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< AHL #21
Art Here Lately.jpg#22

Taking A Swat @ art in Four
up & downstairs @500X

story + photographs © 2017 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Adriana Touch - Child Whip - photo copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved.

Adrianna Touch  Child Whip  cheese cloth, fly swatter, fabric  2017  $300

There's a lot of texture and geometry in the three (I'm not not sure I want to count that fourth one yet) shows in the various up- and downstairs gallery spaces of the venerable 500X Gallery, still Texas' first and oldest co-op art space.

But there's much else, too. Upstairs is this new co-op artist group's second (I thought it was going to be the first, but that was last month.), group show so I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head till I figured out this was not the new bunch's first outing. Oh well.

I've watched these first few 500X member shows carefully since the mid 1980s, and there's always something to be learned, maybe understood, be alarmed about, toyed with, joked or worried about. There's also hope. And excitement.

And by the end of that group's stab at it, several years later when they quit this and go off and do something so much better, there has often been amazement. At their progress and development as uniquely individualist artists with a lot of new ideas of their own — and the ability to work with others. It's a fun ride to watch.

But we'll get to the members show upstairs in a bit.

First, I walked slowly and carefully through downstairs' Expo show that someone at the front desk said was of "selected Texas-based artists." I assumed there was some sort of dimensional limit, because really big pieces were absent, but these were probably easier to ship. The Pit [below] seemed more a pity with nearly nothing massive there to command our attention. Nothing large on those hallowed walls where the best work usually hangs in most shows. There was a smallish TV playing something, but all I remember were a few colors and having to step over stuff.

Online I found:

"500X Gallery, Texas’ oldest, artist–run, cooperative galleries, hosts one of North Texas’ most anticipated annual juried competitions, “Expo 2017 is open to all artists over the age of 18 living in Texas. All visual media are eligible, including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and video … . All work must be ready to hang.”

Juror is Sara-Jayne Parsons. As the Director of the Art Galleries at TCU in Fort Worth, British curator Sara-Jayne Parsons drives the international vision of Fort Worth Contemporary Arts and promotes professional development of students and local artists through programming in Moudy Gallery. Her curatorial practice is informed by working in collaboration or close partnership with artists to produce new art works through commissions, exhibitions and artist residencies.”

More info from the Call for Entry.

I wandered up out of The Pit, past the bar and across the main space to inspect art on the adjacent walls and spaces, then back around the last wall into the little alcove on the left at the beginning of the long dark hallway, before I found anything I wanted to think through, photograph, post on this page, or write about. 

I liked Adrianna Touch's soft juxto [above] of textures, shapes, shadows and color — yellow, tan, transparent and just the hint of black dotting through the beige fabric as thread and the dark edges of the swatter's lining and handle.

I have been swatted, and I have swatted hundreds of flies and other critters inside a dozen homes and houses since. I don't swat outside. The two implements of swatting I have now are metal and screen. The plastic-faced ones slow the swish and create a wind that gives bugs half a chance. With my aim, I need more. I also appreciate the subtle, stringy and fringed shadows on the wall.

Lately I have been attending shows but not risking words about them, except aloud — only pictures. Now, with luck, a new enthusiasm and inspiration, I'm trying both for the first time in I don't really know how long. Awhile. Months, not years. But I don't keep track; I just keep coming back.

I posted a photo essay [below] with darned few words on the cover a week ago or so, just to try to get back the hang of intelligently thinking about art. And putting it back on pages of DallasArtsRevue.com.

Dad Helping Him Up The Stairs - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved .

Dad helping son up the front stairs

I was in no hurry up those stairs that I have often, over the last four decades, photographed from, through, up, down, and at, out and in the windows nearby. Nice to have humans there to interact with and watch. I had no idea what to expect from the members show above.

Some 500X member shows have been dreadful, but most are more fascinating as those artists figure out who they really are — especially together with fellow co-oppers, and go for it. It takes its own sweet time, but it's usually rewarding. It's also intriguing to see who gets inspired by which other members. And what eventually results. Almost everybody's art changes.

Some early shows are amazing good. Most later shows are.

Best of all for this placement in this story, this pic reminds me where my awareness of the downstairs shows briefly end, and where my words about the upstairs shows begin. And the next stairs shot [below] does the same in the opposite directions, when I came back down into Expo 17 from the member show upstairs.

