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 2012 State Fair in Photos

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Art in the Hinterlands

Susan Jump - Idaho Artisans - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Susan Jump   Idaho Artisans  2012   acrylic on canvas   18 x 24 inches

I had in mind a visit to a neighboring town to discover quaint and curious bits of fine art that fit a few of my appreciation categories while defying most of everybody else's. And I found a few just such pieces in the Rockwell Art League's 2012 Fine Art Show, but signs up on each of the gray, zigzagging temporary room dividers in the Rockwall Rotary Club warned "No Cameras," dashing my hopes and reason to drive that far.

Which got me thinking how nonprofessional artists so strenuously object to having their work photographed, fearing someone will copy it, as if anyone good enough to make a decent copy couldn't find better or more commercial fodder, although of course the Chinese might mass produce anything, and sell it to whomever has American dollars to spend. I occasionally get emails from Chinese companies promising just such 'service.'

It may be better to let anybody who comes along with a camera, phone or iPlaid to send images of their fave artworks to friends and friends of friends via grassroots public relations, like the major Dallas galleries allow, because they know the promo value far outweighs any likelihood someone will go into business with their images.

In my infamous critique of their fourth and last National Juried Art Exhibit, I described Rockwall as being in the shadow of Dallas, although not much of this big city's artistic quality actually falls on that distinctly sub urban city, even if on as clear a day as my first visit, I could see our tiny little stick-figure downtown from the top of the big hill overlooking I-30 crossing Lake Ray Hubbard. Quality Fine Arts creation-wise, however, it may be farther.
 

Becky Parks - Montrosa al Mave - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Becky Parks   Montrossa al Mave   oil on canvas
 

Among the cutesy, kitsch and numerous copies of well-worn art in this art club show, the one piece I liked instantly was a Mid-20th Century-style painting, with slightly more contemporary details in a funky, edge-of-town close-up of vividly color-coordinated façades at the end of a dirt road. The cabins have been housepainter-painted wild color combinations, which the fine-arts painter rendered so vibrantly they nearly leap off the canvas. I wanted it to be the one intelligent light shining from the boones, but I didn't really give the rest of the show a chance.

Driving home that first time, I thought about it more and realized I had neither invested the time nor attention I usually afford a show I've been personally invited to, so I came back the next day with permission to photo anything that struck my fancy — good, bad or ugly. Not that it was a stellar exhibition of contemporary art. This three-day event was a small town artclub show. But I knew writing about it would be a challenge, and lately I've been more interested in challenges than the same old art assignments.

Except in a very few works, this show is extraordinarily conservative. Not, perhaps, all that surprising in a small town show, although I've seen excellent and wildly varied exhibitions in towns much smaller and farther from Dallas, and I expect to see more.

Serious artists are those for whom art is their passion — their reason for living. It's not a hobby or just a business, it feeds their need for self-expression and their soul. Only a spare few pieces in this show even approach that status that tells us who these people really are, what gets inside their minds and hearts and rattles around in there, but my second visit netted a couple more pieces maybe worth thinking about.

Most of the artists in this show are happy enough re-presenting art — subjects, styles, settings or compositions that we've seen too many times already. They identify with great artists without manifesting any of their idealism or startling new ideas — including what subjects to render — that made those artists important. I saw a smallish 3-D copy of a Degas dancer and several third-rate reproductions of other styles and compositions, some of which won prizes from Dallas watercolor and oil painter Cecy Turner.
 

Susan Jump - Dappled Light - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Susan Jump   Dappled Light   oil on canvas
 

As much as I appreciated Susan Jump and Becky Parks' images, their work was presented in only a slightly different way, though still plenty better to separate their work from the rest. Parks' moored boats may be more individualized than Jump's scenes, especially this placid painting that is, nonetheless serene. I can almost feel what it might be like to be there, on that road leading to the unseen yellow horizon. Not much of a breeze, but there's an aroma that perks my senses. Parks' pretty red and blue boats are of a generic tradition, but she takes liberties with shapes and form.

Considering the Art Nazi rules below, I worry if any artist had presented more contemporary, personally expressive, progressive — or dare I even mention transgressive art, would they even be allowed into this show that was divided according to the mediums as perceived by the Rockwall Art League's (RAL) Fine Art Show Committee. I don't remember ever seeing an art show whose work was so thoroughly segregated by mere mediums. How utterly quaint and small-minded.

According to the show's prospectus, "The RAL Fine Art Show Committee reserves the right to refuse acceptance into the show of any artwork deemed to have visually disturbing (!) or explicit content including, but not limited to, nudes, conspicuous religious degradation, offensive political statements (offensive to whom?), violent content and socially unaccepted behavior portrayals" (Now there's a can of worms.), leaving it open to exclude any art that might make us think.

In addition, according to the "Specific Category Guidelines for the Take-in Committee:

OIL - is not to be applied over another medium. Surfaces should be 2-dimensional and can include Masonite, copper and wood. Should not include painting on pottery, gourds or clothing."

ACRYLIC - "Not combined with another medium i.e encaustic, wax, pencil, pastel, etc. Painted on: paper, canvas, Masonite, wood or tiles and not 3-Dimensional surfaces. Can be presented under glass or framed. If gallery wrapped canvas is used, must be a minimum of 1.5 inches in depth.

WATERCOLOR - Gouache is acceptable as it is an opaque watercolor. Watercolor and gouache can be combined with watercolor pencils or ink. Not to be combined with another medium i.e. charcoal, graphite, colored pencil, acrylic, encaustic, casein or water based oils. Watercolor completed on watercolor paper, Yupo (synthetic) paper, watercolor board, aqua board, watercolor canvas, Ampersand products both cradled and un-cradles panels. 1.5 - 2-inch cradles or canvas must have finished edges. Must be matted and framed, glass or Plexi-glass accepted. Artist's liability if glass is used. Paper stretched on stretcher bards and watercolor canvas will have the same requirements as oils.

3-DIMENSIONAL - No poured ceramics. Must be hand built, sculpted or thrown. 3-D pieces should not be over 30 lbs. or 24" in height. Glass: slumped or blown. Metal" welded or free wire, Wood or Stone: hand carved

MIXED MEDIA - Should not stick out more than 3/8 inch or it is entered in the 3D category. Must combine two or more mediums. Collage is accepted.

PHOTOGRAPHY (may not be combined with other mediums) - Pure photography and digitally manipulated photography. Cannot be combined with another medium such as acrylic, watercolor, ink or pastels. Can be on gallery wrapped canvas but must be 1.5 in minimum in depth. Must be framed if not on gallery wrapped canvas. 
 

No thick, expressive impasto; no lumps or bumps. No serendipity of materials. Thou Shalt Not mix mediums.

I'll leave the other mediums to others, but I have to wonder what is "pure photography?" and if the committee admits to the existence of any other digital form but manipulated, as if all photography from its simplest beginnings, hasn't always been. Like most of these rules, prohibiting 3-D pieces taller than 24 inches may be vaguely practical, but size is what gives many sculpture's forms power and presence.

There is a rule against copying other artists' work, but it was not enforced. Maybe nobody could tell.
 

Bert Gibson - Burnished Braid - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bert Gibson   Burnished Braid
 

All 3-D work was crowded onto a table under flattish relief work on bright red, placing the truly 3D pieces well under usual human viewing height and sequestered off by itself. It looks like a brown, Crafts Corner mass of junk on the far side of the room.

Whoever hung the show gave a modicum of space around some pieces, that was cluttered with bits of paper and showed nothing of the uniformity of placement that gives our minds space to wander between works, but nearly no space around three-dimensional work, big or small, which viewers — except for children — had to look down upon.

To photograph this rather simple hand-textured piece, I had to move stuff away from it, then reclutter it when I was finished. I liked this one pot well enough, but none of the 3D work had much original presence, and no other grabbed my attention or caused me to question or rethink anything, but neither did much else in this show.

Small minds tend to divvy things up into preconceived notions that real artists pay little or no heed. I can't remember another exhibition that was so thoroughly segregated. I usually cannot even discern between oil and acrylic. Why would anybody place them in separate categories? They are paintings, oil, acrylic, watercolor — who really cares which?

It seemed silly, especially when shows that mix mediums and dimensionalities look so much more dynamic, even on nondescript temporary walls. Perhaps the Rockwall Art League has no risers, shelves or imagination.
 

Kay Kelly - Charilie Rat - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kay Kelly   Sea of Cortez Series 4   "mixed media"
 

The one piece on the "Mixed Media" wall that I liked — but could not get an ideal photograph of, because it faced an open-to-sunlight (shudder), Venetian-blinded window — looked like a limited-edition print. I could not see what would make anyone deem its medium mixed. But it is one of only a handful of individualist work there.

And I'm not sure why it is called "Charlie Rat," even if there is a rat in it, but it's hardly the star of that lusciously textured piece. Perhaps calling it "Charlie" while titling it Sea of Cortez Series 4 mitigates its portrayal of "socially unacceptable behavior," i.e., showing a rat in polite society.

I like Kelly's bold scribbling style and her interplay of divergent masses floating not at all serenely in this more dynamic piece than anything else I saw. I'm not sure what is going on here, but I like that not-knowing among so much obviousness. It stands out. Not much in this show is, but art should be a little mysterious sometimes.
 

Marona Hewitt - Mountain - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Marona Hewitt   Mountain   acrylic on canvas
 

With spare few exceptions — like this cliché-ridden traditional cowboy dream that thwarts the show's size rules — and the guilty pleasure in the next piece down, there's not much fanciful here. Nor any palpable joy or anger, as if the rules precluded emotions, too. As if, if it's not happy or sappy, it's not allowed.

Still, I like parts of this painting, although I worry about the those drippy, snow-colored mountains that occupy most of its space, and the two streams so closely connected. That little brown ranch nestled in the mountains feels like a warm and comfy place, and I have to wonder where the cowboy and his horses are riding off to, and who's home tending the fire.

Too many subjects are foreign- or distance-related — that old anywhere but here attitude. The work here seems oddly affected and wholly separate from these artists' lives. With so few first-person singular indications of who they are; where they live; what they do with their lives; what are their joys and pain. We don't get any clues about who they are.

No Lake Ray Hubbard references, boats or fisherpersons — okay, but that deep blue entitty wraps itself around this community and lends a sense of space and place and topography like nothing else. We see no home-grown architecture or people in an environment close to home. No interior spaces or closeness. Nothing human-scale or human-exciting and, more the pity, nothing really outrageous but that prevailing sameness.

Instead of getting glimpses into their souls, we see what they think art should look like.

What happens to serious artists who join this bunch hoping for a place to show their work closer to home, then find this.
 

David Lynn - His Palette - oil - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Lynn   His Palette   oil on canvas
 

This one is one of those often unappreciated appreciation categories I started with. The signature may be overt, but this is just what I was looking for, a personalized expression of an artist's joy. One of those little miracles there's never too many of. Something I can appreciate for all the usual emotional and some of the intellectual reasons, and while I can still laugh with its expression — yeah, it's another sunset — it is distinct and different enough to have its joy shared.

There's a sense of place, wherever it might be.

 

Visiting Old Friends on the White Rock Tour

 Visitors looking at Art - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Visitors Looking at Art & Materials at Marty Ray's Studio

Ours were very personal visits along the 2012 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour this time. We took our own sweet time, and mostly visited friends. Except for one new stop and one where we were just curious what the artists there might be up to, we'd not just been to the rest of the places we visited today, they are homes and studios where we've got comfortable going to and visiting with people we know and like, and their studios are places we've been often enough we feel comfortable. We would not have felt right not going to them this or any other year.

Previous DallasArtsRevue White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tours stories include the 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007 tours.
 

Marty Ray & Richard Ray collaborative painting - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Marty Ray etched these lines into a pot she made. Then her husband
Richard Ray
filled those lines with colors to make this collaborative painting.
 

Watching Marty Ray's pots and Richard Ray's paintings are way past a major part of our White Rock Artists Studio Tour every year. They are dear friends, whose work we love following — and both of theirs are work I have been watching for decades, and Anna and I will take advantage of any public or private opportunity to drop by to see what they're up to. Their collaborations in various media are hardly new, but this particular series of paintings was prominently displayed in Marty's studio with signs printed to say so.

You may well see these and other similar work by both artists illustrating other pages on this site, because both Richard and Marty are Supporting Members of this site [See their member page links under the image just above], and so is the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour, so we like to promote our members, plus the Rays' paintings and pots so well illustrate the workings of artists and the art community, they just seem perfect.
 

Marty Ray - "watercolor" glaze experiment - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Marty Ray   "watercolor experiment"
 

Marty usually has something new she's trying. She pointed me to this piece on the table behind whose chair I'd found comfortable to sit on and take pictures from and just watch the crowd in her studio ebbing and flowing with students, friends and others as they also watched and learned and studied everything in sight.

I was there awhile before she noticed me, waved and smiled a Marty smile, then turned and talked with a bevy of students and former students and new and old friends. Later she came back and quickly explained that the evanescent (my word) blue on this pot is watercolor-like. Not real watercolor, of course, that would flame out in the kiln, but she was hoping it would show the effect of a lilting, translucent watercolor, which would be a new look for her ceramics.

I'm a fan of her work, and I'm joyed to have several Marty pieces around my home — as well as Richard paintings (three each, I think). I like watching her work grow and change. I find it fascinating how many little and big changes her work always seems to be undergoing.

She knew I'd be interested in that aspect — and I'd already photographed this pot sitting directly in my line of sight, but she was doing so many things while I watched, she only had a few seconds to share. Again like many of those who dropped by on the tour that she founded / co-founded. The tour whose purpose is more to show the process of art than to sell it, although they were both engaged in all of the above.

