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ON THIS PAGE SO FAR   Remembering Tracy Hicks — a review of a video about his later life     Visiting Jackson Pollock at the Mu in Color & Black    Tom Orr at Barry Whistler     Reviewing 15 pieces of art in Chaos by Dallas Artists at Ro2 Downtown

Remembering Tracy HicksTracyHicksPortrait-on-crumpled_paper

The night after I saw Robin Williams' slick, made-for-TV Remembering Robin Williams, I and more than a hundred friends saw Mark Birnbaum's Remembering Tracy Hicks, and I knew when they asked for instant critiques, I shouldn't. I had to think about it, because it was about an artist I knew, liked, respected and worked with. And I'm used to finding flaws in flicks. I already knew some of what was wrong: the music got louder every time we were supposed to feel sad, and it never showed Tracy alive, except in his own documentation.

Then I realized this movie had lopped off nearly his whole life before he got married again and moved away. When I first met Tracy, he was a photographer. Except for documentation of his own, late work, there aren't any of his photographs here. Later, he was a painter. No paintings, here either. Although there was a lot of and about his mixed-media frogs projects. He was cofounder of Dallas Artists Research & Exhibition (DARE), whose nonprofit status became The MAC. Years went into that project. Nothing about DARE here, though.

It's as if the filmmaker learned everything about Tracy from his second wife, Victoria, but didn't ask anybody who knew him before. His family is shown, and some interviewed at the wake, but we didn't learn enough about him, his childhood, him growing up or his early or late artistic influences. We didn't even see any others of his exhibitions, and we know he would have documented those. In many ways, there's more info in his Dallas Morning News obituary, his gallery's art vitae and his own 13 Art Stories on DallasArtsRevue, than in this movie.

It was in focus; the colors were rich, and it moved elegantly. Technically proficient, it included much of his late work, and we saw Tracy's own, low-resolution documentation of the amazing performance art he created in the woods near his new home. We heard what Tracy did, and the calibre of people he collaborated with late in life. And we watched Victoria defining him and pulling the movie together. But there's more to the story than we got in this short, 35-minute attempt. Tracy deserves better.


Visiting Jackson Pollock at the
Dallas Mu in Color and Black

Jackson Pollock Number 6 1949 - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.  
Jackson Pollock   Number 6, 1949   Duco and aluminum paint on canvas

I'm now a member of the Dallas Mu, which mostly means 'free' parking there, The Nasher and Rich Kid Park. I'd still usually rather attend The Kimbell plus the Amon-Carter, but that's about a hundred miles round-trip, counting lunch somewhere not Joe T's, and at least two hours of driving forth and back, but the trip keeps getting stranger.

I'd just been wanting to see the Pollocks for the last few weeks. Didn't much care at first, but my need grew after I got an emailed JPEG of and from my friend Paul in front of a big colorful Pollock while I was reading Peter Schjeldahl's The Dripping Point1 in the end-of-December issue of The New Yorker about the Museum of Modern Art's showing of what he called "nearly all of what it owns by Jackson Pollock — some sixty works, most of them rarely seen prints and drawings, that date from 1934 to 1954," the formative years the Mu all but ignores.

Number 6 [above] was the first big painting that caught my attention while I was still on autopilot, photographing what I saw that moved me, all but ignoring most else. I didn't notice till later that my viewing had followed The Mu's strict, though limited Pollock chronology, so I'm more than happy to park the following pivotal works that anchor his history just below, even if they are not in this show. But they show his early trajectory as he became a skilled and very independent artist.

I missed that sense of history there, so I'm injecting it here.

Most of the links I gathered in my research are parked in the
footnotes at the bottom of this story, where those and other images and explanatory pages are linked, but it's sure a lot of trouble, so I doubt I'll do that again.

