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Photo Tour of the 2016White Rock Lake
Artists Studio Tour, October 9, 2016
Featuring 67 photographs of art, artists & process
Map Number 9 Kathy Boortz 10:08 AM — Arrival Time
Kathy Boortz Watchful Kingfisher 2016 found wood, paint and metal
This has sure taken me a lot longer than I expected. After awhile, I gave up ever knowing who all the artists I photographed on this tour were. I used to have the sense to photograph business cards or their address on the balloons out on the street. This tour, I just wandered around lost. Luckily Anna The Navigator knew where we were and where we were going to and from every stop on the way, but afterwards neither of us could match my photos to all the right names.
If I get your names or something else wrong on this page, please contact me using the email address on top of the contact page, and tell me the facts. I'd love to post titles for all the work shown here — along with year date, medium(s), sizes in inches and price.
The gray number that precedes the photo — if any — before the words in this trip journal is the map number, which I think just has to be what it is, alphabetically, a list of the artists on the tour. The gray numbers after the artist's name is always what time we got there — or, more precisely, when I shot the first photo. Because my camera keeps that for me.
Kathy Boortz had emailed me needing pix of a few pieces before The Tour began, so soon as Anna and I got to her back-deck exhibition space, I did that, then took pix of my favorites of the work I hadn't seen before. I'd seen (and photographed) this at the WRLAST show at the Bath House last month, but wanted to try again. I'm a huge fan of Kathy Boortz' art, and I think I'm still her official photographer, so anytime I see a work I hadn't before, I photograph it.
40 Silvia Thornton 10:44 AM
Tools in the Corner
Gradually, over this whole grueling tour — all in one day — I don't recommend it, I figured out that in some studios and homes I'd be photographing the studios, sometimes the decor and sometimes the art itself. Sometimes all of the above, sometimes just one or the other — or, just to confuse myself some more, nothing. I don't know why exactly, but I've always followed the rule that if it pleasures me or makes me angry, I photograph it. Otherwise, probably not. Almost all these shot joyed me to see and take.
Anna later told me that Sylvia's dishwasher is even more beautiful, but I somehow missed it.
17 David Duncan and Kimberly Harry 11:02 AM
Two Collies at the Door
I always pay particular attention to Art Dogs and Art Cats. These Collies were beautiful, if only partially reflected in the porch door. I assume that's me dark and up front. And David Duncan reflecting to the photographer's left behind me in blue jeans and Anna in gray & black stripes — not sure how she got semi-transparent, but there must be blinds in her optical path. Elegant soft and pleasant dogs. But loud when we arrived.
Cast Bronze Dog Knobs plans
I'd say this shows process in an obvious and still sorta subtle ways. Showing process has been one of this tour's founding principles, so I'm always on the lookout for it.
David Duncan [left] in Studio
I assume the guy in the white shirt is another visitor. I am always amazed to see this many tools that organized in one place. My father used to do that — yet another trait I did not inherit.
David Duncan's wolf with distant Bambi
Great, eyes-poppin' wolf with a far subtler Bambi in the shadows at the right along the fence. I liked the wolf right off, then I found Bambi when I worked the image up. Perfect juxtaposition. Wish I could claim I planned it all along.
7 Lynn Wilkes Armstrong 11:29
Some visits were so quick I hardly had time to find art. At others, like this I had free reign to wander around capturing that ineluctable quiddity called process. Tools in easy reach, organized by and for the way the individual artist works. When I can see that so obviously at one of the stops on the tour, it's a delight. And discovering a little bit — or a long snake — of personal art in an unusual place is part of what makes this tour so unique.
Tools & Materials All Laid Out in Easy Reach
snake on the back porch
6 Jerry Allegro 11:45
Jerry Allegro Titles were often difficult to come by.
I tracked this artist's name down via the small pictures on the WRLAST site, which — despite the overactive visual gimmick on its home page — was helpful in identifying most of the artists and stops, some of whose identifies still elude me. Obviously, hitting — or, as here, even attempting to — all the stops on a tour as large and diverse as this one in one day is some sort of crazy. Though I might have a better chance if I'd spread it out over both days.
Jerry Allegro wave (titles in all lower case letters are me guessing)
Jerry Allegro showing process
x another artist 2:14
Right about here, I got lost. Again. Not in the car getting to studios — Anna took care of that, but knowing later whose studios were where I took these photographs. I assumed these would be distinctive enough to easily track down the artist's name by cross-checking with the tour's official website, which was very helpful in cross-checking a number of other tour artists.
more balls, plus sun, moons and stars
But I didn't manage to do that for these two pix. There were two studios right about here in the chronology I apparently was not moved to photograph or it was not permitted or something. Who knows. My apologies. I liked both sets of objects, and would really like to know who made them and what they are called.
18 Oscar Duran
Sometimes photographs are difficult to rephotograph — especially the ones with glossy surfaces — or behind glass. Plus, I did not want to re-reuse this one of his that I've seen in several shows and publications already, even if I really like it. Because I have already used it twice, maybe thrice, on this site. But here it is again, probably too small, but I'd know it in a flash. I should have just photographed one of the others that I liked, but I keep liking this one best.
I kept wondering how it would feel to have made a photograph that turns out so iconic that it's the one photo that everybody chooses to publish, when the photographer has made many, many more images that he'd probably also like to show the world.
Cool Pool with Warm Colors
I mistakenly thought this pool was at somebody else's house, but I really wanted to use this picture, but it turns out it belongs to Photographer Oscar Duran, as he notified me.
37 Silent G Imagery
And I think Silent G is another photographer, so op. cit. et al. But I quickly visited both stops and apparently got away without taking any pictures of Silent G's. My bad.
2 Creative Arts Center 12:02 P.M.
Creative Arts Center busts
I have a long and sordid history with CAC, but I've known many artists who have taught and learned there — and it was begun by Octavio Medellin, so when I have a chance, I visit. There were only a couple other tour visitors present when we were there, and it was difficult to determine where to enter or park — no info signs made it look like we weren't exactly welcome.
Unfortunately, I did not find any one website that explained who Octavio Medellin was, in words and enough images to show just how versatile he was, but here's the best of what I did find: Octavio Medllin bio with just one image. Octavio Medellin Artwork and Papers in SMU's Bywaters Special Cellections in Hamon Arts Library
26 Clara Johnson 12:23
Clara Johnson in her studio among her art
Oh, yeah, And Art Babies are at least as interesting as Art Dogs and Art Cats.
27 Chris Lyons 12:45
Doghouse, Bikes, 57 Chevy façade, Playhouse, etc. On the way to Chris Lyon's Studio (I think)
Getting to roam at will around a sculptor's studio and grounds has always been a fascination for me, especially when I have my camera, and I can click at any time.
Segmented Stone Arc in Chris Lyon's Studio
22 Susan Giller 12:55
Distinctive Susan Giller Drawing hanging in the yard
I knew whose work this was soon as I saw it, then I saw more and more and more, and that was just fine with me. The difficult part was knowing when to stop, and luckily, I rarely did that.
15 Cynthia Daniel 1:04
Cynthia Daniel Fishpond on Tree
Near a sign that stated, "Found metal … soon to be recycled into art!"
I loved this soon as I laid eyes upon it. Kinda liked to know what it began life as, so i could go get me one, although it's the paint job that makes it sing. Daniel's colors glow in the day, but this is so different from the ones above and below, I wasn't sure they were by the same artist till I plotted the colors. Nice work, simple or complex.