Richard guards his progress more, so it takes more attention to detect it, and his studio is something of a secret even I have only glimpsed, but I like it about them that they are so different yet have stayed together so long, both long-time artists whose work continues to change.
 

Sharon Bagley's Slide Tornado - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sharon Neel-Bagley   The Ghost Tornado   with video by Video Artist
Bunny Trahan, created for a show called Conversations at the Art Hotel Gallery

We stopped at Matt & Sharon Bagley's studios, because they always have intriguing visual ideas to show along the zigs and zags of their career's trajectories. She's still slapping colored paint on people in white for portraits, like those that splashed last year's tour, plus she's showing portraits not all in white or paint, but this slowly twisting tornado of slides — remember film? — was the central visual notion inside the house, which must be her studio.

I wondered about it then, and openly stared at it awhile, but I'm glad I got a decent shot of it, because I've liked it more and more since, and am kinda startled my little Panasonic G2 got such a decent shot of its positive and negative spaces in whites, blacks, grays and tiny portions of projected color.
 

O Jay Deh Art - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ikea Children's Chair
 

I don't know what this is or why it's there, but it was colorful enough I just shot it and figured I'd parse it out later. Eventually I emailed Sharon about it. Chair with a retractable awning? It seemed small for a chair. Maybe cat furniture, but why the adjustable sunshade? Love me a good little enigma. Even that doesn't it make it art, but sometimes that's close enough.

Sharon at first did not recognize my description of this o jay duh art, but when I sent the image, she said, "I'm a sucker for interesting chairs. The kids love pulling the canopy down and spinning around."

Matt Bagley's Pyramid of Sticks - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Maybe Matt Bagley's Stick Pyramid
 

Husband Matt's studio is out in back, past this stick stack and up the stairs into the bungalow, where were large signs boldly proclaiming, I first thought, Tron Frog Press, because of the exaggerated top serif on the I, but upon reconsideration decided it must be Iron Frog Press, although no one was pressing iron, and I didn't hear any croaks, although I bet frogs live in the creek nearby.

When I asked for identifications, Sharon told me the sticks are drying for future Matt works, but it is not art, but I'm not convinced we always know what is and what is not. This looks a lot like that elusive stuff, was carefully placed and delicately colored. The Yellow and blue behind only amplifies the presentation. He may not have intended it as art, but that does not stop it from so being. Maybe my documentation of it makes it so.
 

Assistant Prepares Plate - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jennifer Ripley, Matt's Assistant, Draws on a Block for Her First Woodcut
 

But some printing was going on, and you can do that without a plate, but it's more organized if there is one, so this assistant is making one. Drawing now, cutting later. Showing process.
 

Michael O'Branovich Pot - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Michael Obranovich Pot
 

We briefly stopped to see Michael Obranovich's pots in upper Forest Hills, where I quickly found the Margarita machine on the back porch, and we could both smell something else cooking but could not locate it, so we left after fondling his pots with our eyes. Michael grunted hello when we arrived, then disappeared back under his table.
 

Janet Reynolds - Only A Change of Worlds - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Janet Reynolds   Only A Change of Worlds   2012   oil on canvas   36 x 20 inches

Next stop was Anna's curator for her show at the Texas Discovery Gardens during the fair and on through December 31. She told me about the bees in the back, but I discovered this while wandering through Janet's garage studio. I didn't see its title but didn't really look for it, either. When I emailed later, Janet sent it forthwith.

The hats, leash and dancing kid are standouts. You suppose they are really floating on a raft in a great body of water with a golden horizon, or am I misconstruing again?
 

Beautiful Flower - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Water Lily high above ground
 

Growing around the side of the garage studio, on the way back to see the bees bee-lining it to their water supply. Not straight-line bee-lining it, but wobbly ones, up, down, around and off and on track, back and forth from water to their layered home. We stood to the side awhile and watched the bees back and forth, bee-ing careful to stay out of direct contact while they did their bee business.
 

David Hickman Wrangling a Limestone Block - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman Wrangles a Limestone Block

Dallas Sculptor David Hickman does big projects and often handles them with tools he's designed and made himself, like this revolver made from spare parts and steel plates, which he still has to apply manual labor to get to turn around this large, heavy block of whatever it is, stone.
 

David Hickman's First Big Bird - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman's First big bird for the Texas Tech Circle
 

This big bird is the biggest object he's yet made to revolve on one of his signature bent poles in a piece that will look a lot like the maquette in the next pic down, when they are all completed and installed at Texas Tech in Lubbock. This bird was assembled and cut by hand, manually drilling the holes that the other five birds — each representing one of the senses: hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste, whose words will be cut into the tails. The following four birds' will be cut semi-automatically from this pattern.
 

David Hickman's Texas Tech Bird Circle - xpry

maquette for David Hickman's Texas Tech Bird Circle in his studio
 

When completed, the piece will, says Hickman, be the largest installation he's ever done. And he's done some big ones, including butterflies and others you may have noticed near Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas.
 

Baseball Monument Macquette - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman   Play Ball   maquette for Baseball Field in the City of Wylie   2012   powder-coated aluminum/steel
 

"If built full-scale," Linda Hickman told me later, "it would be 14 feet tall, with each kinetic element rotating through a 12-foot diameter circle." I was struck by the utter simplicity of the model, which fairly shouted what it was about.
 

David Hickman Sculptures Swimming in the Air - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman Sculptures Swimming in the Sky
 

These guys now lined up in the back forty of the Hickman Ranch include three fishes, an accordion, a split fiddle and a guitar. When I asked Linda for details, she cited, "Near view: Bone Fish 2010 — and Far view: Let the Good Times Roll, 2011. Each of the six pieces is 16-feet tall, each element rotates through a 12-foot diameter circle, and materials are powder-coated aluminum and steel.

I have photographed the fishes before, but it always seems to be raining when I see and need to photograph them, so the sky is rarely helpful.
 

David Hickman's Hood Ornament - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Hickman's Hood Ornament
 

And our favorite, Art Deco Bird, the aluminum hood ornament of Hickman's aluminum re-covered truck he calls Dodgeredaux.
 

Cecilia Thurman's Gloves - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cecilia Thurman's Gloves
 

Next stop was Cecilia Thurman's studio, which as other visitors later pointed out, has its own kitchenm, living and bath rooms. I have and Anna and I have been there before. Tonight I distinguished myself by discovering that I am still in love with Cecilia's reds, which unfortunately other than the fingers of this glove, I was unable to accurately photograph (although I later realized I'd photographed that same red painting before, in our 2007 tour story), so here a red glove, showing, as the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour is famous for, process.
 

Press, Prints & Paintings by Cecilia Thurman - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Press, Print and Painting by Cecilia Thurman:
Three for One   acrylic on panel   12 x 12 inches;
Beyond now   acrylic on panel   12 x 12 inches; and
an untitled acrylic on aper painting   22 x 30 inches
 

Delicious textures not on the wall but lying on the press.
 

Laurie McClurg's Fusebox - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Laurie McClurg's Fuse box
 

There were more names on our must-visit list, but we didn't make the it. Our last stop was at Laurie McClurg's studio. You can see her art on her new DallasArtsRevue Member Page, but I found this just snooping around her studio. I think it's a fuse box. But incorporates several aspects of her style, and I liked its personal touches.

 

We also visited Nancy Ferro's cozy studio behind her home, where I quickly settled into one of the chairs her neighbor, the late Dallas artist Tom Jenkins hand-made for her, and I sat there and talked and listened with the people there and watched the visitors come and go. I've illustrated and wirtten about the chairs before. That day, I was comfortable enough that I failed to photograph anything, although I've probably shot so many things in there I could never catch up with them all. I'd hoped to illustrate this second-to-last paragraph with one of Anna's photos, but she was too comfortable, too.
 

 Kathy Boortz - Alley Oop -

Kathy Boortz   Alley Oop   (seal)   (detail)   carved found wood

We also did not visit Kathy Boortz' studio — for the first time ever in our WRLAST experience, and we really wanted to, but it's not like I was overlooking her work altogether, since I'd spent several hours the day before catching up with photographing all her latest pieces, including this mustachioed cutie.

 

NadaDada2012

Cis Worley Sign - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cris Worley's got a new gallery on her own

It wasn't DADA's annual big fall openings when every gallery around opens doors as if they'd been closed all summer waiting for the new fall telling visions season. It was just a bunch of galleries getting the jump on that less momentous occasion. I wondered whether they are CADDers or just anybodies. Anna showed me her list of seven openings, and I picked four, happily skipping The Dreaded Connan, Holly J, Can Do It and the Art Hotel, though I went in when we visited those last two anyway. I didn't stay anywhere long, because it was so pleasant wandering around taking photos outside.

I was excited about seeing Tom Orr at Barry Whistler — Tom Orr anytime, anywhere, I thought, and Barry's is new for him. I don't get much scuttlebutt anymore, so I don't know the back stories, but Orr there would have made greater sense back when Barry's was still showing minimalism . Less so now they're not, but still a match made somewhere above. Or so I thought.

Roger Winter is a classic. Him on Kirk Hopper's History Channel made sense. I was thinking this was the start of a new season at 500X with new artists. I haven't been paying attention to galleries since I got so involved with co-curating the show at the Bath House through the big dada hooha till September 29.

But Cris Worley getting a new space of her own is exciting news.

She'd been relegated to a corner of another gallery out on the levee. The best thing about her new space is she's not sharing it, especially with an entity with low to no taste. What we saw last night and what we'll be seeing there soon will reflect her taste alone, and that's a very good thing. And about time.

Cris has been on her own since after Pan American Art cratered when it and what seems like every other gallery moved to Dragon Street after Craighead Green did well there early — after Conduit had moved to a few streets off Dragon. Pan Am, like the once-famed Gerald Peters, then arguably the best gallery in Dallas, moved to Dragon and promptly went bust, freeing Cris to start her own when she could. It's been awhile.
 

 It's Across the Street From This Place - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

It's across the street from this place, whatever this place is

If you're as clueless as some of today's visitors, you can give up on finding her precise address, pick a place at random in the flow of traffic, then just get out and walk around the corner back to the second-last space on the back right of the building across from this oddly antique collection.

Sorta like Conduit, which also does not face the street, Cris Worley Fine Arts is around the side, on the right, at 1415 Slocum Street #104   Dallas, Texas 75207   214 745-1415.

Or you can hope against hope to find an empty slot near her new door, then somehow get through the idiots parked blocking your egress. Anna found the place, quickly twigged the address, and we quickly parked in a slant slot within a few feet of the gallery, but got slowed significantly exiting through the idiot blockade.
 

Outer and Inner Cris Worley Gallery - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Fokos   Shiprock, Navajo Nation   2009   36 x 89 inches

It's large — especially compared with her tiny, usually crowded corner near the levee. It feels spacious. I look forward to what she does with it each new show. I like the sudden juxtaposition of this monochromatic photo-realist object with the vivid comic splotch-color scrawls on the far wall. I assume those are Howard Sherman's List of Demands.

The up-front space is illuminated by sunlight coming in the big front window, and the back by lights, so there's a color variation only cameras notice, but I like the elegant contrast of real, not real. Cris says David Fokos, "who takes photos with an 85-year-old large-format, glass negative camera and uses hour-long exposures to capture a sense of time/space" will be the next show, opening October 13.
   

The Rug Company - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Rug Company next to Conduit

The ladder across from Conduit - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Ladder Across from Conduit

Conduit must have been our first stop, but mostly I remember doorways and ladders from the parking lot. Susan kae Grant is doing the same old thing with slightly differring characters but not in installation. There's something glitzy glowy pachinko in the project room with remnants of artists past strung along the hall to the bathroom.
 

A Pleasant Fellow Selling Paintings Out of the Back of a Truck - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Pleasant Fellow Selling Paintings out of the Back of His Truck

Now he can say he's shown work on Dragon Street. I should know his name, since it was lettered across the top of his ersatz gallery wall, but I mindlessly cropped it off when I shot this.
 

The Lab Fender Detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Lab Fender

Back on that street, where galleries don't serve more than tiny bits of food anymore, but trucks do. This is one of those, we suspect its food is fiery, but I was more interested in the design than the cuisine.
 

Billboard with mountains = Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Timothy Hearsum   Untitled (Pool Sign)   undated, archival pigment print on canvas   24 x 72 inches   $2,850

Thought I was walking into Craighead Green but where I was — it did feel different — was Smink next door, usually more furniture store with art intentions than gallery. Way Out West in big thin black letters on the back wall, by California photographer Timothy Hearsum, who's staying in and liking Dallas at the moment but continues to photograph, he says, The Southwestern United States.

We especially liked his — I looked and decided it looked like a shoe tree and turned out that was its title. He and I and Anna talked about that shoe-covered tree that's not wherever it was when he photographed it anymore, then he told us there's now a fence a couple miles away that is not only the only fence for hundreds of miles, but it is gathering its own collection of cast-offs, including some of the same footwear.

What Anna and I liked most was his Untitled (Pool Sign). Though he's dabbling in digital now, Hearsum shot most of these on a 6x17cm panorama film camera.

We must have seen some other places on Dragon but I don't remember or take their pix. I vaguely recall ducking in and out of CG quickly, where all I saw was a massive crowd and no Texas artists on the walls. The next stop on our truncated tour was The Art Hotel on Deep Akard, well into The Cedars.
 

Laurie Mahoney - Shining Sea - fiber - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Laurie Mahoney   Shining Sea   fiber

I was busy photographing a rectilinear image about buildings by Rita Barnard left of this when I saw Anna focusing on it, backed up for a look at what I hadn't even noticed in the complexity of work there, reminding of the color and texture ways of Corey Godfry's yarn paintings [below] we've seen around town the last few years, but more abstract without losing that sense of reality.