 - - -

Four historically interesting color
works that
are not in the DMA

Jackson Pollock - Untitled (Western Scene) 19

Jackson Pollock   Untitled (Western Scene)   1930–33   6.5 x 9.13 x 2.7 inches
unidentified photographer

The Dallas show begins in the very late 1940s, neatly lopping off a couple decades of early, though only sometimes less spectacular or/and dripped Pollock art, including this lovely box that fairly shouts his apprenticeship with Thomas Hart Benton's roiling landscapes when Pollock was about 20 and just starting out as an artist. I borrowed this image from the Museum of Modern Art site2 where the box is captioned:

"This sentimental Western scene, with a worn-out horseman, sombrero, and cactus in the foreground, is one of the first works Pollock made after moving to New York in 1930. He grew up partly on a farm in Arizona and noted throughout his life that the Western landscape was an important inspiration for him." Gallery label from Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934-1954, Through March, 13, 2016 at New York's MoMA.

The next three images are from WikiArt,3 and if clicked, will take us to pages where we can follow the artist's story and learn more about each of the 86 pieces on their visual chronology, even if the site needs careful attention to not navigate off the face of the planet.

Jackson Pollock - Going West - 1934

Jackson Pollock   Going West   1934-35   oil on fiberboard   15 x 20.7 inches
from WikiArt   linked from this image  unidentified photographer

1 – 3 years after the box, Pollock was still painting surrealistically elongated images on rolling landscapes very reminiscent of his Teacher Thomas Hart Benton's work, but he's getting better at it, and oil paint, even on fiberboard, keeps its colors. I didn't find out till I'd nearly finished writing this story and got all those footnotes in place, that the Mu's show was intended as a glorification of only The Big Dripper's Black works. But as you are already seeing, he was also pretty good at color, and there's a lot of that at the Mu, too. It's just not as pivotal to his history, although the curators could probably make a similar claim about the Black paintings.

Jackson Polloc - The Flame - 1938

Jackson Pollock   The Flame   1938   oil on canvas mounted on fiberboard
from WikiArt   linked from this image   20.5 x 30 inches  unidentified photographer

By 1938 Jackson had incorporated his teacher/advisor's visions without trying to duplicate them, although in the Hans Namuth movie,4 Pollock calls Benton "a strong personality to react against." And on JacksonPollock.org's quote page, Pollock says, "He drove his kind of realism at me so hard I bounced right into nonobjective painting." There may still be some Benton lingering here, but by the time of this vivid painting the young Pollock is coming into his own.

Jackson Pollock - The She Wolf - 1943

Jackson Pollock   The She-Wolf   1943   oil, gouache, and plaster on canvas
41.88 x 67 inches  unidentified photographer

I hate to jump five whole years in this crucial juncture, but this work shows a leap forward in the painting history of Jackson Pollock, and most of what we know about that period is what Pollock tells us — even if it sounds like he is badly reading a terrible script — in the movie4, which is too often presented primitively online, so we have to excuse the low fidelity, the mechanical film-in-the-projector flutter and the insidious, initial whistling soundtrack that, thankfully, quickly dissipates. Still it's way better than the versions online with washed-out or no color at all — or no audio.

Pollock was squeezing paint directly onto the canvas as early as 1946 and he'd probably dripped some, too.

According to the list of "Interesting Facts about Jackson Pollock" on JacksonPollock-dot-org, is its number 15: "The first of Pollock's paintings to be acquired by a museum was The She-Wolf, bought by MoMA for $650 on May 2, 1944, which was the equivalent of $8,706 in 2014, the latest the online time-cost-generator I found worked. Pollock said of the painting: "She-Wolf came into existence because I had to paint it. Any attempt on my part to say something about it, to attempt explanation on the inexplicable, could only destroy it."

Cited as one of his first drip paintings, his 1947 Full Fathom Five5, combines brushed and palette-knifed-on house and other paints and is finished in drip style with poured lines of black and reflectant silver, even if WikiArt's image6 of his 1946 painting, Eyes in the Heat is their first Pollock listed as during his "Drip period." 

 - - -


Okay, enough of his colorful early, pre-drip and near-drip history. Now, we're going back into art that is in the DMA show.