Tony Veronese -

Tony Veronese   Just Look Up and Everything Will Be Fine   oil on canvas   2017   $600 

I still don't know what to think about this one. I had a clueless crew of asbestos abaters at the house who were wearing baggy whites like these, and they were dangerous, but that's just the first visual that came to mind from this odd amalgam of length, breadth, depth or height — and not.

There's an informality of textures in many of the works both up and down stairs that I admired, and I kept wondering whether all or many of the artists in these shows were already close and had been attending the similar classes and studied subjects. I doubt it, but trends are often subtle.

Here that textural looseness offers its own agitation. I keep being drawn back into the 'flat' areas and the more dimensional ones. Odd juxtapositions and definitions, especially as the over-flap of brown paper or plastic takes us up through the sky with wires and poles and a commensurately dimensioned sky, then back, at the very top, to wrinkled whatever. Odd bits stuck together in a puzzle of outlined and unlined spaces and objects.

Idiots in danger suits are always a warning.

Valeries Powell - On Being

Valerie Powell   On Being   acrylic & ink on shrinkable plastic   2017   $250

Here again, in miniature, are those same colors and some same textures. Similar, though thinner outlines, in nearly the same oranges and reds warning us of something subtly menacing. This and Powell's similar jelly-bean droplets look delicate like thin glass. And I imagined they'd stick to our fingers, although I dared not touch.

Kalee Appleton - Summer Valley I -  - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

Kalee Appleton   Summer Valley I   inkjet on fabric   2017   $1600 

What with this and Roth Fairchild's Uncanny Valley (which may yet end up on the bottom of this page) and which I just could not make visual sense of, I more than once wondered whether some art departments had a standing assignment to abstract and/or texturize landscapes on multiple intersecting planes of textures … But maybe it's just a trend.

Kalee Appleton is the President of 500X.

Linné Bowman Cravens - Stigma  DASS transfer on paper 2016  $1,200  - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

Lynné Bowman Cravens   Stigma   DASS transfer on paper   2016   $1200

Lynné Bowman Cravens had three-in-a-row: flowers, Escher-esque dimensional plates, and these leaves. So it took me awhile to decide which to rep the rest with. I chose this, because I could tell those were hands in the dark, negative space behind the leaves, and I couldn't figure what was back there in the other two. All are from 2016. Each is a multiplex of precise, shadowed and carefully creased white, nearly interconnected, same-shapes on dark, showing more depth than actually exist and so carefully hedged-in. But at least I could make visual sense of this.

Tabatha Trolli - You never owed it to them anyway  - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

Tabatha Trolli   You never owed it to them anyway
Concrete, crutch, covered plastic rings, metal clamp   2017   $650

But not this. I stared enjoying it, wondering what I would say about this oddly-juxtaposed stack of rich colors building up toward what could be body parts. Or not. A crutch growing out of a cement block. Sure. At least I knew enough to photograph it.

Tabatha Trolli   Milk skin   2017

Tabatha Trolli   Milk skin  cotton/polyester, Sand, painted bra cup,
straight pins, shoulder pad, felt   2017   $425

Down to here, I've only given artists one shot each, but this one kept badgering me to be included also. Naturally, I photographed it soon as I saw and got it at the right angle. I like its lilting, spare colors, irregularly ordinary baggy self and matter-of-fact substance, textures and nearly muted colors too much to leave it behind.

Yeah, it's funny, but it's also way more serious than I first or second thought. Charming and rude in the same breath.

Barbara Cartier

Barbara Cartier   One sculpture in separate items. Three polyurethane separate sculptures.
One Marble and steel base   2016   27 .5 x 17 x 6.5 inches   $4000

Cartier's eleven, mostly three-dimensional pieces — one relief and a couple small mostly flat and nearly framed mixed medias on paper pieces — took me awhile to accept as art. They just look so slickly Easter-eggishly commercial. The space looked more like a jewelry store than a gallery, but I liked this one best, because of the vivid shapes and colors against that two-toned purple wall. I think I understand the slab the bottom nodule rests on — it separates the pastels from the purple, but I'm not convinced it's any kind of high art.

This end-space itself, I assume, was rented separately from the major, long upstairs hallway of members' work, and 500X has been advertising that availability for awhile, so maybe now the 500X can afford to replace some of the burnt-out lamps along the northern edges of the ceiling upstairs.

