24 x 20 inches
The most credible self-portrait (I assume.) I've seen in awhile. Can't help but smile back at this painterly portrait analog of digital twirl. I tried to reverse the twist in Photoshop, but it wouldn't straighten.
In his description taped
to the back, Siggers describes this as "A typical portrait presentation
in an unconventional style." I think he's got that backwards, it is an
atypical portrait presented in a conventional, even old-fashioned oval
frame. Revealing in several dimensions and compelling. I feel like I'm
looking into a mirror at a totally familiar face.
artist and title unknown
Up close, we see all the brush strokes. At
this size, all that minute texture is beginning to revert to photo-dom.
A snapshot on a trip just across the ... uh ... border. At first, I liked
this a little more than the average bear. Now I'm really appreciating
it. Must be the mountains and the photogenic cloudy blue sky.
Josh Fletcher acrylic on canvas
I've seen Fletcher's
work before, and I always
am startled by it. A contemporary anachronism. I said "Cotton
when I saw it. Cotton promoted murdering witches in Boston, but I was
attempting a fictional placement for these characters, whose mischievous
background emerges from ground to object.
Sam Langford Alpha and Omega 2009
I looked at this, then looked away, hoping I wouldn't
have to explain what was going on. I get visual echoes of those comedic
figures prominent at muffler shops and low-rent auto repair shops. Is that
a Champion plug in this graphic NGK world?
Calatrava Bridge A on the Trinity River
Santiago Calatrava's Big New Bridge Over the River Trinity
Love it or hate it, the Calatrava bridges (Three are planned. Only one is paid for, so far.) is going in in the Trinity River Basin. I don't much care for it robbing all the rest of the arts in Dallas for something by some big time art guy from out of town, but I keep finding things to love about it, and some other things not to.
More about it below.
Financial Trouble at The City's Cultural Centers and What We Can Do About It
The Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake
We keep hearing that The City's Cultural Centers are in deep financial peril. That the Bath House Cultural Center, at least, could go out of existence if the public does not support them directly in their time of need. I have seen volunteers for the newly nonprofit Friends of The Bath House gathering donations at Bath House events.
Never mind that The City really is already its people, and so we are all already supporting The Bath House Cultural Center, The South Dallas Cultural Center and the new — new? Is the City so rich they can open new centers when at least one of the current ones is in such financial danger that it supposedly may go out of existence? — Oak Cliff Cultural Center. All those plus the demented cash cow called the Latino Culture Center.
So I asked someone on the Bath House Advisory Council / Friends of the Bath House (apparently even they do not know which to call themselves) exactly what money was needed for the visual art portion (only) of the Bath House's dire financial needs, since I really don't care about the theater portion, which is not germane to this site. They gave me this list:
The Bath House Wish List ITEM COST Postcards for 11 exhibitions a year — 1,000 cards per exhibition at $100 $1,100 Postage for mailing 500 cards per exhibition at 28¢ each 1,540 Policeman at openings, so wine and beer can be served —
11 openings at $160 per opening
1,760 Funds to be renewed each year, because the City removed those items to save expense.
I can sure see why most of these items do not appear in the budget. I don't think they have any place in the City's budget during times of financial hardship, especially when the center's Exhibitions Curator is working two jobs, hanging and selecting exhibitions at both the Bath House and the Latino Culture Center. They obviously don't have the money they used to have, when they could easily afford the items above and pay curators, too.
The week that I heard repeatedly that the City was just picking on the Visual Arts as usual, I read that the City was laying off firemen and policemen, too. I love the arts, but we need cops and firemen more, I think. Even now. Although there's probably some among them I'd be willing to opt out.
But saying that the Bath House is in a dire financial condition just because they can no longer afford to print and send postcards for every exhibition or pay a rent-a-cop to watch people drink free booze legally is absurd. Let them buy their own booze. Somewhere else. Offer it up.
When DallasArtsRevue has had our membership exhibitions in a private home for sale, in my home on the White Rock Lake Artist Studio Tour, at Big Ass Night on South Tyler in Oak Cliff, at 14th Street Gallery in Plano and at the Bath House and then the Bath House again, we've always paid for our own postcards and booze (except when 14th Street paid for them). Divide it up among the artists exhibiting, and it usually comes out to maybe ten - fifteen bucks each.
Artists, I believe, should pay for their own postcards, just like we pay for our own paint and frames and every other legitimate expense of doing art business. At the 30th Anniversary DallasArtsRevue Member Show, the Supporting Members of this site paid for all the postcards, including those for the Bath House's several hundred-name press mailing list. It was entirely to our benefit to do so. We bought 3,000 postcards for just a little more than $100, and I had to stop asking for postcard donations a little more than half way through receiving artists' work, because we already had gathered enough for three thousand four-color on two-sides postcards.
Postcards for Shows
I could almost see paying for postcards for smaller group postcards, except that they don't really need full-color postcards. Print them in black-only ink on just one side and rubber stamp the other sides like so many artists already do. See How to Design and Distribute Invitational Postcards elsewhere on this site. Four-color-process is nice, but for fewer postcards for artists with lower budgets, black and white is fine. Local printers with shorter turnarounds would be happy for the work.
I was told repeatedly that it was "a courtesy" for the Bath House to pay for postcards for all the artists in all its shows, and that they always have.
Well, not always.
Right now city governments across this country are in financial difficulty. They shouldn't be paying for postcards. Anybody who's ever organized an exhibition or participated in one knows by now to expect out-of-pocket expense. Especially if they want that center to be there next time they need it.
As for the rent-a-cop, why on earth would anybody participating in a show that's not going to cost them more than some postcards, expect some governmental institution to pay for its beer and wine? Or a cop to watch other people get drunk. That's nuts.
I asked the members of DallasArtsRevue if they wanted to pay for a cop for our Anniversary Show, and they did not. I sure did not. I'm neither an alcoholic nor a teetotaler, but I've known enough of the former to stray as near the latter as I can manage, so I am categorically opposed to paying for other people's highs, unless they've good friends and I'm hoopin' it up in their company or they in mine, and even then I wouldn't pay for all of it.
Postage for mailing 500 cards per exhibition should be paid by the artists who show in that exhibition. Call it a courtesy.
Calatrava Bridge B on the Trinity River
Calatrava Bridge - The Beginnings
There's this bridge the dufus City of Dallas is building over the Trinity that just happens to be between several other bridges that they're going to knock down, all while they're laying off firemen and policemen and cutting back on the real arts of the city, just so they can have a hallmark bridge with downtown Dallas (or Oak Cliff) in the background of all the photographs of it.
Yeah for big art from, of course, out of town. Boo for little art everywhere else in town. But hardly original a circumstance around here.
Some of The Red Parts and The Hum
Best thing it's got going for it now is that, like what I still call the Humming Bridge parallel to and just south of the Mockingbird Bridge a few dozen yards south of the Mocking Bridge over the north end of White Rock Lake, it hums. They fixed that Hummer, probably was bad for the safety and structural integrity of the thing, and probably they'll fix this one, too. But while it lasts, I like it.
Second best thing now, is that it's red and white. So far, at least. And gray.
Red and White and Blue All Over
I like the red parts best, and between two of the red ends are a bunch of wires, cables, whatever, that hum. I worry about a bridge that hums, but I like the hum. It's so distinctive. When I first saw the big tall white parts I thought it looked like they were building a St. Louis Arch, like that other one, down by the river. When we got closer, the white columns appeared closer, and I blew that notion off entirely. But I still like the hum.