Jackson Pollock   Untitled, c. 1949-50 -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Jackson Pollock   Untitled, c. 1949 – 50   painted terracotta

I like feeling this simple sculpture with my eyes and mind. Before this show, I knew nothing about any of Pollock's 3-D work. When I saw it from across the room, I thought it might be a wad of paper or painterly materials Pollock had squeezed together in a bid toward that elusive third dimension. Took awhile to get into it, but I liked where we were going. It looks non-objective but reminds me of Vincent's 60 years earlier Night Sky, although that would probably only piss Jackson off more.

Jackson Pollock -

Jackson Pollock   Untitled, 1949   wire dipped in plaster and paint

But this is the sculpture in the Mu show that hauls us kicking, biting and screaming into Jackson Pollock's three-dimensional oeuvre — and seems so much more in keeping with his rhythmic drippings. I circled it slowly and included as little of their annoying, bright white horizontal frame as possible.

Holding Hands and Watching Art -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Holding Hands and Watching Art

When I noticed this tête-à-tête dynamic going on in a gallery, I had to photograph it immediately, even if it might have been a little better balanced from farther to my right. Those two people. Him cupping her hand in the big middle of a white-walled gallery. Each looking at art. Gray floor with people in black chairs and dark clothes. With, like too much of his art, too little color among all those neutrals. But the colors he does include are often amazing.

In another room was a large black couch that qualified as the noisiest furniture I've ever heard, so when someone else got up, I just had to sit on it and scrunch around. Not as comfy as these chairs look, but it added a little other-sensory feedback to my loops around the drips.

But that shot was my first inkling that I might not be there just to document the art, which I hoped would make it easier to write about, even if Pollock is not from around here, and my next several stories have to be about Dallas-area artists.

Jackson Pollock - Untitled, 1951 - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Jackson Pollock   Untitled, 1951 (detail)   ink and gouache on Japanese paper

Pollock's subtle textures and soft colors here are luscious. I knew the drips from Life Magazine, that movie, which I've watched frontwards and backwards since his big story in the August 8, 1949 issue of Life Magazine — and countless abominable reproductions in books and magazines, in elderly, idiotic image-cropping Documentaries on TV and online, but I wasn't ready for the gentle elegance between the drips.

Jackson Pollock -

Jackson Pollock   Number 15, 1951   ink on Howell paper

His devotion to those tender textures lives in the smaller pieces we have to get up close to really understand. He understood the media he painted on at least as well as the paints and techniques he put them there with. He cared about the strata. Quoting the DMA card for this piece:

"This drawing's impact depends on the interaction between its swirling, plantlike forms and the patchwork ground of handmade paper. Highly textural, this paper and others like it are unique: Individually molded and dyed linen and flax fiber rag papers produced specifically for Pollock by Douglass Howell at his Long Island studio. The collaboration was borne of Pollock having seen Howell's papers used in Anne Ryan's collages at a joint exhibition of her work and [Pollock's wife] Lee Krasner's at Betty Parsons Gallery in 1951."

Jackson Pollock - Number 12, 1952 -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Jackson Pollock   Number 12, 1952   oil on canvas
on left Jackson Pollock   Untitled   1956  plaster, sand, gauze and wire
12.25 x 12 x 17 inches

Paul Harris had sent me a snapshot of him and a friend in front of this painting, lucidly introducing me to its scale as well as lending hope I'd get to photograph it, too. Their art guards kept looking at my little camera, telling me I could photograph anything, just no flash.

And I wondered whether they knew that the extremely short duration electronic flash would be less likely to damage images than the gallery's own lighting or the daylight that sometimes filters through. I thought about flashes enraging the crowd. Hate to cause a stampede, though there was not much chance during our Tuesday afternoon visit. We were wise enough to avoid the weekend crowds.

