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THIS PAGE Visiting Continental Gin Color v. B&W at 500X Rich Kid Park Cool Art in Winter Bad TSA Jessup, Hurt, Mehan, Taylor, Cantu, Francis, Taylor, Meehan, Hurt Shards, Lines & Masses Talk Splatter Detail & Funk
Shards, lines, masses/ Foam, strings, gases/
Lumps, bumps & performance flashes…
Randy Twaddle Napalines 2012 ink and coffee on paper 83.5 x 60.5 inches
I had seen Lorraine Tady's exquisite show of hard and soft lines, some variously smeared into blurred farground spaces at Barry Whistler, and the day after photographing something like them in the street, I saw these remarkably simplified, coffee-stained variations by Randy Twaddle at Holly Johnson Gallery. Because of their parallel linearities and contrasting masses, the two most disimilar shows fit together. Cameras are stuck with what's there, but artists working in ink and coffee stains on sheets of absorbent paper or oil on canvas can create spatial depth and hints of the industrial complexities beyond them with not-quite-everyday masses and lines.
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Randy Twaddle DLD No. 27 2012 and DLD
No. 19 2011 ink and coffee on paper
16.13 x 12.13 inches and $1,700 each hung together at Holly Johnson
I know these knots and ties and loops and poles against other shapes from looking up through my camera along busy streets in urban places. I've seen and photographed and wondered at their lines and areas, points and masses. I've been charmed by their complexity and simplicity, by the hard dark lines and willowy intricate industrial shadow creatures behind. They have to do with electric buses and streetcars, DART Rail and other conveyances.
I like that Twaddle documents this visual
clutter that someday must go away, while they're still here, so we can contemplate
beyond their perceived ugliness or beauty to their essence in tight ink, loose
brown stains on paper-white space. He's got the rhythm and poetry of wires and
transformers, pantographs and current-collectors, switch and contact points,
section breaks and breakers, compound and simple catenaries and trolley poles,
crossovers and neutral lines. And they are beautiful.
Lorraine Tady Transucere 2013 oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches %7,500
Tady renders her digital on/off colors more complexly than Twaddle, while her work approaches analog with less subtle space games and shapes that are implied, thus inferred. We see depth in the contrast of solids with blurs, tones approaching darkness and the detritus of tech towers, stands and cutaway drawings.
Lorraine Tady Perimeter 2013 oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches $7,500
Maybe her machines suck us into more ornate mechana complexities, but we're not sure what they're up to. Is that dark, sketchy shadow entering the Perimeter picture human? Of what else is it a shadow? I see an aqua handle on the jackhammer I used to break the rock bottom of a pond under the only Frank Lloyd Wright residence in Dallas many years ago. But what are those protruberances of yellow and blue, lines and masses? Where do they go? What to they do?
Lorraine Tady Illumine 2013 oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches
The yellow solid, like a sensor signpost signaling
lines and connectors back into the slightly smoking mass of colored
and angled curcuits, then disappear into the blurring complexity, lighting
it with temporary knowledge, space and dimension.
That there even was a show at Gray Matters was surprise enough, although last time I spoke with gallery owner Vance Wingate, he said he'd had some and planned more. Long the leading not-quite non-commercial gallery on the newest edges of art in Dallas, it's resounding joy to have Gray Matter blinking back.
Peter Ligon untitled (downtown from Shamrock roof) 2009 oil on board 5 x 7 inches
I first met Dallas Artist Peter Ligon via my dear friend the late Georgia Stafford in the early 1980s at one of the stranger places she lived. Ligon was a shy but very tall young man who wanted to be an artist and showing the usual tendencies. It's easy to pick him out of a crowd, and for three decades I did, exchanging brief pleasantries whenever I saw him.
Sometimes, he'd tell of a series of paintings — much later drawings — he was working on, but I saw only a rare few in all that time. So he was a friendly and occasional acquaintance long before I became a fan of his work, especially his grayscale drawings documenting colorful lowdown Dallas places, although I once saw him painting en plein air at Winfrey Point on White Rock Lake.
Over the months and years I saw something subtle building in his paintings of houses that grew to a spatial understanding that itself sprouted into a continuing series of on-site drawings of colorful Dallas neighborhoods, that fits my dream of intelligent art.
Peter Ligon Roof with Cages 2009 charcoal and ink wash on paper 20 x 26 inches
There were colorful places in black & white at Gray Matters, and even some newer ones in color, but this is different, subtler and stranger, although the porch reminds of the more crowded one at the Shamrock. This porch is more expansive, yet gloomy with sun and shadows of filled cages — but with what?
Tapatio 2013 ink and watercolor on paper 30 x 22 inches
Good to know Gray still Matters, even in living color.
Many of Ligon's drawings of vibrant Dallas places are on this site. [Several shown small; Atlas Metal Works [2nd from the top]; The Texas Theatre; Big Jim's and Alamo Plaza pieces I curated into the DallasArtsRevue's 30th Anniversary show and a House Series painting]. I only wish I had posted his classic drawing of the It'll Do Club near the Shamrock Hotel. Georgia Stafford art: Control Addict, her Self-Portrait of Brooke, My Little Boatbabies Lost at Sea, Self-Portrait vase, Self-Portrait of J R and there's a whole page of Georgia Stafford's work here.
Christine Bisetto and Sally Packard $125
Fun art at 500X in the project room upstairs. We met Dallas Artist Sherry Owens coming down the stairs with a big smile. She'd just bought two pieces — spending a princely $40, so we couldn't wait to see what and why. Sally Packard and Christine Bisetto extracted these stuffings from a comfortable old couch and repurposed them as soft sculpture.
Christine Bisetto and Sally Packard $150
We agreed with Owens, except the ones I liked were big and in the $125 and $150 range, like these two. They haven't acquired titles yet, but the many nearly filling that smallish room were remarkably beautiful and odd. Maybe like cats, they'll earn their own titles when they settle in somewhere.
Christine Bisetto The Crystal Clear Waterfall 2013 ribbon and masking tape $300
This one is probably about this size. I liked the simple complexity of shiny blue ribbon, white tape, wall and shadows. There were others similar to work I've shown here before below on this page, but this was new, different, a little more complex. Nice to see her oeuvre growing.
Irby Pace Heart Pop archival photographic print red suspended Gas Canister #675
Been seeing interesting and intelligent takeoffs from traditional landscapes lately, and I welcome more though I don't pretend to understand them all. If this was a fire, I'd park The Slider somewhere close along this narrow country road and walk in to photograph it. So sure, I mostly understand this, and I lit up a big smile when I saw it. Last we visited Mr. Pace he was photo rendering people in Art Here Lately #14.
Shayne Murphy Blitz 2012 oil and graphite on canvas 55 x 70 inches $2,800
This colorful corral seemed a little more abstruse, but it makes direct visual sense even while all those colorful semi-subtended shards flit about in low space running spatial parallels in composite colors. I'm citing the blue shards for shades of sky, even if the real (?) one is darking for a storm. Besides the figure, my favorite incongruous objects are in the near corner with reds, deep ambers and yellow aligning the fence falling into itself. Not sure where she's going or what she's up to, but I like her time-delimited progress shown in pale blue shadows.
Shayne Murphy Pink Time 2012 oil and graphite on panel 48 x 72 inches $2,800
Of course it's a landscape, pink sky with a dissipating architectural cloud, people in and out of positive reality in three and two and no dimensions. By now we accept the color shards for real space, and if we knew what was going on we might get into it quicker, but maybe the painter wants us at our distance, staying out looking in and wondering, not part of the program and nowhere near a solution. Impressive intersections of dimensional, planar and linear spaces and maybe a little past and future history and sociology thrown in.
Shayne Murphy Hocus Pocus 2013 oil on panel 48 x 60 inches $2,200
Can this be the same painter? Similar, I suppose, elements reverberate in mostly dark grays and brilliant sunlit white, it's so different I expect a different name, but the gallery numbers run consecutively, and some elements compare. Art space renters upstairs at 500X are responsible for their own identifying lists, and often they plan late and run out early, never guessing that many would want one, but somebody stuck in higher class plastic number pins. So maybe this is the same artist exploring similar strata in disimilar circumstance.
I think I've written about this work before or wanted to. A striking memorable style, full of fantasy and flight over utterly simplified topography we still trust. Several paintings upstairs got under my skin, trying to figure what they were up to and whether they were succeeding on either end of that argument. But this was miles over all that, and still rising.
I know that hocus pocus escaped from an early parody of the Roman Catholic liturgy of the Eucharist. Hoc est means This is. As in "This is my body; This is my blood" that the priest says as he's changing bread and wine into Christ's body and blood. I.e., transubstantiation. Which is not far from what is happening as the bicycle ascends into heaven in this elegant grayscale world. A yellow spot, bright red pack and a dark brown face are the only colors except the red line along his sneakers and blues in shadows.
City of Dallas Exposition Avenue Site-specific Installation life-size
This is the City of Dallas
getting rid of the tracks that still crossed Exposition Avenue, long after
both their extensions were taken up. Too bad, I loved parking
on the tracks across the street from the venerable 500.
The Bath House
Louisa Age 9 Me and The Mountains
Three pieces — and
three pieces only —
got my attention at the Man, Woman, Mountain, Ocean shows at the Bath
House. Anna's and another photograph behind too-reflective glass, and this in
the back room among the children's art, that I liked better than any other there,
and I'm just ignoring the Irish guy's show in the main gallery, though I scrutinized
every dark, cloudy, post-gungeoid piece.
Main Street Windows
Performance Southwest: Courtney Brown and Alison Starr along the far wall; Christine Hoang on the floor
All along I wanted to write about Lorraine Tady's paintings at Barry Whistler, but I wasn't sure what to say until I started talking. And I didn't want to have to write about this, that was billed as Performance Art, on Main Street even if I knew exactly the words. Like compelling or interactive and, most important, engaging.
We've seen Angst & Anguish performed before already too many times, but these practiced art performers, including a superior performance art organizer, did it again anyway. For five hours. There was art in the room, but it wasn't moving. The performers moved most of the time, building rest into their motions. But were they art? If performance art did not require an audience, they might have been.
Potential audience members in that big room took turns looking at the art around the space — the shoes, the multicolored female fertility fetishes, and something else I couldn't find or fathom. I have three artists' names to credit — Francis Giampietro, Kevin Ruben Jacobs and Hiroko Kubo — but only two I could I.D as art. Maybe two collaborated on the shoes. I liked them. They had more color there than the fetishes, and was more original an idea. But none of the performing artists interacted with them or the fetishes. They were just there.
I watched, but I never saw anybody visiting that space, drinking beer, touring the fetishes, standing around inside or outside talking, ever once pay attention to the performers. Only we who documented it seemed involved in the action of any of those important bold words three paragraphs up. Not exactly compelling. Maybe they were interactiving among themselves. But to engage, you need somebody to pay enough attention to get their attention. So it wasn't, but I did so want it to be, and I don't like admitting it wasn't.
shoes, chair, body in the shadows — art by whom?