I like the hum better than I like the bridge or the super inflated egos that placed this Yet Another Bridge over our mostly placid river (right now, at least) over any concern for City finances or much of anything else the City does — or doesn't do now, since they are, as usual, spending all their money on concrete (and steel) instead of core functions in this time of difficult finances all around the world.
Old Bridge (shadow with three arches of light and tree tops), New Bridge (reflection of white columns) and River (the blue part)
Maybe just what Dallas needs is a big, flashy bridge that goes either nowhere, or that puts us on some stupid map. Maybe not. I suspect the latter, I just hope they keep the hum.
It's not really an art review — it's about a camera, but there's art and it's new. See the May 30 entry for J R's S90 Journal for lots of photographs of DARts Member David Hickman and Eliseo Garcia's party to promote their work.
Open House May 14-15 2010
Continental Gin Open Studios - Donna Davis Ball, Eli Browning, Bobby Chitwood, Andrea Guay, Jakque Kindle, Marsha Oliver Moser, Bob Nunn, Dan Pedigo, Leroy Roper Studio, Caroline Shaw Ometz, Tifanny Ann Bersano, Fannie Brito, Artyce Colen, Jenny Keller, Ty Miller, Michele Nordahl, Ricardo Paniagua, Kristal Read, Richard Scott, Carol Swenson-Roberts, Steve Tate at 3309 Elm Street 6-9 Friday, May 14,1-6 Saturday, May 15.
Artist's Model in Donna Ball's Studio
Made every effort this time out in to keep any two succeeding images having very much to do with each other. There's no chronological or any other logic order this trip. Kind of a nostalgic sojourn to a building I've probably already been in too many times, there tonight, more to see friends than to see art really, but there was some of both and some of the better art this time was by people I've never heard of or met, because I feel like I cover this event way too much already, and I usually shoot the same artists' work, so I tried not to this time, unless it was in an artistic setting or landscape in its own right. Right?
I guess all those artists' names belonged to artists who arted here. I most of those people. The square of photographs near the middle include even more faces, some of whom are now semi-famous artists here. Odd bit of history on the shared fridge. Just seeing those names reminds me of the early days during and before Deep Elm became a cultural phenomenon.
Red Room No Walls — Still
I took this exact same photograph last time I was at the Gin. Tonight I saw several more slightly arted empty spaces. They got more space and fewer artists, and that can't be good for the building's bottom line, not that I care much for building owners not exactly famous for their pleasant attitudes toward artists.
I do love that red room over there that so nicely matches the fire extinguisher — and has no walls anymore. Nice rich dark reds with darker scribbles of something dripping from the ceiling and that pristine white rectangle of handles from somewhere, only staying over awhile I guess.
Sweet Fiddle Music Upstairs
Paused briefly to enjoy sweet fiddle music in some hall upstairs. Just right guitar strumming, too. I probably should have stayed longer in the lingering sweetness of it. Informal. Simple. Perfect.
I remember a woman explaining how this painting came to be, something about a charity or event or something, I as usual wasn't really listening but busy looking. Love the sudden juxta with the dark wood easel such a perfect match for the tones.
Cell Phone Photo Stretch
I saw this endeavor unfolding out the corner my eye, shot without aiming, clicked twice just because I left my finger on the button too long. Nice color combinations. Long time since I actually got composition on a quick shot. Fun and contributory to a regrowth of wonder and confidence, not to even mention balance. The art she's copying tiny portions of had its moments, also. Odd juxtapositions of sweetly colors, drips and plaids. I watched several for several whiles but did not come to any up-ending conclusions, just hope I get to see some more.
Tiffany B Nair
I thought this the best of the several of Tiffany B collages, didn't figure out the title till much later, then smiled big for it, too.
Marsha Oliver Moser 2007
Anna and I both liked this one probably best of a small collection on a table in Marsha's side of her and Fannie Brito's studio downstairs among the Nunn estate, though it may be softer than this photo shows. I like it even more now, looking at it. I bet these shapes have basis in reality somewhere. Is that a tie?
I tend to remember colors as denser than they really were and worry sometimes when people say my photographs of their work is better than their work when i really shouldn't even attempt such flights of fancy when something intrigues like these odd shapes that sit so well in that shadowed frame.
I worried about slipping and falling — a recent bad habit — on one of the many possible puddles on the big concrete front porch at the Gin this evening, then I nearly fell over a lip on the floor that's always been there. Stumble, no fall. If I'd hit that time it would have been face first and I'd hate to lose any more of it.
Interesting mix of paintings, especially the big one in the middle. Not sure exactly what's going on here. I like the white object and the low contrast woman is, what?, sewing? Not sure at all. Like the shapes and the colors, but how they're sewn together causes too many questions, so I just go back to looking at those photorealist ones flanking it along the floor. A woman with legs and a little bit of back, skin showing, and an evening scene in a woods somewhere. No idea what's with the submerged hands.
Daniel Emerick Pedigo title unknown I'd
guess it's a painting
How come I've never heard of this guy before? I was photographing another painting by him in an adjacent room, and he asked if I wanted him to pose in front of it, and I didn't. I've avoided artists standing in front of their painting pictures for so many years here, maybe I should try a few of those before I retire. Maybe a whole page. Probably should include a few check-passings and some gleeful award recipients to wrap it up.
I want to say something intelligent about this painting, but I just like it and wonder if it's some sort of illustration or he is some sort of illustrator. Maybe that would explain why I haven't noticed his work before. Different venues. Or I was just wandering around with my eyes or mind closed again. ¿Quién sabe?
Fannie Brito Paintings on Table with Candles
There had to have been a price list. I think I even saw a stack of them on something dark wood box not distant against the wall near an opening to other spaces. Usually I pay so much attention to those things I miss obvious photographs while tracking down art and forgetting reality. Tonight was for getting reality instead.
Nice Painting I Know Not Who By
A little Matissie float, bright colors, lots of warm accented by the real candles and real flames matching the warm with just a sprig or two of dark green on that ever so slightly bluish and stained darkly greenish slate floor. I wonder the game and who won. I'm pretty sure the candles were lit. I know it was darker, but I brought back the pic for the painting. I want there to be a reason for those golden diamonds all round the edge, but I could still dance to all that rhythm.
Pylons on Poles
It must be art. Saw this as we were driving out of the very crowded lot at the Gin, and asked Anna to back up so I could shoot it, which I did three times for three differing visual moods. Thoughtful of somebody to make art in the yard.
Sandy MacKenzie Hames, Hermes'
Probably looking for an audio book to listen at while I write about cameras, which I've been loving to do after being all after art for too long now. This reminded me of Jeff Green, glad people still make art out of everyday objects, stuff they stumble over in their studios or back porch.
Nice little show but all the wrong work got prizes, have to wonder who judged such a thing that would not give a prize to this wonder. When pigs fly more important than the rapture for now.
Aron Siegal Gran Pix des Genéve
Have the deep abiding feeling I saw this same action in a photo in a sports car magazine about grand prix racing history from mid the last century. Not crazy bout that frame, maybe shoulda just used Carnation Instant Milk to permanently bond the red and black and gray poster to the wall. Like very the threedee ness of the car, driver leaning out the side like an evil storm chaser gunning for the big prize.