A little like that guy's Starry Night and a pyrotechnic yarn bomb.
 

Sign Back Out Front - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sign Back Out Front

It's a sign. I liked this side of it and have no idea what's on the other. I didn't care then, and I don't care now. I must have seen it, because it's right there, but this side is simply beautiful.
 

Back of the Art Hotel - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Back of the Art Hotel

What the caption says. Me wandering around waiting for my traveling companions to talk to everybody there, eventually get tired come find me (easy) and go on to the next stop.
 

Tree Window Security - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tree Window Security around the corner

The Cedars have exploded with residences and people and artists and art and art-like objects since a few artists started showing at the Tin Art Ranch just around the corner from the Art Hotel and tattoo parlor, and I expected to find more. Like this.
 

Tom Orr at the Front Door - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tom Orr at the Front Door

We stopped at Barry Whistler for Tom Orr's show, and as huge a fan of his work as I usually am, I preferred standing outside looking for something to photograph, than deal with understanding why I don't like this or that piece or just have the time and inclination to settle in with it, unbothered by the crowd. I should go back.

I wasn't so much baffled, which has to be a common experience greeting new work by Tom at any stage over the last thirty years, as non plused. And Anna and I came up with that very word simultaneously from different directions. Not so much minused, just not plused — and I wonder about that enough to think I should go back. His work is almost always better one to one.

Then maybe I'll hear about him changing galleries. Probably makes sense. Thinking I was making a quick snap on my way in, I hadn't worked out the focus for this shot, but I like the color simplicity, and he's almost recognizable nearly glowing in the spotlight of a solo show at Barry's.
 

REs Shirt Brown Suspenders - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Morton Rachofsky in Red Shirt and Brown Suspenders (with Susan in black)

I think I'd know this sculptor anywhere.

We drove to Kirk Hopper to see people — like Morton Rachofsky, who walked back across the street to talk and joke with us outside, and a happy Paul Harris and a bunch of other people inside, whose names I only sometimes know. For Part The First of The Roger Winter Retrospective here and at The MAC and maybe other places. I just don't keep up anymore since Anna does the DallasArtsRevue Calendar.

Great fun outside the gallery.
  

Roger Winter, David Bates and Others Talking - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Roger Winter with former student David Bates and others at Kirk Hopper Gallery

And inside, too, with a lot of smiles. This is Roger Winter in gallery blacks in the middle of this happy clatch. Bates is the tall guy in back with glasses, and if I knew who these other people were, I'd properly introduce them. It seemed like one, big, happy family. Nice sense of community. A history of art in Dallas with joy. Might have to go back to appreciate the art.

The back yard / sculpture garden was a big empty.

Next stop 500X.
 

Shelby David Meier - Secret Message No. 1 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shelby David Meier   Secret Message No. 1   2012

Found this in the members' area outside the office. I agreed so wholeheartedly I almost phorgot to photograph it, much as I like it. I just know that feeling and the need to express it.
 

Michael Francis - Old Men series - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Michael Francis   old men   2012   ink on paper   $125 each

Reminding me hugely of Sedrick Huckaby's new series of people in his Fort Worth neighborhood in the Cura! Cura! Cura! show [below] at the Bath House Cultural Center most of this month, except Sedrick's people are mostly Black and Francis' folk are old white guys, these were probably all our favorite pieces.
 

Bruce Monroe - Threat 2/4 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bruce Monroe   Threat 2/4   2009   screenprint pop-up   $500

I liked this especially, until I realized it was done three years ago. Is this yet another new batch of 500X artists? Have they not yet snapped that showing oldies and moldies is not the way to stretch themselves and learn and grow their art into something uniquely and individually theirs?

And thereby extend the 500X story instead of just ballyhooing its glorious history in their PR.
 

Irby Pace - Image 009 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Irby Pace   Image 009, March 11, 2011 6:53:28 PM   2012
found photograph   archival inkjet print   $275

It's still summer, and it's usually hot upstairs, but today and evening it was not. Which why I so enjoyed being beyond gallery walls all this modified small selection tour today. Not hot up there, except some artists' work.

Like this mildly confrontational double portrait. The notion of it being 'a found photograph' and being this good bothers. Did Pace find it or find the guys in it? As usual, I haven't the faintest, but a photographer should know these things. Still, I like this enough to wonder. A little like the old White guys series downstairs, but with more in common with Huckaby's neighbors, because they're being themselves, not stopping being themselves to pose.

That puts this work and these guys into a whole other place and context from the Old White Guys downstairs, gently into some guys an artist found in his neighborhood.
 

Chancellor Page - Rapture - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Chancellor Page   Rapture  2012   oil on canvas   $800

I passed this when I first saw it, then felt guilty, came back and photographed it carefully. I know that condition, up to my mouth in darkness, undefined splatters of light behind, facing only The Observer, amid all that wet darkness. A lot of unanswered questions.

Rapture, my foot.
 

Tim Harding's duo at 500 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Timothy Harding   Folded Wall Scribble and Studio Wall Scribble   2012
graphite on paper   $1,000 each

Disconcerted at the complexity of this — and not till I posted this pic did I suss the Studio Scribble is that little drawing bottom right — when he'd done such marvelously simple, clean lined, elegant forms at Cura! Cura! Cura! Although something that clean and serene is not something an artist would want to replicate — gotta keep pushing into the new.

Tim has stopped doing what he used to do, which was a brave new form when he started doing them and probably could still be popular, but I think he feels the need to move on. He's in transition, something that's always a little to a lot uncomfortable. Scribbling graphite thick on thicker squares of paper — always paper; he does so superbly with paper, even if it sometimes looks like metal.

Then folds or bends or creases or loops. Or something. Not always successful through the transitions, but necessary.
 

See images of Timothy Harding Early, Middle and Late on this site.

And The Iffy Progress of Altering Style about another artist changing direction.
 

Bernardo Cantu   Sexican Mullet Wave   (right half detail)   2012   mixed

More disconcertion with Bernardo Cantu [below], another star in the Cura! Cura! Cura! show, who seems happiest and most comfortable when he's radically unsettling viewer expectations of composition, color and pattern. Here he's disorienting us with startlingly uncomplementary colors and patterns and ideas that still bespeak his heritage, while portending strange new directions that some of us will hang onto till we think we understand again, then he'll make another sudden left turn and leave us in his dust.

Bravo, Bernardo!
 

See four pieces of earlier work by Bernardo Cantu and more here elsewhere on Art Here Lately.
 

Line 'em Up & Smile Photo Ouside the Restaurant Window - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Line 'em Up and Smile Photo on Elm Street outside the restaurant After

So after looking at art, thinking deeply about it all afternoon and talking with other artists and art-interesteds, even when laughing it up with them, still thinking about that strange stuff we call art, Anna, Susan and I went for sustenance for our bodies, too.

Because I let Susan sit in the front most of the art tour while I did the squirm out the back seat in the two-door sedan, we 'let' her decide on a restaurant, and we settled into the elegant but nearly empty on a Saturday night — although their free parking if you eat there — lot across the street was packed, Lemontree on Elm Street deep.
 

Cura logo
Updated, and continued with The ThursNight Addendum  &  The Artists (both below)

Eight of North Central Texas' most intriguing artists show in a mix of art forms, ideas and installations
free at the Bath House Cultural Center
through September 29 2012

Featuring work by Kim Alexander, Ashley Bryan, Bernardo Cantu, Sam England, Tim Harding, Sedrick Huckaby, Diane Sikes and Sunny Sliger and co-curated by J R Compton and Terry Hays

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

Show Reviews

Bernardo Cantu at Bath House Cultural Center and 500X by Todd Camplin
Cura! Cura! Cura!'s first critique by Tanya Miller on Dallas Art News

Bernardo and Veronica birth his piece - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bernardo and Veronica Cantu birth his Barrio-Tech Alchemy Transducer

I'm co-curating an art show with Terry Hays these days. It opens Saturday night, by which time it will look and feel like a real art show. Right now (I wrote this Wednesday night July 22 2012) it's beginning to look like one, but it doesn't feel like one yet. For one thing, not all the work is on the walls or standing up or even hanging around waiting to get placed or put up.
 

Finished Piece - Bernardo Cantu - Bario-Tech Alchemy Transducer - photo Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bernardo Cantu   Barrio-Tech Alchemy Trandsudcer  finished piece
 

Some of the work we haven't even seen yet. I'm more than a little curious about that right now, but I have faith. I didn't get that faith till yesterday. Before then, I was actively worried about that stuff. I still care but not enough to worry about it not happening. Enough of it is already happening.
 

Eric and Sam install their collab painting - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Eric de Llamas and Sam England work at installing their collaborative painting 
 

There must be a better way to organize a show than this, but I think there are not many shows like this, so I give us outs on this one. We've planned all along to show work by artists whom we thought very highly of, and some of the reasons we do that is because their work — and consequently their thinking — is different from most artists' work and thinking.
 

Ashley Bryan - balls detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ashley Bryan   Cat Sarcophagus   2012   detail
 

This is not a most-artists show. Definitely not. It wasn't a competition, although these artists are winners. They didn't submit their work and then we decided which ones to put in. We chose the artists, then we waited to see what they brought us. Lots of surprises.
 

The main gallery before - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Big Gallery before we started installing 
 

I am writing about this show now, because I just have to.
 

Kim Alexander - Claw Detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kim Alexander   The Hard Year   acrylic on wood panel   72 x 48 inches   detail
 

It's like being an artist has nothing to do with wanting to make art. You (we) are artists, because we can't not do art. We need it. It obviously doesn't need us, but we need it. And we need to make more of it even if we never sell anything. Even if nobody else understands what we are doing. Or whether what we are doing is somebody else's idea of art. We gotta do it. So we do it.
 

Tim Harding Contemplates his art - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tim Harding contemplates his large piece while Kim
Alexander's work gathers on the far wall behind him. 
 

I suspect all of the artists whose work we are hanging this week are artists like that. Some of their work is beautiful. Classically beautiful. Beautiful in traditional ways. Some of it might not be considered beautiful by just everybody. Some people will hate it. I don't mind that.
 

Sunny Sliger working on her front porch installation - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Artist Sunny Sliger working on   White Tile Fob   2012   mixed media on chain 
 

I'm hoping this is a very unusual art show. Controversy would help, not hurt it. But then, because Terry and I are making it happen, producing it, aiming and firing, I'm prejudiced. Way too close to know for sure. No possibility of objectivity, whatever that might be.
 

Bernardo Cantu - closeup detail of his lobby piece - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bernardo Cantu   The Wonders   2011   mixed media   (detail)
 

I think it's all beautiful. Even the ugliest parts of it are gorgeous. I often lose myself in its tiniest details — just stare and wonder. Those little visual moments abound here. And I've had time to wait for the next delivery, the next thing to happen, the next conversation.
 

Enrique and Terry leveling art - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Enrique and Terry leveling one of Sunny Sliger's drawings as they hang it
 

Note: THe oft-mentioned "Enrique" here is Enrique Fernández Cervantes, who is Visual Art and Graphic Design Curator at the Bath House, and he knows more than any of us, all the niggling details that go into making an art show. Amazing guy, quiet, a little shy, truly a gentle man. This new show series was his idea, and he helps everybody. Couldn't do it without him. Always close when needed. Knows or can figure a way to do whatever might need doing.
 

Diane Sikes' work in progress - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Diane Sikes   Knotty   2012   paper   10 x 12 feet
 

I'm telling you all this, and yet I'm only showing one whole, finished work of art [down a ways] before this show opens, because I think you should look at this art whole and complete in its natural habitat in the Bath House Cultural Center. Live and in color. Sam England and Eric de Llamas have a big painting that I desperately want to show you — in real life in Cura! Cura! Cura! Not in such little pictures on the Internet. I think it deserves your attention. After the show opens, I'll write more story with lots of big pictures of the work.
 

Sedrick Huckaby - untitled detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.


Sedrick Huckaby   The 99%: Highland Hills Series   Untitled   detail   2012   Stabilo and colored pencil on Mylar
 

It's opening with a reception this Saturday night. That means there will be other people there. We're hoping for lots of other people there. The Bath House knows how to put a party atmosphere around it, so there'll be free food and something to drink — not, I think alcoholic. We didn't talk about alcohol. But there will be cookies, and desserts and odd bits of interesting-tasting food things, usually on a long table of those things.
 

enrique and Terry move the big box of Kim Alexander's big new piece - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Enrique and Terry move the big box of Kim Alexander's
painting she finished late the night before last
 

And people to talk to and listen to and even, like a really good party, some live music. Maybe. At first music was a certainty. Then, late in the game, it turned much less certain. The music may or may not happen. Sam's originally-planned performance turned into a Drawing Circle in the lobby timed to stop before the theatric production so the noise wouldn't be bothersome. But that, through official miscommunications, got turned into a Drawing Circle in the back room, where half the food will be some of the time, and all of the food will be the rest of the time. I'm not making this up. That's the plan. Sam likes to gather people, paper and colors, talk and listen as others make their marks. I call it performance, and it's all art. And it'll be a great social occasion.
 

art installation equipment with Sunny and Terry - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Art Installation Equipment with Sunny, Terry and Enrique
 

There will also be art. We're putting some of it in the lobby, so you'll remember you're there to look at art, and maybe wander through Ashley's art in the entryway, back into the gallery spaces, all of where we've put the best art we could find by the most interesting artists in this area. And if you are, like I often am, one of those people who just like to drop by without a lot of people around, the show will remain open to the public till Dallas' big, autumn gallery free-for-all on September 29.
 

Kim Alexander's Precise Instructions - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kim Alexander's precise unpacking instructions
 

So we might have masses of people at the beginning and the end, and lots of peaceful, scattered, quiet audience in the middle. The Bath House is open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to six, closed Sundays and Mondays.
 