I assumed this chair and all those shoes had something to do with the performance but much later figured the shoes were art, and each performer, in turn, sat in the chair and ignored the shoes. You suppose the chair was the third art?
windows reflecting outside back inside, 2 bodies
Hiroko Kubo female fertility figures in plastic colors
Here's Hiroko Kubo's female fetishes based on paleolithic fertility figures and others. There was one more instance of art installed in that room that is most of that building, but I did not find or recognize it, although I liked some doors down the back slope and the back windows reflecting.
.They ignored these, too, so it took awhile to recognize, but there was art between those white walls with those laconic women in black, walked, lolled and sat slowly, shoulders drooping, eyes cast down or staring straight out away from anybody, into nowhere, leaning on walls, lying on floors, absent, gone.
Jesse England [broom]
We saw Jesse England's Interaction, a couple doors down Main Street at 2650-B, while the performance continued at 2646. Together they comprised Deep Ellum Windows' OLIGOTOKOUS. What little art there is in the space a few doors toward downtown from this refilled space was supposedly viewable through the windows, but I wouldn't bet on it, what art were there was was either too small or too far from the front windows to see, but it seemed important to promote that concept.
Jesse England 2013 Interraction internally silvered glass pots
These elegant, reflecting mirror pots were easily seen through the big, close windows. The posters online confusing the two addresses and events using collective names for nonconnecting exhibition. This is Jesse England's show called that but it was not interactive, either, although this was noteworthy. The art doesn't interact but might have were it where the performers were, and the performers could have interacted more, although they traded roles / personas / actions repeatedly, so they were at least paying attention. But because they did not interact, they were hardly noticed, and thus not interacted with in any way more meaningful than photographing.
I can only assume I must have missed something.
"smiling as she put her cell phone away"
While the art portion of Main Street Windows continued in the spaces shallow down Main Street, ending in this parking lot, where was a poem whose lines had to be deciphered with a cell phone, one of which I have thus far avoided having, and neither Susan nor Anna, who both do, felt like dealing with. Although I did see a woman smiling to herself as she put her phone away, leaving the long line of untext.
Alison Starr Writhing and People Gathered Out and Inside
We saw the performance begin and were not impressed, but because it intended to be Performance Art, I came back around nine, after we'd seen more than enough other art and stuff calling itself that at galleries. And the OLIGOTOKOUS performers were still doing the same nothing much, writhing and anguishing as it got darker out.
The others present
all but ignored them, but managed not to get run into, but not much interactive
else. What they were doing was neither compelling nor original, and too easy
to ignore, which I probably should have done more of. Maybe their
art was to get us to ignore them.
Bill Haveron Lone Ranger Pole 2006-2013 oil on wood, acrylic on skillet 89 x 32 x 4 inches $9,000
We took a big jump away from lines and spaces and lost performers to this Father & Son reunion at Kirk Hopper with Houstonian Bill Haveron who has shown work and wowed narrative mixed-media audiences here for decades, and his son and art co-conspirator Hans, although apparently I didn't like anything they conspired on enough to photograph it.
Hans Haveron & John Park Tigress 2012 mixed media on wood 15 x 11 inches
Caught somewhere between Graphic and Fine art and high-school rah-rah football team, I liked this well enough when I shot it, maybe as self-portrait with cheap cat, but much less now I see it on the page.
Almost Like Performance Art Hans
Haveron painting a feather on the back patio.
Sittin Fronta MFA
Lately it's been getting worse every time we go to Mighty Fine Arts, where Owner Steve Cruz seems to hate everything and lets it loose in the angriest, most sexist art he can fill the gallery with, till I don't want to be in the presence of it. Although he seems down-to-earth, ordinary normal, pleasant and an aminable guy every time. Maybe it's a phase. We didn't find anything inside we wanted to photograph or look at more than a few seconds, so I photographed the people outside, who seemed to be being social, except the guy in red who just stared.
For gallery opening times and through dates, check out our respelendent DallasArtsRevue Arts Calendar and/or our Art Space Information page for open times and places.
Talk, Splatter, Funk & Zag
The Reading Room
Maury Gotemiller Talks and/or Performs about Competitive Apnea at The Reading Room
When we attended Maury Gortemiller's All-Time Lotion opening at The Reading Room earlier this month, he invited us back to what he called "a talk" and what gallerist Karen Erxleben Weiner called "a performance." Intrigued by a sprightly conversation about his and my experiences in extreme breath-holding, Anna and I put it on our calendar.
If true, his experiences are greatly more extreme than me swimming three lengths of an Olympic swimming pool without coming up for air when I was 18, but that provided shared experience enough to want more of this odd but personable artist, and I'm always keen to photograph something that purports to be performance art, which is what it was.
I say, if true, because his art, he explained before The Talk, is about what is there and what is not there but is perceived to have been there. Among other things. My words, not necessarily his. He didn't call it deception, but rather talked around that possibility. I didn't take notes or record the event, and I rarely remember what artists say their art is about — as if most of us ever know, but presenting information in visual or verbal form that may or may not actually pertain to what we think is going on before us is a compelling concept, and we stayed intrigued.
I suspect we get a lot of that from The Media, Politics, Advertising, Government and everybody else who hopes to change our behaviors or spending habits. Why not artists, too? Haven't they always?
Maury Gortemiller and His Projection
I can't help questioning the authenticity of the images shown while Gortmiller leaned back against the table in the darkened gallery directing what I perceived as slides projecting on the screen behind him. Were those pictures of him waking up in the hospital or just his young face Photoshopped onto some other poor kid's body? We never really saw him engaging in competitive apnea — breath holding, though he described it and later answered audience questions about those activities and the sport in general and in specific. And we saw some of his accoutrements.
His talk was engaging, often funny, and a little, uh, breath-taking. But an actor's job is to make us believe their words and actions are really theirs, when we often know better. Are we just taken up for the ride. Does the guy lying underwater leaking air bubbles really look like Gortemiller?
It was a more than pleasant partial suspension of our disbelief in a very strange competitive sport, delivered in broad facial and hand gestures and those images. The guy looked fit. But I had to wonder, and I suspect our wonder was part of his goal in this evening's talk at the closing of his show curated by Danielle Avram Morgan and Kevin Todora.
See also TED Talks: David Blaine: How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes
Robert Munguia Teoti 2 2012 encaustic on panel 12 x 12 inches
Most of Robert Munguia's show at Conduit did not, but this piece especially did remind us of the work of Kathy Robinson Hays, though she's since evolved out of the splatter mode to subtler forms. The great body of Munguia's work seemed from another planet, perhaps another galaxy.
As always has been in his work, color plays a leading role, but his other paintings in this big back room-filling show are renderings of dense, often dark and forbidding landscapes. I'm calling this Blue Starship, but I bet Munguia calls it by another, probably single-syllable title in Spanish for it. Nice blue.
Robert Munguia ego wall archival inkjet print
This one wall, inside the refreshment area between the office and the Project Room, was what I call Roberto's ego wall, although I have yet to place its title on his price list, which I photographed, since there were only a hand full of gallery copies in stiff vinyl. Seemed to be a lot of that sort of cheapness going on at tonight's openings. Lots of little gallery numbers, and trouble tracking titles and i.d info. I far prefer galleries that label each piece, although titling each of the above portraits might have been crazy-making. I'd like, at least, to credit the photographer.
Jason Flowers Critique Machine speakers,
lectronic motors, switches and wire $5,000
The project room didn't quite pique my interest. Tiny speakers hung from the ceiling, connected to the wired console bathed in light at the center of ambient darkness. The game was to walk around the darkened room dodging suspended speakers while transitioning among differing sound spaces. I suspect I wasn't in the mood for it. Anna liked it.
On its price list page it self-describes: "The Critique Machine explores systems that unfold like music or theater performances in ways that cannot be fully anticipated, that take on lives of their own once they are set in motion. The functions of Critique Machine is to suggest the experience of an artist getting random, contradictory and often incomprehensible criticism. After processing this feedback, new "Frankenstein-type" work results that can be monstrous, beautiful, or a mixture of both."
In the big gallery out front were strange landscapes filled with blurred video people that reminded me of Pieter Bruegel paintings updated by maybe 350 years. Lurid posterized tonal blob colors that needed tuning.
Paul Booker detail
This is the part of Booker's art I've always loved. Back up much, and I can't get what it's supposed to be a picture of, but up close, who cares? The detail is it. When he started at 500X with just a few little pins bent and stuck to the wall, that's all there needed to be. I've always been a fan.
Paul Booker (detail)
Now, he's branching into photo-like images of subtly colored squiggly layered textures I'm having trouble tracking, but I feel I should. Have difficulty. It's different. Not what we're used to. The third dimension a fantasy. Like those pins and their flat lexan-carapaced wires, it draws us in. I saw this from a distance, like a dark photo of couldn't really tell till you got close — a yellowish mass on ebony field. I walked up. This is the reward. Probably should be a question mark here.
Not enough payoff, perhaps, but an exploration of similar feelings, more mass, seen sidewise, not there at all. Standing contradictions. The pins have connections, links, like we do.
Greg Metz Spitt'n Image 1983 mixed medium steel base and rod 60 x 46 x 10 inches
A table set up for a KNON fund-raiser out front making the place look like anything but a proper gallery opening reception, a wall of flyers and this, which I assumed was a Greg Metz sculpture I either hadn't seen for a long time or had never, greeted the utter mob of mostly younger-than-us visitors the place was mobbed with.
I emailed Greg and he said, "Yes i made it, but [it's] owned by Harrison Evans. i believe it was part of a larger installation at 500X. It had some plexi spit globs, but Harrison could not find them to install with. Also maybe you remember the torpedo dog in front parking area was part of 'Reagan's Temple of Doom.' "
I distinctly remember 500X' 1984 show featuring a giant, Ronald Reagan tornadoing up from a toilet in honor of the 1984 Republican National Convention here. I still have a green vinyl link from the chain-link fence that kept American protesters out of the convention area downtown, and the line of riot-police in full battle gear lined up, elbow-to-elbow all around the City Hall grounds, menacing for trouble.
We heard from someone there that tonight's openings had been ballyhooed on the radio and maybe even on TV, so Dragon Street was a parking lot freak show where occasional strange costumes waltzed through the slow parade up and down the street. Each outfit leaving me wishing I'd got that one on silicon — look up, it's there, look again with camera to eye, it's gone — along with the usual gallery black, posh bright and denim dull costumes and regular old folks clogging the parking spaces from a block before Craighead Green to well past Holly Johnson toward Turtle Creek.
Paul Quigg & - 3 - % 11 x 14 inch digital print on acid free paper $450
This and the Kooda and Metz impressed but really not much else in that crowded melee at The Dreaded Conan did. I've never been convinced they knew what art was or is. Tonight it looked like an Art Con. Mobbed with little or low taste, but a major mob scene they must have advertised on The Edge, but they accurately identified pieces inside.
Barry Kooda Piano Bass musical instrument parts $600
I don't see Kooda's work often enough, but it's always worth a watch awhile. See his avenging angel at the Deep Elm Enrichment Project earlier this century and there's one more instance deep on this site somewhere.