Note the small sculpture7 in the plex box at the left. Titled Untitled, 1956, it comprised plaster, sand, gauze and wire. I liked it enough to twice try to photo it up close at just the right angle, but I did not render it well enough, so it's heartening to see I caught that painting's scale as well as the tones and shape of the little sculpture here. And there's some pix of it online that you might want to track down.

If I hadn't seen this grand painting and so much else in this show, I might have contented myself with thinking I knew that Pollock dripped paint, and the drippings were shown downtown, even if no way we could get at his earlier, less revolutionary history. So, thanks again, Paul. I'm glad I attended. Traditionally in this publication, it's common for museum show reviewers to recommend readers all rush out and see this one, but I really don't care. It spoke to me, and I'd love to see the show at MOMA, too, but I don't feel like flying to New York.

Jackson Pollock - The Portrait Side -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Jackson Pollock   Portrait and a Dream   (detail)   1953
oil and enamel on canvas   58.5 x 134.75 inches

This is the portrait side of this large, informal diptych, where we see Pollock not so much dripping as drawing and filling in shapes with color and scribbles around the edges that helps us see the shapes. The left half is given over to the Dream, which reminds me — though not in the style of — James Surls' many drawn dreams during his Texas years and probably since. Surls' are more lyrical, gentle, simpler and at least thirty years more sophisticated.

Pollock's lines here, are more scribbled and scrawled, but my photo of that mostly monochromatic left half was lousy. But this is the side that held — and still holds — my attention, though there are many atrocious versions online, including on supposedly serious art sites, which is why I so adore getting to take pictures of serious art — and why I put my mark on the ones with neutral borders.

I didn't care much for the intended, mostly monochromatic meanness of this show. But the colors made it alive.


Footnotes, Links and Promotions

I admit I only stumbled on these two, quite different ways perceiving and promoting this show very late in writing this review, but I doubt I would have placed them any higher up the page.

The Guardian's story, "Why Jackson Pollock gave up painting, discusses this show as it debuted at the Tate Liverpool June 30-October 18, 2015," and I quote: "With their sooty pools and block structures, the ‘black pour’ paintings of Pollock’s late period mark his rejection of sex and the erotic aspects of his drip techniques. A new exhibition shows how the artist formerly known as ‘Jack the Dripper’ reached the end of the line…"

Which all sounds a little more lurid than we'd expect from our local press, but Merry Old is a different place.

On their own site, the DMA goes on and on in tiny print about "The Largest Exhibition of Jackson Pollock's Black Paintings Ever Assembled," but I liked the painter's colors better.

  1. The Dripping Point, Peter Schjeldahl's story in the December 21 & 28m 2915 issue of The New Yorker
  2. Museum of Modern Art site where I found Pollock's fairly primitive Western Series box
  3. WikiArt's chronology of Pollock paintings
  4. Hans Namuth's Jackson Pollock movie on YouTube has terrible audio quality, but at least the strange whistling music goes away quickly.
  5. Often cited as Pollock's first drip painting, his 1947 work Full Fathom Five (story and large image) — oil on canvas that "Pollock has embedded nails, tacks, buttons, coins, cigarettes, matches and paint-tube tops into the surface of" is 50.88 x 30.125 inches, however:
  6. WikiArt's image of the 1946 painting, Eyes in the Heat 54 x 43 inches, is also listed as a "drip-style" painting, and I'm sure someone less confused about this than I am, understands why.
  7. Jackson Pollock's Untitled 1956 plaster, sand, gauze and wire sculpture on the Matthew Marks Gallery site is 12.2 x 12 x 17.5 inches is at the far left of the photograph of the woman looking at the large Number 2, 1952. There is another view of the 1956 sculpture two clicks left of this one, but it looks much less interesting.


Jackson Pollock, Clement Greenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner
and unidentified child at the beach, unidentified photographer, circa 1952

I found this online where someone else had already appropriated it,
and just liked it too much not to put right here, although I did try
to fix it as much as I could. At least it's not still all orange. — J R

And more…


Pollock's early work is linked from the Guggenheim's Collection Online.