Bernardo and Veronica Cantu install his extended piece - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bernardo and Veronica Cantu install Barrio-Tech Alchemy Transducer
 

Cura! Cura! Cura! is the first exhibition in a new annual series at the Bath House called Curate. Collaborate, in which one curator is invited, and then they invite another to collaborate on a new show.
 

Terry Hays helps Kim Alexander carry paintings - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Co-Curator Terry Hays helps carry one of Kim Alexander's
smaller paintings into the Bath House gallery.
 

Enrique invited DallasArtsRevue.com publisher, photographer and art critic J R Compton, and J R invited exhibiting artist, scenic artist and former art professor Terry Hays. J R's not in these photos yet, because he's taking them. And writing this.
 

Tim Harding - detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tim Harding   Upper Wall Scribble   2012   detail 

 

This first show in the annual series' title comes from the at-first glib subject line for many of the well more than seven hundred emails between Terry and J R and the artists and everybody else involved in the show. And yeah, it was an oblique reference to the movie, Tora, Tora, Tora, which according to Wikipedia, "is the Japanese code-word used to indicate that complete surprise was achieved. It literally means, 'Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.' " We didn't know that when we named it, but the reference is apt.
 

Diane Sikes installing her work in the Hall Gallery - crpy

Diane Sikes installing her work
 

In Latin, cura means "to know," and in mutual discussions, studio visits and sometimes extended personal contact, the collaborating curators have learned many truths about the remarkable artists selected.
 

The Artists by Terry Hays
 

Kim Alexander's extreme close-up bug detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Extreme close-up of one of Kim Alexander's creatures who occupy her paintings
 

Kim Alexander uses images that involve everything from botanics to beef, lizards to lavender on her strategically and painstakingly placed surfaces. Studied closely, her paintings not only reveal the dedication to her work but her deep emotional and spiritual connections as well.
 

Ashley Bryan - Feathers detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ashley Bryan   Cat Sarcophagus   multi media   2012   detail
 

With a love for materials and everyday household objects from the 50s and 60s, Ashley Bryan combines painting, drawing and her love of making molds and casting that give us three-dimensional and surreal landscapes that appear to have come from a different time. Combining old and new, she tells a curious but believable story.
 

Detail of Bernardo Cantu's not-yet installed piece. - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bernardo Cantu   Barrio-Tech Alchemy Transducer (B.T.A.T.)   2012   mixed media   size variable  (detail)
 

Drawing heavily from his family and culture, heavy metal rock imagery and science fiction movies, Bernardo Cantu gives us a fun but often bewildering contemporary approach to painting and sculpture, using plastic, spandex, gold, glitter and acrylic paint. Outrageous but completely understandable.
 

Sam England - Fast Horse - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sam England   Fast Horse   oil on canvas   36 x 36 inches
 

Blurring the lines between painting and sculpture while introducing a personal and contemporary approach to surrealism, Sam England's work takes us on a journey mixing animal and human figures in a dream-like landscape that is not at all uncomfortable, but peaceful and believable.
 

Tim Harding installas work - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tim Harding installs his big piece
 

Using large sheets of paper, Tim Harding cuts, bends, twists, rolls and sometimes covers his heavy surfaces with graphite. Holding the paper in position with staples and grommets, the paper is transformed into a much heavier, almost sheet-metal substance that delivers his strong, painterly influence.
 

Sedrick Huckaby - chest detail - title unknown - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sedrick Huckaby   The 99%: Highland Hills Series   title unknown
shoulders detail   Stabilo and colored pencil on mylar  
 

Employing images of family, their surroundings and certain carefully selected heirlooms, Sedrick Huckaby paints with bold and uncompromising commitment. At times using found, three-dimensional objects, he physically builds a painting by visually transforming his materials into a fluid that almost takes on the personality of paint.
 

Extreme Detail - Diane Sikes - Cat Sarcophagus - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Diane Sikes   Knotty   2012   in progress   extreme detail
 

With her love for paper, Diane Sikes has explored the use of discarded paper objects for years. Reconstructing and placing them into new contexts, the paper never loses its original intent, yet takes on a new life and purpose. The colors of the discarded paper is often retained with very little alteration and allowed to reference another time and place.

 

detail shot of yet-unnamed lobby piece by Sunny Sliger - crpy

Detail of yet-unnamed work in progress by Sunny Sliger at Cura! Cura! Cura!
 

With the energy and fearlessness of the disco era, Sunny Sliger's work can be seen as flamboyant and theatrical. Whether it covers the side of a building or fills a gallery with all its flamboyant color and texture, her work brings us face to face with Mardi Gras, New Years Even or an over-the-top costume ball.

 

The Thursnight Addendum by J R Compton

Tim Harding - Rolled Detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tim Harding   Curled Wall   2012   graphite, paper   detail

Keep thinking I've caught up on my sleep, but not yet. Running like an overwound clock. Sleep soon, I keep promising my body, failing to deliver. Wake up in the middle of catnaps, thinking more to do, more to do, only dreaming of distant sopor. Long, slow, hot baths about as close as I get.
 

The 99%: Highland Hills by Sedrick Huckaby - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sedrick Huckaby's new drawing series being pondered
 

New details, long-rumored pieces materializing on the walls today. An odd feeling. Accomplishment adding up. Beginning to feel like an exhibition. Uh-oh.
 

Sam England - painting detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sam England   painting detail
 

Named after the neighborhood in Fort Worth where his family lives, has lived, Sedrick Huckaby's new series shows in each of this first dozen drawings someone who lives there. Family, friends or complete strangers he stops on the street. Again, I'd love to show you them here in full detail, but not till after it opens Saturday night, then a few more days to re-establish rhythms and catch up on sleep.
 

Enrique's Clean White Office Facade - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Enrique's clean, white, window-covered office facade (with paint pan)
ready for Ashley Bryan's entryway installation we've only seen pictures of
 

They are a visual feast for eyes. Lush, quick, intimate drawings in Stabilo and colored or greece pencil on Mylar. Real people rendered with a practiced hand, alive with texture, implied tone, rich with personality. Sometimes words from the meeting. But he didn't deliver them to the Bath House, today Sedrick took those first dozen drawings to Valley House Gallery to be photographed and cataloged first. I called. They said they'd be ready by 4, 4:30. I pressed. Maybe 3:30.
 

Art Show Installation Tools - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Art Show installation tools with art show, artist, curator and Enrique
 

I arrived near 2, claiming, to avoid the traffic. I like the Vogels, all caught up in their own opening Saturday night. Just intruded my errand into their workflow. Hadn't got to talk with Kevin and Cheryl in awhile. Mostly business with Laura, but she was friendly, too. Pleasant slowdown in my hurry to get the second-to-last work to the show at last. They'll email titles, etc. We carted four pieces at a time, two-each in two hands to my little gray rent-a-car, spaced them back-to-back and front-to-front with packing board, and I drove off, dead-reckoning back to the Bath House.
 

Tim Harding's Graphite Hands - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Graphite on Tim Harding's Hands
 

Where I was only twenty minutes late to meet Tim Harding at 3. I knew Terry would be there. Found out when we'd traded jobs in the middle of this afternoon's flow. I was going north anyway, and thought I could save some time. Couple hours. Miss traffic. Eventually earn some sleep. Ha!
 

Small detail on one of Sunny's front-porch pieces - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Small details on one of Sunny Sliger's front-porch pieces
 

Got Tim going on the so-far empty middle of his wall in the big gallery and kept staring at the space on the far wall outside for another of the pieces he brought. And at Sedrick's drawings I'd spread across the other end of the room. Both the curators in mull mode. Tim busied himself watching his graphite-dark, smaller paper sheets hang, roll or fold on the walls we had left for somebody — him apparently.
 

 Kim Alexander and Terry Hays - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kim Alexander and Terry Hays when Sedrick's wall was still blank
 

Spaces sooner or later we'd been thinking we could or might not use. That time was about here. What Tim was doing, besides getting graphite on his hands and the pristine white backs of those heavy sheets Terry said looked more like metal than paper — was ultra simple, seemed obvious when he finished, but took its time while Terry and I took ours with Sedrick's drawings. Didn't want to rush into anything at this late date.
 

Enrique in the Hall Gallery - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Enrique working in the hall gallery before it all began
 

Their layout felt disjunctive, in need of order, so I mixed them, then remixed, eventually settling on dark and light, big and little, across the wall. Three of my knuckles apart all the way across finally fit, with space left over and either end. Ending up with a guy he found at a convenience store on the far right, where, Terry noted, it had started. A bookend, balancing another on the other end.
 

Diane Sikes working in the Hall gallery much later - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Diane Sikes beginning in the Hall gallery much later
 

I felt guilty when we left the chore of hanging them with Enrique. I know it's his job, but I felt it our responsibility. We'd hung Kim Alexander's carbon paper drawings in the left-open space beyond Diane Sike's paper pieces in the hall before Enrique got back from his errand, so we'd feel useful. Then guilty again for leaving that wall of the dozen Sedricks. But we did.
 

Tim Harding's First Delivery - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tim Harding's first delivery — paper rolled up in paper
 

Crash-napped a couple hours, then I needed to write this and fill in pix I shot today and all week. Earlier, I told Terry and Enrique I'd imagined showing up to the opening in a suit — except I don't own one. But I'll be there with cameras. One time, at a DallasArtsRevue member show, someone pointed to my feet in one black shoe and one brown one.

Maybe I'll get some sleep.

 

The Oak Cliff Visual Speed Bump Art Tour 2012

2006 Big As Night    Drive By 2     2008 Speed Bump     2009 Speed Bump     2011 Speed Bump     An Un-updated Index of art tours     Fierce Visits

The View from MFA - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The View from MFA

The hand-lettered sign on the door advertises "spiritual readings" across the street. One of many signs of a sense of community permeating this usually annual yet comfortably nearly impromptu art tour. When word percolated there was another soon, I cleared my calendar and postponed leaving town. It's one of my favorite tours, and there's fewer of the good ones anymore.

 Mr. Country Western - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Glenn Dowling   Mr. Country Western

I wasn't altogether wowed by this, just that it was so big, so obvious and so oddly detailed. Besides it had birds and an owl even. I go to Mighty Fine Art, because there's always something there I might never otherwise have considered attending as art, and because owner and artist Steve Cruz must also be a chocoholic, who always has Hershey-ettes out in a bowl.

Next door at Incense & Peppermints we talked graphics and print jobs and wandered around looking, but all my images were fuzzy and out of focus.

 South Polk - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

North Tyler Street

A community that's so together, it's color coordinated.

Classes Next Door - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Classes Next Door oil and cotton

I remember standing in one art space photographing through the doorway to this, what has to be basket-weaving, maybe a class, in the next space over. Anna assures me it is Oil and Cotton, who used to send me a hundred and fifty email notices of every event and quasi event till my Junk folder finally took them off my hands and out of my mind — and Anna took over the calendar. I had no idea at the moment I clicked this that I was standing on the threshold of Oil and Cotton, which actually looks like a pleasant, albeit all-female, crafty kind of place. But I had to take the picture I saw unfolding in front of me. Of community and color and budding creativity.

Public Sunflower Garden - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Public Sunflower Garden

We did not go to everything on the tour map, but we were pleased with almost every of the stops we made, especially the Sunflower Garden called "Seventeen Hundred Seeds," which begat this curiously unurban stand of Sunflowers that had not quite yet grown to full height or bloom that I've seen get to thirteen feet high. Now I feel need to drive by again and again until they do. Doesn't this look like a whistle-stop farm community? Can you hear the clackety-clack and lilting diesel blast in the distance?

Sunflower - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sunflower

Our collective most impressive moment there was when one of the bubbling young Sunflower Guides enthused at us us emphatically that it was — as we had surely not noticed by then — a "PUBLIC" Art Project. We believed.

Addy Awards - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Addy Awards at Davis Foundry

At first I thought this must be some sort of art attempt, but I don't think so anymore, though I still like it as that. Reminds me of my 1989 Randy Spence, silver chrome-plated plastic, winged and torch-bearing, long-haired little plastic woman in a long dress award crucifixed to a simple wood cross, with a saw-tooth hanger in the center back. That one is signed by the artist and all-cap titled "Victoria Christ 2." I don't remember whether it was done before or after his subtly startling 1,000-piece Last Supper jig-saw puzzle with a shark interpolated into and rising out of the place where Jesus once stood on His last night out with The Guys.

Kenna Photo - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Classic Kenda North Underwater Photo

This visit I remember. There was a number next to this framed photograph but I didn't see a matching list. Anytime I get to see Kenda North and/or her work, especially very recent work, I am jazzed. We're huge fans. Normally, I trouble myself to keep reflections off them, but I was so taken by the image, which I'm sure I've seen before, and didn't expect to use it here, I noticed but didn't care. Also nearby were luscious new, subtle but certain 'white on white' images that were tentatively presented like new but unsure work — and delicious, but I didn't feel like sullying with reflections, though now I wish I had.

Kenna Talking - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kenda North Talking

I didn't know faces for the other artists showing in that extended, upstairs-from-busy-downtown-Oak-Cliff studio, but soon as we saw her, we waited till that conversation in was over, then descended upon her and her latest book. She talked about using a down-to-30-meters, point-and-shoot camera in a EWA marine bag for her next underwater series, and I actually had something more or less intelligent to say about them, because I'd researched various ways to sneak a camera and decent telephoto into places that might get it wet at inopportune moments while chasing down big, beautiful water birds.

I didn't take good-enough pictures at every place we visited, although I remember the cool relief of parking in the deep shade under low-hanging trees outside Make It / Indie Genius, which describes itself as the marriage of "a sixty-vendor ... Handmade and Vintage Marketplace to a DIY workshop and studio (teaching things like sewing, screen printing, and hand embroidery." Anna called it "a Dolly Python wannabe," but it's more than that and off at an oblique angle from anywhere else, so I'm reserving judgment till I'm in there again.