Morton Rachofsky Untitled #50-315 wood and vinyl tape 91-block pyramid puzzle $7,800
This was the first time in years and years we could remember us finding more than one piece in a show here that we had any appreciation for whatsoever, except I'm a sucker for Tomas' big cloudscapes, that amazingly had been put away in what is too often too obvious a vanity gallery. This time there were Morton Rachofsky's four big puzzle pieces, most of which could be re-shaped and pieces interchanged, although that often discontinued the vibrant color stripes zigzagging the work.
Rachofsky is a friend, and we'd gone there to see his work, and we're glad to see him showing else than the diminishing Texas Sculpture Association, which he helped found. We expected his to shine, but we were all startled to see more more than halfway decent pieces in this unexpectedly diverse show.
John Bory Negation acrylic on canvas 42 x 93.5 inches $11,800
This is not Randy Twaddle simple superb, but it has its own line and space shape tech sense going. Last time I saw this one and another, I liked it better, but for this gallery, it may be avant.
Aubree Dale Untitled #4 dyed coffee filters, twine, wire 29 x 25 x 9 inches $700
I liked the first of these I saw tonight but grew weary after the second, not really extending the concept except up and down and in bumps around an uncertain axis. I saw someone photographing the artist in front of one, and after they'd got the camera aimed and her smiling huge, she impeded further progress insisting they include another stained coffee filter cloud high over where she stood and I hadn't even noticed.
On the one of maybe three price lists available for all visitors to learn who did what and what it's called and how much it'd cost, that I kept re-borrowing from Anna to photo so I could identify these adequately and in context, it identified the materials of at least one of Dale's undated sculptures as "died" coffee filters, twine and wire, and the artist as "emerging artist Aubree Dale." That might be pushing it.
Looking meek, mild yet distinguished, Chapman
Kelly was, sometime in that last century, one of Dallas' most contentious and
litigious artists ever, till the point when many considered those battles his
real artform. I
don't know his work, although I saw a field of past-tense flowers at the old
DMA with a sign signed by him, but I remembered his reputation and struggled
like a paparazzi to get this close to a portrait. Wish I'd got his eyes.
©opyright Plush, Holly Johnson, Urbane, PB&J etc.
Some guy at Plush stopped me before I could take a photo of the first piece there that attracted my attentions. He didn't ask why I was taking pictures or what I planned to do with them, he just said I could not photograph the work there, because it was "copyrighted." I knew better, but he was insistent. It's unlikely each piece in any show has gone through the rigorous bureaucracy needed to file full-bull copyrights, especially when all anyone has to do is put a © (circled c) sign, year-date and name together in that order somewhere visible on the piece.
You can pay the big bucks and go through the long, drawn-out, many-month turnaround official procedure or just circle the c. The artist had not done that, and I bet he didn't file with the U.S. government, so this self-important clod was lying, I thought to myself as I left to go sit in the car and play loud rock n roll till Anna and Susan rejoined the traveling art-crit show for the next hop on our tour.
I love Plush, where always is the newest, strangest, odd-most mind-snapping and deep-think-worthy art around, and I will return every time we have the opportunity. I just hope that ill-informed brat is not there. I left, cursing and saying I didn't need to write about yet another artist, and a couple of other gallerists not official there apologized, and I appreciated, but I didn't see Plush Owner Randall Garrett, and that might have been just as well.
Maybe next time.
PDNB has been remarkably rude to me on two occasions, so I don't go there, and have not for years. Might, though, if they showed somebody around here's work. By contrast, I only occasionally attend The Afterimage, where owner Ben Breard has always been affable. There used to be another, part-time photography gallery (I mean besides Allen Street Gallery, which imploded in nonprofit corporate stupidity sometime early in the last decade of the last century.), but I haven't heard from that one in a long time. I love sorting through the stacks at Afterimage, and now I suppose I will afford myself the privilege.
That PB&J was showing 50s pin-up porn by Bunny Yeager, which I already saw too much of in the 50s, 60s and 70s, added to the truly myeh, but they'll sell some, because it's so old and out, it's in again.
We also passed on Gallerie Urbane, because we only ever went there because Cris Worley occupied part of that space, and her side was always so crowded, we needed the air. Plus they have a beautiful view of the levee and sometimes frozen drinks in the heat of summer. And we almost never go to whom we call HoJo, because Holly Johnson so rarely shows work that piques past stoned-out silence and blissed-out beauty, but this time they had art by former Dallasite Randy Twaddle, whom I had especially wanted to see but didn't when I was in that nightmare parkinglot vicinity, so I shall attend later, if I re-remember. I kept thinking Twaddle was a Dallas artist, and sure enough, according to his online resume, for nine years he was.
I was excited about his work then, and will again.
To my untutored eye, his work is a little like John Pomara's. Both highly tech but with irregular glimmers of the exquisite. I am fond of the warm, bi-dimensional piece I keep seeing on blogs and in the press promoing this show and liked the rugs I snuck peeks at online. So my hopes are up. And when my work load dwindles, I'll find a place to park right up front and just walk in and stare to my mind's content.
We used to feel obligated to visit all the galleries opening on a particular night, and those random visits sometimes netted pleasant surprises. I think we're past even hoping for that.
glitz, Eyes left, big Geo glow,
NuttyPutty monuments & beyond
Lowrider Car Clubs of Dallas glitz rod in blue
Part of what they call their "over-the-top lowrider car display," are these all-show, not much go — till they put the pieces back together or pull it down from the rafters — vehicles that would probably be appreciated by the public who think they don't care about art. I've always known cars could be art, and sometimes are anyway, but especially the lavishly reworked and attended to, like these. Pretty, with lots of new paint, glitz, chrome and care. Their meanings may be more elusive than we are used to dealing with with mere vehicles.
Green Hopper Frozen in Time
Is this art because it's tilted back or an art pun of a lowrider riding high? It's not bouncing, but stuck in the upright position. I've seen it referred online as "back bumper." A three-point position. A hopper in stasis, as if caught mid-jump. Although that high it might be a record. So bravado enters the equation with pure, strange, stark simplicity.
But fine art?
Why not? So much else is, this fits the political geography. I love delicate and overt pinstripes and glitter, metaflake and chrome on other people's cars, but prefer mine plain. No doubt who customized these are artists, and the glitz fits, as well, into The Contemporary's own ongoing overwrought PR oeuvre. But we've had trouble learning names for the artists who made these.
The "Lowrider Car Clubs of Dallas" cited on the only identification found there seems not to have a web presence for that spelling.
1942 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan in Red and Pinstripes
This Aerosedan in red and tattoo-like pinstripes are overtly visual fine art. It looks like it might actually drive, and I wonder if we are supposed to appreciate someone who does this on a flat canvas more than on an automobile? Kinda like the rap against tatts. Applied design. Here applied to a classical, even antique canvas.
Yet we saw no ID tags or artist and title lists — as if The Contemp could not accept these as actual capital A art, so once again the mere local artists behind this amazing work doesn't need crediting, it's generic. While the guy in the gallery next door, who copies these sorts of creativity gets all the glory. Something wrong with that attitude. Not surprising for an outfit that's been undercutting donated prints by big-name local artists for down to $25 on EBAY…
The cards we did find on a table by the door up front suggested if we wanted more info about this show, we should visit a link — that took us to even more pleas for sponsor- or member-ships. The other brochure promoted the giant space for parties and weddings — both a tad off-topic.
These cars were presented not as fine art exactly, just in as big a space and parallel to Famous Rip Artist DZINE's vaunted, more promoted and prized capital A as in art on the other flank of the long art hangar, so the gist was real cars done classy only quality as quasi and just good enough to show but not to promote or identify its artists.
But the unnamed kustomizers' work is better, because their motives are not mixed. It's original.
DZINE Pseudo Fine Art Bling
This is funny. Pretty. Glitzy. No doubt, telling stories about all us who like it. Thematically, it slides right in with the glam-cars and bling-mobiles, but this is presented as fine art, flat on walls, mounted on dark, glittering + ritzy = glitzy negative-space frames. Just so we know. Former Director Joan Davidow used to leave notes nudging us to consider various factors and parallels among the art at the other Contemp. This opening night's compares and contrasts are more subtle, though their subjects are not at all.
According to the card, this jewelry-like bling is by Chicago-based DZINE, "a self-taught mixed media artist who investigates Kustom Kulture and its relationship to art, subcultures and the museum. His work re-thinks these diverse elements to develop his own language.
"Infusing his trademark visual and audio
language, the artist uses the sculptural and artistic form of lowriding as a
platform to explore his emotional relationship with culture and beauty. DZINE's
work addresses these issues through a lens of spirituality, beauty, desire, faith,
folklore and identity."
And if your PR person who could write like that, so could you. I still remember Davidow standing on a chair in the middle of the crowd explaining art to the artists and others gathered. A little education goes a long way.
1964 Chevrolet Impala Food Trailer puller
We assumed this and its trailer was more show. There was a spate of art trailers two and three and more decades into the last century — Bob Wade's haute cowboy art and much later, Greg Metz's vegan evangelizing, among others. So I was thinking art trailers— like art cars, but this is a food truck variant, though the low-slung red car fit the dominant exhibition themes inside, channeled if not chopped.
Though it was our first stop tonight, we didn't spend much time at the Contemp, and their members-only reception dinner didn't start till later, giving us all the time we wanted in the big flanking galleries. Great. Big. Mostly empty spaces. Like a museum for nothing. The only people we saw on this first visit there in months, if not years, were running around doing last-minute tasks.
At the door they'd asked if we were members. I said, "The press," probably the first time in a decade. It seemed enough. Probably helped that we had and were using cameras. I just felt it was about time we showed up, though. we were happy to have missed the crowd.
Meanwhile, across town …
The Tattoo Parlor a few doors down from the Art Hotel's bright interior showed they had lately installed some of what some might call art, too. But we didn't tarry.
Art Hotel Landscape
The Art Hotel:
Across The Canyon from downtown Dallas in a lower-rent hotel neighborhood within sight of downtown's Emerald City lights, a burgeoning group of Dallas artists have gathered work that, for a change, left great gaps of wallspace around each clump of featured artist's work.
Steve Danner Running from the Storm
Two pieces held my attention. Didn't care for Danner's competing, drip-lined and textured dark blue frames, but I'm a sucker for clouds and stormy skies. This goes a tad overboard with the paralleling reflections — one light, one bold — that would probably end up in different portions of separate eyeballs, but I like that the front-back view gives us storms coming and going, and it's got just enough verisimilitude so we know what's up.
Laurie Mahoney Skeptical [about life size]
I have at least twice before featured Mahoney's work; instances are softly spectacular, textural or colorful. But this more subtle face detail's deep textures and barely visible eyes tells more. Human. Uncomplicated, unless you count that mount — frames should be unseen, not endured. At any distance, these muted colors knit into instantly recognizable flesh. I am more impressed with this every time I study its fleeting suspicion.
But I hope these intrusive, too-textured frames are not a trend. No doubt, some bolder art needs extension around the sides and edges, but something this delicate does not need the competition.
Leslie Wilkes untitled 10,01,2001 oil on canvas 72 x 72 inches
I see these things on the wall, they seem so naturally and internally illuminated
they glow, but when I take its picture even that flat surface of paint flat shows
shadows. Something to do with the relative distance of overhead lights, but I
remember its luminescence, and is why I needed to capture its soul. Something
to it, apparent depth, vivacity, action.