Cynthia Daniel dragonfly in yard
8 Rebecca and Ken Boatman 1:14
Clay Objects by Rebecca Boatman
Rebecca had a piece involving the right two objects here in the Art in the Metroplex show in Fort Worth, where the curator talked about "Aunt Jemima," but the red object is, Boatman asserts, "Mrs. Butterworth." But the same curator in the same show misguessed parts of my photo also, but neither of us corrected her. I think the yellow one was Ivory brand, but what do I know about commercial soap products?
Still Life in Rebecca Boatman's Studio
This exquisite collection of soft, warm-colored, alcove-filling, pieces of nature, glass and ceramics was in Boatman's studio.
Ken Boatman Chair at The White Rock Lake Artist Studio Tour Show
at The Bath House in September 2016
I'm using this presentation by the the Bath House crew of this simple metal piece, because it was so much more attractive than Ken's showing of them strewn around in their back yard during the tour. There, the simplicity of these lines and shadows got lost in the textures and shadows of the yard.
35 Marty and Richard Ray 1:22
Marty and Richard's has always been the biggest and longest stop of the tour (especially since David and Linda Hickman moved west). These people are dear friends whom I don't ever get to visit often enough, and on those two days every year, they fill their back yard with signs of process and the joy of making and showing and selling art. Every aspect is organized yet not always overtly. So it's a marvelous place to see art in its own habitat.
I suppose it helps that it is Marty Ray who has always organized the White Rock Lake Artist Studio Tour.
Guy throwing pot in Marty & Richard's back yard
Here, as elsewhere in this story and the others on this page, I'd be happy to entertain additions to and/or corrections of titles and artists' names under photographs and in text.
girls making pots in The Rays' back yard
11 Bruce Brownlee 1:44
Step by step, Bruce Brownlee explains to visitors how it's done.
Bruce Brownlee thoughtful art bear
31 Michael O'Branovich 2:21
Michael makes classic pottery that is envied by most other potters, and he always has some interesting food or refreshing drink. This time it was Mango something from a Margarita machine. I sipped a small amount slowly and carefully, since I was driving, but it was delicious and energizing.
28 Laurie McClurg 2:29
A hand-lettered note on Laurie's wall says:
"I grew up amidst word people, collectors and repurposers. Poets. Storytellers. Crossword Puzzlers. Punsters. Rhymers. Lyricists. We visited junk shops, thrift stores, tag sales. We always found a second or third use for what we already had. As a child I made cards for family & friends. In 1986 I began making cards again. Designs were supplied to Holst-Bower. My studio was Paper Memories. And still is."
Laurie McClurg Time for the Ballet
When I emailed Laurie later for the title of this piece, she told me, "The ballerina is porcelain. There is a very old watch in it. A silver plate dessert fork signifying the elegance of ballet. It also includes crystals from my neighbor's grandmother's chandelier."
Actual, nutritious food at Laurie McClurg's studio. Most other stops offerred salt- and sugar-laced crap.
5 AB Rockin' Studio 2:59
Elizabeth "Sissy" Bingham of A B Rockin' Studio
This piece was well-done and beautiful, but this and one of Anna coming back up the driveway were the only photos I made there. I emailed the AB Rockers for more information, but they did not reply, so I found the info above near a much lower quality photo online somewhere.
39 Terri Thoman 3:09
Terri Thoman's Shavings
Inside and out, there was much to admire in Terri Thoman's studio. We've been friends for decades, but I'd never been to this studio , and I was hard-pressed not to photograph everything in sight. There is just so much quality in her work, and so much that shouted of process. I wasn't this inspired to click photograph after photograph at most of the stops on this tour, but here, wow!
Terri's Brayer Collection
Terri Thoman Three Monkey's Progress
Terri Thoman Quiet Time print
My mother used to hand sew Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for kids in the family, so I was automatically drawn to this serene and superbly rendered scene. I think I can feel the textures here, and I want to be small enough to sit on that chair and just rock.
Terri Thoman - Miss Pearl
Another Art Dog to saver, although I don't remember seeing Miss Pearl herself, though we have met — probably at Teri's paper store, Paper Routes near Fair Park (The internet keeps insisting it's on Exposition Ave., but it hasn't been there in a long, long time. There were probably too many people at the studio during the tour for Miss Pearl's sensitive demeanor. In fact, there were probably more people in and around Terri's studio than any place on the tour, except maybe Marty & Richard Ray's and Kathy Boortz'.
The longer I stayed at any stop, the more photographs I tend to make.
Terri & Robert's Table Down the Stairs On The Way Out
16 Betsy Doan — Mud Puppy Studio 3:21
Betsy Doan garden fish
I've been to Betsy Doan's on several previous tours, and I always like the bright colors and nature-hardiness of her work, which she shows off to great effect all around the outsides of her home.
Betsy Doan tool box
And there's always much more inside.
12 Connie Chantillis 3:34
Slag Glass Medium
No balloons or tour identification out on the street — again — seems she doesn't want to be associated with WRLAST, but doesn't mind the crowds, and it was easily the worst stop on the tour, with no art I could find, and certainly no indication of process, except raw materials. Last time we visited — some years back, it was a live, colored chicken exhibition.
We followed the arrows back then, and I was going through an open doorway, when some woman yelled at me to get out. I was much less adventuresome this time, but now it is a rock shop. On both visits I was disappointed, because it was so blatantly commercial without showing actual art made by artists — or any inkling of process.
Gypsum Rose - $225
But the rocks were pretty.
24 Juli Hulcy 3:47
Juli Hulcy shark
The concept of Steampunk leaves me cold, but these artworks warm me right back up again. I like the humor, the textures, colors and the juxtapositions.
Juli Hulcy wind-up fish
wire pumphouse structure
Not sure what — or where — this is, but I liked it for its repeating patterns and vivid, dark reds and greens and all those lovely wood browns.
3 The Mix 3:55
I went down the stairs to the "Coworking & Creative Space" — a big room with mostly just kids playing, but though there were colorful pieces of art here and there on the outer walls of the big, open room under the church, I didn't see anything that looked like a formal presentation of it.
Big Room at The Mix
So I trudged back up the stairs and went on to the next stop. It was getting late, and I was already very tired.
No balloons or markers out front, but it was not quite five PM. I walked down the driveway to the building that looked like it might be an attached studio, but there was no sign, and the doors were closed with no way to know where to go. So I went back up to the car, and on to the next stop. Last time I did this tour — some years ago, I found delight there.
41 Cecilia Thurman 4:06
Cecilia Thurman's Press
Thurman's studio is the whole elegantly furnished house, a gift from her husband. When she was a DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member I spent long luxurious minutes exploring every square inch of house and art, but this time I was running short of time before five o'clock closing for the tour, and I'd hope to go miles to go before I slept.
print display table
Sinks and Work Area
Chair with blue and purple pillow on the back porch
42 Richard Wincorn 4:22
Richard Wincorn Corner of Custom Table
Richard Wincorn's home/studio is always a delight to see plenty of somethings very different in useful sculpture from anything else. The elegance and seeming simplicity of his work is unique on this Tour.
Richard Wincorn's Office
Richard Wincorn's Workshop
13 Dawn Cleaves 4:28
Dawn Cleaves paintings
Dawn Cleaves The Trickle Down Theory
Easily the funniest piece of art I saw on the tour. And maybe one of the more subtle.