Connie Connoly - Ray-Mel Cornelius - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Connie Connoly   Ray-Mel Cornelius   oil on canvas

Next stop was another old friend, someone I'd first met at East Texas State University some seventies-when in the last century when Ray-Mel Cornelius (portrayed above by Connie Connoly) and I both attended that small-town university 50 miles east of here, off I-30. I was taken by Connoly's only slightly exaggerated yet caracaturistic portrait of him, and a colorful museum of other images on his walls.

Ray-Mel Cornelius - The Fisher Queen - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ray-Mel Cornelius   The Fisher Queen

Unlike any other artists on the tour, Ray-Mel had worked up a several-page illustrated black & white catalog of his walls collection, so I could identify or price each one. Something like it would have been very informative in the much less serene installation at Chuck & George's later in our tour, but shows real dedication. We always love sitting on comfy furniture at the Cornelius home studio, sipping something cool and refreshing, talking with whoever alights next to us.

Glass Dispersion on Map - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Plastic Cup Dispersion on Map

I didn't really want to leave the tour's south-most stop, but we had miles to go, and miles to go after that. I usually spend time on each tour review saying mean things about the map, but in this instance — prismatically illuminated here with the ice water cup from Ray-Mel's — I'll say, except for one egregious instance, it was small-print adequate to the task almost always without incident, and on that one case, we were so dedicated to finding that studio we tracked nearly the whole winding street long. More about that in a minute.

The Mullahs - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Mullahs at Chuck and George's

First some detailed views from the art and other extravaganza that is The Chuck & George experience. In the absence of any possibility of identifying anything at Brian Jones and Brian Scott's place, I've just made up some titles. I doubt anyone will notice, there was so much going on in every cranny and nook throughout that busy, colorful home and studio.

The Funkey Monkey - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Flunkey Monkey

Big soft bed in the big soft bedroom. Great color coordination. And a nice, soft monkey left in charge.

Their Working Kitchen - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Working Kitchen

Art everywhere, and almost all the wall spaces happy with more art or something even more useful.

The Whole Gang's Here - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Whole Gang's Here

First time I saw their figure melanges, I was fascinated, as every time since. My hero and probably yours and everybody else's are all in there.

Eric's Spoons - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Spoons by Erik Tosten

I remember mean-spirited laughter and near derision from guys I thought were Eric's friends along the tour shortly after his wife died and he'd announced he was going to carve spoons. I wondered, too, but he'd begun carving those odd shapes, and now he's much improved and well into a new art form for himself. Last tour, at a garage behind another house, he showed us his garden and passive roof tank watering system, and I'd hoped to see how that was working now. Personal moments of someone eager to show his latest work, art or not, are a solid part of what these community visitations are all about.

More Spoons - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

More Spoons by Erik Tosten

Now, looking at these prices, I wish I'd bought one and wonder whether they're sealed for washing and re-washing and dish-washing. Maybe he'll tell me more about them. Beautiful objects, very nicely presented. I was too busy photographing then, now I wonder what's in the box. I wish also I'd had the sense to pick some up and heft their shape and balance. Beautiful and diverse.

Pettin' The Cat - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pettin' The Cat

Meanwhile, Anna found and was petting a black cat who eyed me suspiciously.

Stainless Chime - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stainless Chime

This simple mobile fits right in to that other spoon subplot at Gretchen Goetz, Scott Winterrowd and Erik Tosten's showplace and studio just down the street and over another from Chuck & George. I can only assume this has at least a thematic relation to Erik Tosten's spoons.

Pinky Blue Eyes - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pinky Blue Eyes

Around the corner from the cat and the spoons was this studio. I looked around, but it felt too pristine to be real, although the big pink face fit. It was her house, so I'll assume this was Gretchen Goetz' too-clean workspace with, other than that big pink face, no human presence.

Building Lines - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Building Lines

Our last stop was another ultra comfortable place like Ray-Mel's, but more informal. Lots of art finished, working on and still being thought about. Obvious themes to me who has been watching Kim Cadmus Owens' work for years now, after discovering her and her work in a dark studio upstairs at the Continental Gin Building and been wowed ever since by the compound complexity of her spatial and other interests, many of which are in somewhere in these images.

Coffee Shop - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Coffee Shop   Art Supply   Hardware   Books

Some things to do with stripes and spaces and the parallelisms of dimension and positive and negative space. We can almost envision the stores behind and supporting the dimensional signs among the barcode marathon of parallel colors streaking across this vacant landscape.

Double-wide Flat Corner - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Double-wide Hat & Bag Corner

Or the gentle collection of bags and hats and wraps hanging off art that Kim would care for just inside the back door.

Yard Motif - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yard Motif

And in this remarkably cogent pile of straight and twisted metal I recognized the visual pun of elements of previous of her paintings series floating on the spacious and well-manicured lawn. Later, when a gaggle of UD art students showed up en masse, she showed us all her riding mower in the shed she and her partner built in the back yard of the studio that's on the street the tour map said it was on, but not where it showed.

To find it we had to wind along the whole green and winding country street, and well worth it. I haven't seen the flamingo in her work yet, but I wouldn't be surprised, it would fit right into Kim Cadmus Owens' rich sense of color and space.

Seating for Five - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Seating for Five

We sat in the shade of the garage instead of out in that day's too-warm sun, but this setting for five looked friendly and deeply community. A nice place to settle on a cool spring, winter or autumn evening.

Yellow Kharmann Ghia - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yellow Karmann Ghia

In the 70s, I had a carmine Karmann Ghia VW from before they were legally imported into the U.S. that came through The Bahamas, and Kim has this, whose paint is peeling in centimeters. Brought forth pleasant memories and spirited conversation. The whole tour did. Good job, whoever did it this time.

 

Dichroic reflections, neo-geo shards, lemur tails, subaqua-ography, yarn bombs, big burger art, hand-shakes, Trailer Cakes & red velvet cakes

words + photograph by J R Compton with help from Anna Palmer

Brandon Behning and Eugene White, Artificial I.D. - Brian Ryden, Madness - Dwayne Carter at Plush, through June 2    Collected Memory - Sally Ackerman, Shannon Brunskill, Carole Cohen, Cecelia Feld, Grethe Haggerty, Barbel Helmert, Robin Herndon, Judith Seay, Cat Snapp, Mary Tomas, Ronda Van Dyk at Mary Tomas, through June 9    Jeremy McKane at Cohn Drennan, through June 16    Heyd Fontenot, Margaret Meehan, Stephen Knapp at Conduit, through June 16    It's all Relative - Ed Stafford, Erin Stafford, Elissa Stafford at Red Arrow, 1130 Dragon Street, Suite 110, through June 16    Brad Ellis, Orna Feinstein, Tracey Harris at Craighead Green, through June 16    Asian Invasion - Theo Wujcik at Galleri Urbane, through June 16    Letters from Home - Murielle White at Cris Worley, through June 16    Surface Pattern - Dean Monogenis, Pepa Prieto, Misato Suzuki, Thomas Spoerndle, Morgan Blair, Lucas Martell, John Guthrie, James Roper, Jessy Nite, Eddie Villanueva, Books IIII Bischof, Maxomatic at Circuit 12, through June 16    Harakiri: To Die For Performances - Please Pass the Remote and Red Velvet Carnivale - Big Rig Collective at CentralTrak

Brad Ellis - Tripping Through the Thicket - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brad Ellis   Tripping Through the Thicket   mixed media on canvas   84 x 66 inches   $14,000

We started at Craighead Green, where Dallas artist Brad Ellis showed what might have been yet another cut and paste job, revealed upon closer inspection, textured paint in precise shapes, extending what everybody and its mother's been doing this last decade or so since Lance Letscher hit these shores, and he may only have been the leftmost extension of another wildfire fad from one of the coasts or even Iceland.

 Brad Ellis tripping detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brad Ellis   Tripping Through the Thicket   (detail)   mixed media on canvas   84 x 66 inches

Up closer this re-remix reminds of Norman Kary's precision collaging, or James Michael Starr before he went back into Advertising. Careful incisions mixed with cross-axis textured geometric ellipses, with maps and text pages for color, tone and ever more texture into a ever-so-carefully arranged amalgam of color and shape.

Heather Gorham - I'm Dreaming of Your Insomnia - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Heather Gorham   I'm Dreaming of Your Insomnia   acrylic on canvas   48 x 60 inches   $5,000

Always nice to see new extensions in painted fantasy, but there's no date. I want to know when this painting was done. I'll assume it's new, struggling with furry long-tail demons and bound out of control in a slanted red-sky brown tent-like place of more lemur-tails lined up waiting to jump.

Facing Conduit - color insets - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stained Glass in the Cathedrals of Commerce

It's been there for years, but I'd been avoiding Conduit, because it'd got so terribly familiar. This also a rare photo on an opening night, with so few cars swimming in that wide space that likely later grew to overflowing. We were way early. Serene in near emptiness, under that stormy blue sky, there's that short, disjointed spectrum of colored opaque windows. Inside Conduit, we loved and hated and/or were indifferent — with one resplendent favorite.

Stephen Knapp - False Prophet - with Anna for Scale - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stephen Knapp   False Prophet   2012   dichroic glass, light and hardware   15 x 13 x 1 foot   with Anna silhouette for scale

I used to use red quote marks in the DARts Calendar to denote quotes from galleries, "Stephen Knapp's most recent work, his Light Paintings, consist of dichroic glass (glass containing multiple micro-layers of metals or oxides, which give the glass dichroic optical properties) which is bracketed onto walls with a single light fixture illuminating the entire piece. Light that passes through the various pieces of glass is collected and dispersed on the wall in a colorful array of shape and form."

Stephen Knapp   False Prophet  detail - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stephen Knapp   False Prophet   (detail)   2012   dichroic glass, light and hardware   15 x 13 x 1 foot

Although the details took a few seconds to jog in, I recognized the style and technique from Knapp's Seven Muses along the tall walls at the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations in Richardson, Texas.

Seeing its late-Stella 3D details up close was ever more fascinating. How its colors work and interact is amazing to almost touch. According to Wikipedia, "The main characteristic of dichroic glass is that it has a particular transmitted color and a completely different reflected color, as certain wavelengths of light either pass through or are reflected. This causes an array of color to be displayed. The colors shift depending on the angle of view. Dichroic glass is an example of thin-film optics."

Stephen Knapp - False Prophet - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Stephen Knapp   False Prophet   (detail)   2012   dichroic glass, light and hardware   15 x 13 x 1 foot

Getting even closer, we begin to see how the marred and sometimes mauled wall of Conduit's oft-used and abused Project Room adds to the interest and texture of this intriguing piece — and gain a better notion of how it works.

Conduit Porch

Then out the familiar, echoing concrete ramp past the machine-textured, low-tech porch, with a rock holding the door open amid a mild Mondrian landscape of right angles and iron black lines off to yet another gallery. Anna kept a list according to opening times, so we switch-backed around the artsy neighborhoods along our winding central levees, staying strictly this side of the river.

Marty Walker Front Door - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R at Marty Walker's Front Door well before they opened

To Marty Walker, which wasn't open yet and wouldn't be for awhile, but we couldn't see any reasons on the visible interior walls to come back, although they've been having great gifts of wonder in their video room, not even hinted at from outside. Only rarely do we hit everything on our list, although the tiny print at the top of this foray only lists where we actually went in.

EAT - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

EAT Hamburger

Down the street and around some corners we kept passing this unsigned artburger by a dark and totally unappetizing building proclaiming "OFF-SITE KITCHEN," although later, there were a bunch of people gathered there, doing gossip-over-the-fence routines with next door.

End of the line - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

End of the Line for Art

I've been wanting to photograph well this end-of-the-line marker outside Cris Worley / Gallery Urbane for awhile, but I kept concentrating on the green grass ditch that fills with water sometimes, neatly forgetting where it was along the winding overflow ditch for the Trinity River.

Yarn-bombed Hydrant - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Yarn Bombed Hydrant Dance

Back on Dragon Street, somebody has only very recently rediscovered the elusive charms of public color and texture in bombing yarn.

Smiling Yardbombed Pole - photo by Anna Palmer

Smiling Numbers Yard bombed Pole - photo by Anna Palmer

But we especially liked the contrasting colors and bright textures of this smiling kid with gaping numbers teeth and an intriguing array of dark form textures a third the way up the pole.

Jeremy McKane - Rabbit Hole - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jeremy McKane   Rabbit Hole   2012  48 x 60 inches   archival digital print on aluminum   $7,5000

Then to Cohn Drennan Contemporary for Dallas photographer Jeremy McKane's sometimes sub-marine photographs printed on aluminum for a texture and tone we hadn't seen anything quite like work before, although I've become fond of Kenda North and and more recently, Kathleen Wilke's now not-at-all similar underwater photo work, we were pleased to see another new direction in subaqueous ography.

Drink, Snack, Swear - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Drink Donations, Snack Donations, Swear Jar

I shot several photographs there, but easily the most memorable piece at the new Red Arrow Gallery were these jars. I assume the sugar havens of tea and wine. I wonder if they made their cost from donations, where swearing starts, and who keeps enough quarters. We were there early, and there were none, yet.

Gallery Sign - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gallery Sign for XXX

Although we were both fond enough of their big red sign flapping in the wind to keep photographing it as if it were original, I keep thinking Red Arrow should be a moving company with an armada of big vans.

Bad, Bad, Bad - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

No comment.

I kept feeling I was in the wrong place, and turned out we were, despite the Dragon Street Address, we found what we were looking for around the corner and down the sidestreet to Circuit12. But this was a gallery, so of course we wandered in.