Public Trust: Looked crowded, as usual. Darkish in there and no near-by parking, so after acknowledging again that we should have stayed parked in Barry's lot and walked around, we just drove on by.
Michel "El Pollo" Perez Siesta 2012 acrylic on stretched canvas 47 x 59 inches
This looks like a large Nutty-Putty sculpture kids played with, having good clean sculptural fun with odd issues of balance and mass, not to mention color. But it's more sophisticated, without losing the joy of shape, hue, apparent depth and scale. If I stare at it much longer, I'll see an animal head — a yellow horse on the left bottom, with a limp tan flesh-ish elongated human drooped over the whole blob of them. Is that a folded knee protruding into the crouched indigo introvert at the bottom?
Michel "El Pollo" Perez Camino 2012 acrylic on stretched canvas 87 x 87 inches
These large drawings have an immense sense of shape, apparent depth, muted colors and multi-dimensional presence. Monuments they are. With a cherry on top, and fruits, a baseball and a dark blue jelly bean. Cantilevered on that chunky fuselage. Making fun with sculpture flat. No trigger, but a hammer cock.
I first thought the drip texture at the bottom of Siesta was my photo error. In this one, it's less subtle, but lends the base plane a singular stability that's not going anywhere. Now I see the big dark bronze chunk as a gun propped up on a salt shaker or broken chess piece. Hammer cocked and ready to fire through the hose perforations on the barrel's business end.
Charles Mayton Two Step Somewhere Between Racing Thoughts and a Slow Passage
The Power Station:
Dreaming about Gerald Burns' drawing of the art critic stamping "This is art." "This is not art" seems especially poignant in this motley collection of divergent artforms. This mostly B&W photograph with one area of overlaid color texture held my attention longer than any other art in this exhibition. But it's the next piece, and those that follow that I'll remember after I forget this place again, its opening nights so long-between.
Charles Mayton Sawhorse Painting
acrylic and latex on hollow core door 48 x 36 inches
I don't pretend to understand Dallas-born New York resident Charles Mayton's work at The Power Station. I can take it or happily leave it, but some pieces stand out obvious enough to get through. The mostly monotone chair stack above speaks quietly of relative size and shape and depth, while this one's color speaks a little louder, although the knot-tied lasso just seems goofy. And while Third-Graders might toy with such juxtapositions and wild colors, even those splotchy shapes, they probably couldn't pull off their subtle presence or thought-worthiness. I liked looking at it more than thinking it through.
Red Hook at the Power Station
The red hook and dark chain connect to something at first unseen above that resembles art installation, even if it has been there for decades, working heavy objects back and forth. It functions as art, because it looks like it, has aesthetic presence, form, balance. I'm much less sure about the stuff on the far wall, except I know it wants to be art.
Works Well — Damn Well at the Power Station
This object directly upstairs probably doesn't care. It just is. As I was photographing this dark green presence, a guy walked by and pointedly told me, "It works well — damn well!" I thought it might, liked it so much more than the wannabes all around below. Talk about monumental presence, sense of power not just in potencia, but that, too.
Landscape At Night
We went up the narrow stairs, but wisely came down the much more spacious outside steps, that may be a fire escape. Power burns sometimes, and ya gotta get out. In plain sight below the first landing is this serene, almost surreal, sense of landscape, complete with a fence with enough of it squared off and perpendicular, we know somebody did it on purpose. Perhaps the second-most intentional art there.
All the "hardscape," what its designer calls walls, fences and plantings are by David Hocker, whose design I characterize as elegant and superb, even nearly unlit at night.
I know this is a table with shadows. I've seen people picnicking on it while others watched 'the big game on TV' inside, and making more shadows that move. Reminds me of middle and late Linnea Glatt. Uncomplicated, tranquil yet useful.
Cactus Out Front — Native Spineless Prickly Pear
Back out the front door were these. We couldn't see the purple, but no matter what white balance we set, our cameras insisted upon it. More art magic. Coming in, when I saw this field of cactus, where I was fit into my till-then lost memories of this artspace.
Thanks to: CentralTrak's
Heyd Fontenot and Danielle M. Georgiou;
The Power Station's Danielle Morgan and Landscape Designer David Hocker.
I also asked The Contemp, but I haven't heard back.
Every time I look up, there's more art.
Robert Jessup Big Dog 2012 oil on canvas 60 x 96 inches
The most memorable image from our Saturday night of openings January 12 was at the only gallery I even took pictures. Either I wasn't in the mood for art. Or everything else we saw was horrid. Pick one. I don't care for the kid's drawing background, but the dog, rendered in dynamic slashes of striped color is, up close indecipherable, and at distance a glorious poochification.
I studied his others in Conduit's big room in the back, but I kept coming back to The Big Dog. Their huge front room with dark marble multiples and I don't even remember what else didn't interest me at all. I bee-lined back past the big Jessup cartoons, into the project rooms and the back hallway to the bathroom, where I've so often found treasures.
Clayton Hurt WTF cheese 2012-13 mixed media installation 12 x 12 inches
I know this image is out of whatever order I might have had going here, but this being belongs under Jessup's pooch. It just fits. There are more soft and furries trailing down this page, but I'm trying to keep these images in some sort of geographical and chronological order, foolish as that notion is.
The next day, Sunday afternoon we selected a few galleries we weren't in the mood for Saturday. 500X in Deep Fair Park and MFA in faraway Lower Middle Oak Cliff. I thought the days of big fluffy plush toys as art was over a few years or a decade ago, but they just keep coming back. The really cute never die.
Margaret Meehan Skinning the Gloves 2011
gloves and thread hand-sewn on root system 26 x 29 x 27 inches
This branching complexity of shadow and light in Conduit's Project Room reminded me too much of early and late Sherry Owens still-going Crepe Myrtle period, except neither as subtle nor elegant, just there. For a few moments, I hoped it were an Owens, but Sherry doesn't show at Conduit, and while trees remain an expressive medium we can all remember and enjoy, the sake of originality requires gallerists, if not artists, backtrack a little through the local history of iconic compositional styles to avoid just this sort of perhaps inadvertent copying. It's been done, and it's been done better. Let's get on to the next steps.
John Alexander Taylor Ghost Tower relief mono print $500
I liked this better when I didn't know what it was. The black and gold ground in its field of horizontal scribbles and scratches is lovely, and I think I recognize the white shapes from tilting back, looking up into urban water towers with their complexity of cell phone fences and antennae on top and griddish legs holding them up.
I've taken that photo already too many times to forget. I fell hard for this, but now it glimmers in and out for me. Sometimes there's still a flash of excitement, but more and too often it's just low, semi-figurative murk. It reminds a little and not in a particularly positive way of Harmony Padgett's incised wood, but this is flat.
Michael Francis Lost Bridge Sumi ink on rice paper 14 x 12 inches
I take jillions of photos I never know what to do with when the trip is over of bridges, usually up close, surrounded by the framework, us barreling over and through it as we slide through their linear mysteries, so I know exactly where this is, more as it gets a little lost in the flotsam of ground and figure.
Like a geometric span through the woods, leaves everywhere, trees and a bridge to nowhere. Pretty thing, I love the nostalgic watercolor brown of it. Reminds me of UD's back woods out toward the Trinity River before all that became Las Colinas, autumn leaves and strange shapes floating that become the landscape.
Bernardo Cantu Barbacoa Wave 2013 mixed media installation $800
Always heartening to see Bernardo's latest of his long experiment in recombinant media and iconic juxtapositions of beauty and beyond the ken.
Clayton Hurt Tiny Dancer 2012-13 mixed media $300
Another Clayton Hurt cutie upstairs at the mostly venerable X. This is not a B&W photo. I'd looked forward to seeing their upstairs bathed in vivid, sharp, low-slung winter light, but they curtained it off, so not much light and less color entered. Cute, furry and free, probably styrofoam but it looks like sugar cubes and small brown furry animal hides. Love the big floppy ears.
Clayton Hurt Pet Neighbor
Sometimes, staring into this little abyss, the figure appears suddenly from the jetsam of fluffy and lettered ground, sometimes it disappears altogether. A fuzzy, dirty white bird with a big black shiny eye floating over a yellow on red beak materializing in the angled field of cock-a-doodle-doos, and sometimes it just won't. Now I see it. Now I don't.
The First MFA space was at the top of the retail buildings on the east side of Tyler Street South
I only vaguely remember it there, and it was different, darker, not so color pastel coordinated, and of course, it didn't look like this then. That's comparatively new paint.
Most Recently Departed mfa space
I'd got used to this space on South Tyler. We had a DallasArtsRevue Member Show there once on a weekend years ago during a neighborhood art hoo-ha, so we cleaned it up and painted before Steve Cruz moved himself and his gallery in to make it the second iteration of MFA (Mighty Fine Arts).
But it was a big space and probably had a big rent. We didn't pay anything for our weekend of it, but his latest digs on a jump hop back up the hill on Tyler Street is smaller and the rent lower.
Jason Cohen Facetotems 2012 14 x 20 x 76 inches painted wood on steel armature
Maybe I should go back and photo the facade of the newest MFA on South Tyler, but the architecture's much the same, only the space is narrower. These faces so much brighter than the complex, sexist art there now, always MFA's bleeding edge of art I'll understand and like better later.
Matthew Guest Ugly 2012 24
x 38 inches
Andy Don Emmons Jimbo painted wood 10 x 40 x 44 inches
Andy Dony Emmons Dizzy 2009 stained wood and rebar 20 x 24 x 76 inches
And this is the view back out the front of the latest MFA. Hardly the most moved gallery in Dallas. That distinction probably goes to Randall Garrett's Plush that's been in one crumbling building after another for decades, downstairs, upstairs, updown, downtown and all around. This gallery only seems to move up and down a few yards that one block on Tyler.
The dog book likely is in the current show there. The aggressive Bart-yellow wood figure's been there awhile and seems iconic for MFA. The tall, dark face shape with the horn is oddly intriguing, the dark face of jazz just barely pulled back from that dark corner, whose comparative bright outside obliterated the run-down neighborhood that had been reflected in the front window. Christmas lites a gentle touch.
Thanks to Steve Cruz for
I.D info for this story.
Cool & not-so Cool Art on Warm Days in Winter
Morton Rachofsky Nested Triangles Red HDP and aluminum $2,000 and $2,500
Morton Rachofsky sent the three of us who often do art openings together but all live in separate houses, one invitational postcard that didn't even bother to list the artists in the show, so I'm not sure I would have known quite what to do with it, if he hadn't affixed his address label to the picture side — not his work. He later told Susan we should look for "tiny" pieces, but these aren't, unless compared with his outdoor work.
I recognized his angular concentrics as his style
immediately and began photographing this one almost as soon as we entered the
gallery. This triangular matched set was in the front gallery of the very pleasant,
though externally nondescript, new gallery space at 1300 Dragon Street.
Morton Rachofsky Nesting Squares Aluminum
and Red HDP $3,200 $2,600
And these were in the back gallery towards the
kitchen replete with rich holiday desserts that reminded of the lush
delectables at the Boyd Gallery that went under just past the turn of the last
century. Note essentially the same, internally parallel relationship of movable
masses to the more solid, relief mass, that I wanted to push parts of, to see
if they moved or were glued in place. This time the open one is red and the relief
is gray. To test the red one, I moved squares around their unseen vertical axis,
then put them back.