Dawn Cleaves pail-propped panda painting & drawing
14 Nancy Cole 4:36
Nancy Cole Turtle with Lizard
I had previously encountered Nancy Cole's clay turtles all in a stack, big ones on the bottom and smaller ones on top. I liked that she's still using that perfect green with clay showing through.
32 Alice O'Leary 4:46
Alice O'Leary colorful bird bath on the way to her house
Alice O'Leary The Frida Corner
Alice O'Leary Paintings
Lots of smaller pieces for smaller budgets and lots of color.
Alice O'Leary irises watercolor
When I expressed appreciation for these crinkled flowers, Alice was happy to talk about the process, which unfortunately I don't remember much about, except the absorbent paper was pressed against something that would release the still-wrinkled paper, while absorbing the colors. This is beautiful.
Sincerely Awkward, A Solo Show by Marilyn Jolly
@ Circuit12 through October 10
Marilyn Jolly Compartmentalization 2016 13.6 x 20 inches acrylic, collage on panel $2,500
Visually, longtime Dallas Artist Marilyn Jolly's solo show at Circuit12 is the most exquisite exhibition I can remember. All around the large, brilliant white, uncrowded, high-ceilinged space, her often white-based, wood and wood-toned, black and gray linear and spatial new work seems to just belong together.
And Anna wrote: “I stepped into the gallery space and saw only bright white light, so bright I could not see the corners of the room. As I went in further, Marilyn's many artworks showed me their luscious tonal textures. I felt surrounded by friends, and I wanted to take most of them home with me.”
It's all new work, too. Exclusively from the last three years, these graphically strong, sometimes subtle black, white, grays, wood tones, browns, brilliant yellows and smatters of other colors, subtle and bright, are intense, oddly goofy, patterned with parts that float, like the yellow frame part in the piece above. Compartmentalization is just that, and of course, more, but that yellow bar piece of frame makes it fly.
Like inside jokes, the titles are not without their humor and bathos: "Antisocial, Optimism in Spite of the Evidence, Effort, Late Night Thinking, Soft Steel Trap, Old & Fat, Overachieving, Precarious Predicament, Stubborn Ego, Collecting My Thoughts, Bumping Against the Rules, Brief Moments of Clarity, Big Empty Head, Warts and All (He loves me) and Everything.
Her UTA Faculty page; her own dot com; and the video, Ain't No Free Lunch, that won First Place in last year's 24-Hour Video Race by the crew called Brownian Motion that she comprises 1/3 of.
Marilyn Jolly Optimism in Spite of the Evidence 2016 14.2 x 10.7 acrylic on panel $1,500
My favorites of Jolly's new works are arranged chronologically down this page with the newest on top. While most of these pieces seem to adhere to a gridded pattern this one is unlike any other in its remarkably vivid stack of colors, yet on that wood-tone panel it is — except for that one splash of activated pink — gently layered and mostly well-behaved.
Marilyn Jolly Moment of Balance 2016 mixed media on panel 72 x 47.5 inches $5,500
The vortex spinning wildly, calms slowly, stops for that gentle split-second moment of balance. But it looks like it could still be spinning fast. Its parts varied within like so many other, entirely different pieces, in this light, bright show. I especially enjoy the penciled-in shadows that seem to gently spread out onto the ground beyond.
Marilyn Jolly Garden Planning 2016 acrylic, collage, wood on panel 72 x 48 inches $5,500
Gridded like a garden plot, gray water splashing from nowhere into a pan or pool near the optical center, some of it extending downward, falling in smaller and smaller drips that gradually form a gray wash across the bottom blacks of grid now becoming a flow to the right under the round pyramidal form below and to the right of the dark blue on gray cloud.
Marilyn Jolly Late Night Thinking 2016 acrylic, oil stick on canvas 60 x 48 inches $5,500
A dark piece, yet with loose drips and that crack of white between spotted, then solid black then textured tan with black and white marks. We need us our dark moments with splats of light and in the darks, too.
“I feel a strong connection to the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi, sometimes described as an appreciation of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete and is often centered on the idea of transience. Fragility, directness/essence of a thing, repetition, imperfection, process and time, observation of the natural world; these are some of the influences on my work.
It is second nature for me to notice the way things are structured and I am compelled to incorporate elements of focused organization or structure in much of my work. Attention to my breath, noticing/present awareness in my mind, body and the world around me are what I strive to understand as these aspects of my thinking inform my work.
I am reminded to have a sense of humor about my own imperfections and discomfort in my human condition as I pursue my art practice. Elements of this are reflected in the awkwardness in some of my forms and the “imperfect” or layered surfaces of found materials and paint in my work. I am curious about materials and various processes and attracted to surfaces that seem to express a sense of time and use.”
— Marilyn Jolly, 2016
Marilyn Jolly Soft Steel Trap 2015 mixed media on linen 46 x 72.5 inches $5,500
This is by far the most complex of my selections. Busy with actions and receivings of actions and separating actions and pockets and pockets of actions acting and receiving. Seemingly accidental, it must have been carefully planned, tamed and released to rain and snow and frame in and out and away.
Like so many of her pieces, it has that one, concentrated area of color beyond brown and tan and her various delineated textures, like that variegated vertical of blue in the upper middle right, partially behind the trap.
Marilyn Jolly Old & Fat 2015 wood and encaustic paint 16 x 16 v 1.5 inches $1,200
Spontaneous yet so carefully considered. A joyful act. Do I see at least two faces in the rounded block on top? Or do I just want to? I like that it might, at any moment, rock back and forth, despite its perfect balance. And those white spots again, with similar-shaped holes around the rounded edges.
Marilyn Jolly Foundation 2014 wood, gesso, oil paint 10 x 26 x 4.2 inches $1,200
I wanted to use this at the top of this story, because it is so emblematic of this show, but it settled down here when I reordered the pieces in reverse chronology. I wanted this one to have been more recent, so it'd be on top. Odd shapes variously outlined or free form. Very well placed.
More sculpture than painting yet essentially flat, as well as thoroughly three-dimensional with shadows and everything. I like looking at it, delight in its odd shapes so cohesively combined. All while being just so free, with twice repeated pairs of vertical holes / circles
Marilyn Jolly Everything 2014 14 x 14.5 inches mixed media and acrylic on panel $2,000
Carefully spaced out, while still looking spontaneous. A delight in white and white on white and all those colors in white and gray and black and brown and subtle bits of red. A lovely collage of white and white and white and all those barely hinted at colors. I wish I could make art that looks this spontaneous while floating freely. And so pleased to have seen it, even if I could never afford it.
Did you notice the subtlest of subtle reds in the top left corner, blue in the top right, an anti-grid of black lines midway down the right edge, and tan growing into yellow at the bottom right corner unto the bottom middle edge, past the circling squiggles and bright white spots, the black evenly separated black dots and ever-so-faintly purple edge back up to the reddish white and pure white O.
17 selections from the 2016 New Texas Talent
@ Craighead Green
This has to be the smallest, mildest and most North Central Texas-centric New Texas Talent (NTT) show I can remember. Works are widely spaced, yet still don't wrap all the way around the open nooks and closed spaces up front. And there's really nothing confrontational, off-putting, scary or scandalous. No great leaps forward, just quiet steps along the paths of art into the early 21st Century in Texas. It's not a dull show, but neither is it particularly exciting.