Andie Comini Secret Message 2010 glass and found objects
Maybe a crafts class and the CAC or something, blue on blue, on blue, with staccato stripes of white.
Fresh Faces May 1 2010
& Meatballs mixed media on clayboard and Paper 24
x 24 inches
No plan, really. Anna's in the show, so of course I went to the opening. Took my camera, shot these in this order. Sometimes, like this, so I'd have images by DallasArtsRevue members in case I'd need them, but never just because of that. These intrigue or baffling or something. All pieces I wanted to keep memory of. That I wanted to say something about. No idea what yet, but now they're poured onto this page, I can think it out. Add questions of my own to the curiosities gathered.
First impressions. Quick, then on to the next.
I saw Kathy in the foyer. She hadn't seen the show yet. I told her her piece was my favorite. It was true. But that could change studying these. It's fun watching someone really talented grow while she's constant at making art. She has a style, seems to add to it, making inroads into other styles while keeping it recognizably her own. No doubt whose it was soon as I saw it.
Said she wasn't aware of changing styles. I remembered reading that style is what happens when you're busy making art. But if you busy yourself making style, it blows it, and your art starts sucking. This does not suck. I.M. Pei said, "If you are true to yourself, you have a signature, and that signature will come out."
Daniel Birdsong American Epic mixed media on canvas 24 x 24 inches
I liked this when I shot it but still have questions I can't answer. I like that it has an optical center that's not in the center, and I wonder why that works so well here but not at all in other people's work. A main character, if you will, hangs from the heaven like deus ex machina. In our little story, wherever that might lead us, it's in charge. In this I see textures, not words or literal sense. Textures and the shapes and weights of them are handled deftly. Almost as if a landscape with an orange-red sky and white with black text ground. Maybe some reflections in the ground and in the sky of the others. Holds it all together.
The mule doesn't really want to be wherever it is, floating. The balloons cinch it in. It is sweating vertical dribbles of words down from its lofty, uncomfortable position. More than that is a mystery. Like many pieces in this show, the right side of the piece is bright, while the left fades into shadows. Who lighted it, leaned the light to the right. I'm not sure why, but it made for a challenge photographing.
I like it, but I can't explain it. I'm not even sure what questions to ask. I might later.
Matt Bagley Self Portrait digital photograph on handmade paper 24 x 24 inches
I've seen Matt Bagley's work before, but I've never been this impressed. Here, he's put himself into the picture, strung himself into its crosshatched framework. The thread in his mouth holds this crush of bamboo and wood together. Their mediums oddly missing from his list in the i.d thus caption. He's at work in the middle of his universe he's the center of. Sewing himself in.
Liz London Trance DeClassifying Satellites mixed media, paper and photos on canvas 24 x 24 inches
Another DallasArtsRevue member artist whose work I expect to photograph next week. Thought I should get a head start. Pictures I've seen have been out of focus. This one's sharp. A sensible feeling of space. Red, red and red dominating the frame. A little green to remind the red. Black to set it off. A human figure at that optical center again. Some textures and shades and rounded and flat objects. I want to see more.
Liz is a new Dallas Arts Revue Member who doesn't have a member page yet. But it is coming soon.
Michael Benson - Delivered oil on canvas 24 x 24 inches
I saw this when we delivered Anna's work, and photographed it badly then. Was drawn to it. An everyday reality. Massive nondescript doorless, almost windowless architecture looming a near horizon. I — not just my lens — zoomed in on the cab to see details, feel the paint and squiggling graphite.
Michael Benson - Delivered (detail) oil on canvas 24 x 24 inches
And liked it all the more. I know those squiggles, streaks and painterly shapes and notations. Perfect colors. No nonsense. Everything in its proper place without the details taking over. Real without that being so all-fired important. The arc of brush-textured white paint that is the fender. The trucking company name lost in blues on white squiggled with hints of detail but no sense we don't need to know.
Ray-Mel Cornelius Rey de la Noche acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 inches
I attempted a Facebook conversation with Ray-Mel about this big chicken later last week. Email is so quick. Ask, answer or ignore. Fb stretches the simple into hours, then near the end my internet service stopped providing. The Rey in the rooster's title has to be the same Ray in Ray-Mel. Like a fellow reader there, I just love this art piece, but I see a little more in it than just a big chicken glowing in the night.
I see Ray-Mel, his latest incarnation. Strong. Sure. And king of the night.
Heather Gorham Monday, I Dressed Myself Today acrylic 24 x 24 inches
There are days we can feel our power leaking, our clothes wet with the sweat of it in wiggly lines along the floor back to the horizon. Little things counting more than probably should but pleased enough at our progress. The hat her thinking is inside of is great, perfect. The red robe roping back over the edge of horizon into the past. Zigs, zags back to where we got this far from. It's enough. It's progress.
Steven Benezue Tea Pot ceramic
Benezue, sometimes of the wacky pot for the wackiness of it enough. Sometimes he goes further 'round the bend and achieves another breakthrough past the round into the thin dimension of almost flat but not so flat the container no longer contains. Hovering in the between of abstract and reality.
It's still funny, but the humor now is deeper. The shadows real. And the beaded pot contains more.
Ron Criswell Pope Viagra spray paint, auto paint, nail polish and acrylics
You put a prong that big on the front middle of a character, even abstracted red into a blonde pope hat and everybody's got to wonder. That the textures turn the corners of the object into solids, and stripes into contained fields, adds to the merriment. Flaming abstract like the Holy Ghost.
Julia McLain Howdy Do Ma'am acrylic 24 x 24 inches
When I saw this outside I remembered I already had a shot of it from delivery day, so it's down here, the last of the shots of this show this first contemplation through. I remember ignoring her work in a two-person show I didn't think her work was ready for, although both those artists clearly did. But this time this work is ready, aim true and firing on all cylinders.
We could probably each of us make stories of the images here, and all those colors bouncing in that neutral white space. But McLain's imagination's wild enough already we hardly need to do anything but stare at this space and wonder.
Art is Ageless at C.C. Young April 24 2010
Bea Bynum Humong Tribe quilt 2000 age
Hardly surprising that not one of the pieces at the C. C. Young Art is Ageless competition that I liked when I saw them there — except, of course, a second place in photography by Anna — were selected for place honors at this art extravaganza for artists 55 or older, and I'm not going to promote her art here, whether I believe in objectivity or not.
But my other faves are all here, in the order of my affection, except I love Bill Verhelst's piece more than any, so it will be here, but I have to work on it, because first they hid it on a low table between two chairs, then on the sill of a window that let in way too much light. Many pieces in the show were oddly exhibited, sometimes delicate mediums directly facing blazing sunlight or lost in clutter, like nobody there cared a whit about the art, just wanted to celebrate something, anything to promote the institution.
Schmaltzoid Show Logo
The quilt in today's lead picture is gorgeous, contemporary spectacular, although done about ten years ago. Apparently there's no rules about that, which seems odd. But a lot about this show is odd. The mayor was there. He talked and talked and talked, I don't know about what; I got up and wandered around anytime someone rattled on about non-art topics for more than five minutes.
I paid passing attention to ninety-something year-old Ebby Halliday, as she doddered on and on about angels and prayer, because last year she played her ukulele, and that would have been worth photographing. But nobody said much about the art, which is why we were there. I don't think they cared.