There's a pretty good timeline of Jackson Pollock's life on SoftSchools.com, which answers several Important questions.

Jackson Pollock dot org, which seems to be his official site, has at least two bios, Jackson Pollock and his paintings and Biography of Jackson Pollock.

WikiArt's Pollock paintings' chronology includes a much more vivid 1934 Going West painting more clearly showing Thomas Hart Benson's early influence on the young Pollock, and that's the one I used above.

Hyperallergic (!) looks "Beyond Pollock's Drip Paintings" to include the pivotal The She Wolf of 1943, the Picasso-esque Mask of 1942 (Click on that image to see larger version.) and other important early Pollocks. There are also two images of Pollock's sculpture (near the top and near the bottom) of The Sculptor Pollock Would Never Be on that site.

Click on the small reproduction of The Key on Totally History's The Key page to see it larger.

In The Painting Techniques of Jackson Pollock, a contemporary paint-slinger shows and tells of Pollock's drip artistry.

Museum of Modern Art from whence that Benson-inspired box came

Jackson Pollock dot Org has scads of probably more accurate and detailed info. I especially enjoyed their page on Portrait and a Dream, and their Interesting Facts about Jackson Pollock actually are interesting; the Biography is telling and there's a great page of his quotes.

Pollock had created his first "drip" painting in 1947, the product of a radical new approach to paint handling. it says on his site's Autumn Rhythm page.


Ewer from Egypt - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

EWER   Egypt: Late 10th – Early 11th Century
rock crystal, carved; 19th Century Gold Mount by Jean-Valentin Morel

Obviously, whirling art was not altogether new in mid-century America, when Pollock began experimenting with slinging paint. As is usual with my photographs, these are presented in nearly chronological order, going out one set of rooms, up the hall to another up through the museum.

Miniature Painting - A Sufi (mystic)- Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

A Sufi Mystic   Late 17th – Early 18th Century Turkey
paper, ink and pigments with text in Ottoman Turkish

I was especially drawn to this Sufi Mystic, because I used to dance to Sufi musics at Richard Wagner's Shepherd's Bush on Gaston Avenue in the early 1970s, and I had just that morning been listening to Sufi Chants while concocting another compilation of non-Western mp3s to play in The Slider. I've nearly blissed-out being mesmerized by whirling dervishes and transported into other worlds via their musics. I wish I knew what his thought-balloon says.

Tree Outside the Window on the far side of the Babysitting Room - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Exterior Tree Outside the Window of the Creative Kiddy Room

I didn't snap to it till several dozen frames later, but it was right about here that I became so enraptured and inspired by Pollock's non-traditional forms of non-abstracted realities, I began seeing it wherever I looked in The Mu's art, architecture and the slim corridors of nature around it. This space called their Center for Creative Connections that is only dark compared to outside, is full of simple and complex learning tools and visual inspirations, with an abstracted vision of Nature and other realties entering past the late afternoon's sunlight through the far windows.

Abstraction of Light and Dark - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Abstraction of Dark and Like in the Museum Garden Area

Everywhere I looked, I saw more light plays and abstraction.

A particularly pesky Mu art cop saw me click this, then insisted on impressing me with her interpretations of people in the landscape beyon my frame. Later, another Mu guard, seeing me photograph Konrad Lueg's Untitled painting of a blue-suited businessman with a red tie, white shirt and beige hands against what seemed a Bluebonnet-strewn color field, insisted that the guy looked like Donald Trump, nearly blowing-out any more esoteric thought-patterns I was slowly building. Somebody please stop the idiot anti-abstraction unvisionaries. She needed the attention. I did not.

Nobuaki Kojima & Henry Moore - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Nobuaki Kojima   Untitled (figure)   1976
 painted plaster and strips of cloth coated with polyethylene resin, and
Henry Moore   Reclining Mother and Child  1974-76 plaster

I liked more this juxtaposition than seeing Kojima's flag-draped vision from the front, in which activity apparently I did not participate, since there's no pictures of it. Apple pie and Motherhood, I thought much later.