Works by Kelly Ingleright-Telgenhoff, Angelika Ejtel and Susi Brister were selected as "Gallery Picks," and all are included in this story now that I finally got a good shot of Ejtel's luscious black & white image that is clearly the most interesting photograph in the show.
As often, I'd never heard of this year's curator, the Critic, Connoisseur and Heritage Auctions Director of Modern & Contemporary Art Frank Hetig, but that's hardly surprising. I pay less and less attention to most things art these years, and his choices here are anything but controversial, but they do show class.
My favorite NTT shows have included work I had to take my time to wrap my mind around. But there's few of those here.
Rajab Ali Sayed Some Things Last a Long Time 60 x 48 inches oil on canvas $2,800
This is one of the first pieces we see out front, where it seems a welcome-to-our art show invitation with the warm pink to orange and brown artist with a scant few dark blue shadows, looking back over his shoulders at us from the soft fabric he's sitting on that blends into the lineup of blue and white inner-urban realities beyond, those sheets the transition. Or is he about to jump from the 13th floor?
The bios included below my text for each of these images are abstracted from Artist Statements and Bios in the thick loose-leaf notebook on the short table near the front of the gallery — or other soruces. I've included them here, because they help explain the artist's intentions better than I could dream of. They are in quotation marks, because I didn't write them, although I edited many to keep them to the point.
"As a representational painter, I am interested in the potential of lived experiences as raw materials for paintings. I constantly document my own life in the hopes of capturing moments that acquire cinematic qualities through the transformative application of oil on canvas. My paintings explore internal and extern spaces, glimpses into a life and outside into the real world.
I've always had a complicated relationship with time. And it is that very relationship that makes me want to paint. To create landscapes and portraits that take a stand against time, and rebel against its mechanization of aging and fleeting."
Jane Cornish Smith Weighty Mantle 96 x 54 inches encaustic, oil, ink, paper $2,500
I wanted to touch this — still do, but didn't even sneak a feel while nobody was looking early the afternoon preceding the gala opening reception August 6, 2016. My initial front-view photo made it look more like an article of royal clothing, which it may be, but here we see it in depth and detail, the coat of many colors exterior working at being neutral, while the interior looks like tenderized bloody entrails.
At eight feet tall, I wonder whom this would fit. And would it need kids running along behind holding the corners up over puddles and dirt?
"Originally from Canada, Dallas resident Jane Cornish Smith's nomadic childhood, along with her artist mother, fostered an appreciation for varied artistic expression from a young age. A versatile artist, Smith produces multi-media artworks of gouache, mixed media, encaustic and collage with equally diverse subject matter.
Coverings come in many forms. Our own skin is one, a boundary that maintains our internal equilibrium while protecting us from external assaults. Yet there are times when our skin betrays us, revealing our innermost emotions, rendering us vulnerable under the eyes of others.
Like the skin, layers of medium become a covering and an interface between our private and public selves: a border that hides flaws, celebrates, belies, comforts, assumes an image and shields from judgment." Here, "Painted paper is crocheted into an oversized cloak that represents the tenuous weight of expectations and points to the struggle of navigating emotional internal and external worlds. Examination of the artwork offers the opportunity for self-reflection, with the hope of bringing insight into the nature of human engagement."
Humberto DeGarrio Midnight in Black & White 111 x 74 inches acrylic on canvas $14,000
Initially, this looks like a very large black & white photo of a statue that's been badly Xeroxed, but we learn, almost immediately it is decidedly not a photo, because the artist went to overt, scruffy, bad-xerographicly textured lengths to stop us from thinking it even might have been intended as a gently shaded image. Even with those smears and scrapes, the figure looks heroic and fully dimensional. This painting could easily stand as the show's second best sculpture.
After so many decades of paintings following photographs — realist, super-realist, etc. — it's nice to get the news up front, so we can relax and enjoy the shapes and textures that overlap areas of a nearly sculptural figure and essentially flat ground.
"Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Humberto DeGarrio moved to Dallas in 1996 to set up his studio in the Design District, enrolled in Sculpture and a CAD course in the Dallas County Community Colleges and says his art is working on a perpetual search to express the connection between mind & body."
Chris Bingham Mother Mary 72 x 48 inches acrylic on canvas $4,000
First we see the red bandana from across the gallery. Then we perceive a guy in a dark shirt, opened at the top to reveal his Bless-us-all, black on white T-shirt. If our eyes keep wandering, they'll discover the deep vivid red-to-dull pink origami bird transforming as it projects while, on his other side, the partially glowing Mother Mary peeks out.
"Bingham, born and raised in Dallas, says art has been a lifelong passion. He began college as a graphic design major but quickly turned to studio arts. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BFA in Drawing and has twice been a finalist for the Hunting Art Prize."
Soomin Jung Chunji Reflection 11 x 14 inches colored pencil & Graphite on paper $2,000
2D landscape with added depth and that one deliciously colorful lake superimposed over and down into a linearly-toned monotone desert highlands while voluminous clouds saunter overhead while they and that mountain are reflected nearly full color into the lake.
"Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Jung lives and works in San Antonio and earned an MFA in Drawing and Printmaking at the U of Texas at San Antonio. Best known for meticulously detailed images of natural elements, June works with colored pencils, graphite and gouache on drafting film and paper."
Daryl Gannon I'm Not Even Supposed to Be 18 x 24 inches oil on canvas $800
Mixing charm and depth, three and two dimensions, child's play and artistic sophistication into a warm orange, white and shiny black figure against the toddler's drawings on the subtly textured wall, with one giant flower in the lower right corner, large so we know it's close.
Gannon was "born in London, UK, where he earned a BA in Painting at Chelsea College of Art, and upon graduating, moved to Houston, where he has worked in art education since 2012.
I am fascinated with exploring the potential of childhood … There is a positive, progressive motif in the approach of a child, and an acceptance of the notion that anything could happen next, and probably will.
These paintings depict my children's toys, sometimes alone but often placed with each other. The encounter takes place within a setting filled with a backdrop of drawings previously created by my daughter. I find this collaboration brings me closer to her, and often drives the title of the work."
Angelika Ejtel thetremblinglivingworldwillcongealintoaperfectshapenearlygeometrical
image courtesy Craighead Green Gallery — image and text added August 24
new Deeply mysterious as only black & white unto tonal grayscale can render, the figure lies or bends head, face and polka-dotted shoulders down into an angular white on black device about which we have only this information. Her face is obscured and still. Her hair is a light partial outline under the shadow of her head on the near-white shelf. We see hair awry, head and hair fading from focus and what may be her dark lips, but few readable features. We know exactly what we are seeing. Just not why.
I want to blot those errant white spots from the top of her neckline, over her shadowy back shoulders and elongated neck to the bottom of her hair — and the one other between the light shelf her head is almost captured by, hovering over the gray area of ground in the blackness of her chosen place. I think she wants those tiny spots to remind us this is a photograph, yet let the flaws and mystery be.