I didn't know if that was someone's job, and they procrastinated it till too late opening night, or just did not notice — or care. I might not have registered it myself, except I photographed most of the long set of work one-by-one down the line, and there were sudden noticeable darkenesses. But that surely should have been seen to before I got there.

We weren't early, just a tad after on-time.

Down 500's Stairs -  - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

Down 500X's Front Stairs

Not many people, I assume because it was early, almost still light out. I prefer early, so I can see and photograph the art, and not get socially mobbed when I need to be thinking whether to photo some and not others and why. Especially difficult to determine is always why one piece speaks to me, and others don't.

Bunim Kim - Rosa - Image Copyright 2017 JRCompton.com  All Rights Reserved

Bunim Kim   Rosa (Eden)   thread and acrylic on wood panel   2017   $3200

Which brings us back downstairs to Expo's Texas-based artists again. This too-nearly informally displayed show was so much more alive and interesting than Craighead Green's latest New Texas Talent. I've seen several of Kim's exquisite threaded works, and I am still impressed every time I see a new one. Yum. Next time I'll get even closer.

Dario Bucheli - untitled

Dario S. Bucheli  untitled  acrylic and oil on canvas  3027  $400

So nice in so many physical and metaphysical and stopped and in-motion ways .…

And it and Bunim Kim (scrolling up this page) have such different takes on the neo geo that rages still through art circles and squares. But I liked this and wanted to see more. So I looked him up online and learned from Ro2Art that he's a grad from my alma mater, the U of Dallas in hillsome east Irving, and I think I can see the metaphysics at work in his art.

Dare I say a spirituality? But then I see the Holy Ghost in all the best abstraction. Especially if it seems to be moving.

And there's a smallish bunch more of his work that I really like on Saatchi Art and here, too.

Teresa Larabee - Blasted

Teresa Larrabee  Blasted!  stoneware, flashing slip, ^10 soda-fired  2016  NFS

You'd think this must be original, but I've seen David Kluksartis' sculptures in one of the smaller upstairs studios on the west end of The Continental Gin Building not far from 500X but closer to downtown Dallas. He does some of the same sorts of things with angry old men — and he has been doing them for years and years. But he doesn't mock just chess — and …

The juror probably hadn't seen Kluksartis' work, either. And she probably saw a context of others of Larrabee's work.

There's a Continental Gin autumn Open House coming up 6-10 pm October 20 and 2-8 pm October 21, so I'll check.

Ross Faircloth - Uncanny Valley

Ross Faircloth   Uncanny Valley   gelatin-silver print   2017   $500

I can't make visual sense of this mélange of materials — what's that stuff on top up to? But I'm pretty sure it's a range of mountains intersticed with objects and textures I cannot yet fathom. I don't like that feeling, but I felt impelled to place it on this page with those others that mostly I do.

Now I'm wondering if it's hung upside-down on purpose — or maybe just parts. A lot of photographs would benefit from that simple act.

There was one other showing in the one other project space downstairs. Of and by, it looked like, a show of work by a Black woman painter, that I was embarrassed to be in. All the same-looking Black women smiling huge vapid smiles in beachwear colors. Sitting there staring back at me with the same big smile on all of them.

I probably should have photographed them all smiling at me, but I didn't want to promote them.

Maybe the artist's intention was to make Whitey nervous, but there didn't seem to be that much intention apparent. When I was in that room, I was alone, and I didn't see anyone go in after I left. I'm mostly White, and when I spoke with another White person about it, I understood when they said they didn't want to be in there long. Another small shop-like installation. Not sure what they were selling, and I assume they paid for the experience. But to what end?

Not that making White People nervous is not a good thing…


My first art story in a long, long time, even if there's hardly any words.
The Editor, is after all, mostly a photographer, and he thinks he thinks in pictures.
For this story to look as it was designed, you may need to widen the window on your computer to about 1366 pixels.
But then everything else will look silly…

agalleryconversationabout the show calledNanCoulterSeptember14,2017

front desk shoes etc image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/Yellow Bag image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

invitational talk for an existential art (photography) show by Nan Coulter at Goss-Michael Foundation

barefeet n sandalsimage Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/red bag discussion

this photographer's mind, then body, wandered. And I kept seeing & photographing shoes and feet — and fashion.

tripodimage Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/black shoes white sandals image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

I saw colors and textures and shapes and forms. Some of them connected. The stuff of photography.

questions image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/nan n profile image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

I'd been photographing people. some of them had Questions …

Watching image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/tennys swash image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

… and some had answers and most of them had shoes … a few even had fashion … and  Quin Matthews had his video camera.