People Between Paintings - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Women between paintings of women

And I did not even notice that these parallel, facing paintings of women in various stages of dress and un-, interspersed with the strongly contrasting, mostly black winter-wear wearing human figures between were very nearly as much art as the art looking back across the hall — not people just looking at it. A matter, perhaps, of not seeing the paintings for the inter dimensional spaces.

Marisol Escobar - Dinner Date -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Marisol Escobar   Dinner Date   1963
painted wood, plaster, textiles, oil on canvas, metal fork, leather boots, paint, graphite

When I first spied this simplified tableaux. I assumed it was another Martin Delabano, like those I have seen there or in essentially similar settings. I guess I succeeded in mentally blocking the blatant background piece's unsubtly unashamed commerciallity, because I didn't even photo its I.D. I like that, even unconsciously, I can sometimes delete blatant visual noise.

What I more appreciated was the in-and-out-of-reality diners, the guy watching from far right and the wheeled wood chunks that reminded vaguely of a doubly abstracted Austin icon Oat Willie. But I still sometimes think it worth my sanity's to block that horribly color vibrating background, since it mostly comprises straight and easily curved lines.

But what about that little painting, behind the only his in the picture. And does The Mu earn a placement fee for parking RC Cola and Libby cans in our immediate visions? They probably should.

Robert Rauschenberg-Trophy II - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Robert Rauschenberg   Trophy II (for Teeny and Marcel Duchamp)   1960
oil charcoal, paper, fabric, metal on canvas,
drinking glass, metal chain, spoon, necktie

Shadows and all, anytime I am in the room with a Rauschenberg, I am drawn to it. This is one I don't remember seeing before, but I've seen a lot and probably don't remember most of it anymore. I got my or somebody else's shadow on the card for this one whose lighter surfaces contrast nicely for those in the deep shadows I pulled some of the panels out of in post-production.

Hoffman Shadows - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hoffman Shadows

The Rauschenberg card rhapsodised Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly for

"bridging the sensibilities of Abstract Expressionism and Pop" while "devising a new approach in the late 1950s, blending two-dimensional collage techniques with three-dimensional objects on gestural, painted surfaces."

Hoffman Shadows and Hangings -Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Hoffman Gallery Shadows and Hangings

The rest of that two-dimensional extollation was thankfully lost in a deep human-form shadow, which sucked us down into the mottled darknesses up the hall, where I have watched the shadow-play before, but never as deeply hued and contrasted, yet entirely recognizable figures.

Flowers - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Flowers at a Desk

Seems like I remember this vivid flora nearer where we came in and exited than the top of The Great Skateboard Run up Mu's middle.

With Os for Eyes - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

With Os for Eyes

The six-foot fence wrapped in too-dark art reproductions opaqued our view of construction, so I held my camera over the guadied Mu fences protecting us from having to watch what passes for progress as we waited for the elevator back down to the car.

Light and the Darkness - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Light and the Darkness…

Big Yellow Thing - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

And a Big Yellow Thing Down the Road

And some sculptural likeness crowded in fences and shadows on the way somewhere where I'd seen a big white apparition I needed to photograph enough to jump out of a moving vehicle to steal its soul.

Big White Tent - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Big White Tent

I shot 11 images from a variety of vertical and horizontal angles to get this one. The real art was much more easily obtained.

 Stacks - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.


Then remarkably close I found a stack of slowly rust-dripping stacks with a thick 2-D circular hole and binary tri-rectangular recess, all of which I'm still willing to argue is art, even if it and I just happened along.

 Paper Strip with Fence and Grass - Photograph Copyright 2016 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Backlighted Paper Strip with Fence and Grass

Farther toward home I found another abstracted reality that involved an obvious but secret message I was too busy getting the exposure right to read. So the inspiration kept on at least an hour into my real life, such as it is.