Quoting from her Bio,
"Angelika Ejtel (alias RapidHeartMovement) was born and raised in Poland. She graduated in French and Romance Philology; later, she accomplished her Ph.D. studies in neophilologies with specialization in linguistics. She worked at the university for four years as an instructor and researcher before she immigrated to the United States in 2014. She has been always passionate about the beauty of words, poetry and profoundly moved by arts, which she had been profoundly ignorant about, including photography …
Angelika uses herself as a subject for her images. She considers her photographic creation as a poetic experience in which she drowns and infuses herself and, as a result, it gives her the feeling that she is reborn with each portrait into a new being. Although all of her photographs are self-portraits, they shouldn't be necessarily read as self-presentations. Rather they should be revealed as the multiplicity of "selves" available to one individual. To put it succinctly, her attitude towards the self is more of an exploratory journey between an awareness of self and an unawareness of some aspects of oneself.
It must be stressed that all of her pursuits in photography so far, are self-taught, purely intuitive and deeply-rooted in linguistic theories of cohesion in text."
Antonio Lechuga L&D 12 48 x 42 inches acrylic on canvas $3,500
Another delicately intricate painting that looks like it kept the paint between the tape, even if there was no tape, I settled into a subtle lightning storm encompassing a wide swath of the chromatic spectrum. No greens or cyan or purple, but lots of action for two and three dimensional line spaces on canvas.
"The creation of these three-dimensional spaces then, is the product of a composition of color and form that, together are inherently two-dimensional. Directionality and speed are what results from these juxtapositions, and the relationships found through the depths are at times fast, fluid and chaotic.
Each shape and field of color then becomes a part of a larger idea where the final realization is a place where depth, speed and contrast meet. Their origin is natural and intuitive, and the creation of new spaces becomes the unexpected result. In he end, the fields of color and their arrangement achieve depth and spatiality through ways [I] did not expect them to work.
"Lechuga was born in Dallas, … where he currently lives and works."
Susi Brister Loose Waves (detail) 36 x 36 inches archival pigment print $1,500
I was drawn into this fieldscape to discover what looked like bouffant Big-Hair, Mary-Kay-style wigs in a pile, then pulled back to see the whole scene and wonder could those really be the natural fibers of plant life, maybe even edible? If so, nice capture.
But no, it's not fit for human consumption except to look at it and wonder. I'm using this detail photo of the lower portion of this print, because the bright, nearly white sky in the upper portion of my first photograph reflects back the photographer and framed works on the opposite wall. But this is the most important portion of the work.
"My photographic work explores the interplay between the natural world and the synthetic imitations that humans have conceived to recreate nature. Using artificial materials and patterned textiles that echo objects found in nature (faux fur, artificial flowers, synthetic hair extensions) or pre-printed landscape designs, I construct and photograph ambiguous forms instead into various natural environments."
Ernie Davis 23 April 16 8 x 0 (sic) welded polymer $1,200
This is one of few three-dimensional objects in this show, giving me the notion that most of the artists who entered this competition aren't making it or Texas artists are veering away from sculpture. Maybe both. Or neither. I am not at all sure who these figures are, but they look like soldiers randomly interspersed and/or bisected by a radar dish and something mechanico-electronic. And I'd thought we'd finally got past using toy soldiers as art.
Francesca Brunetti Hidden 8 x 10 inches screen print $250
I usually prefer to separate work from mount, but here we'd lose all sense of dimension and scale. I'm hardly appreciative of this frame, but here, it's needed. And though I missed the deep psychological meanings here, I liked the piece and its framing.
"Francesca Brunetti's artistic practice is deeply influenced by her background in philosophy and humanities. She investigates the way in which visual art can communicate the idea of the subject, putting in question its identification with consciousness. She is interested in underlining the subject's weak and limited aspects, visualizing the idea of the Self as not self-transparent, characterized by a dark background that is impossible to objectify…
She does not want to portray an idealized world but rather capture reality with all its imperfections. Her visual work involves a limited number of elements and colors to create simple and strongly communicative compositions."
Marcy Bishop Applique 15 x 8 inches fabric, sewn paint, Swarovski Crystal $425
Subtly opaque. Linking all those paint-as-texture forms and just paint with a little texture, some of which scatters spectral light, so looks like sequins, while exhibiting liaison with the simplicity of Brunetti's Hidden just above. The crystal shines bright like sequins as I bobbed my head around looking carefully into this object like very thin sculpture.
"I make paintings and objects in order to think about the nature of femininity, beauty and how sub-conscious impulses reinforce or conflict with conscious desires. Essentially, I am fascinated by the retail culture that we inhabit. The society that surrounds us is filled with lures that are meant to drive us to obsession.
"Moving from North Carolina to Dallas was a dramatic change for the artist but later went on to shape her work. … Working with latex paint to make fabric-like forms that resemble purses, having body-like characteristics. When dried, the paint creates wrinkles and stretches around a surface, much like human skin."
Bishop earned an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of North Texas, and lives and teaches in Denton.
Justin Archer Let Me Hide Myself 60 x 20 inches wood, stain $5,500
An exposed, hollow-where-the-heart, lungs, stomach and other major organs should be, ungendered person protecting self from the slings and arrows, but has already got its middle blown out. A bucket on its head and unisex coveralls keeps us from guessing gender but otherwise does not bode well.
Neither do the yellowed fir trees that remind of air fresheners hanging down in the hard-edge, digital hole, through and through. Otherwise it's a nice, steady shape, we immediately recognize as a fellow human, that doesn't reveal much else, but, with its hands clasped behind its back and empty inside, seems open to the possibilities.
"Justin W. Archer is a sculptor living and working out of Denton … after receiving his BFA in Sculpture from the University of North Texas he took time to explore other mediums and processes. He returned to the university to pursue his MFA in Sculpture with an entirely new studio practice.
It was during this time he became perceptive to his own deep desire for joy and contenment, [and] his work took on a new fuction — to provoke ideas of what it means to be human and to experience the pleasures and fragility of our existence. He is currently a Master's candidate in his final year, working as an instructor of sculpture and drawing."
Selena Dixon Romance Mandala 36 x 36 inches mixed media $1,500
A quilt-maker's fantasy realm of 50s nostalgia spinning over a strata of I-didn't-read-the news and other print sources, but considered them as texture not text. Overall too busy, I thought, and wanted to look away. But it was all well-organized and scrupulously designed.
And when I looked in instead, I was rewarded with a massive, so last-century dose of clichéd women's magazine images. Rather than meaning something specific, those time-traveled illustrations offer a realm of romantic possibilities. I watched gallery-goers blanch and look away.
"Born in Upstate New York in 1953," Dixon graduated "from Stony Brook University, [then] moved to Texas to attend the University of Texas at Dallas for a graduate education in Geosciences. She worked as a geologist until retirement in 2013. Dixon made quilts most of her life, learning to sew as a child, [and] collage is a natural extension of the quilting process."
Oscar Duran Book Light 24 x 36 inches photograph $600
I know I'd seen this one before. Had even mentioned it on this site. A book illuminates, even without text.
Duran's vitae are not included in the gallery book, but I found a bio on fineartamerica.com.
"I don't have a degree or … any formal training, all self-taught and still learning. I have a different take when it comes to taking photographs; I'm attracted to structures and straight lines, so why take a boring picture from across the street, when you can get up close and personal.
The photographs … I produce are a representation of the way I view everyday things around me. Common subject items are viewed in a different light or extracted from their surroundings … to make them more interesting or attractive. I've been taking photographs for the last 9 years."