Humong is the H mong (H is silent; the o is pronounced u.) tribe, from the mountain regions of Southeast Asia, a simplified and stylized version of whose traditional "Dragon's Tail" pattern this textile features in white, black, pink and yellow on the dark blue field. The Hmong have a long tradition of overt geometric patterns like those dominating this textile. The smaller square designs may be Vegetable Blossoms. I wasn't able to track down the magenta and yellow triangles. I assume the red, white and blue frame is obvious.
The best references for Hmong textiles online are the Hmong page on Quilter's Muse Virtual Museum, Artisans of Asia, a video at the bottom of the Visual Culture page and Hmong Textile Arts.
Vicki Smith Dancers acrylic 2003 age
At the hour-plus-long event, RSVPed visitors sang patriotic songs, listened to politicians and awarded first and second prizes in various categories to artists in reserved seating midway back in the audience, where each of whom stood and raised their prize (no money) for a few seconds, although there was some banter from regulars. I did not discover who was this year's juror.
In many ways, the extravaganza at CC Young — "Dallas' premiere Retirement community," called Art Is Ageless, reminded me of "The Rockwall National" with Small town-thinking in the extravaganza that mostly brings honor and glory to the presenting org, while doing odd other things to art, like facing individual pieces on the backs of short temporary risers, facing directly into the sun, or stringing the art along long hallways and into forgotten crannies of that public building at the top of the hill at the extensive retirement home.
Lanelle Lantendresse The Rain
in Spain oil 2009 age 80
Some pieces there were less original than the others. A man who'd attached a lampshade to a clarinet won first prize for sculpture ...
I think I've seen this one before, perhaps with different players. But it mixes an informal sense of depth in a light bright interior exterior hallway with an uneasy perspective. I like the red doorway in the distance and the vestiges along the walls. Nobody is rendered quite realistically. Some umbrellas must be gigantic, others tiny, yet all blue, and for all its three-dimensionality, everything stays mainly on the plane.
Alexis Curts Blue Meanie in a
Box grade 6 The Parish Episcopal School
Hardly original — not a quality particularly celebrated in these interconnected categories of very young and old artists, anyway, but certainly colorful. Again, I've considerably calmed down the background. Whoever placed the show seemed unconcerned about competing colors and shapes near art.
Wilbert Verhelst Kineto Series 3 Created in 1995 at Age 71
Bill's piece was certainly the most original work, although it was stuck off away from most of it in the library in the back of the building. Here on a low table between two upholstered chairs, visually inconsequential to the exhibition. The juror or whoever chose the work was very unlikely to have known that each piece in this mini art compound complex was movable around axes. So if you didn't like it one way, it could be altered by picking it up and twisting. Although it barely compares in cuteness with the lampshaded clarinet, it was actual original art.
Bill might have appreciated my placement of his piece in this show down here so near the installation below. I remember him building a makeshift, not at all official, entry into Connemara's annual competitive outdoor sculpture exhibition of real art somewhat North of here. Connemara's supposedly art-enlightened staff didn't know what to make of it and did not know what to do with Bill's errant entry. So they knocked it down, drove a tractor over it and hauled the detritus away, meaning CC Young is hardly the only art-ignorant entity to attempt a major art "exhibition."
I know this was not intended as art. But it looks more like art than anything else, with intriguing use of form, line, texture, mass and color, and it was certainly my favorite site-specific installation there, although I did greatly admire the pair of giant construction cranes lifting skyward from the burgeoning institution on the hills overlooking White Rock Lake.
The Rachofsky House Artist Night April 22 2010
Rachofsky House from Behind
I'd been hearing about The Rachofsky House since the mid-90s, figured eventually I'd see it. This evening it finally happened. Anna was invited, and I tagged along, camera in hand. She'd been before. We explored the grounds while the light was still bright, climbed the stairs to the top, looked at all the art, wondered who slept in that bed in the upstairs bedroom and why so many bathrooms, and chuckled that the catalog could not bring itself to show all of some sculptures in this collection.
Dan Graham Argonne Pavilion II 1998
stainless steel frame and floor clear glass and two-way mirror
Another optically deceptive house that wasn't really there. In the Out door and out the In.
Kiki Smith Cave Bear Teeth 2000 cast bronze with patina
Hinting of a sense of humor on a grande scale. Big brown teeth.
Paul McCarthy Appleheads bronze with mixed media
we were intrigued enough with the bright red apple heads peeking out over the low green shrub at the edge of thin woods, to make a visit. In the catalog — beautiful, four-color catalog with story and small color photos of more pieces than we saw — these are seen as two apple heads peeking out of the green shrub. They ain't got no bodies, let alone genitalia.
Paul McCarthy Appleheads bronze with mixed media
Unless you traipse all the way out there and risk the mud in the copse of trees, you'd never have the opportunity to be shocked with this transgressive pair. Adam and Eve, no doubt, in a gadda da vida ... Rachofsky.
David Atmejd The Quail 2008 wood, mirror, glue and quail eggs
Some objects are more difficult to see than most. This mirrored object stands in the right half of this tall photograph. The outside from one direction visible behind it and the stairway to the third floor is also reflected in the piece, some of whose otherwise flat surfaces of mirror, making the curved and almost domed top of The Quail the only giveaway that slightly breaks from pure reflectivity. Secreted in tiny recessed alcoves in the all-the-way-arround mirrors are Quail eggs.
Past the stairway in the background is a wall, white of course, but showing of pink here. That interior space continues all the way to the right edge of the photograph of this mirrored piece, surrounding it here. The bright exterior green and white of patios and walls is in Atmejd's sculpture.
Alberto Burri Rosso plastica L.A. (Red Plastic L.A.) 1966
plastic, acrylic and combustion on Celotex
Humor again, but dark this time. Whether it's there or not, I see an opened mouth, as if to scream. One of the more startling visions in the house of pristine white. Vivid.
Christo Package 1962
fabric, twine, velvet and wood
A piece of history. Reference to wrapped in white, wrapped in brown and orange, then sealed behind PlexiGlas in a hallway back to yet another set of bathrooms near a window looking out on the back forty. I have to wonder what this once wrapped, and whether it is a memento of a Christo wrapping a Rachofsky witnessed.
Iran de Espirito Santo Water Glass 2 2008 solid pure crystal
In situ. The green, burnt umber and blue stripes are in the cabinet behind this sculpted glass of water. I dared not touch it, but it looked cool and thirst-worthy, more white like nearly everything else inside the house, and like all the other art there, not identified — you need a catalog to know which is art and which artifice. At first, it struck me as funny. Another joke on the art viewer. I smiled big as I circled to find its best side for this photograph.
Annette Lawrence Moons 1995-96 mixed media on paper
From a series of thirteen moon / menses calendars, this also looks altogether different close up than from more than a few feet away or tiny in the catalog. The mixed media are black ink, deep red brown menstrual blood and possibly hand-made paper. Annette may be the only Dallas-area artist exhibited at the Rachofsky House today. She lives in Denton.
Her site talks about her African American heritage, but this piece goes much deeper, down into the soul and pain of woman. There's something primal in smearing ones own blood. As a diabetic I have my own blood rituals, and making marks in blood feels of magic and a direct connection with life, here circled with the times her cycles show themselves as her self.
Jim Hodges Great Event (detail) 1999 mirror on canvas
Another art moon. This one large, a full moon roundness of apparent dimension. I wanted Anna and me reflected in the piece. She near the daylight window out, I getting the camera ready. Neither of us posed. I shot anyway. Her body fragmented in blue jean jacket and black panted legs, with face reflected on left; my nose, mouth, squinted eye with both hands around always the camera on the right. Blue and brown and silver. The white form in the middle is wall; the aqua is all outdoors.