12 Gallery - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Circuit 12

Eventually, we were arm-led around the corner to Curcuit12 where we sought Surface Pattern, Circuit 12's premiere exhibition of almost entirely artists from out of town, because as owner Dustin Orlando explained, "all the other galleries in Dallas show local work," and he wanted his to be different. We wondered about that and thought, 'would that it were,' but he said they were showing a few Dallas artists and seeking others, but he proudly listed where all their artists were from. The big colorful wood construction in the far corner, I remember, was from Madison, Wisconsin. That might be it over my shadow reflection's left shoulder in this front-door shot.

Bryan Ryden - Pavlov's Dog - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Brian Ryden   Pavlov's Dog   acrylic and tape on canvas   27 x 33 inches   $700

For a big change, we didn't stop first at Plush, where I liked Ryden's neo geo abstracts, although I at first thought none of my pix turned out. Later, I looked closer at this one that was fairly well rendered. Sharp, at least. His intricate medleys of constrained, dark spectra shapes hurtling through space kept my attention. I circled and stared, then came back to capture their souls, drawn by their almost disorganized complexity.

Anna's Handshake, Dwayne and His Work at Plush - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Anna's Handshake, Dwayne and His Work at Plush

Out in the better-illuminated project porch, old friend Dwayne Carter's newly printed but essentially similar — maybe a little lighter — work to that reviewed not so long ago by Michael Helsem got our attention. He was talking how pleased he'd been to have his work hanging in the background in some media event somewhere, and I thought I'd make something of the notion here. Dwayne, of course, jumped right in to direct the shoot. Anna and I both liked the way her arm balances those legs on the right behind him.

The Cosmic Cup - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Looking Up at the Cup's Packed Front Porch

Running low on energy we dined vegetarianly at The Cosmic Cup on Oak Lawn Ave — inside, where it was quiet and serenely among much odd wall art, although a small band was setting up outside our window to the porch as we left, and we wondered what they'd sound like, but we retired briefly to the little park across the Trinity, where we ate Trailer Cakes Anna had bought from the soap-bubbling snack truck on Dragon.

This place in the big middle of the Trinity Flood Plain is about to be over-arched by yet another new bridge, and we wondered if we and the other day-life of the area would still have surface-level access, but we've long liked that lilting little park with its pond where odd birds including Tricolored Herons sometimes feed.

Cupcakes in the Park - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cupcakes in the Park

Had a great sky and is always a gentle place where we encountered strange humans — I'd read in a novel recently about a guy who whistled tunelessly, and that calmed his brother in a precarious time, and we could hear our local whistler from far over and long away over the current bridge from the city side, walking down the middle of the ocassionally busy two-lane road — with Harold Clayton's stone 3D cows in the middle distance toward the darkening skyline.

Night Traffic - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Satty Night Traffic Through The Canyon

Then, in kinda a hurry to see what CentralTrak was really up to — despite what they'd listed last week, I worried a Saturday Night stand-still traffic jam through The Canyon might keep us from the 'performance' I'd read in their "advance publicity was to be a movie about a dance troup, but I've learned to check it out anyway, and we arrived early into their first wild dance performance which pertained to birds, with birdsongs in the audio-dance mix, was active and full of informal and impromptu dance moves. Even eliciting a few startled laughs. Grand fun watching bodies in informal near-abandon.

Dancers - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Please Pass The Remote

I've been following CentralTrak's ongoing "art performance" series that for awhile paralleled and nearly interacted with the Performance Art series at 500X, and this might get added to that already odd mix of performance forms. Again for the Trak, this was art performance, not performance art, but the two share so many syno- and anto-nyms it contrasts and confuses the sames and differents.

Sharing Red Velvet Cake - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sharing Red Velvet Cake

The Trak announced a half-hour break and we were oddly fatigued, so drove to nearby Deep Elm, where Mocha's warehouse district parking was gill-crammed with what turned out to be a big wedding, and we found one open slot in the lot right up front, walked up the stairs to try the coffee shop door, but it didn't budge. Then we were caught off-guard when the barristo invited us in, so we got our coffee and choco fixes and back to the Trak in time to see the dance gathering into another energetic and entertaining performance, concluding with audience members invited to participate in a red velvet cake.

I'd had enough sugar for the night, so I photographed the event to add to my ongoing coverage of recent art performance in Dallas, when I finish this one and meet a couple other pending deadlines.
 

Shamrock Hotel & Continental Gin Open Houses & Billy Hassell at The Mac

Sunny Slidger's World - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Sunny Sliger's World at Shamrock Hotel Studios

We visited Shamrock Hotel Studios April 14 and found this inside Sunny Sliger's studio. That's her on the left. Sliger will be in Cura Cura Cura that Terry Hays and I are curating at the Bath House Cultural Center next August, but I like being in her world anyway. Sliger's sometimes collaborator Marianne Newsom did the outside of the Shamrock.

Fringin the Shamorock Hotel - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Shamrock Exterior collaborated by Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger

Big Orange Fish but By Whom? - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Lizzy Wetzel   Felt Shoud

Looking up, inside the Shamrock, I found this, but as seemed usual there and at most not-exactly-gallery-like-spaces lately, there didn't seem to be any direct way to find out who did it. I liked it swimming in the skylight space like a dissected shark, especially in those electric colors, but I don't know who to thank for it.

Billy Hassell - Great Blue Heron Grassy Lake 2012 - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Billy Hassell   Great Blue Heron, Grassy Lake   (detail)   2012   oil on canvas   72 x 96 inches   at The Mac

Nice about The Mac, they usually make finding out who did what easier. Above is a quiet detail in an otherwise busy nature scene not really dominated by a Great Blue Heron, but I prefer cozying up to Hassell's details, like this vivid macro.

Billy Hassell - patterns - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Billy Hassell   patterns   screen   reverse

His patterns, too, are exquisite. This is the back of the screen that faces into the big gallery on the right during his show there. A complexity of lush colors in service to a luxury of color and pattern.

Billy Hassell - Rio Blanco - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Billy Hassell   Rio Blanco At Dusk, Colorado    (detail)   2012   oil on canvas   36 x 80 inches

I suppose I could say the same thing about this detail, except it's a bird. Probably a real bird, although it looks a little fantastical the distinct way Hassell paints them.

Stacked Jugs at Themac - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

stacked jugs at The Mac's Project Room

Stacking jugs, shining light on it, and calling that art is nothing new. DARE (Dallas Artists Research & Exhibition, the nonprofit entity that themac used when they started existence) co-founder Tracy Hicks had a show at the Dallas Museum of Art what, fifteen years ago, of his jars of fogs and other iridescent things that remind me too much of this neat stack of translucency.

Corey Godfrey

Corey Godfrey   untitled   $80

I've been watching Corey Godfrey's yarn painting since the bottom of Art Here Lately #9, and this is the best yet. At The Kettle, where it shines.

Andrea Guay - Red Aspen Study - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Andrea Guay   Red Aspen Study   2012   oil on maple board   6 x 8 inches

On my screen, this red study is a little smaller than real, so consider size in relation to looseness. Then the next one which was hanging unframed in her upstairs Gin Building studio, she wanted me to crop to the edges of the image, which I've done, but I really liked it loose on its kraft paper ground so much better.

Andrea Guay - Connection - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Andrea Guay   Connection   2012   oil on kraft paper   30 x 30 inches

I liked this one for its feeling of space and volumes. Color's are nice, too. Andrea told me before she came to Dallas, she sent out a bunch of requests for info about studios, and that the one she sent me was the only reply she got from the whole bunch. I probably told her to contact Bob Nunn, who told her whom to contact about renting the space she has at the Gin, where she's been since she got to Dallas. In fact, she told me, she got the Gin space before she moved her family into their home.

"Yeah, I told her, "I usually answer my emails."

Rest - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Rest  $200

This was on a shelf in the hall upstairs at the Gin Building open house. The tag nearby told me all the caption information I have. Now whoever's it is will probably use my photograph of it as if they shot it and never heard of me, just because I couldn't find a good place to put my copyright notice. I'm not asking for money, but credit would be nice.

David Anthony Harman - Elm and Trunk - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David Anthony Harmon   2012   Elm and Trunk   oil on canvas   $75

You may know about Elm Street. Trunk is where a trunk line for the railroad used to be, slicing an angle through near-downtown Dallas, not far from the Gin Building. There's often puddles there. I know it well, though I've never photographed it this lyrically. David Anthony Harmon seems to be one of the few proud painters who knows to put his name on any public tag on his painting. I might have run this one anyway, but it's nicer to put a name to it.

I was lining up to photograph an especially nice abstract that day, but a very officious voice told me they didn't 'low now photograph taking in there, so I quick-marched out without an explanation of what I was up to. You invite people into your studio, so your work will become better known, and then be rude to them? That's weird.

JK Landscape - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

S K Landscape

Another one of Shoka Kamaria-Ford's paintings was this inner-illuminated commercial landscape I liked it for its odd treatment of light and space..

Gin Spew - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David W. Klucsarits   Saturday, 2:35 AM   2012   Castilene   3/4 life size   a work in progress

His card, nearby, said that's what his name was, but I had no luck tracking him down to his website, which does not seem to be what it said on the card. I was hoping to identify the sculpture, but this is all I've got, and I'm not sure about that one. Except that I do like the vomit-cantilevered sculpture; that's funny, of course, but it also helps show the breadth and dept of artistry at the Continental Gin Building.

unknown artist - unknown painting title - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

painting by Heather Helen Ray

Here's another one of those "I'm not sure where I got this, but I liked it so much I photographed it anyway, and thanks to David W. Klucsarits, it's now captioned correctly.

That painting is so perfectly lighted. A dark, back-of-downtown place, with blurring lights and people beginning to blur, too. I know it so well. Great, shadowy, dark, feeling. Great setting, too, leaning back on top of a bookcase with a cigar box, dishes and toys.

Downtown Dallas Painting - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ty Milner   Very Large downtown Dallas painting from a photograph   a work in progress

Looks like a major accomplishment in the works. As always, if anyone can steer me right on titles, mediums or sizes for these work I've managed to miss so far, I'd be much obliged. My latest email is on the Contact Us page, and yes, I answer emails.

Good night,
J R
   

Radical Regionalism Panel: Strike Two

Radical Regionalism, a panel discussion hosted by Central Trak 6:30 Thursday March 29 with Wanda Dye, Benito Huerta, Vicki Meek, Charissa Terranova  Matthew Cusick and moderated by Leigh Arnold.

panel chairs - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Panelist Chairs, Bottles, Cheap Riser and Microphones
 

I knew better, but I did it anyway. I attended the so-called "Radical Regionalism" panel discussion at UTD's Central Trak in Deep Fair Park Thursday evening.

At least I knew enough not to go to the earlier panel at the DMA, called by those who were there, The KERA panel, where a bunch of White Guys discussed pretty much these same topics, only from an All-White male, upper-crustian, new-to-town point of view. Like this panel's most intelligible speaker, Benito Huerta, I knew there wouldn't be any real racial representation there — nor any awareness of community. But there wasn't much of that rare stuff at the Central Trak think tank, either.

This panel was obviously intended to be politically correct, as only an American graduate university can, although it comprised three White Women, one Black woman, one White man and one Latino — as usual at art events here men, especially of any color, were seriously under-represented with twice as many women on the dais.

The women included a UTD student moderator who commenced the panel by reading aloud long, detailed panelist vitae, then propelled the discussion off in no direction whatsoever by asking the one White guy to talk about his work, while she slowly cycled through projections of his images, the first of which made an apt illustration for this panel's topic and had been used in its publicity, but his newer work, though intelligent and engaging, had little pertinence to the panel's proposed themes.
 

Wanda Dye & Vicki Meek - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

RE gallery founder Wanda Dye and artist Vicki Meek
 

To her left, her professor and good friend, White woman, serious art critic and historian, teacher and freelance curator Charissa Terranova [See Jim Dolan's interview with her a few years ago.) gradually bumped into her usual Marxist, et al. theoretical furrow, although it didn't seem as fiery this time. Maybe she was distracted. Next was White male artist and recent Dallasite Matthew Cusick, whose helicopter-rental aerial photographs underlaid with maps illustrated the publicity, and who talked for nearly twenty minutes about his art and all its layered meanings, neatly side-stepping the discussion topic.

Next right was Wanda Dye, UTA architectural instructor, Urban Design Consultant and gallery founder, whose RE ("repurposing, reclaiming, and recycling") Gallery debuts in The Cedars this fall; and the one Black woman — artist, educator and South Dallas Community Center manager and self-avowed "Philadelphia Yankee" Vicki Meek. Finally, on the far right of stage left, one Hispanic man — artist, teacher, director and curator of The Gallery at UTA, and [Take a breath.] "Co-founder, Executive Director, Co-Director, Vice President and now Emeritus Board Director of Art Lies, a Texas Journal," that nobody mentioned quit publication in June 2011.
 

Benito Huerta - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"Co-founder, Executive Director, Co-Director, Vice President and now
Emeritus Board Director of [the failed art publication] Art Lies," Benito Huerta
 

The experience was unnecessarily heavy on White Women, ethnic artists and off-topic talk — never mind that almost any art panel discussion in these parts that needs Racial and/or Gender Diversity, will get those same two noted art ethnics, and generally Charissa, too, as if there were no other Latin or Black art persons or Art-crit Theorists in all of North Texas. I like Vicki, and I greatly admire some of what she's tried to do in this community, although she snapped at me twice that evening, and Huerta is a remarkably cogent speaker — despite that highfalutin' mess of a former title (Was he kidding?), all of which the UTD student moderator enunciated with a straight face.