January 5, 2016



Tom Orr   Tightrope   Barry Whistler Gallery   through October 10 2015

Tom Orr - floor piece - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tom Orr   Paladin   2015   carpet, mirrored aluminum   24 x 144 x 84 inches   $24,000   

I attend an awful lot of art shows. Not as many as I did 37 years ago when I started DallasArtsRevue — and there's some galleries I never go to, and others I wouldn't ever want to. But the categories change. Some get better. Most worse. Two vastly different galleries where I almost always find something to like are Ro2Downtown and Barry Whistler in Deep Elm. There are others, but these two have or had shows I recently found and liked exorbitantly. I just hope I can find words for them both, although I might just let Tom Orr's work do some of its own talking through my photographs.

I keep trying, but most of what I want to say about Tom Orr's work feels excessive. I've probably said it before, and I want to say it again. But for a little while down this page, I'll just show some pictures.

Tom Orr - floor piece CU - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tom Orr   Paladin   2015



 Both Tom Orr Installations - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Both Tom Orr Installations from the front door



Tom Orr Beam Piece

Tom Orr   Mr. Lucky   2015   wood, aluminum tubing, mirrored aluminum   84 x 192 x 120 inches   $35,000



Tom Orr - beam piece from far end - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tom Orr      Mr. Lucky   2015   from the far end of the gallery



Tom Orr - beam piece -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Tom Orr   Mr. Lucky   2015



The more I considered adding words to the above photographs, the less I thought of it.

Later, I realized I had seen this piece at their open studio party in May 2015, when and where I got verbal permission to shoot their work. But permission always seems tinged in iffyness, and I didn't want to wear out my welcome. But my relationship with them has a lot to do with words, pictures and my appreciations for their work. Sometimes Frances' seems more important in my way of sensing. Sometimes Tom. But these things are always changing.

The greatest leap forward for this piece from that party is the setting — set and setting, like an acid trip or deep meditation. These are far more elegant digs than the Bagley-Orr ranch, so each piece gains all the attention under the best lighting with near ideal backgrounds. So careful it just seems to belong right here, and I wonder if someone buys it, where do they put it? And would anybody else ever get to see it? I could stare at it for hours. Every angle, join and transition. So carefully considered, balanced and. Just there perfect.

I already fell hard for it in Tom's even-lighted studio last May. Here at Barry's it's spectacular, and I may need to go back for longer stares. I guess maybe a particularly thoughtful and intelligent institution would be a best setting, not that I get to decide.

Previous Frances Bagley and Tom Orr mentions on this site can be explored by Googling "Tom Orr" or "Frances Bagley." There's too many to list here, but I will try:

Exploring the Art of Tom Orr and Frances Bagley   
Fighting Words: Should The White Rock Lake Water Theatre Be Destroyed?
[It was.] 
Tom & Frances Design Verdi's Nabucco

Essential Space I
Essential Space II  
Modalities of the Visible
The White Rock Lake Water Theatre  
Drawn 2  
Tom Orr Moiré



Chaos at Ro2 Downtown   August 1 — September 12, 2015

man with chicken -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cheryl Finfrock   $750

Nicest thing about Chaos shows is there's variety. Worst thing about it is that the work's crammed into every square inch of display space and the IDs usually attached to works can't always be seen or photographed — and there's no room for titles, sizes or media. From the very beginning, I was impressed with the work. There's deep-down quality in spades here. These two portraits are way better than I expected at a free-for-all like this. We got brush strokes dancing, and these look like real people. There's an impressive animated humanity here. I guess that's down to good gathering by the ROs.

big glasses -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Cheryl Finfrock   $750

I looked around awhile, noshed on chips, wished I had an extra hand for some ice in water as well as my camera in both hands, then came back to the beginning and photographed every piece that caught my fancy, usually only finding out who did them after I'd shot it. So there was a devil-may-care, no-holds-barred feeling to racing around the room finding gems, photographing them best I could under the poor and changing light and hope to find an I.D, then on to the next.