Valet Guys Waiting
This is a photograph. I say that, because the interior colors of this photograph have more to do with how cameras see colors than with any reality of light or color, although the valet guys are black and white. The light outside is blue. The camera is set for blue outside light, so it does not show the blue. The light inside is red. The camera, set for blue, sees objects under blue as real. The pink-orange frame is unreal. Those walls are white.
I was taken with the valet guys in their utterly generic black and white. Much like the black and intense over-white of the Rachofsky House, it is unreal on its green and muddy brown landscape.
Michael Landy Gillian (detail) 2008 graphite on paper
I was taken, as the Rachofskys likely were taken by the simple stare of the girl with bright eyes and carefree hair.
Outside Stairs from the Library
Rachofsky staff or volunteers were stationed at abrupt disruptions of planar space — places where visitors too often stumble on unexpected, sudden ups and down of floor or steps. Even knowing that and mindlessly ignoring their 'be careful' babble, I nearly tripped on a sudden up step, took two steps toward the corner of light, then nearly fell on the deep, down step that followed it into the stone space around the stairs toward the windows I wanted watching out of.
In- and Ex-terior
My ortho-booted broken but healing foot held under me at each startling step, up and down again, where I made this and lesser photographs out the windows, then returned to the deep dark comfort of the library.
Mark Handforth Texas Tom 2007 steel, epoxy and enamel paint
Parting shots upon leaving. The big red Texas Turkey loose in the back yard crisscrossed with spring sod. Home a great backdrop for art and sculpture, white against its colors and life.
This time with interior colors corrected. Perhaps you can tell I was getting restless. Had seen enough colorless architecture. Seen enough big-time artists from out of town. Bristling from the unreal all-too-neat-forever zone of too pristine everything, I longed for the bustle and bashing of competing colors and thoughts, and within moments we were away and in it.
Eighth Semi-Annual Deep Ellum Art Walk April 17
Watching Us with Fallen Lashes
Have been watching this eye watch me driving by for weeks. Not interested enough to stop and take its picture before. Though I thought it would be better than this. Hadn't planned to visit since Charissa quit, but it was right there on our way. We stopped, went in, discovered strangeness inside.
What the building is, besides sometimes an exhibition space in the front room and up and down the hallways, is a dormitory for foreign students of UTD. Far (18.03 miles away) from UTD, but close to downtown of the big city.
Down the hall looked like a dormitory making fun of itself, with laundry hanging from lines. Obscuring the gauntlet to somewhere, but at the end, turn around and come back. The journey is along the way. No real destination.
Welcome to the unreality zone. Red, white and blue. Black doors. Something protruding from the package hooked with red. And blue tape.
More tape. More laundry. I remember the dorms at UD. I even remember similar objects. We didn't think to crisscross tape over mysterious wrapping. Could be baby blue body bags. Surreal in there.
Up Exposition Ave.
Across the street another Exposition Avenue art space of one sort or another. Lights off. Door locked on Deep Elm Art Walk day. Also pushing the aesthetics graphically.
Edward Ruiz Cymon and Reggie Expo Locals
Visual puns from the neighborhood. Each has their tool. Both the uniform. Subtly witty. Smart, purposely simple. Wouldn't be the first time that a member of that neighborhood of distinct individuals has been temporarily imortalized in art or sculpture.
The Amazing Exploits of Kitsch Man
More local color next door. Or next door to the next door or across the street. Display out in front of another local business. No notion of what the title might be, or why this thick fore-legged is falling ass first into a mirror. Or who did it. But interesting. The fall of classical shapes. Sureality all down the street.
Ricardo Paniagua's Art Car
Down Expo, left around The Sons of Hermann toward downtown on Elm. Just past the Continental Lofts — looked like something on in there, lights, maybe art on the walls, but we didn't stop — t.urn right through the front building, to the parking lots and a great rain lake in back. This art car guards the way.
Reality Line. Do Not Cross.
Ricardo Paniagua's Stripes
Only one Gin artist showing in the Walk, and he's not on the list, except maybe as one of "...And many more." Odd and alone in that bevy of art studios. Probably we were there from a Facebook invite. Only two other people there while we were. Still raining out. I remember Bob Nunn wanting one of the purple stripe paintings.
Ricardo Paniagua Futurists Warfare 2010
oil and spray on canvas 36 x 36 inches
The only of the works on the wall I had instant rapport with was this campfire in the night, surrounded by stories wiggling in the darkens like fireflies.
77 And Howe
I've been photographing this object for more than a decade, and this is the first time I've been satisfied with the image. Local color.
Chris Lattanzio candle
I wanted to see where Chris Lattanzio's work had got. He was excited about the glow of these sculptural pieces. I was more pleased that he'd gone inches more 'round the bend into that elusive third dimension. Till now, his work has barely grazed the third D. This makes more than allusions to it, though of course, his work is still largely flat, though now it appears to have a lot more dimension.
Chris Lattanzio corn flakes
And color. His earlier, more linear work had the color and were certainly sculpture, but these have actual texture and hints at volume. The colors almost garish. I cannot imagine where this would go in most houses. An interior room with no other light?
All while I was photographing his work with my tiny Point+Shoot, the artist was waxing on about how difficult it was to photograph his work, and I wondered if he wasn't going to the wrong guy. I did notice a slight discoloration in the magenta range — common in digital and film photography, but otherwise it was a slam-dunk to go click.
J R Compton Lantern
File this — and the next — shots as the sort of local color that could easily be mistaken for art. The lines in the lamp, an extension of Chris's matrix of those 3D shape-defining spaces. Only these, here and below, are real, not representative. I am photographing into the void and finding art, which I don't mind emphasizing or color distorting for my own pleasure. Maybe yours, too. Chris might recognize some old friends in this one. I remember the large objects in the next shot, but this one escapes me.
I like the 'But Is It Art' quality of them both. Immensely, and for many years I have attempted to fill in the transitional gaps between gallery stops with stuff from around the corner. Like these. Both from the environs of Dahlia Woods gallery. Right on the property.
Some places sometimes need a little local color. The minimalism at Barry Whistler's sometimes leaves me empty. Here I've found something different. Without going out the door, although we're about to do that, and we will see rich colors and minimal lines.
Whistler's Front Porch
And an extension of the maximal sense of space Barry's always offers.
Next stop Mokah, where I've learned to expect fine fine art, and volumes of 500X-like space in which to ponder quality.
David Morris Extend 2010 reduction fired stoneware $400
Like these wild, tone-muted clay shapes and tones architected like giant future sailing craft with magical markings. Finding something so elegant, so carefully colorful, so oddly shaped and flung.
David Morris Cower 2010 reduction fired stoneware $400
Other pieces there were nice enough, but they did not stir me like these voluminous shapes do.
Kolmanskop No. 3 Kolmanskop, Namibia pigment ink print
Interesting subject. Limited prints for sale. From Namibia. Nice, but nothing to do with here, so I don't much care.
Altogether similar to work we saw at two years ago. Guy's got a niche, and he works it and works it and works it. Mildly amusing, it was funnier the first time I saw them.
Musical Accompaniment at Kettle Art
For our listening pleasure while we ponder visual art. Another, earlier photograph of the same musician — whose name the gallery owner and others I've asked do not know — is about halfway down our popular Deep Elm Enrichment Project page 2 from 2007.