Kelly Ingleright-Telgenhoff Beached 40 x 50 inches oil on canvas $1,800
At first, I didn't care for Ingleright-Telgenhoff's Beached, of a plucked fowl that's been string-wrapped for cooking, on the beach unraveling. It left me wondering. I photographed it, because I felt mildly offended by it, which is usually a good reason to photograph to figure what about it bugs me, then write about it. Then, gradually during the writing of this, I kept looking back at it, and it piqued my interest to see more by her. When I found her linked to Ro2 Art online, I paid more attention, and began understanding my disconnect.
In her data there, I found:
"She's a Michigan native with an MA in History from Western Michigan U, graduate work in Art History from Michigan State and Indiana, and this year she earned an MFA from the University of North Texas and has been living in Texas for a dozen years.
My paintings, drawings and fiber works explore the duality that exists in life. I often pair the beautiful with the grotesque, the real with the abstract, the minimal with the detailed, the boundless with the bound, and desire with loathing. Mentally contemplating and evaluating the dual nature of objects and their meaning provides a thoughtful, cathartic, and creative journey.
As I work, I ruminate over how to create a special tension in a mundane object. My entire painting, drawing or sculpting process hinges on double and triple meanings — word or mental puzzles that keep me mentally sharp, because I want to create something that is more than the sum of its parts, while referencing dualities found in life experiences."
Madelyn Sneed Just Chillin' 36 x 48 oil on canvas $2,900
This is my favorite photograph in the show that's not a photograph. Vivid, sleek chroma-red shapes hurtle through space in what looks and feels like mass transit (but could be anywhere), the view out the windows probably blurred but certainly obscured, displacing both us and the ungendered subject, whose undersides are turning dull, dark and shadowy, while comfy, toe-protruding shoes point the way.
"Madelyn Sneed is a representational painter who was born and lives in Dallas," [and is] a finalist in this year's Hunting Art Prize."
While on an excursion to Paris, France I became inspired with almost everything I came across around the city. … But, I was most inspired by the sounds accululated while walking down the streets of Paris, the bakeries with baguettes and sweet treats with superb presentation, leisurely enjoiung a bit to eat with a café créme … . Appreciating the culture and flow of the city greatly influenced the subjects I've chosen to contribute to this series."
Gail Nash Arnold Taking Flight 16 x 10 salt-fired ceramic $1,200
I stared at this until the whites all around it turned mauve, then a lighter shade of lilac, and the pot itself glowed several shades of darker gold and mint, the fins gently wiggling to ease its descent back down into the sea.
Craighead Green Gallery sign out their front window on a bright cloudy Saturday
Enough red dots dotted the interior I assumed a preview the night before for people who actually buy art in galleries, don't just go to meet friends and happen to look at art and wonder like most of us do.
Nice place, always cool and spare with people on a Saturday afternoon. I can never quite decide if it's the best gallery in Dallas or what else might it possibly be, but that was a lovely sky Saturday afternoon early, though a little lighter blue than it shows here. Although if I email a question to Valley House, they generally answer it promptly.
I didn't even bring my camera when we came back for the mob scene opening that night.
7 galleries & Found Art along the way
Alexander Paulus Release of the Bulb Buds 2014 mixed media on campus 48 x 48 inches
This picture is here for shock value — to show this pic [that used to be on] the top of this page, even though the artist isn't from around here. That artists I write or photograph about are from around here often weighs heavily on me. I'd rather write about Dallas and Dallas-area artists than anybody else from anywhere else. But sometimes along comes an amazing piece of art that shocks, surprises and pleases me.
The one other artist in this show is, I believe, a local, Dallas-area artist, and I don't really know where the artists in the second story are from.
I like this piece, because it was big on a wall in one of Dallas' best galleries, and certainly the one that has the best sense of humor and notion of which way the winds are blowing. I mean, of course, the son and mother combination of Ro and Ro, called "Ro2" on Ervay at Sullivan perhaps a little too near the new The MAC (whose offices are upstairs) across The Canyon from downtown Dallas.
I liked seeing this piece large and at the center of attention when I walked into Ro2 on Ervay, and then I thoroughly enjoyed watching it awhile. Seemed ever so much shock-worthy, and the sort of almost-nasty that used to get us into trouble at Dallas NOTES from the Underground in the very early 1970s.
Not so much trouble selling it on the streets —"free to uniformed police officers," we always used to say, but a little scary to try to send it through the U.S. Mail, which may still be snigardly censorial at such moments. Thank the gods and goddesses, the Internet isn't so picky.
Fungus Amongus & Bumin Kim@Ro2 Again& again
Nomadic Fungi Institute Nomadic Fungus Sighting: Texas City 2016 $575
I also love this imagery and thinking about giant spores taking over gas-guzzling automobiles sets me free from the earthly plane. I like floating around out there, and unlike the pic at the top of this story, it would never have got us into any trouble, because it doesn't appeal to our or anybody else's prurient interests but instead to our collective senses of humor. The concept of demon spores finding life-giving sustenance in old fuel and lubricants is just delicious.
Perhaps it would be best if you engaged more directly in their information on their website at http://www.worldofnomadicfungi.com/ although there's plenty of it here:
Nomadic Fungi Institute Nomadic Fungus Document Ever Vibrant Car… $300
It all sounds and looks intelligent and real, but of course, it's a big farce, though one I'm more than willing to participate in. The guy who creates these fantasies doesn't call himself the artist. He is the curator. And Ro and Ro are just the facilitators. But every time I see more of the evidence of these flights of fantasy, the more intrigued by the possibilities of it I become. Seems like every time I visit Ro2 on Ervay in The Cedars, there's more spores.
Nomadic Fungi Institute Untitled (Cars in Jars) 2015-2016 $350
"The Spore Sprouting Test is the latest exhibition by the Nomadic Fungi Institute (NFI). This exhibition "represents the culmination of two years of research, and provides a step-by-step guide to the scientific process used in these tests."
Nomadic Fungi Institute FNI Lab Sample: Mini Cooper 2016 $315
"By collection and germinating Nomadic Fungus spores NFI has taken the dangerous but necessary step in proving once and for all that the existence of this various eater of automobiles is not an urban myth or the hallucinations of drug addled beatniks."
Bumin Kim Accumulation 2016 thread and wood 9 x 12 inches $450
Then there are these amazing additions / extrapolations by Bumin Kim a couple weeks later at Ro2 again from the neo geo storm cloud still gathering around us, whose soft, colorful works were just so exquisite an extrapolation from putting paint on canvas that I could barely pull myself away from one to take in the next one around the walls in the front gallery at Ro2 on South Ervay Street on our latest trip there.
Bumin Kim Accumulation 2016 blue purple thread and wood $450
Almost too much of a really good thing. And a surprise after so much too-much geo neos everywhere I looked after awhile, always wondering who did the original one, and who copied that style to create the next one, etc. But at least I know who took all that in, cogitated it awhile and put the notion of geometric colors into some gentler medium the artist knew already more intimately to make these.
I just had to stare and stare.
down Levee &up Dragon Street
Vincent Valdez It's Winter in America 2015 acrylic on canvas 84 x 108 inches
@ Holly Johnson I was so bored seeing the same old neo geo, I was desperate to do something different with all that undifferent art and thought I should photograph it from farther away. Besides, I really didn't want to show the usual head-on pix of this art. And unlike the next one down, these people weren't altogether more colorful, although after looking at this awhile, I'm liking the red brown gold black thing she's got going, especially contrasting with his neutral white, which makes the black & white and black & white photo drawings all the more subtle a surprise.