Lottie Minick Temporal $1,200
Without this colorful glass leaf's metaphorically unlikely feet, perhaps it could stand on its own, except without those feet it could not stand; it would lie like a leaf. This object may be translucent, but I saw no light transluce it. Maybe that's just my glass prejudice showing through. I should have checked it from behind or beneath, just to know.
Its three black legs with rounded feet don't seem
to belong to that veined and verdant outline of shatter glass and color. There
must be a way to present flat, translucent art so it shows its translucency,
if it has it. But all I can see here is reflected light, so to properly appreciate
this object I am caught in a crossfire riddle of condundra. It's not pretty
exactly, but attractive, though those black appendages only hold it up.
Must be a table, or leaf of one.
Nic Noblique Blown Away and Skin Deep $850 each
These long, slender arcing shapes remind me of long-ago and more extensive work by Dallas Sculptor Julie Bennett, whom I have not seen anything by in decades. They employ similarly curving, soaring and undulating curved planes and points. These are lyrical shapes, but too cute in a pink and blue juxt. I like that the mismatched, conjoined work of Noblique and Rachofsky are in the same show, even if Rachofsky's work is larger and needed a wider table than was available at the new gallery. White would contrast better than sandstone slab.
This Inaugural Juried Membership Exhibition of the new Art Professionals of Texas gnawed at me all week, wondering why we needed yet another 3-D group when we had a Texas Sculpture Association showing across town at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center, till I remembered the last TSA show I saw and reviewed.
I should point out that Morton Rachofsky — with Patricia Meadows — were the founders of the Texas Sculpture Association many years ago, and that the organization paid me to do their website earlier this century when they couldn't get it together that year of transition from glory to what they've become. I cleaned their site up, added images and even posted a straightforward history of the organization, that I'd hoped to access for this story, but they seem to have jettisoned it. Some people don't even like their own history, and so are destined to relive it. I am not responsible for the amateurish jumble their site is now. I used to enjoy attending TSA events and was briefly considered as the administrator to organize them, but I wasn't a sculptor — on the wacky assumption that only sculptors could organize. But then I have taste. —JRC
See my review of the Texas Sculpture Association's 2012 Membership Show below.
Denise Brown tulips and coins carved wood and copper 11 x 12 inches $800
At Craighead Green, Denise Brown's show of very large hand-carved pieces in the big front gallery is spectacular but difficult to photograph with all that glaring light and dark shadows, so I concentrated on details, which are lively, complex and interconnected. I have been a fan since she and husband Frank Brown did thematically similar large fantasy paintings in the last century.
I did not check the dates on the pennies
in her pieces here, but since the U.S. has not minted cents in mostly copper
since 1982, I wonder if these metallic highlights are not mostly zinc (97.5%)
instead. But that's a minor quibble among such depth and tone and complexity
of content and shape.
Denise Brown Four Seanson 2 (detail) hand-carved tar paper and wood 25 x 26 inches $2,200
In some ways Brown's tiny panel details remind
me of Heather Gorham's work that often portrays children in enigmatic yet sympathetic
poses. Gorham also shows at Craighead Green and has work on the walls in the
main galleries and 3-D pieces crowded in an extended closet space off the
long hallway toward the kitchen, where Brown's larger, massive door-like
work often appears in the back-most corner. The two Dallas artists favor similar
colors in both their flat and three-dimensional work.
Heather Gorham Small Death graphite on tea-stained paper 10 x 8 inches $450
And both engage in pathos. If I knew when
this was created — most
galleries don't include dates on identification tags, I might guess at its darker
and deeper meanings in the artist's life, but the character is familiar, and
this time the only color is the stains. I've long assumed that's her stand-in
alter art ego doing what alter egos do in art.
Pamela Nelson Drink This acrylic on canvas 30 x 60 inches $5,200
Seeing me photographing this in the long hall at Craighead Green, a friend asked why on earth? I told her it tells an odd tale of an artist living a remarkably successful individualist and joyous life of communicating with so many people she was selling almost everything she made. Then, suddenly, she turned off the joy in her work and in herself and headed down a much less successful or communicative path.
This piece reminds me a little of Nelson's wildly popular art from the 1980s, though these colors have grown darker and muted, and I've seen this same scheme of them before, and it's a pity that her literal and figurative fun is long past. Near the peak of the huge popularity of her faux and usually fun, folk art, she apparently decided to grow up and become an Abstract Expressionist. Not sure why her outlook deviated so completely from colorful, visually punning, multi-textured to the prim, proper mature artist whose work is so much less interesting or — or according to some of her gallerists — salable.
For a long time, she was the darling of the
Dallas art world. Everybody knew her name. Then a few years ago when she donated
a piece to The MAC auction, the young persons running the sale, who had never
heard of her let it go for a pittance. She's made various slight returns that
never quite captured the glee and games she once loved making and sold like sweet
but never frivolous art hot cakes.
As ever, work
at Plush Gallery takes a hard left turn into the intellect. Some there is abstruse,
but open minds who give it a little time and mindplay, earn a serious and tangential
sensibility. But then Plush has ever been thus
as it's bounced from place to space all around Dallas, settling in deepest Dragon.
Justin Hunter Allen, Randal Garrett, Daniel
Kurt, Michael Mazurek and Michael Wynne
Secret Fun = Ver-i-si-mil-i-tude 12 01 12
"Ver-i-si-mil-i-tude focuses on the contrasts
between the decontextualized artificiality of the gallery space and the unmediated
space of reality. It is a two-part exhibition in which artists begin with a documented
resource (part 1) to the external world, which then bleeds over into the gallery
space (part 2)."
Randall Garrett The Long Way Home detail from Twin Lakes Auto Salvage
This quote from www.secretandfun.blogspot.com/ may
explain or may complexly baffle. Seems appropriate.
Andrea Rosenberg wall at Barry Whistler's Drawing Show $600 each
yearly Drawing Show drew the usual amazing variety of mediums.
There's lots to look at and plenty to see by drawers around Texas and beyond,
but it was this lush wall of flowering drawings in rich textures and tones
that drew my imagination. I was drawn to it long before I figured out who'd done
it, but then I've been a fervent fan of Rosenberg's work for decades.
Clayton Hurt, Matthew Clark and Tiffany Wolf Runway in the upstairs Project Space at 500X
Neither Anna nor Susan wanted to go into the new show at 500X, but I was too curious not to, and I love making wide U turns in front of that venerable building on a street I always remember was once a One Way, almost as much as I like parking on the tracks that long ago connected trains and their loud locomotives and clanging cars, so I left the ladies with The Slider's windows down in the evening breezes and enjoyed a quick exploratory tour down and up the stairs.
I barely remember downstairs — some vivid color geometrics that reminded of Xmas lights and swirls on the floor in the behind the big stairs project room, with the ID appropriately on the floor by the door. There must have been gifty things in the members' area. But up seemed gloomy plain with academic abstracts I later learned were a graduate's final project painting show I was in no mood to entertain.
I have a Merry
Christmas firecracker by Matt Clark, so I am at least minimally aware of
his work and still notice his name, but I can't guess who did what here, and
it feels sexist to think the one woman involved did the doll clothes. I love
the green foam, eggshell forest in the foreground under the red ball tower, the
platted earth, those singularly treed, ripped cardboard hills, waterways, windsock
and out of proportion architecture.
Clayton Hurt, Matthew Clark and Tiffany Wolf Runway skywriter detail
Puffy cloudy shapes trailing behind a
skywriter biplane whose word shapes mean something specific to
somebody, but I was charmed because it reminded me of early 80s 500X Member
Artist Georgia Stafford's line of women's clothing in a project niche in tribute
to her dead aunt, Katie Tindall, though this is more cheerful, almost Wizard
of Oz-ish, twisting in the sky.
Runway landscape detail
Frank Ghery shapes into landscape near the end
of the diminishing dimension runway.
Benjamin Terry untitled (stack 1) 2012 acrylic, graphite and panel on panel
This all but monochromatic, blue-hued and jagged shadows of shredded, ripped, torn and sliced building materials make me think of a Baby Blue Tuxedo. I kept coming back to look at it and had to photograph it. I still enjoy looking at it.
Less-than Art at
So I wandered
south of the Trinity that Friday to check on the juried Texas
Sculpture Association member show again at OCCC. Big difference.
Big annoying difference. I twigged that APT's name includes the word Professional,
and that seemed odd till I checked out the TSA show. I found seven pieces worth
writing positively about at APT's show at 1300 Dragon, and two at TSA's
at 223 West Jefferson Avenue in the shadow of the Texas Theater.
Jessica Burnham Hinton - Matilda the Green Mermaid welded steel and found metal
Funky and funny as this stuff is, it's difficult to classify it as serious sculpture, although pictorial figurative is the path TSA's been sliding down for the last decade-plus, till there's an army crowding out thoughtful, intelligent or lyrical 3-D art and artists.
While the big mermaid is goofy, the little one
shows restraint, is subtle by comparison and almost achieves intelligence, ponderability.
Many years ago, the TSA was esteemed, and its many graduates have done major
projects and won high appreciation. Not so much anymore.
Marvin Crow Lobster on a Black Plank limestone carving
There was major competition, but this lurid yellow-orange-pink
JELL-O mold lobster was my favorite chunk of really bad art in the TSA show,
although the cutesy pair of red-tile, rounded, high heel shoes called Disco
Inferno behind it was close, and we musn't forget the post-post-Degas dancers
every amateur group sculpture show must have.
Robert Pollock untitled marble
I didn't notice who juried the TSA show, and that's
probably best, but this tri-corner-hat sculpture was their First Place winner,
complete with a blue ribbon draped next to it like prize pig at the State Fair.
More difficult to sculpt than the mermaid or the bent wires, but it fails in
so many important dimensions. It could have been elegant. It and most the other
pieces in the show could have inhabited the larger, more serene space they so
desperately need. It might have actually meant something, but all that's much
more challenging to pull off or sculpt out.
Nan Phillips Twists and Turns of Fate Hydrocal sculpted from foam
I found spare few pieces worth saying positive things about in this annoyingly crowded member show. Like amateur art shows everywhere, there were smarmy figures engaged in unctuous activities being cute or underly poignant; me-too wraps and twists of wires, tubes and chunks in the name of contemporary abstraction; mounds of mirror glitz and crackle stoneware teetering on metal armature; barely dimensional paintings on cylinders, and one piece I really liked.
I did like this year's Jerry Fried's piece, although even if it has a different title, it looks exactly like last year's. Exactly. So I've already written about it.
This one — that I assumed was stone, though I didn't thump it — keeps picking at me to write about. Didn't when I saw it there — I photographed it because I didn't know what to think, but now it reminds me of the Grand Canyon and all those abstract orange river textures through stone from the Colorado and ancient rivers before it. It tells quiet and compelling tales of texture and mass like good sculpture should. It intrigues and makes me think and my mind wander.