Clint Scism Vulture Capitalist
I liked this little piece for the objective reality of it long before I saw the title. Great vaguely blobby frame, fine cartoon. Starkly graphic, beak outside the box.
Amber Campagna Abduction
Amber, daughter of Kettle Art owner and HCG part-owner and Deep Elm sign-painter Frank. I see the visual talent gene is intact.
So often there is some primitivistic shape or mass at the kettle, hung from the ceiling or stood off the wall — from the creative mind and hands of the creature called Kooda.
Cathey Miller The Other Kind
A 50s-style paperback cover painting by Cathey Miller fooled me. I wouldn't have pegged it for hers, although the quality, tonality and in-your-face lesbian sexuality is all right there. Superb update.
Jurrying The Winston High School Art Show April 14 2010
Nick Curtis Pier Lobster
Today, I judged paintings, sculpture, ceramics, color and black & white photography and photography portfolios for The Winston High School Art Show on Royal Lane near the Tollway, where my friend Roddy Parkinson teaches. We hadn't seen each other since our Allen Street Gallery days in the early 90s, but he asked me to judge the photographs, and I suggested since I had been publishing art criticism longer than anyone else in Dallas, I could probably handle all three disciplines. They'd already got a woodturner to judge those.
When I told Anna about it, she wanted to go, too, so we did, and it was an interesting experience playing our opinions off each other, back and forth. Plus, since the work was scattered in several rooms and hallway on two floors — and because I probably would have anyway — I photographed some of the work on my s90, making it a lot easier to remember favorite pieces (even though they weren't all in sharp focus), so Anna and I could sit down and quickly assign first, second, third and honorable mention places for each group.
Although I must say, placement — first, second and third places and honorable mentions — were largely interchangeable. If I had it to do over I'd probably change several of the placements now and again tomorrow and the next day. I'm pretty sure we chose the best work, however. Mostly.
Sarah Hammond Indian
This is a piece I failed by not giving it the credit I believe it was due. It didn't help that it was awkwardly placed in front of a plaque of names (which I've freed it from in this reproduction).
Yes, it seems noticeably contrived with the crying cloud and rainbow body, headband and feather, and confused in all that mixed symbolism is a meaning I can't grasp. But deep down I understand.
There's a direct simplicity to it that I admire. It's not mawkish, it just is. I can't go back and change its placement, but I do hereby give it my Special Juror's Award.
Linda Flores Flower Power
I think we finally placed this one second in photography, but it could as easily have been first. I saw three different prints of it in various places up halls, down stairs and upstairs. This version was the cleanest, had the most density in the flower petals and reflected less.
I don't know why there were three different versions — or why all the work in each genre couldn't have been in one place, so we could make direct comparisons, but like the other one we did place first in photography — a straight shot with no wild digital elements, but probably digitally enhanced in other ways, I think of this as the best and most original. But we just never know how original any piece really is.
The other shot that stayed neck and neck in our evaluation all through our deliberations was — as this one would be also — very difficult to explain. We know it was shot from a boat, yet it was in near perfect focus, although that might have been due to digital sharpening, and its composition was superb.
It was the sort of architectural planar interchange those of us who photograph such things dream of. Lots going on in a vertical frame. If I'd photographed it, I'd show it here. But I didn't, and dearly wish I had. Not motion, but a lot going on in that single frame involving many other frames formed by the building. An architectural landscape of great beauty and subtlety.
In the end that shot won out, but it was and still is a close race in my mind. Both exquisite photographs.
Hunter Cobb Totem
I have not yet figured out why I like this one so much, although at first I definitely did not. It feels unified by that purple. It is what it is, and it doesn't go to any lengths to be anything else. I like the colors and the shapes. A lot.
They engage something in me I cannot fathom. I like it. It works.
Roddy asked me for a statement about how I judge art. He wanted to know whether I valued execution most or innovation. But mine is an experiential valuation. I look at a work, and if it engages me, and thoughts come forth, I pay attention to it. If it doesn't do anything to or for me, I pass it up. Usually at an art show, I photo the ones that engage me somehow — either positively or negatively.
Often it is the negative engagements that turn out best, most interesting. Not necessarily that those works are the ones I like least initially — although it often works out that way, but because they ask more questions than I can easily answer, they turn out to be the pieces I like most, have been engaged by, and have learned something from the engagement.
I still believe that I can judge (as a critic, not necessarily as a juror) a show in as long as it takes me to see every piece, and sometimes I do that at a quick-paced walk or slow run. But assigning numerical order and keeping multiple categories separate takes a lot more time and mapping.
Anna did that bureaucracy today, kept up with the elevator key that let us go up and down and up and down so many times trying to put this show all together in our minds. Keeping track of placing the cards on the pieces we liked or were engaged by till we could arbitrarily decide on number placements.
Hannah Hammond Victim of Tomorrow
I never read that script at the far right of this shot. Only saw it as texture until I had it up on my monitor. I'm still not sure what's going on in the frame. The motionalism — so much going on, so much of what we see in motion, trailing, blurring, static zigzagging across or through the image — lends a sense of emotionalism.
That giant face, partially obscured, other persons blurring through. What could be other figures in the fore- and backgrounds. Mysterious actions. Faces obscured. Even the script mirrored and distorted. All this stuff I never once considered while choosing it. Only now, with time, with distance, with my snapshot of this photograph, do I even care to parse it out.
I still don't like this image, but I still believe it to one of the best photographs there, and the best black and white photo, probably better than several pretty colored objects we put low numbers on in other categories.
I've often wondered how anyone could judge from slides of work, or more recently, from digital representations when originals are about, but any of those would have been preferable to up- and down-ing stairways and transversing halls for two frantic hours this afternoon. One set of photographs — I never figured out which — was represented by thumb-sized black and white versions upstairs while their originals were somewhere downstairs.
I doubt we ever got all the peices together in our minds. And thanks to all the running back and forth, up and down, my broken foot hurt so much when I finally got it home that I had to take one of my big pain pills and nap out several hours before I could attempt to write this.
Kin Sinclair Light + Shadow
Exquisite interplay of shadow patterns playing off interconnecting planes and curved shapes. Beautiful. Took a sharp mind to see this and capture it so well.
Meanwhile, black & white photography, oddly outnumbered by every other medium, shone star-like, even if it was often desaturated color imagery to begin with, which may not be the ideal to make grayscale from color. Having so few, scattered so far, made choosing among them a special challenge, but once we thought it through, the champs were almost obvious.
Anthony Hatcher Squint
Essence of an expression. I'm not convinced that color would have harmed this shot much. But it certainly works well in black and white, if that is strict black and white. I sense redness here. I pulled all the color out of my image of it, and it was different, so I put them back in. Very nice photograph. I believe Anthony's original was sharper than my reproduction here.
I hate not knowing the artists and titles and other caption information for these pieces — and being able to post them under each piece (yet), but I almost understand not telling us stuff like that, lest we play favorites. Except we don't know anybody there but Roddy. So if anybody knows the titles and artists/photographers' names and titles of these works, I'd be very grateful.
Our usual form for captions is name title year date medium size in inches.
Rachel Rover Hair Brush
It was easy to judge all the sculpture in one room and all the paintings on one wall downstairs somewhere. There were a dozen times as many photographs as paintings, and probably even more sculpture than paintings, but the painted winners stood out to our practiced eyes. I loved the cosmic hairbrush as soon as my eyes rested on it. The seaside scene took longer to settle past the cliché, which the cosmic hair brush neatly missed.