I started shooting at 7:44:32 PM for the guy in a green shirt, hat and the feathery chicken, and stopped after shooting Alex Paulus's hands and faces at 8:08:45 PM — quicker than it felt. I tried to get whites to go white and colors somewhere in the vicinity working them up, too. But I didn't get too finicky, and for that I apologize.

diver - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Joshua Chambers   $300

I assume the gallery had something to do with the prices. They usually do. I didn't register the work or the prices. I just shot what I could find that I liked, then on to the next and the one after that, a little slap-dash and a little careful. I paid attention, but I was making accurate photographs as well as choosing work, so I may not stand for these as the best there. If I couldn't figure out who dunnit, it didn't go in. And some didn't.

Robin Ragin - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Robin Ragin

If you know titles for these that don't have them, send them to the Contact page link atop every DallasArtsRevue.com page.

Julia L Trinh -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Julia L. Trinh   $200

There was a whole Color As Color & Texture section, but I misfocused several, so more aren't here. Happens when I'm too busy choosing or something else than being photo careful.

Jennifer Leigh Jones -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Jennifer Lee Jones   $150

After several iterations of color samples stacked close — there was form and transition in this presentation, but who put it up probably had about as much time as I did to take them on. This ocean view was pleasant respite after several successive rainbow slash stacks and squidly color squiggles.

Kathy Robinson Hays

Kathy Robinson Hays   $625

And though this fit right in there, I didn't know what to think about it. Bumps and global textures. Maybe a map or several. I only vaguely recollected that I knew the artist and knew her work. Did this or did this not meet my today's criteria. Yup. Click. On to the next.

Yunni Lee -

Yunni Lee   $250

I appreciate who put this show up putting similars together. Nice jobs, Ro & Ro. I wish I'd been as careful, but some pieces need be here even without exact focus. I wasn't always sure if it was me, my camera or the work.

Kate Collin - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Kate Colin   $300

This one, I think, needs words. I liked it. I liked the colors and the textures and the lines and slashes and paint and linear wire textures, and I like that they piled up to become continents on this rather diversified planetoid. I admire its topography and the mesh where nothingness wins. I always get lost in painterly textures.

Mark Burt - 500

Mark Burt   $500

I needed the toyness of this, red fuzz — and all those eyes. Art should get to look back at people sometimes.

Nomadic Fungi Institute -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Nomadic Fungi Institute   $450

I am astounded that a lot of this stringy/wiry piece is sharp, although the car may not be quite. And I love its title, which few other pieces got. Whoever did this wins a prize for naming it instead of their own, and for making this without — we hope and assume — going nuts. All those red worms are arrayed out from a central beige spiral, like frenetic energy. And its locus for a little humor. Very nice.

Squiggle Bowl -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Squiggle Bowl   $

I may have seen that texture in pots before. Not sure what made it, but I enjoyed it, then I didn't, then I did again in just a little while, almost like in and out breath as I watched it.

Alex Paulus -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

Alex Paulus   $250

Multiples of eyes, noses, mouths and ears are difficult to pull together rendering unity and not end up being just some mess — especially amid that red plaid ground. Bravo. More hands might have wrecked it. Great juxto of faces, fingers, parts and textures all wound down into a singularity. Lot going on here. A looker and a cooker.

TJ Griffin - bird - Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

TJ Griffin   $350

This one is nice enough, but a tad timid, maybe tepid. Definitely a like, but a mitigated one.

TJ Griffin -Photograph Copyright 2015 JRCompton.com/birds   All Rights Reserved.

 TJ Griffin   $425

But this one worries me. Somewhere in between these images, might have been better or worse. Hard to say. They're both here, because I couldn't decide, but this minds me too much of bad Disney, even if it's good Griffin.



As always, if you see something that's just not right or know of a link that should go on this page, let me know. I want these stories to be as accurate and true as I possibly can, and you can help by emailing me at the contact link at the top of every DARts page. Thanks..

All Contents of this site are Copyright 2015 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All the artworks shown on these pages are copyrighted by their originating artists. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are copyright J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.

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;


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