Open Studio Door at the Continental Gin
Marsha Moser unknown title and size fairly obvious mediums 2012
This lovely bug in a box on what I think I recall is a soap wrapper. I used to have some of that soap, loved that paper more than the soap and always promised I'd do something arty with it but never did. Beetles are exquisitely ornamented creatures, and I have enjoyed paging slowly through that big, gorgeous book of them back when there used to be book stores.
I'd be glad to publish full caption info for each of these pieces — Artist's full name title year date medium size in inches (no " makrs, please.) Use this link to Contact Us.
Ricardo Paniagua Unknown Sources 2012 lacquer on wood veneer on steel panels 7 x 10 feet 10k
(I used to be one back before everybody with a Mac thought they were.) probably
recognize this as a gridded dingbat
font display. I liked it for that, because
I used to stare at such things for long minutes enjoying, as we did letterforms — asterisks,
ampersands and beyond. My dictionary suggests such devices are "used to
signal divisions in text or to replace letters in a euphemistically presented
vulgar word," but dingbats do more typo duty than that. Though I doubt
that's what Panlagua had in mind, much of his work deals in stylized geometric
symbols often presented in psyche-relic colors, though the ground here is
toned down, brown and grayed out.
some of Guay's
work from an earlier Gin visit. Especially wild colors combos and sparely
defined masses on tracks that these images directly ascend from, though there's
an obvious progression. Delicious on all those counts. I don't think I know her
work from galleries around here, although she has the talent, and I'd be happy
to go back for more.
Caroline Shaw Ometz Liquid Glass oil $300
My plan of
attack this time was to visit every space with an open door where I saw flat
or 3D art. I left the fashion for someone who knows about it. And find
one piece on open, easily photographical display in each space, click it. Find
something with the artist's name on it — most often all those did not coincide,
figure something else out to identify. Then on to the next one, unless I found
someone to talk with.
Three small images by Luke Harden
inside somebody's space, they assume we know who did the art there. Finding those
names inside was not easy and sometimes not even possible. Some spaces are shared,
and figuring who did what was behind my detecting skills, so I did what I could.
One noteworthy piece in each space. Oh, and for a big change, I actually talked
with somebody behind all those doors. For a change, I didn't lurk in, click and
leave. I was perhaps uncharacteristically polite and pleasant. For just one piece.
Jan Perry caption info requested
Sometimes what I found that struck me was not something I thought beautiful or even good art. Sometimes, like here, I wasn't sure what was going on. There are textures I like in this, I assume, litho print. But I doubt I could describe it communicatively. Print colors and especially stone textures fascinate me. They have, I suppose, to do with the surface used to transfer ink. I have stared at big web presses booming for hours. I probably need pay attention to home studio lithography as the ink is reflexed.
When I emailed Jan Perry for title, year date, medium and size in inches, she replied, "Did you see the large final version of this piece hanging on the wall?" I hadn't, or hadn't distinguished it. "The piece is entitled Neatly Chaotic Thoughts. I finished it in 2008. It's a collograph with photography & Chine-collé. I shot the photography in Venice Italy; beautiful romantic day, the sound of the music wafting through St. Mark's Square. The working study you saw is 12 x 14 and the finished piece is 28 x 36 inches", which seemed a cohesive way to say all that.
David McGlothlin Zebras
This very large image — I wondered if some of it were life-size — fills much of one white wall in McGlothlin's space upstairs at the Gin. That was easy, I thought when I caught sight of it. Solid repro ability here. Ceated with a grid system. Hardly matters whether it was hand-gridded or photo projected. I recognize the animals, even if some of them have lost important parts in tone merge. But that only began to disconcert after I'd placed this image here and began this paragraph.
I was full-tilt boogie, but hard to believe I'd miss it. Sometimes we see and remember what we thought we saw, not what was there, before our very eyes. This time, my very eyes were fooling me into believing that closest zebra actually had a nose, and the painting was finished. Imagine my surprise. Heck, imagine that front zebra's surprise when it needed to know olfactorily.
Cleaning Room Between Spaces
I keep photographing this niche cleaning station as it grows furniture. The notice: "This trash can has been provided for the convenience to tenants for non-food items. If this continues to be a recurring issue of finding food items in this trash can, it will be removed permanently. Clean up your paint messes; do not leave clumps of paint and skin of paint in this sink. Please be responsible."
Beware of landlords who wield semicolons.
Fire Lane No Parking Security Guards
In the last few years, work by residents has been scattered down the halls for open houses. They are only rarely identified by title, almost never by medium, and usually not signed or identified by artist. It's always a chore to track them down. Another little challenge. Except for texture, hard to see why bother.
Stevie Tate title not known — yet
Mr. Tate's studio was odd in this mix of artists and craftspersons. Near the door were stacks of dreamy light blue glossy paperbacks with a ledge protruding through haze with some dark form on the cover. Emblazoned across in all cap letters was "ON THE LEDGE OF LIFE." Above the books was a dark but serious bust of Stevie staring at us from a deeply tanned and not unhandsome face. Along the bindings were "On The Ledge of Life" and "Stevie Tate."
I photographed that little scene so I'd spell his name. I didn't put the pieces together. Like I say, I went in each opened door, looked for something fetching, clicked it, tried to find an identifier, then split, unless someone needed talking. Apparently Stevie writes self-help books.
From Amazon I see the figure on the blurred ledge
is human, bowed down, almost on his knees. Amazon lets us look through the book,
and I found this blurb from former chiropractor
now New Age author Dr. Noah Daniel,
"On the Ledge of Life is an inspiring, heartfelt story of a man who, through
the reality of death, comes to the realization of life. Allen, the main character,
who is faced with his own mortality, goes on a long, treacherous journey in search
for his truth and purpose, and he finds it in the place where it has always been
and always will be — within himself. …" No pictures.
This dark, drippy stripe painting looks like Stevie does art therapy.
Anne Hines Mary, Mary, Looking for Mary mint tins, found objects NFS
Hines used to be a Supporting Member of this website, and her door was open, so I scooted in, looked around, and found this. Her work, previously overtly religious, is — except for the scroll work around the edges — more subtle. I thought this was humanish, not to say Humanist, till I read the title. By then we were talking and she showed me this.
Anne Hines A Study of the Dallas Arts District acrylic on canvas 9 x 27 inches $300
Which I liked the idea of, but all the information is scrunched up in long horizontal, and on web pages, short wide loses out, because I max at 777 pixels horizontal. I wish I could show it bigger. Many of the details tell. Essentially, it's a street map of our so-called Arts District, where no art is made, only shown or performed, not even sold. Once there were artists living in the Screw Products building (not on the map), but now both the building and the artists are gone.
My favorite block on the map is second from top left, next to the trees. Rich Kid Park [below] hangs under the columns for fine art.
Carroll Swenson-Roberts Neutral Color Collaborators
I first saw
this chair chart on Roberts' own email promoting the Open House. I liked it enough
to ask Anna to post it on the Calendar. When I saw it again in real life, it
was like seeing an old friend. It's a clever re-presentation of the chart,
incorporating a fold-out, thickly painted purple chair. I was impressed, and
soon as I saw it again, I knew I had my icon for the visit. Some studio visits
that evening were neither this easy nor as rewarding.
Marianne Gargour Ocean oil on canvas 58 x 58 inches $3,100
Though it's not my fave of the evening, I like this better than any of the images on any of the websites I found googling her name. I'm a sucker for a flurry of paint in the guise of an abstract ocean or sky, and I do love oceans, and the oceans I've known — Atlantic, Pacific and South China Sea are all abstract. But I don't have that much wall space, and the price is several thou more than I've ever spent on art. Nice, thought.
The curling unlevel sea level is florid and rolling. If I touched it it might be wet and salty. I don't know what to make of the churn of hot colors below, but the airy strokes cum clouds above are worth getting lost in, so I can sublime skyward with that swirling paint.
Jan Partin title unknown acrylic on board?
I could probably make a case for this being rafts on the ocean with either Blue Lightning or an alien octopus or super-squid splattering the red-orange night. This handsome heron is by the same Partin who made this painting, and though I was hoping to match a title with this painting, the bird was a worthy find. I'm not amazed at the diversity of art talents at the Gin anymore. I've been touring there for more than a decade, so the depth, breadth and qualities don't much startle me. But there's so many of good artists there now, and many famous and startlingly good artists have called there home (studio) in the past, and I'm sure more of those there now will rise to those occasions.
David W. Klucsarits That Prick from Accounting cast plastic and acrylic 2012
Last time I walked through the Continental Gin Building I encountered an advanced but not yet finished, full dimensional cast of a man barfing in this same studio, and sure enough, there it was, in full dimensional color, cantilevered on that aforementioned spew. This guy is much larger than life, but flatter.
Now here's one that looks so much like a long line of paintings by another artist who also studios in the Gin that we have to question the authenticity and origination, even if the colors and textures and shapes are fairly common and not hardly copyrighted. Fannie Brito has had her studio there for years now, and as you will see when we finally get to her studio in this chronological tour of original and appropriative artists, this sure looks vaguely like her style, shape, technique and color scheme have been ripped off, though neither subtly nor well.
I'm not saying it has, nor am I saying that this painting looks much like Brito's. It does neither. But so many aspects stand in common with her work that has been widely exhibited in area galleries, art centers and right there in the Continental Gin Building, that I have to wonder.
Alison Jardine Sunlight Canopy photo courtesy Alison Jardine
I can't be sure I got the colors or tonal range correctly here (I did not, but Jardine sent me a replacement). Several studios employed a combination of tungsten and fluorescent lights, which may be an artist's best revenge against photographers capturing their images (Although fluorescent lights are the most damaging to paint and other media). But this was the best piece I found in Jardine's studio, and she was nice enough to write both her name and the piece's title on a sheet of paper, which I then photographed to keep all the info in-sequence. I'm convinced the colors were better, more alive and contrasty in real life on her wall.
Ty Milner Self-portrait on display out in the public hallway
This was standing on its elaborate easel, out in the hallway. Without, of course, any identification. Except that the artist signed the painting, and it might have been in the near his studio. I'm only assuming it's a S.P., although it doesn't look much like the guy in the next pic down.
Ty Milner Among Dinosaurs in His Studio
He was precisely and in great detail explaining his work. Interesting natural history series, but I had miles to go before I slept.
Artist and Title Unknown My Own Reality Wall
I assume both these were by the same person, but I don't know who. I started in Bob Nunn's studio, where I felt so much at home comfortable I neglected to photograph his work, which literally lined the rooms of his large mainfloor studio with the big neon red N, and I feel need to apologize for my inattention. I also did not photograph anything in my friend and long-time DallasArtsRevue member Donna Ball's studio. I was past there when I came up with the one shot per door plan.
Artist Unknown Each Artist
I admire the attempt to translate artists to appreciators, but I think artists' real duty is to express themselves as individualistic and as honest as is possible. Sharing is important; that's the communications portion of our program, and appreciation can be nice. But I don't think it's ever possible for viewers to entirely understand art — nor for artists to entirely understand why viewers don't understand. And part of the mismatch between what viewers see and/or appreciate and what artists attempt or accomplish are fundamentally different.
Fannie Brito Amarillo (Spanish for Yellow)
Fannie gets a bold link to her name under her painting here, because she is a Supporting Member of DallasArtsRevue. Which is probably why I know her work well enough to notice the similarities and explain some differences between this superbly subtle and exquisitely painted mostly abstract and Rob Aikey's rather overt work above, which may or may not have been derived from it.