Amy Braunstein Antelope Canyon
The Grand Canyon waterfall was much less obvious. Not as a winner. It was a winner. Just it was so much less obvious a painting. Not at all hackneyed. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it except in photographs, and this is not a copy of a photo, whatever its source material might have been.
Price Eagan Sailboats
I've seen nearly this same seascape a couple times already, but lovely placements and composition, all the details gathered nearer the edges of that soothing blue, green, brown, white, YELLOW beach somewhere in our collective imagination. A sense of depth and a strong sense of color. Nice. Soothing. The empty blue of sky has more detail than the ocean washing the shore. I just wish the black frame didn't darken the details at the top of the painting, but there were black frames on all the paintings.
Last night when I was trying to sleep up for the big event today, I kept worrying that this trip would involve as lousy a quality of art as the time I judged another school show — at East Texas State University decades ago, although I'm not sure that's what they called that school then. There, I had teachers "guiding" me to prioritize certain student's work. And very little of that work, by college students, in a college known for its artists, was anywhere near the quality of the work at the Winston High School today.
And if anyone has better, more accurate copies of the two-dimensional pieces shown in this story, I'd be happy to replace my less-than copies with the originals. Send to my e address on the Contact Me link at the top of this page.
I'm so very pleased to have had my expectations raised by High School students this good.
The Oak Cliff Art Crawl April 10 2010
Oak Cliff Mural on South Tyler Street
For a big change, this Oak Cliff art walk actually entailed walking from place to place in two not-all-that-distant locales (that could have been walked, but most chose to drive), South Tyler Street, here, our first extended visit, and Bishop Street, in what was called "Haute Cliff" years-ago art — and real estate — events.
Deep Elm claims a gateway where they've parked a big, chrome sculpture by a big-time art guy from out of town. Nice that the Tyler portion of Oak Cliff's walk has a gateway art piece that actually bears some resemblance to art in Oak Cliff by artists in Oak Cliff. New concept, eh? This legend is at the lowest left portion of the whole image above. Witty way to give credit to the artists. Nice job.
Hobbes Vincent title unknown
Our introduction to the sculpture of Hobbes Vincent was sudden and awe-inspiring. Walk in the door of the studio on the north end of the Tyler Street block party, and there was this bigger-than-life leaping animal, part of which was missing, providing a partial cutaway view. Not sure if it were completed. Probably not, on those armatures and that rough wood base. But impressive.
Hobbes Vincent title unknown
Turn around toward the front window, and there's this. I thought of it as a sort of malignant Peter & The Wolf without a clear hero. I was for the wolf dog against the malevolent skinny kid with a stick. Beautiful, florid, impressionist, white work.
Hobbes Vincent title unknown
Then a fantastical scenario I think I may have seen before. Somewhere. This would make marvelous illustration for the fantasy end of the science fiction spectrum. Careful craftsmanship and emotion-rending work like I'd not seen before, except maybe I have. Deja viewing again here.
Hobbes Vincent title unknown
After Peter and the Wolf above, I was most smitten by these stilt people. Always such a joy to be suddenly and visually introduced to such fine local talent. Wow.
Janet Chaffee Underneath and In-Between
Eloquent cut-outs on the big wall in the front of the gallery. Perfect light for it that sunshiny day, after such a long cool spring, one warm and friendly day to walk around talking with artists.
Slightly Altered Art Toys in the back at MFA
Understand Modern Art Instantly Breath Spray in Surreal Peppermint Flavor
Pointing the way up the very busy street from MFA's Front Window
Vanessa Neil Mobile at Cube Creative
Special program for kids to chalk on sidewalks.
Not sure the purpose of the green line, but I liked the look of it. I guess it just provided more space to walk on. Green for go, even though not many were walking there when I photographed this. I felt self-conscious to walk along it, but I did. Much smoother walking there for a temporary semi-cripple than the ancient curbed sidewalk.
Angel in a Real Office
There was art out front, so I went in, and found a business office. A few small pieces of art on the walls that I couldn't see, and several identical white angles reading books in the semi-darkness.
Yellow and Red
Lots of chairs on the street and on the sidewalk for sitting a spell and talking. Good thing for a real art walk. And despite this empty photo, plenty of people sitting in the chairs this side of the line of parked cars along that very busy one-way street down the hill south.
Mildly intrigued, we went inside. Came back out quickly. One always has hope for neighborhood galleries, but one always hopes for taste, too. MFA (Mighty Fine Arts) is clearly the aesthetic center of Tyler Street South. It's been there a while after moving a few doors more southerly a few years ago after we (DallasArtsRevue Members) fixed the place up, painted the walls and showed there in October 2006.
Recently finished — unfinished? — mural in the Bishop Street Arts District
History on the wall writ large. Pertinent dates and more information from The History of Oak Cliff on Wikipedia: "In 1902, an interurban electric streetcar line controlled by the Northern Texas Traction Company, was constructed passing through Oak Cliff [connecting] Dallas to Fort Worth. This line discontinued service in the late 1930s.
Smaller residential streetcar service ran throughout Oak Cliff's neighborhoods, spanning over 20 miles. Known as a streetcar suburb, Oak Cliff's characteristic twists and turns are largely due to the area's topography, and the paths and turnabouts created by the streetcar service. Residential streetcar service ended in January 1956.
Michele Mikesell Red Cat Hat
Anna and I were enchanted by this painter showing at Decorazon soon as we saw the publicity images in the announcement for the gallery, though we really hadn't planned to visit, we were delighted to find that we had. Wonderful, evocative paintings of fantastical women and poignant children. Oof! Real art.
Michele Mikesell Mischief Maker
What a delightful exhibition. Thanks, Decorazon.
Bishop Street Flea Market through the window
The flea-market/bourse line of bright white tent-lets down the street had not much to do with art but a lot to do with commerce. Not sure if the market was part of the Art Walk or the hastily-announced walk was a late addition to the market, but I tried to avert my eyes from the blazing tents and atrocious "art" for sale there and concentrate on the art and food emporiums along Bishop. We've always loved the old-fashioned ice cream parlor on that far side from this photograph, and the Soda Gallery slightly left of there.
Bead Spill on the Bricks
Two women pick colorful beads from the bricks paving Bishop Street — never a major thoroughfare like Tyler — that slices through Haute Cliffe.
Little Bit of History without Dates
There's still room in the brown below this proscenium presented mile-long engineering marvel for some pertinent dates. I don't know if the mural is itself historic, and I just never saw it before, or if it's new. According to Wikipedia, "Oak Cliff originated on December 15, 1886 when John S. Armstrong and Thomas L. Marsalis bought a farm of 320 acres on the west side of the Trinity River for $8,000. The farm was subdivided into 20-acre blocks, and the plat of the new suburb made [sic]. Armstrong and Marsalis began to develop the land into an elite residential area, which proved to be a success by the end of 1887, with sales surpassing $60,000.
According to the first plat filed, the original township of Oak Cliff extended as far north as First Street, later named Colorado Boulevard, just north of Lake Cliff, then known as Spring Lake, and as far south as a pavilion below Thirteenth Street. It was bounded on the east by Miller Street, later named Cliff Street, and on the west by Beckley Avenue. Jefferson Boulevard was the route of a steam railroad, and the principal north and south thoroughfare was Marsalis Avenue, then called Grand Street.