I was right on with him on the topic of race. I count crowds. There were 55 persons in attendance, including the panelists, videographer and assorted latecomers who each briefly starred in a rectangular flood of slanting daylight just right of the stage. Six were Black or some shade thereof. Latins are more difficult to gauge. They look like everybody else to me, although sometimes an accent gives one away. There were both Latin and non-Latin accents from the crowd, and not nearly enough questions, certainly nothing provocative — but then I left early.
 

Moderator, Terranova and Artist Guy - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Moderator Leigh Arnold, Dr. Charissa Terranova and recent Dallas Artist Matthew Cusick
 

The moderator did not moderate, but led the discussion far afield from the first, then let it wander in the off-topic wilderness. None of the panelists ever seriously engaged Radical or any other form of Regionalism besides us being here talking about the same old stuff artists always talk about, and where all of our conversations usually devolve anyway — ourselves and our eternal struggles against pick one: racial stereotyping, commercialism, public ignorance, nobody to critique our work. Etc.

So it was essentially tedious, with disconnected fragments of intelligence that cut little ice and led no one into original territory. Audience artists asked, but nobody talked about any serious Sense of Community, how that is created, nurtured or allowed to grow. Altogether, they listed a long and scattered catalog of publications that do not embody the kind of regionalistic attitude in the sky they sought.

But never did anyone mention DallasArtsRevue, which though it does not engage in scholarly art criticism, has been here 33 years and counting, being the first and longest-running floating crap game of art and regional criticism in North Central Texas, where we go out of our way to create resources that directly serve Dallas-area artists. Like these:

a solid list of area Art Schools & Classes; our superb Arts Calendar that always lists every artist, not just the ones you've heard of; The Galleries and Art Space Information page; and the gritty-nitty resources of How to Start Showing Your Work, How to Photograph Art and How to Design & Publish an Invitational Postcard. Then there's the Artists Opportunities page of jobs & competitions, and Dallas & Texas Artists With Websites.

Finally, I got fed up with the idiocy and walked out.


the line up - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Lineup: Leigh Arnold, Charissa Terranova, Matthew Cusick, Wanda Dye, Vicki Meek and Benito Huerta

 

Cassandra Emswiler Gilds the Silk Lily at Oliver Francis

Gilding the Silk Lily - Cassandra Emswiler, Mixed Fruit - Kevin Todora at Oliver Francis, opening 6-9 Saturday, March 24, though April 7

Cassandra Ensweiler - candle feather - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cassandra Emswiler   Gilding the Silk Lily   detail   2012   mixed media
 

One of the sharper textural delineations. Squares, rectangulars and circlines vs soft and diffuse feather light above the candle and white, bright projection onto sharp, red plaid below. Blues and reds and whites in lights and dark.
 

We walked into the semi-darkness of Oliver Francis gallery's front room seconds after it opened, looked around, investigated a little, and I knew we had, at last, found a show worth writing about. Not that I knew what to say about Cassandra Emswiler's subtle compositions gathered in stacks and piles and clumps on floorings and deckings, risers, umbrellas and whatever elses around the rooms and in the corners. Layers of disjunctive materials in textures, colors, mediums and shape. They drew me, pulled at me, peppered me with questions I could not answer and pleased me surprisingly. Enigmatic combinations a little like middle Frances Bagley on the steep rise up.
 

Cassandra Ensweiler - red, brown, beige composition - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cassandra Emswiler   Gilding the Silk Lily   detail   2012   mixed media
 

Probably the most pleasing, almost commercial — due the spiraled swatch books pages — amalgam of shapes and colors in the show, sometimes even mocking each other with red contrasting yellow and deeper reds offsetting the spotty gold-brown-black supporting parabola in beige, brown, gold and whiter than the floor below. And again that bright light spot from under the umbrella and on the wall behind the cloth.
 

At first, Anna says, "Emswiler's room confused and caught me off guard, but as I stood there taking in the arrangements of mostly familiar items, I felt comfortable enough to want to sit on the floor and stay a while." That easy contentment has got to be a a lot of their allure. These deceptively simple pieces are, and they definitively are not confrontational. If you're expecting sculpture to say the sorts of things you've heard all of your watchful, art-appreciating life, these may throw you. I think I know different, although I have my moments when I catch me longing for solids, shapes and emptinesses that represent accepted concepts in the predefined pantheons of art understanding.

But isn't it lovely sometimes to be baffled?
 

Cassandra Enswiler - linileum screen - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cassandra Emswiler   Gilding the Silk Lily   detail   2012   mixed media
 

A warping, malleable screen, drooping almost to dripping, soft in its unfocused projection yet harsh in its unseen blues in overexposed images just as sharp as they need to be. The rest of the cast in matching hues with splashes of blue light and those tiles everywhere around.
 

I should remind that it was near dark in there. Darker than some of these images show, although the works that incorporate bright, colored bare bulbs or projections shining, may over-accentuate that darkness, since ambient light levels always were plenty to enjoy the subtler details and hidden disambiguation. The pieces had to do with everything sculpture always does but subtler and more expansively. Go see it, and maybe you'll understand or disagree entirely.
 

Cassandra Ensweiler - white fur - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cassandra Emswiler   Gilding the Silk Lily   detail   2012   mixed media
 

Pristine white fur with tail vs. hard-edged marble shapes, colors and textures I should have but didn't touch. A gentler but contrasting perch for luxurious cat fur — beauty perhaps without the beast, but with the trimmings.
 

All through exploring this show and writing this story, however, was the ongoing, deep-down, potentially debilitating notion that I might have seen these episodal eruptions of three-dimensional, often oddly synesthetic expressions before, haunted me.

I was still thinking that with any luck, what I'd seen were earlier Emswilers, and though I still wonder where exactly, I realized that they wouldn't have stayed with me if I hadn't been moved by them the time before and the time before that, and those might well have opened me to liking these more.
   

Cassandra Emswiler - Gilding the Silken Lilly - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cassandra Emswiler   Gilding the Silk Lily   detail   2012   mixed media
 

I felt ineptly enchanted with the insect wing tacked to the wall while tethered to a block of square weight amber-gold, else it might fly off. A colorful bit of fantasy I kept staring at, not really sure why.
 

So I tracked down her [downloadable PDF] online CV learning I might have seen them at any number of Dallas venues over the last few years as one gallerist, curator, juror after another recognized their originality and felt need to show them off. Perhaps I should know every Dallas artist, but it's a relief to learn one whose work thrills me like this is a Dallas artist with a rich, local-based vitae.

Because Emswiler's enigmas are wrapped in such disparate things as insect wings and cat fur, leopard skin, swatch books, candles puffing feathers and blazing color bulbs energized by long, crinked cords, odd shadows or other clever projections, they remain memorable, and because her deft sense of composition and diverse materials and mediums and modus operandi are so varied, and almost or all the way through multied in the media, they make us ponder and wonder. I hope I get to see more of her work, and after that, more still. And that, now I've written about them, I'll remember where I saw them last when I see them next.
 

Cassandra Ensweiler - cubes, tubes & rectangles - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Cassandra Emswiler   Gilding the Silk Lily   detail   2012   mixed media
 

I think of this as cubes and tubes and rectangles with a wicked straight up-slanting shadow of Pisa. Red, brown and the inevitable grays both real and projected mixing my dreams and the artist's. Shapes inside forms reverberating in as simple a composition as was there. Co-starring an off-stage light stage right — but don't ignore the talented ensemble of floor tiles.
 

NOTE: I rarely ask artists about their shows I'm still trying to understand, but I didn't want to mislabel images, so when I asked gallerist Kevin Ruben Jacobs for the show list, he referred me to the artist, who told me these were all one piece in one show called Gilding the Silk Lily, so that's what I've gone with down this page, if repeatedly. I almost asked for a price list, but thinking through the show, the idea of expensing unfolding piles of conceptual brainstorms begged too many questions. I didn't bother, although there's several that, if I had more room and less to fill it, I'd love to own, priceless though they may be.


Xpo excerpts, rubber rubbings & food art on a wet night

500XPO - John Aasp, Joshua Banks, Willie Baronet, Michael Blair, Jeff Bradley, Lindsey Brown, John Calabrese, Jim Clement, Kristen Cochran, Kenneth Collins, Jack Cornell, Carrie Crumbley, Andrew Currey, Jose Dominguez, Kathleen Donovan, Kathryn Falvo, Cydney Ferguson-Brey, Jessica Fuentes, Jonathan Garcia, Devyn Gaudet, Lori Giesler, Timothy Griffin, Steve Hamilton, Blake Hampton, Jessica Hargrave, Stuart Hausmann, Ayesha Hayat, Lauren Herbst, Amy Herzel, Ronnit Ilan, Shawn Jackson, Alison Jardine, Graham Jones, Kelsey Kilcrease, Matthew Koons, Philip Lambert,Travis LaMothe, Seth Lawrence, Matthew Lee, Tsun-Chuan Liang, Kristin Lockhart, Lucas Martell, Nathan McGuire, Oscar Mejia, Thomas Menikos, Nathan Milas, Ashley Milow, Tiffany Milow, Mark Mueller, Shayne Murphy, Anh-Thuy Nguyen, Brandon Nichols, Irby Pace, Ricardo Paniagua, Alizsha Pennington, Simone Riford, Andrew Riggins, Evett Rolsten, Jessica Sailors, Timothy Seifert, Janan Siam, Kristina Smith, Olivia Smith, Kent Sollenberger, Alison Starr, Frank Tringall, Magan Van Groll, Michael Westfried, Tori Whitehead, Kristen Works, Michael Wynne at 500X, jurried by Aaron Parazette, through March 4

It rained that night.

It rained that night.

I forget how many places we looked at art that night. I do remember it rained, and that inside every gallery was a mini gallery of wet, dripping umbrellas that people just plopped there irregardless of what it made the art presentation area look like, so it did and did not look like art. 500X' pit [above] was no exception for their annual, juried Xpo show, that we weren't very impressed with — it hadn't the high quality nor unified look of my favorites of those competitions over the years, but two pieces by the same artist stood out.

I can imagine — and remember — how a single curator can impart a special look to an otherwise unrelated body of work submitted for competition, but how some jurors do that escapes me, yet several have. Rather than looking unified, this show looked too much like one of the venerable 500X's Open Shows, where you pays your money and your art is in, few questions asked. Still, there were a spare few gems mixed in with the too much of visual fill.

See our previous coverage of the Expos and Xpos in A Grahic Art Sensibility and Visiting 500 Expo 2003 and last year's Expo 2011

Alison Starr - Phant

Alison Starr - Phant -cpry

(view from the other side)

   Alison Starr   Phant   (two views)   2012   dryer lint, stuffed animal parts, thread   7 x 2.5 x 3.5 inches

The small image, viewed from right right, looks more like an elephant. The larger one, from the opposite side, shows more texture and detail, the best of which is not at all elephantine. The object size is probably between the two. The object itself is absurd, but not a mere wad of dryer lint. Not happenstance. Done carefully with precision, yet loose, nothing hidden. The thread, stitches, hairs all right there, adding to the joy of it.

Alison Starr - And Then What? - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Alison Starr   And Then What   2011

I've been watching Starr's work for years, and I have a ceramic bowl she made that I love, but she jumps mediums and styles and presentations like she doesn't have the faintest notion what she's up to. Yet she assuredly does. Something perverse in me wants her to show a singular style, a straight line in the sand, but either that's not in her or it's not coming out. Video, performance art, little stuffed birds floating — each new piece in each new medium offers a new discovery, usually enigmatic. Now, why'd she do that? I wonder, then settle into what's going on before my eyes. I still wonder, but I also enjoy.

Tour - Jesse Morgan Barnett at Marty Walker, through March 17

Jesse Morgan Barnett - Such Customary Writings 2E

Jesse Morgan Barnett   Such Customary Writings 2E   2011   photographs   dimensions variable

I greatly admired the rubber crushmarks on concrete at Marty Walker — the artist terms them "an aestheticized punctuation to a violent decrease in speed." They are what's left after a collision on the highway. And though I've got used to Walker's changeups of her winding warehouse space, the crush of humans through her latest reorganization crammed too many people into too small pockets, some where we couldn't even view the work for the viewers. The only visual relief was the video room, but the vid was insipid and the room was mostly empty with nothing to see, except three people conversing about something else. Ever since that show, though, I've been watching places where rubber met the road and other abuttments and spaces.

Three Squares - Melody Hay at Davis Foundry, through March 31

food and drink - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Melody Hay painting from her Three Squares show at Davis Foundry in Oak Cliff

Everything was food or food-related at Melody Hay's show at Davis Foundry, including a splatter of stainless-ware on the floor out front and real food neatly arranged almost like tiny art inside. We noshed and looked, and it took me awhile but gradually I got into the art, too. I'm still figuring out what exactly draws me. But I like the style of presentation more than content. Her almost informally loose amalgam of paint on wood sucks me right in.

I've been staring at this piece — this is the one — for more than two weeks and I've only just now realized part of the three-dimensionality I like so much is that the plate's center circle is transparent, floating over real wood-grain wood. That may account for the odd bit of three-dimensionality I admire so much here, and none of the other, more ordinary paintings there did it for me.

The painter took her time to tell us exactly what all those bits of food texture were, but I didn't care, I was still absorbed in wondering about the apparent depth

stainless splatter - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

I've long been a sucker for the tonalities available from painting on wood or panel. That and the only slightly abstracted reality of the colorful foodstuff, the floating circle and not at all the painting of a drawing of a glass of water. It's the technique that grabs my attention, and not many of the pieces do that, but this one certainly does.

I made other photos of other work there and elsewhere, but the more I look at them, the less I care.