Anna Bogatin untitled (Sea Wanderings, 1008) 2014 acrylic on canvas 84 x 108 inches
What I liked about this foursome — counting the painting — are the patterns. The painting is all patterning, so small, you back far away from it and it turns solid darkish cyan. The woman in the orange vividly complements the thousands of Bogatin's composite dark and light vertical cyan bars. While the black on white swirling lines on the woman in the middle rhyme, somehow with the delicate stacks of short linearity. And finally the orange, white, blues and greens dress forms an almost a logical extension of the painting. But if all it ever were was the orange, I'd have clicked it in a nonce.
Coming out of Holly Johnson and Cris Worley galleries, I loved this soon as I laid eyes on it, even though I had to shoot it through a chain-link fence. This piece, though it probably does at least one entirely practical task, has a tubular simplicity contrasted with many other minute linearities and stepladder wheels in white, blue and black in an orange brick exterior corner with scattered gray boxes, some with even more internal circles.
J R Compton painted landscape digital photograph
I never know what these marks mean, exactly, but I have often appreciated their verisimilitude with painted and otherwise articulated images in landscapes between and among galleries. I especially like the red and orange lines that dot across the the immediate front grass, cross splashing bright the sidewalk then disappear into the mown grass beyond. The tall white X only adds to the complication of the composition, slashed with the diagonal gray shadow of slightly raised sidewalk.
Marianne Gargour Home With A View 8 x 8 inches oil on canvas
At Craighead Green, another small painting, very nearly life-size on my Mac (smaller on PCs), reminds me in its soft colors, strongly hinted exterior shapes and rigid canvas texture, of James Zamora's interiors atop the last Art Here Lately page. There's long been a strong undercurrent of rhythmic house paintings, only some spare few of which truly lilt, running through Dallas gallery showings over the last, oh, forty years — probably even longer — that I've been watching.
Tyler Butcher Inner Circle oil on canvas $3,200
I wasn't immediately fond of this painting, but for some reason, I photographed it. Then, gradually, I grew to like it. Three humans standing along the side of something we can't see. Each embodies a slightly different painting technique with similar but different palettes, shapes and smears. The most human parts of them are their feet/shoes and their slightly bowed heads. In the distance is a landscape shaped like a house. I see their differences like personalities, carefully articulated in an inarticulated world.
A Black guy, a White guy and somebody in the middles, their personalities colored by the expressive abstractions of sensate memories. Nice colors and contrasts. On a neutral tan empty field, concentrating our attentions on themselves.
Isaac Smith Angel Fish 24 x 9 inches painted wood
I'm a big fan of Isaac Smith's work that I used to have to explore inside closed closet or bathroom doors at Craighead Green to see the latest of. This seems obvious a fit to that definition, and I like it. Especially because it's new and employs new — for this artist — techniques and colorations.
& new somewheres
Photographer in the Middle of the Street
Outside Photographs Do Not Bend, I immediately identified with the guy with a camera walking in from the middle of the street, because that, very often, is the best place to take pictures. Inside, we found Santa Monica Photographer Cherl Medow's widely-seen (Facebook, etc.) profoundly worked-over and exquisitely digitally-polished two-years-ago's images of birds worth staring at for long minutes, among many other Critters in black & white and color there, but I daren't photograph photographs, because many years ago when I tried that, I got yelled at and thrown out of the gallery two other places ago. This was my first, bold return, and I like their new digs on whatever street that is.
Transitional Device at the Curb digital photograph
When I got out the car, I saw this tableaux in the rubble by the curb and since the cam was already on and working, click.
Stephen Lapthisophon curates PaperWeight@Conduit
There's always been a deeply subtle meaningfulness contextualized in an extraordinary intelligence in Lapthisophon's own work that I have greatly admired, and hoped to get to see more of it in this show he's curated at Conduit, but this pile of wood just just inside the gallery it occupies doesn't do it. It is a pile of wood charred at either end, marking the wall and floor around it that only almost qualifies.
Texas Division UDC 7th Grade Essay Contest — The 2014-2015 7th and 8th Grade Essay Topics are:
Our First Christmas Without Father, 2015, red clay, India ink, Marley braiding hair on paper, each 60 x 48 inches
But this/these get closer to that searing sophistication often seen in the curator's work and very nearly qualifies as worth the trip, but this next one throws me.
Christine Adame Renascence 3 2016 acrylic, ink & charcoal on paper $1,200
I couldn't begin to guess what it is about, but I like looking. I see a human, perhaps running, maybe an athlete or circus performer and a horse, maybe, with a mountain. Or some things entirely else. Odd the horizontal split, but necessary perhaps for paper size and traveling; I admire the shadow from the bulge in the middle, but it was probably not intentional. Helps break it up a little.
Adame also showed Renascence 2 in identical format, hung to this one's right on the big wall in Conduit's large back gallery, but I could make no visual sense of that one. My Mac's dictionary defines renascence as "the revival of something that has been dormant," and that seems somehow to fit.
Spencer Evans from the My Dear series
Maybe it's too obvious. It is easy to look at. There's serious quality in the scribbles that blend into the human's cuff holding that vivid cloth while wondering, being perplexed or concerned, and the color against the misty black and white is brilliant — even the lines in the collar. Add the simple reverse figures in on the cloth, and we have a 3-D winner here, ladies and gentlemen. It activates our intelligence while assuaging our need for aesthetic pleasantness and enigmatic misunderstanding.
Josh Dryk untitled chair 3 2016 photographic light gel & printer ink $2,000
This raw simplicity got my attention from my early misunderstanding of its materials. I thought "photographic light gel" with "& printer ink" meant it was light sensitive material as on film, but the artist simply didn't know what to call the translucent plastic many photographers use to attenuate lights in front it. Because I rarely work in any kind of a studio, I don't know what it's called, either (although a quick look in a photographic materials catalog might cinch it). But once I looked at it more carefully, I could see it was just ink on acetate. The translucent material is not photographic — relating to or resembling photographs.
Decades ago I experimented with light-sensitive (photographic) emulsions on acetate, which I first took this to be, that might have brought us this bare essence of chair. But this is just the essence painted on clear plastic. The other instance of this same symbol comprised marks on paper.
Nonpixelated - 3 Weeks to do a show@the BathHouse
Sarah Barnett The Background Noise oil on canvas board $300
Non Pixelated with paintings by Rita Barnard (who I still believe has shown this piece at least three times there already), Sarah Barnett, Awadh Baryoum, Bernard Bortnick, S. Chuck McCarter, Justin Clumpner, Ray-Mel Cornelius, Steve Danner, Jacque Forsher, Gale Gibbs, Duke Horn, Karen Jacobi, Darrell Madis, Alexa Mason, Julia McLain, Ruben Miranda, Monica Moody and Madelyn Sneed and too-quickly curated by Bath House Cultural Center Visual Arts Coordinator/Curator Enrique Fernández Cervantes through July 30 2016:
A show of stop-action animations had been planned for this time slot, but it fell through late in the game, so the curator quickly looked around for work by Dallas-area artists whose work he liked for something they had on hand for a nearly immediate showing. He usually, as he told me at the opening, prefers to give artists about a year to meet a show title's meaning, and some of these acquit themselves very well for this one.
But many do not. It's a quickie. Some work is truly great. Some just is not.