This many artists, many of whom are inquisitive, exploring and experimental, almost guarantees a certain amount of idea cross-polination, and that's a good thing — one of the reasons so many artists gather in this extensive stack of studio spaces along the tracks. Aikey's piece is not a copy. Perhaps it is or might be considered homage. Maybe it was entirely inadvertent and unconnected. In addition to aspects discussed above, both paintings employ soft penciled words subterfuged into its patterns and tonalities. Brito often uses those to explain subject matter or obfuscate what she's thinking.
Sometimes, like here, her words are more texture
Color vs. B&W at 500X
Christine Bisetto The Ties wire 2012 $200
Two artists who have blown me away in the past, blew me away again at a 500X group show through the end of November 2012. In sensual color. Then there's two artists collaborating on an installation in glorious monochromatic Black & White, and finally, one who does flat work in that same color range that interests me much less, who seems to be headlining the show.
Between opening and closing receptions, the five hundred Xs are open noon till 5 on Saturdays and Sundays only. That's when I went, and it was great. No crowds crowding the art, daylight shining in the windows. Great for seeing and photographing art at the venerable but sometimes wobbly X. Did I mention, nearly no people?
Obviously Christine Bisetto is one of the artists
of whom I speak. The other, shown on one wall upstairs is Bernardo Cantu, whose
name, if you do a sites
search here, will show up all over DallasArtsRevue, and
yes, just a few months ago, Terry Hays and I collaboratively curated his superb
Alchemy Transducer into Cura!
Cura! Cura! at
the Bath House Cultural Center.
Christine Bisetto Not #2 2010 Polyester, fabric $200
Bernardo is why I attended this show. Why I'll try to make any show he shows in I can get to. He amazes me, then he amazes me some more. He works it. His work shows constant extension — and I don't just mean stretching all that thrift store swag he materializes art with.
It's his mind that's stretching, and gradually
— eventually — we catch on and up and begin to understand what he
was up to back then, but by then he's off on another — can't really call
them tangents, because they're lined up, to maybe forever. It's a
fascinating trajectory. It keeps being.
Like Bisetto, he makes simpler
and simpler work, but out of more and more complex color, shape and material
ideas. Unlike Bisetto, he goes big. So it's not just his chroma combinations
that blow mindsets, it's scale. And texture overlays and contrasts. He keeps
subtly changing what he's doing, what standards he's daring, then poking us in
our minds' eyes. But it's still possible to know who did it. He does not just
have style, he has his own style. And that's unusual enough to celebrate.
Bernardo Cantu Breakin' is a Memory 2012 (detail) leggings, thrift store swag, paint
Bisetto does, too. Her work may have evolved from seeing and enjoying so many great, but often unsung artists at 500X over the last four decades who've engaged in the deployment of utterly simple materials in mostly simplified forms. Or maybe it's just in the air there, even when they open the roll-up door to where the freight trains used to clang by, just for a breeze on a hot night, to air the place out.
Seems like every time they invite a new artist
bunch to replace the old batch, when the oldies either start getting successful,
don't want to do the grunt work of cleaning and sitting the gallery any more
or just lose track of who they are making their art, at least one of
the invitees is or becomes a simplifier. Of course, some new bunches are better
than others. This bunch is too new yet to judge, but merely by choosing
Cantu and Bisetto, they're several legs up. Clueless as they may often be otherwise.
Bernardo Cantu Breakin' is a Memory 2012 (detail) leggings, thrift store swag, paint
Bisetto's tiny square wire piece I may have about life size at the top of this stack of text is superb. I'd already liked and photographed her white polyester and fabric puff that could almost be Santa Claus's beard and mustache wrapped internally with a brown ribbon, that she calls Not #1, and I might have written about it instead, but then I beheld this inter-twisted gem of colored plastic-coated wire ties.
After the abstracted Mondrian square with its
gray shadows on the white wall of the member's space around the
corner from the X office is a primly plastic bagged sheet of yellow pad paper
with the word "clever" traced in pencil a little more than halfway
down. I photographed that, too, because it was clean, neat and, well, clever.
Next around that little gallery's walls is a bouquet of polyester and fabric
she calls Not
#2 from way
back two yeas ago. It's lovely, and I like it well enough to include here, a
kind of early Valentine.
Laura Doughtie and John Nicholas Hutchings title unknown
To the right up the front stairs on Bernardo Cantu's wall with that wonderful white ladder to the ceiling along its right edge, lately with a thickish black electric cable wound through to the roof, are what appear to be four pieces but are one extended piece called Breakin' is a Memory, a nice enough title, though not his best, but what gets me are the mediums. Not that we haven't seen similar materials in his strange visions before, but leggings, thrift store swag, and of course, paint. Who else makes art with such stuff?
Stranger than strange and not, perhaps, conventionally
beautiful, but surely leading-, maybe even bleeding-edge work in a consistent
line with everything else he's done. Pushing the color combo and sanctioned
material standards every time out. I love the way close-ups of his work show
off textures and tradition-shedding acceptables.
Laura Doughtie and John Nicholas Hutchings — installation view
Whoever's running the X now features less strange or leading edge work — no bloodletting — downstairs with a series of Holey Guys with punched-out shadows by Bruce Monroe, who we are repeatedly told, has AIDS, so snags prime billing, but I guess somebody has to. It seemed rather ordinary. Late last century, everybody with any visually interesting disease or could twist it that way, made art of it. Kinda old hat now. This is kinda pretty, but only a slight advance over utterly traditional fare, but clean without pushing anybody's visual or intellectual buttons.
I had the holey legs — and that shouldn't be too great a challenge, I
could probably do the shadow with Photoshop. Drop some vestigial gray and fill
it with holes. But Laura Doughtie and John Nicholas Hutching's collab installation
in the project room at the bottom of that aforementioned stairway, messes with
traditions and meaning and translucence and text unlike most of the myriad floppy
flat objects I've seen hung on lines at 500X over the last what thirty? years.
Bruce Monroe Jambe Et L'Ombre 2012
Among those, lots of quasi semiotics nobody can read or decipher, this time on white sheets hung incrementally above bright lights. Not at all settling for pretty and ordinary, this stuff makes us want to stare at it and wonder what exactly is going on. Make us do a little more thinking before we think we know what's going on. Cause a little intrigue, not so spelled out and grammarfied as some art statements.
A study in monochrome lights, incised messages, shadows and slight breezes. Curious and compelling. What's not to be confused about, and appreciative. Not just pretty, but flying wildly out of several coops; up and away from the purely pictorial. I love the black, snaking electric cable, the receding shadows and the ornate bulbs wrapped in wire along the floor. Dare I say enigmatic?
Art and Not-art in Rich Kid Park
on Woodall Rogers Freeway
Couple with Fluffy Dogs in Kerchiefs
is ever in the eyes of beholders, and I wonder whether
people enjoying this rousing new park see the art there or the art
that I see everywhere, or do they care? I want to call this private public place
innovative, and it is in several ways, but it's been 73 years since New York
Mayor Robert Moses parked his first park on the FDR along the East River,
then a dozen years later did another — but there's enough new about this
5-acre park strung along the top of Woodall Rodgers Freeway that is new and
different enough to notice, and some of that amounts to art.
The Gate to Kidsville
It'd be a stretch to call everything look-worthy
there art, but enough of it is, or how I see it makes it so, I
don't know what else
it could be. I didn't see any signs saying who did this raying
white wonder, so it could just be a gate, but it feels like sculpture
earning a living wage, even if the doors do swing open to let us in to the color,
action and space in the children's, then back out onto the rest of it.
Inside Night View of Big White Gate
It probably closes tight,
and locks, too.
Spider Web Climbing Tower
Sometimes we can either
see art or enjoy the vitality around us, or climb a geodesic rope feature. Angled,
giving ropes in open air and sunlight with kids climbing, contrast mightily with
yet another unforgiving rectilinear construction seen up through its web — blocking
light and hermetically sealing its occupants against the cool autumn air.
And none of those windows open. When someone jumps from this one's top — it's
not as huge as it seems
— the ground gives beneath their feet, catching them with its soft, sinking
sidewalk. I watched several bigger teenagers do it with ease.
Whirling Merry-Go-Round in the Monochrome of Night
Merry-go-rounds short, tall and about this size, spin light
out over the big lawn and dark.
There's a library area with shade, tables and chairs, and a selection of interesting books; a children’s playground; a dog park; walking and jogging paths; a performance pavilion; [eventually there will be] a putting green, and various lawns and groves. Game areas — ping pong, chess, croquet and others dot the landscape. A 6,000-square-foot botanical garden with granite pathways is growing odd plants.
Heavy Metal Ping Pong
An upscale restaurant with a glass façade and veranda out onto the park and a fancy lily-shaped fountain in stacked glass with a reflecting pool, rain feature and interior cascade surrounded by a splash pool, will be visible from the cars, trucks and busses whizzing under in the eight lanes of Woodall Rodgers Freeway seventeen feet below — are on their way. No doubt further confusing them further in that quick public hell of suddenly appearing and disappearing lanes and exits.
Multi-use Great Lawn at Night
A great lawn I have on five and counting separate
occasions and a couple drive-bys, seen filled with activities by, for and from
kids look-at-me-mommying and talking to cheerleaders
practicing words and moves, pickup ball games and people sitting, eating, reading
and watching the world go by.
Performance Pavilion Designed by Thomas
Klyde Warren Park is privately operated and managed by the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, which has so far raised $110 million to support the planned $60 million project. The public-private collaboration incorporates city bond funds, state and federal highway funds and private donations, including an unpublicized but substantial amount from billionaire oilman Kelcy Warren who thereby got to name the park after his able-bodied 10-year-old son, which just doesn't seem right, though it's par for the course in Dollars, Taxes. The project is the largest to ever receive federal stimulus money in Texas, yet apparently has no obligation to provide a percentage for actual art installation, and certainly not from anybody around here.
Unknown Family Portrait in the Park setup by an unkown woman photographer
I couldn't figure it out from the internet, but either the father, the son or both of them have promised to help clean-up the park sometimes. I know nobody asked me, but I'd be happy to photograph that event, if it ever happens.
Jody and Sheila Grant invested eight
years in this ongoing project and were among the first donors to help make the
park real. They get lost comparing this park to others in bigger cities. They
think it will draw more crowds to the Performance District strung along the trunk
line freeway south of the park. “Millennium
Park quadrupled the attendance at the Art Institute of Chicago,” Mrs.
Grant is quoted. I'd rather they made this one with its odd juxtapositioning
will be free in the park. People will be able to see the Dallas Symphony or see
a New York ballet company or our own ballet company or a theater performance.
That will pique their interest and they’ll
hopefully buy tickets.” God forbid they have to look at something local.
Still Fiddling with the Details the Day After the Grand Opening
It's still a work in progress. They're building a fancy restaurant called Savor and a take-out place. I assume the rent will help support the park. Food trucks have already gathered. A push-cart ice cream vendor parked in the shade on the museum side when I came back the day after the grand opening, and I saw colorful popsicles in children and teenager's hands all over the park. Everything constructed so far was open on opening weekend, but on Monday construction crews were back at work, fiddling with fountains and dropping heavy metal things loud enough to set off car alarms along the parked-solid corridor all around that someday should be walking-only.