 

Gregory Horndeski: 30-years in the Art Biz

Horndeski: The First Thirty Years - Gregory Horndeski at Norwood Flynn Gallery, through March 3 2012

Extended Horndesky Testing Product - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gregory Horndeski Testing Product
 

I've known Greg since he was just a few months into his thirty years as a professional artist. I haven't seen him much since he and his wife moved to Santa Fe in April 1996 — according to the text around the painting of his New Mexico home down this page, but even before he recognized me this time, we were engaged in one of those dense, pointed and consistently amusing conversations I've always admired him for — along with his dedication to his art and his entertaining sense of fun.

He was attired in high-tone Santa Fe couture black with bright-braid banded black hat, matching coat and a lush, color-threaded black dress shirt and black slacks terminating in radiant, paint-splotched sneakers his gallerists insisted he wear. I remember the first pair of those once-white shoes he'd got paint all over many years ago, but it seemed anachronistic and slightly demeaning he'd still have to show up for his Thirty Year Retrospective wearing the latest versions of cute shoes.

I've always liked him and his work, which has gently grown more painterly sophisticated, without losing the primitive edge of his unpretentious style. When we first met, he had been a math teacher learning to love the work of Vincent Van Gogh from a big glossy book. He wanted to paint lots of thick color on canvas with a palette knife, and that need changed the trajectory of his life.
 

Gregory Horndeski - How Can Some People Be So Stupid - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gregory Horndeski   How Can Some People Be So Stupid   1985   acrylic on linen   25 x 31 inches   $3,500
image provided by the artist and extensively tweaked by J R Compton

 

He missed the bin a couple times and had to scramble for the little white ball, even lost it altogether once. After he perfected his trajectory, however, the white ball dropped lazily into the black boxy bin well up the wall from the painting, fell through the attached, S-curving pipe and into the intricate and interconnected raceway of the metal facing for Pinball Painting No. 11, seen on the far right edge of that photo. It bounced back and forth, slowly descending the face of the verdant treescape like a mild Pachinko machine, dropped into the tray below, and Greg thwocked it up again.

If you look carefully, about a third of the way up the bare sliver of that painting, you'll see a white ball lodged into its edge. When I pointed it out to Gregory, he explained his precise measurements of radii that should have precluded it from doing that. I suggested a wad of gum just there to keep it from pocketing, but then we agreed the ball would probably stick to it. Anna suggested he "tilt" the piece, and careful not to topple the complexity of attached bin, tunnel and painting, he gave it a careful bonk, and the ball tumbled down the spring-strung face.

Note, too, that the artist has obsessively lettered long, unparagraphed texts and staffs of musical notes onto the black frames around this and other pieces down through his first thirty years of painting. That's another Horndeski hallmark. White, hand-lettered explanations and explorations on the frame all around the piece. Up and down the sides, across the top, sometimes upside down and across the bottom and, if the piece hangs higher than most of us stand, the text likely continues inside-out and backwards as well as right-side-up, up and down the frame.
 

Gregory Horndeski - Trying to Play Ball Where They Can

Gregory Horndeski   Trying to Play Ball Where They Can   1986   acrylic   42 x 54 inches
not in show but uniquely Dallas-based
 

If so, there'll be a mirror handy, so you can read the mirror-reversed text left to right and down to right-side up. I found just such a mirror on the top right of another piece in the back gallery, that I must have been the first to grab, since it was wet-paint stuck to the thick black surface. I nudged it unstuck and read some mirror text, quickly tiring of that game, then started wondering how he'd shipped a wet-paint painting from Santa Fe.

I remember when Greg amazed himself earning hist first solo show at Alternate Gallery deep on Main Street very early in his early 80s career trajectory, the fact that he used to — may still — charge by the square inch, and his home in the kitsch-clad Sherwood Forest Apartments on Northwest Highway, gill-filled with his work — stacks of it — in every room, cranny, nook and closet. Now he shows farther and wider, and though there may be a few unsold pieces tucked into a storage space, his work is probably not stored all through the house anymore, although a few pieces in this retrospective have, like old friends, been around for decades.

Long an admirer of his work, I am privileged to own this 1988 Gregory Horndeski that stares down at me as I write this and almost everything else. It's one of the most interesting paintings in my collection and an elite member of my "scary art pieces," thus an absolute favorite. It may be the most controversial Horndeski piece ever, although I've been out of touch long enough to not know anymore. It is likely still the only Gregory Horndeski painting published and written about in Art Forum, and I am happy he let me pay it off over time.
 

Gregory Horndeski - KKK Grand Dragon and Its Ghoulish, Night-crawling Minions - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gregory Horndeski   KKK Grand Dragon and Its Ghoulish, Night-crawling Minions   1988
acrylic on board   25 x 31 inches   J R Compton Collection
 

In 1988, a couple of Years of the Dragon ago, my friend Margie Handy and I produced The Dragon Show in the downtown Dallas Public Library's big street-level gallery. I expected fine fine art and careful arts & crafts dragons — and we got many superb pieces. But hoping for more cutting-edge work, I invited Greg to do something different, off-handedly suggesting "a KKK Grand Dragon."

Greg ran with the idea, surprising us with this startling piece a lurid landscape dominated by a giant, purple, winged creature with a high tail and tall, white-pointed-hood, and a gaping toothy reptilian mouth breathing streaks of yellow flames against a swirling indigo night sky scattered with stars, and standing among a seething tableau of writhing worms, trees and four dark men hung from their branches.

The library didn't seem to mind Greg's portrayal of the dragon or the brown worms who only come out at night, but it objected to the portrayal of America's more than century-long history of lynching, and despite having books that photographically illustrated that long history upstairs, they refused to allow the piece in our otherwise innocuous dragon show, because they worried it might offend someone.

So I bought it and have been writing about and showing it ever since.
   

Self-portrait After St. Sebastian

Gregory Horndeski   Self-portrait After St. Sebastian   1991   acrylic   28 x 22 inches
 

Although Greg may have included himself in other, especially early paintings, neither this nor the one other, Alfred Einstein-like visage I saw on the CD catalog, resembles Horndeski in any overt way, and I don't recall any actual self-portraits among the paintings. Although certainly not all of his work is represented in that digital directory.

I remember a neat and crisply colorful series of smaller paintings I often lusted after that showed a reclusive academic — him? — in little offices on the remote tops of mountains many years ago. I think I remember identifying those figures as Gregory, although I'd have to see them again to know if they actually looked like him, besides figuratively being him. Note the red-shirted guy with his head in his hands low in the next image down.

Saint Sebastian was an early Catholic saint martyred during the early Roman persecution of Christians, and he is often portrayed in art and poetry tied to a post and/or shot with arrows. Once rescued from that outrageous fortune, Sebastian again criticized the emperor, and was clubbed to death for it. So you can perhaps imagine why artists so identify with Saint S, although this green-eyed, green-clad guy etched in blood and splintered through by trees, only vaguely resembles Gregory, it is one of the most human-like resemblances in Horndeski's history, reminding that self-portraits are not so much about visual exactitudes as deep-down feelings.
 

Gregory Horndeski - Pipe Bomb for ARtists

Gregory Horndeski   Pipe Bomb for Artists   2003   metal pipes, hand mirror, plumb line and bob   43 x 17 x 3 inches  

 

I did mention obsessive, didn't I?

As you can see from the selections arranged chronologically down this page, Horndeski's work follows many dissimilar paths that sometimes dovetail. Some serious, eloquent and original; many beautiful; a few pretty goofy yet altogether human. In some, we can almost hear the music he's noted around the edges, and in others we happily lose ourselves in the adjunct literary minutiae. Then there's this short, odd and sporadic series of semi-sculptural work that, although it combines all those descriptions, still defies easy classification — his fully 3-D pipe bombs in metal, wood and paint.

There's a January 31 2000 They're Playing Your Song pipe bomb broadly notated and neatly framed in massive but short selections from the "Funeral March from F. Chopin's Piano Sonata Opus 35 in B-sharp Minor," leaving little room for a small painting including a tiny blue-sweatered hero pounding an office desk in anguish in a graveyard on a hilltop against mountains and a distant orange sky that almost obscures a planet-pocked black cosmos. Six months later an equally ornate June 6 2000 work, The Supplicant's Pipe Bomb appeared with its self-story. A month after that on July 1 he added a Pipe Bomb for the Lonely.

Then on April 15 2003 Horndeski painted the inevitable Pipe Bomb for Artists: "What's the matter? Got painter's block? Oh, it's much worse than that, huh. You can't see any reason to continue painting. Boy, I hear you. An artist's life can be a miserable 1. Especially if you actually expect to make a lot of money & have people drooling over your work. Why you probably have a better chance making it as a professional baseball player." etc. Which was followed on March 6 2006 by a Pipe Bomb for Lawyers.

With few exceptions through all his work, there's always at least a glint or two of the dark cosmos as seen from earth either blatant in the painted backdrop or hidden back there, to remind us who and where we are, and the relatively minor part we play in the life of the universe — another Horndeski hallmark that continues through the decades.
 

Gregory Horndeski - A Eureka Moment - 2009

Gregory Horndeski   A Eureka Moment   2009   acrylic on masonite and wood    30 x 36 x 3 inches   $5,900
image provided by Norwood Flynn Gallery and extensively tweaked by J R Compton

He is a different sort of artist who has long made pictures of things, places and people we recognize in the human condition, aesthetic and personal. More recently in the progression of his work, here represented by a chronological presentation over Gregory's last thirty years, he has rendered landscape realities that look like abstractions, with plenty of plant life and greenery spatulaed onto vivid, three-dmensional surfaces. The piece Norwood Flynn is using to promote this retrospective [below] may be my new favorite, and I'd like to use it to promote this story on the DARts cover, except it doesn't look that much like all that preceded it. It is beautiful, lushly green and thick of paint and texture.

It does and it does not look like reality, but it is thickly redolent of another eureka moment of, we assume, the painter fishing on a rainy autumn Day. That's him with a light blue hat, black top and blue jeans on the green shore just left of center along a dark roiling creek at the bottom.

Gregory Horndeski continues deftly dancing his personal visions, avoiding the intervening echoes of other artists' styles and techniques, and all but ignoring the rest of art history, staying true to a personal expression, which in the last few years is being almost overgrown with lush flora.

These visions are evocative, almost realistic and deeply personal, like a favorite memory playing in thick, dense paint.
 

Gregory Horndeski - Fishing on a Rainy Autumn Day - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gregory Horndeski   Fishing on a Rainy Autumn Day   2010   acrylic   22 x 26 inches
 

A CD of the artist's documentation of some of his work accompanied the show, and it was a treat to see his full 30 years of work — even though they're not all there, allowing me to visit old favorites and deeply miss others, while catching up with new visions and study his 30-year history I saw begin in Dallas toward the end of the last century.

 

Couple of Quickie Stops on an other night entirely

Continuum - Michael O'Keefe at Valley House through March 31   Baptism by Fire - Bill Haveron, Seditions - William Powhida, Humming Music and Grinding Teeth - Jeff Gibbons at the MAC, through March 31   Images: Past/Presence - Gary Bishop at Afterimage, through April 24

We tried to go to the second gallery first, but traffic was a booger on Central we foolishly thought would be quick between. We ended up on the Tollway, turned right seemed like miles, could not talk the valetteers into just letting me park, like last time. "We'll only be there a few minutes," we promised. And parked across the street behind a wall, and walked in. No biggie really, but it seemed rude when way more "staff" parked in the back lot than showed their cheery faces inside.

Boortz - Tern - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kathy Boortz   Royal Tern   2010   nearly life size   found and sculpted metal and wood

Met more valet-haters as we left as promised, a few minutes later, and I saw a mostly white & gray Kathy Boortz I recognized and knew by name. It had color, but no ID. I had been set to enjoy, hoped to stare into art space and dream, but everything was white. Or gray. One squiggly patch of light blue some guy bought as I wondered if anybody ever did that at openings. I wrote this down, then had to fetch it out of The Slider in the middle of the night in my pajama bottoms tucked into my sox 'cuz it was cold when I put them on this morning, then watched a nine-hour movie.

"Drained of color. The life sucked out of it." Too pristine everything, chipped statues to vacant drawings on all the walls. Intricate enough gray, but nyeh. Then out into the valet courtyard, up the hill past two square spots on the grass against the bldg I should have got away parking on the way in, precluding the whole valet whazoo, met three other valet-haters, two said the show on McKinney was great and funny, so we got more interested.

David McCullough - Photograph Copyright 2012 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

David McCullough hangs great show at themac

Down the Tollway, around and up McKinney, stopped in the lot to contemplate a parker adjusting his angle, then found two more slots this late at amac opening night and took the one straight-in. Inside we found L A in-jokes and too much art you had to read to get, and yet another Bill Haveron hoohah. I'd give him a break if he was from around here, and we hadn't seen him the weekend before.

Part of a Haveron blitz for no apparent reason, and when that happens, there's often a third or fifth or seventeenth showing at themac too. I'm guessing because their owner is in cahoots or the promoter pays some bills. Happens too often to be coincident. Wanna buy a big-time art guy from outta town yet another show in Dig B? Give themac some cash. They ent got the sense to find their own.

We ended up ending up at the Afterimage, where I almost always find something to dream off on, and did see one too many photo of too many ex-Presidents, but they did it for me more better than the feature, which was tried, true and tedious journaphotolist with nary a nod to art but some famous faces — major chagrin after he was ballyhooed as "a long-time major influence on the Dallas photography scene."

I couldn't see it. I always liked him when we'd show up at the same news back when we were both photog journalists, but I didn't see it then, either.Though I jumped at the chance to friend him last week, thought we could catch up. Didn't he have a brother who fixed cars?

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All Contents of this site are Copyright 2012 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All art shown on these pages are copyrighted by the originating artists. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are copyrighted by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.

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