According to the show's official press release, this "exhibition explores the unceasing relevance of the traditional medium of painting in the context of our contemporary digital age. The exhibition includes the work of artists who, for the most part, have chosen not to shift from their use of analogue painting techniques to the more widely accessible mass digital media."
"Rather than focusing on a particular style or subject matter, this exhibition has as its main themes the persistence of traditional painting as a medium that does not [seek] to be a final product that relies on technology, and the study of the contribution of the enduring art form to a world heavily saturated by digital images."
All of which is intriguing, since at least a third of the pieces in this show obviously depend enough on photographs to be conceptually inseparable from digital outputs. In fact, many either are photographs or directly directly painted from them. Alexa Mason's soft pastel Les Trois Petit Singes (Three Little Monkeys) had to have used photographs for the mother and two little girls in the classically clichéd, See-No-Evil; Hear No Evil; Speak No Evil line-up of hands on faces that would almost be cute, if it weren't so hackneyed.
Insipid, I think I called it when someone said it was the best painting in the show, although I got a little carried away and angry at that description.
About Sarah Barnett's pic above, I love it, but I bet there was a digital photograph involved in its inception. And a couple of humans, too, although their femininity, if any, got lost along the way. It keeps reminding me of gallerist / artists Randall Garrett, who looks like that and keeps popping up in other people's art. The duality is startling but the symbol in the middle between their foreheads seems silly or copied from the Masonic Lodge or something.
I like the flesh-tones, hair, hands, rings and eyebow-plucked lashlessnesses.
Sarah Barnett Monarch oil on canvas $400
More eyes staring. Sarah Barnett's Monarch oil on canvas looks so much like a digital print, it may well have been one or was surely painted from one. Even the layout reeks of digital playtime, although upon closer examination, I like the uncommon objects juxtaposed, their subtle tonalities and canvas textures. But I still can't imagine it was done without reference to a computer or the memory of one.
Monica Moody Bold as Love mixed media on Yupo $1100
Monica Moody's Jimi Hendrix cover rip in mixed media has too much in common with Jimi's album covers of yore to not be photo- or if not pixel-based, mayhaps halftone dot-based. Would it even have been possible without the Electric Ladyland cover? Not bad for a copy of a photograph. And pretty colors. But near zero points for originality.
Karen Jacobi Carnivorous oil on fabric $500
I did not like this the first twenty times I saw it. In fact, I actively disliked it until I got it here on this web page. Then I began to appreciate its subtleties and the collage nature of its tattooed, over- and under-prints. Perhaps the face is a little too glossy at first sight, but this painting doesn't just capture three dimensions, it's got more.
I understand some of the carnivorous aspects of this gathering of objects, but while I assume the winding green thing upper right is probably a snake, kinda so what? Boas sometimes swallow people whole, but they're massively larger. A carnivore is an animal (including us) who or that feeds on flesh. It doesn't have to swallow them whole.
I like the inclusion of the plant at his left shoulder that reminds of Audry II from The Little Shop of Horrors. But other visual references — like the Queen of Hearts that emblazons his T-shirt didn't eat anybody in Alice's Adventures, only kept decreeing death sentences. I assume the flowers are poison, and I just wonder about those headphones.
The image above is slick, glossy and clean. The next one down isn't. Otherwise, there's just so many similarities.
S. Chuck McCarter Advisor acrylic on canvas $650
I probably got really boring explaining this one to anybody who couldn't find a good enough excuse to run away screaming at the opening, but this is the best painting in this show. Not that everyone I asked at the opening agreed.
Way too many — including some artists whose work I admire — said it "looked like a Picasso," even though it doesn't look like any Picasso I've ever seen, and though I have not seen them all, I've seen hundreds and several times paged slowly through "All of Picasso's Paintings" when it was still online. I'm assuming people who don't regularly look at art use the phrase, "It Looks Like a Picasso" as shorthand for the actuality that they have no idea what it is, but it's kinda strange and painterly, so they chalk it up as a Picasso. Since Pablo was the only really famous artist they know who does anything like this sort of paint-blending or uses these colors and shapes, he gets the blame.
This painting however, has much more going for it than that over-simplicity. It's one of few there that shows overtly that this painter was still actively engaged in the discovery mode when he "finished" this piece and put a frame around it. Paintings are just that, an ongoing discovery. So, in fact, are digital images and I guess, any fine art. When it is finished, it could as easily be when the painter is too tired to go on with it, even if he has not yet learned all he could from it.
There might also have been a deadline looming. Yikes! Three weeks!
This painter seems to be learning as he goes, which is the correct path. He may have begun this one with an idea, but I doubt he mapped it all out ahead of time as do many of the amateur painters here. I appreciate the many make-over lines and smears and do-overs. The colors are gorgeous, and there may even be some obvious meaning in it, that the painter either does or does not go along with.
McCarter has one other painting in this exhibition, but this is clearly the better.
There were a lot of really bad paintings in this show thrown-together in three short weeks from what these artists had on hand not already assigned to galleries out there that might actually sell them, after the originally-planned exhibition did not materialize as expected, but this is not one of them. Unfortunately, I won't be showing you any of the really bad ones. For that you'll have to visit The Bath House Cultural Center and see for yourself, although the differences are sometimes subtle and often argumentative.
I see at least two, probably three, faces. The big one at the top is comparatively bright, with lots of patterning and color and who knows what all swirling around it. The second, below, has closed eyes and a hand over its mouth indicating trepidation, which is where painters often are while creating a painting. The third one, chin, lips and part of a nose, flanks the lower one on the left. There's too little info to call all its shots yet.
Put secure and exploring, trepidation and speaking something together, and we have a story whose details are imprecise, and "there's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." Nor should it be. When painters spell it all out, as in the next piece down, they get lost in the details. Or our understanding does.
Bernard Bortnick Pyrrhic Victory acrylic on canvas $825
A pyrrhic victory is "won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor," which, unfortunately, too aptly describes much of the work in this show. It is a too-oft employed term for a much more subtle meaning, and this painting may have succeeded with a better thought-through title or proscenium stage view. It doesn't really help that our pointy-toed Blue Man is giving us his V for Victory while Death's minions carry him through the torn gate of war — but if he really were the winner, where are they taking him? Isn't this all just too obvious?
Palm Tree On Crutches in front of The Bath House Cultral Center
This is not a sculpture. It's an ailing palm tree supported by this wood structure just outside the front door of the Bath House Cultural Center. I've been following this tree's progress for years now. No telling where my photos of it are, and I doubt I could ever find them, but one is high above and behind me as I stand at this computer typing these words. That photograph is far more understated, with countless filligree crisscross shadows confusing themselves as palm leaves, where this is stark and obvious. And I keep thinking that deep indigo parking lot has to be a mistake, but at least it's not pixelated.
294 b4 wet & watral; 495 b4 satty; 562 b4 foolin; 720 b4 framing; 914 b4 daf; 1042 b4 Brooklyn; 1119 b4 HO; 1146 b4 peg; 1596 br dwayne; 1905 b4 busy day; 1911 b4 NTT; 2125 b4 OrrRo2; 151 brcolgexp; 222 foh ro2, BW an Candis; 474 b4 might not be; 616 b4 zamora et al; 214,301, 214,630 at adding NTTXXIII; 692 @ Fb, 5121 b4Jolly; 215268 b4 wrlast;
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