Dragonflies, Butterflies and Kids
Good thing they opened in in autumn, their plans to grow pedestrian traffic and bike traffic between Uptown, north of the park, to downtown several busily-traffic hi-rise concrete blocks south might suffer in sweat and humidity in a Dallas summer. Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation President Linda Owen's dream of "creating oceanfront property" in "an economic engine" might be more like sweatville in the concrete jungle.
There's way too much made of Dallas copying other cities — like Chicago and New York parks that draw those who then buy tickets at their performance halls. Yet the word art is rarely mentioned in the publicity, except for some few of those nearby buildings, where they show it, but nobody makes it, except the Arts Magnet High School, way down on the far end. Ours is an aggregation of performance places, plus a couple for showing sculpture and paintings and an interesting-looking new one for science. It appears all this concrete and construction somehow does not qualify the project to pay 1% for art, some of which might — God forbid — have to come from locals.
park map http://www.klydewarrenpark.org/Park-Map/index.html
Broom Man with Connections North to Central Expressway, I-30 and I-35
We enjoyed the cushioned sidewalks, squishy underfoot and initially disconcerting to our feet and legs — and the densely colorful art on the walls that made us glad children didn't do them, chairs and tables provided, that glorious gateway to the children's park but nothing to the dog park and, of course, no cat park at all, despite all that sand. The library with shelves outdoors and a reading room in mostly shade, with places to sit and enjoy must have someone watching out for them, but a week into the project, they might need a whole new collection, probably why more libraries don't hang out in the sun and rain.
Glowing Living Plants
But how will the place fare when busloads of schoolchildren are no longer delivered daily? How many Dallasites use the parks we have — with big, tall trees whose roots run deep and grow tall and shade so much more? When the newness wears off, will the crowds still come? I saw over-dressed office-workers eating lunch and guys carrying their bikes across the green. Spring should be fine, but we know what it'll be like in summer. How 'bout winter, when all those luscious planted plants freeze dry themselves on the vines? Or will they keep planting petunias?
Those glow weeds again
By now, you've probably recognized that this is
not an art review. More like a revue that
includes some few artish objects and some distinctly non-artish objects all
mixed in with more than 3,200 real plants planted in a special soil mix, possibly
not even counting the 904 real shrubs and 322 real trees and lots of real people — plenty
were here checking it out the park on top of the freeway, with real kids and
real dogs, and not a single cat except one with a white collar and cuffs on on
a T-shirt whose owner splashed in the fountain that didn't squirt yet, but was
I don't know where this guy is from or what he does in the area, but I like his sailboat shirt and red hat, and I was happy he liked being where he was, doing what he was doing right there, right then.
Arches to The Highway
Serenely unaffected by the people and colors all around all around, a long, repeating series of altogether-too-familiar arches white lines the south side of the park, then just stops on the far end, short of the freeway we wouldn't want to go walking on. Follow that now imaginary line up the hill and off to the right past the which way where highway signs and you can loop back around the city or go off east to nowhere.
White is a copout colorlessness, but yellow would put them into the golden starches we know too well. Not my favorite design element, though I suppose Christo could drape it well, and it's not unpleasant to walk down through, to nowhere.
Arching Crisscross Fountain
Lots of low, squirting fountains echo the arches, though infinitely more interestingly. Quiet, but so-far unspectacular fountains, the kinds we, if we aren't wearing shoes, can run through splashing. The areas around them are dished slightly to hold in and resupply water for more fountaining. Hardly original, not art exactly, but fun. Something gentle to stand or sit and stare at for awhile and let our minds wander. Must be a dozen varieties around the park. On a warm day soon, maybe somebody will turn them all on at once.
Colorful people, mostly kids ran around and around and around in some of those on Opening Weekend. This that we suspected was a fountain had turned itself into a tiny trough, where feet provided their own splashing. Whatever fountain process this was supposed to be, it wasn't. Just a puddle with potential for kinetics one could could splash through as if it were meant or needed to be.
Fountain Puddle Reflection
It probably got more use off than it would have on that day.
Blue Fountain near the Performance Plaza
The little fountains seem to gang up through the middle of the park, but this one is more of a surprise on the westward wing.
Barefoot Child Playing in a Nonfunctioning Fountain
On opening day, it just pooled, but by the following week the water flew.
Barefoot in a Flat Cold Fountain near the Park's Edge
I've often mistaken fountains — especially
the ones that don't show off with white froth. Sometimes just inch-fractions-deep
water rippling their own subtle textures, and maybe a light beginning to shine
through as daylight diminishes — for art, which they often approximate
or more. This one's subtle. I almost walked into it, but as deep as it isn't,
it wouldn't have hurt, unless I splashed it that cold day. These boy childs insisted
they were already cold, so why not wade through.
I haven't seen them so much lately, but on the opening weekend, ground crews were present and public. Raking spills.
White On Blue, The Cleaning Crew
Working as fast and efficiently as the State Fair cleaners-ups I watched with wonder a few weeks ago, the cleaning crew kept the place near spotless, which it keeps looking with each new visit.
"ernational — Will it build goodwill
and better friendships"
Too like government-sponsored City parks tell verbose and sometimes smarmy tales nobody sees or reads — or wants to — in their eternal quest to educate and reeducate us all, this verbose, circular platform series shows off as it grows up into a spiral tower. I walked these cascading disks there, and never noticed all the words, till I looked down from the platform, and then I couldn't figure out what they said or why. I like circle graphic games, big and small wood and metal, and obviously I like words, but sometimes they're just in the way.
Was too busy up there to go all the way up on a crowded-with-kids day, but during the week I spiraled up to look down through the concentrics. Hardly ever thought of these as art exactly, but sometimes when they are, it's better not letting that aspect crowd our minds. I love this short tower and its long view. Adults go up around the wider outsides of the spiraling stairs up, because the steps taper to insect feet inside. And upstairs is wobbly with all those bodies moving to different rhythms. Kids shorter than the railing are best and safe, but I liked leaning and staring off into space, occupied and free.
I thought the railing would prevent kids from tipping over, till I saw this girl draping over the lip till her caretaker below screamed bloody murder to get down. Adults frightened for children sometimes scream what sounds like anger, further frightening actors-out. But once the girl got her center over the line to the outside, captured her mom's desperate attention, she inched back inside, though I wonder if anybody saw or felt the danger up from all those heads below. The sidewalks may be soft, but those wood decks aren't, and sooner or later someone will jump or fall from balancing too close. There's really nothing to stop them.
Tower Spiral Stairway
I liked walking up and around, then looking down
into the lined and wire-wrapped coiled stairs. Coming up, an adult reprimanding
a child blocked my way, so I had to tippy-toe the tiny slivers of inner stairs.
Not a great place to stop or ponder unless you're hoping for a fall. There's
a place where artful smidges into danger, and little feet used to the known and
government-mandated safety of stairways, can miss the tiny interior
steps and fall tumbling. This ride is attractive and a danger.
Merry Going 'Round
Lots of colors mixing on a merriment going round that looks a little like sculpture moving even when it's standing still, though we never saw it stopped. Mostly kids on it, spinning and spinning and spinning. Dad on the far right, pushing. I should come back again when this part of the park is open (It wasn't when I returned the next day.) and photograph them playing in blurs.
Yoga-mat Cart on a Tuesday Evening
Yoga class needs yoga mats to protect them from that hard old grass.
Real Sculpture in the Distance
The only park restrooms now are in the gated children's park for families with children (It doesn't say only.) , though I've thought about skipping into the Dallas Museum of Art just for the occasion.
To South 45; To North 75, but I-30 is hardly ever mentioned on this side of downtown
The ineffable art stuff may be visible from the park, but no statues or paintings except the under-construction wall along portions of the north side are in the park. I mean, even staid old Lee Park has that giant statue of Robert E.
Photographs of the dog park within the park make it look bigger. I've walked by it several times since the opening, and empty, it seems tiny. If there was ever a Cat Day in the Dog Park I might bring Yo, but it'd have to be a dog-free zone for at least an hour. I never understood why the City provides parks for canines but never felines.
Dog Park Dogs and Dogs and Dogs
Circles repeating is a nice touch. Cats might have enjoyed the fence-to-fence sand, and those Astro-Turf hillocks brighten the place, give little kids something to stand them up higher and old folks to sit on or lean back against. Some serious thinking's gone into the whole park, but sometimes not enough. On opening day there were nearly no leashes in sight, with dogs running loose and wild. I did not see a single instance of dog scat, nor plastic bags, deposit bins or signs saying you really should. Lotta loose dogs in there sniffing, snarling and snapping. I saw one almost fight — a bark, growling and a couple feints, but the dogs calmed without human intervention. Like it was no fun without a buncha humes to stir up.
Woman with Water Bottle
The park is open daily from 6 am to 11 pm. It's at 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway (and 17 feet up), between Pearl Street and St. Paul. Their website is at www.klydewarrenpark.org/ and you can sign up for activity updates.
The open library area sports profuse yarn bombing, though it's more like strafing. Every time I see more, I like it better. Like this time maybe somebody checked it first, and didn't just let anybody have at. Some's color coordinated, others obviously perpetrated by colorblind incendiaries.
Still Working Out All the Edges
Supposedly, there'll be a fountain tall enough to be seen by traffic moving 55MPH+ seventeen feet below on the eight-lane spurway we know as Woodall Rodgers. I didn't see anything that big or boisterous yet, but there were open areas that longed for something worth looking at.
Emergency Light and Stripes
I won't mention riot lights and lines of riot cops lining up all around the park like I witnessed at City Hall during the 1984 Republican National Convention, but I do like the way the stripes in the not-too-distance go so well with the shady mob of diagonals on and along the pavilion below.
Stripes Across the Street
Another one of our recently added performance spaces in our vaulted Performance District.
Green & Yellow Chairs & Green Table
We loved those slender yet vividly colorful chairs and tables whose populations grew as did the crowds and could be anybody's for the moment.
Place for a Fancy Fountain?
On the far east end of the park, just before it drops off into the concrete canyon, is this quiet space that might be about right to get gaudied up for a big, snazzy fountain people can see from miles or up at from down in the trough of eight fast lanes of noisy traffic. No doubt by some big-time art guy from out of town. Right now, for whole minutes of time during the day and evening, it's a visually quiet space worth standing and staring from.
Art Shadows at the DMA
started out at the Dallas Museum of Art, to
see the Posters of Paris show there through January 20 — loved Hen ri de
Toulouse and Alphorns Much most — get free parking with Anna's
membership, all the more important, because that whole corridor was packed with
parkers and cars. I bet most people walked farther and paid more for parking.
If we were on the DMA press list, I'd probably know whose art this was, and I
darned near didn't get this shot, just after I'd got permission
to photograph the walls with shadows — I wasn't interested in the art,
really, but I loved the shadows, two upset art guards approached me insisting
I stop. Whom I got permission from said it was okay to photograph the structure,
but not the art. A difficult chore, since they are, here, so integrated.
The Structure, Not The Art — But the People
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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