In April 1908, the Trinity River flooded its banks, rising to a height of 37.8 feet by April 21 ... [then the] rains continued [till] May, finally raising the river's height to 51.3 feet. The only bridge remaining that connected Oak Cliff with Dallas after the flood was the Zang Boulevard Turnpike, an earthen fill with a single steel span across the river channel, slightly to the north of the present Houston Street Viaduct.
About this time G. B. Dealey, publisher of the Morning News, [suggested an] intra-city causeway .... From his proposal sprang the Houston Street Viaduct (originally named the Oak Cliff Viaduct), begun October 24, 1910 and opened to traffic February 22, 1912, acclaimed as the longest concrete bridge in the world. This latter designation was later disputed as a publicity stunt."
Dealey Plaza Depiction and some Bronze Sclupture
The painting first looked like a Gregory Horndeski with all that florrid, stippled grass and distorted cartoonish cars and warped building (but alas, no starry sky showing through the top). Still does, except no cartoon creatures wandering around, and he never would have squiggled-in such un-Dallas-like clouds. Great little warped Dallas — Dallas really is warped, so this must be Realism — painting. Except the clouds, really, really amazing nice. I couldn't find an I.d card for it.
I'm much less enthusiastic about that sclupture, however, and just spelling that word badly doesn't begin to express my distate for it, but there it was clunked up in the big middle of the front of this painting in that clutter beyond cluttered store.
Wandering Around Watching Art Late March 2010
Carrie Marill The Shrimp 2010 goache
on paper 20 x 16 inches (slight detail)
In a room of formal bird portraits, this — whatever it is — by Carrie Marill at Conduit stands out with vivid color and wild shape. It must be real — her bird busts all are, but what is it? Besides beautiful. Learned later, it's a shrimp. Wow.
Starting a new Art Here Lately under new circumstances. I'm on vacation from writing about art, but I keep looking and photographing it — because I'm learning a new camera and because seeing and thinking about art makes me happy, gives me something to do and keep doing. It helps that I occasionally have something intelligent to say. But for now, I am more willing to show without telling too much ...
Gabriel Dawe Plexus Number Two: Convergence 2010 info on facebook
I never saw one of the late George DeMerle's string installations, but this one reminds me of them anyway. It was mesmerizing and difficult to see as strings, more like soft clouds of color. But then all-soft is how I see 3-D movies, too, so maybe it's just me, and this is three dee. I felt need to walk carefully lest I impact a set of fuzzy strings I could barely see. It is a worthy experience and intriguing use of a small room.
... or wracking my poor brain to say intelligent things about every piece of art I find worth photographing. Lots of it, once you see the photograph, doesn't really need that much explaining. Lots of us get it. The trick is seeing it. Too many times that means going somewhere, leaving our carbon footprints all over the place, paying to get in, etc.
Blue-edged Bulletin Board in the hall Outside
I didn't notice this coming up the steps into the hall at Conduit, but while leaving, it became obvious. Like a bulletin board, only I was never sure what, exactly, purpose it served. Broadside, bulletin board? Other B words. Love the blue tape. And so neat.
Gorham The Dichotomy of
Entomology mixed media 24 x 18 inches
Heather Gorham's little boys seem a little older now, more alert and present in what we think of as facnciful reality. Love the hats.
Kary The Inevitability of
Time and Travel (detail) mixed media 50
x 10 inches
We made a big deal of Norman's show at CG last year, that he'd purposely changed his style in a significant way, and now I wonder whether we all do that, usually in lumps and bumps, almost always without us even realizing it, but this piece looks like it's skipped several steps in the slow progression of an artist's credentialed career.
Oh, yeah, it's a flat piece with protrusions barely into the third dimension, and that big strange machine-like object hanging off the front of it, all classic Norman Kary elements. But it doesn't look like anything I'd have expected to end up on the front of a Kary. Big surprise. Nice surprise.
Marty Ray Gallereys Night 2010
I have Marty Ray pots. Big and little round, curved objects. Vessels not altogether unlike the ones she portrays in this little scene. I love that she shows us gallery scenes in galleries scenes, and that these objects are mostly flat, though hardly rectangular. More colorful than the last few times. More intense. Are those backpacks? Or humps.
Josh Garber Bloom 2010 aluminum
bar and pipe, unique 8 x 7 x 8 inches
There's a sameness of work at Holly Johnson that defies diversity. Look around in there and see and see and see. And then there's this odd clunk that looks like nails hammered into something solid, writhing around onto itself like lizards losing their outter skins. Delight in something finally so very different. Wonder how much it weighs.
Art on the Dragon
Across the street, maybe down Dragon some is this odd display of. Well, I'm not sure if it's art or the memories of art or the undercoatings of future art, real, old or imaginary art, big on the face of an art space in orange orange. We did not go in. Maybe this is that public art they keep talking about. Sure beats the ugly stuff in Deep Elm cross streets.
Trees on Buildings
I'm liking modern architectural expanses splayed across with tree shadows. May be a new series. Join Stairs, Chairs & Fences and The Catbird Seat.
Brad Cushman and Scott Winterrowd Yukon
Test, Christmas Island, May 8, 1962 2010
We'd planned a visit to The Kettle, but forgot or something. MFA wasn't on our list, but when I overheard their name at a previous gallery, we had to go. Some impenetrable paintings I did not fathom, understand or want to. Made me nervous this time. Next time I'll greet like long lost friends, maybe peel back my understandings and become its champion. And this lovely series of watercolor postcards of American nuclear tests around the world. Seems an abundantly appropriate use of art. Fierce message in there somewhere. To make beauty of it only logical these many years later. A back-handed joke on us all.
Harmony Padgett at MFA
Color in color around color. Wood grain, gouged with color. Smeared, incised. Several things going on I cannot see. Pleasure available without stressing to understand.
mural by Steve Cruz
Down Seventh Street a very new Steve Cruz.
T.Stone Trio painted
Really nice use of the back room at the Bath House, smaller work by T.Stone in several dimensions, lots with shadows, many incorporating circles and squares and undulating curves.
The only words I can think to say about these — some few of which just settle in my mind making me wonder how so simple can be so fine — is to wonder when she'll make something really big again. Must be a booger to sell those giants in this economy but I want to see one or three in a public place in the next year or so. Something to look forward to.
T.Stone MoMo 2010 painted
Eliseo Garcia Gyrations recyled
Testing the height of the big gallery at Dallas' best artists' community art center, the Bath House Cultural Center, which the idiot City of Dallas might just push under. Financially strapped, there's a Friends of the Bath House working on their nonprofit status to take donations and help keep it afloat. They have millions to float the LCC, why not a few thou to vivify this lakeside facility?
Sorry about those guady paintings. I thought about whiting the whole wall, but those things were there. Eliseo's usual work is stone, so several visitors wondered why stell all of a suddent. And so big.
Corey Godfrey Summer Monsoon 2010 yarn
Saw this at at that movie theatre gallery upstairs. Was momentarily wowed by it, thought better of it, now wish I'd been more careful to hold the camera still. This was the best of the bunch, but they seemed good paintings for yarn, soft to the touch, oddly memorable.
The Art Here Lately Index is on the latest version of the page.
See the continuing ThEdblog for oddly illustrated notes on my progress through this website and the rest of my life.
Continued on Art Here Lately #10
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