Fingers Door image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/pinky image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

David Quadrini and Frances Bagley and Nan Coulter and Justine Ludwig at the front desk under The Two Georges and Nan's photo of the famous painting of famous faces and artists and costumes she photographed with a bright light reflecting from outside . At least twice Coulter listed a long litany of famous people in the painting

smile image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/front under image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

laughing and talking and shoes and shoes and shapes and shapes and colors and artists … I recorded most of it, so I had lots more words, but you really had to have been there.

White Purse image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/camera image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/


girls image Copyright 2017 JRCompton  DallasArtsRevue.com/

1366x768 pixels

I'm guessing the point of this story was What people wear to openings and art discussions.

I asked Goss-Michael how long the show would be up, but I got no reply. Maybe this was The Grand Closing…



How to Publicize Your Work
 by J R Compton

I keep getting publicity from artists who don't know how to publicize their work.

I don't always write back, but lately I've tried a time or two, and it's been difficult to convince young and/or inexperienced artists to include pictures of their work in email or other invitations. Especially those who've just got out of grad school and are full of gradspeak, so their promo is full of long, obscure text.

I keep telling them what I learned in Journalism 101 and other classes and experiences through my career as a writer, rewriter, PR Guy, Photographer, and art critic — since 1965.

First, and foremost, answer the Big W questions:
Who, What, When, Why and Where.

Who is probably you. Use the name you intend to keep using for decades — that nobody in your area — or anybody already famous — is already using. If someone famous is already using your name, change yours slightly, use a middle name or initial or a nick-name.

What is likely an art show, but it could be an opening of some business or just about anything, really, where they want to show your art.

When is a starting time and date and an ending time and date. If there's a reception, that's an important when.

Why probably doesn't always need to be answered, and if you try, it may get jiggy fast.

Where is wherever your art will be shown. Don't just list the name of the space. Include an address — and if it's complex there, where to park. Even a phone number or email address might help. And when it will be open for viewing..

Who, What, When, Where and Why can be stated as simply as:

Artist's work is in Art Show, opening 7-10pm, day, month and year.

The more complex you make that statement, the less likely anybody will read or understand it. Keep it in its own paragraph above everything else except the picture(s).

Include the year date, so when you look back at the poster, flyer, email or whatever decades from now, you'll know when it really was.

Whom you send emails and/or postcards or letters to, will probably already know what year it is, but it doesn't hurt to spell it out. It may even seem a little more important with a year date on it.

After you've safely and precisely answered the Who, What, When & Where questions, you can add a small pile Art BS, if you just gotta. But don't expect anyone to read, understand or care about it.

And that's all.

What I keep seeing instead, is lots of words and no, or nearly no pictures. Too often, if I see any pictures, they are in black & white. If you paint, sculpt or make art in color, show those colors off every chance you get. Those colors, lines and shapes are what make your art different from anybody else's. Color is more memorable than gray.

On the Internet and in Email, color is free. Use it.

Get somebody who already knows what they are doing to photograph your work. If you can't find or afford someone or even if you can, read — and heed the details in my How to Photograph Art — Or Just About Anything Else. Last time I had a hit-counter on it several years ago, it had garnered more than 210,000 international visits.

Pay special attention to their pictures of art. Are they in sharp focus, and are their corners square?

My How to Photograph Art story is long and involved, because it covers many possibilities. Pay attention to the details that pertain to you and your art. You don't need a studio or an expensive camera to start. You may not even need lights.

But you will probably need a tripod. Borrow one, if you have to. Have whoever owns it show you how to use it. It's important.

Make sure that every time anybody sees your art, that your pictures are directly associated with your name. When your art hangs in an art space or gallery, it's best to put your name, title, dimensions and price, on a white, typewritten card to the right and alligned to the bottom of the frame.

Some places cheap-out and save space by putting your information in the shadow of the frame directly under each work, where they will have to lean down to see it. You may not have any control over placement. But at least ask.

Make sure they can see and read your name, the title, price, mediums, size in inches — height first, then width, and if it has any, depth last, even if it's just a couple inches. And how you can be reached. Email is better than a phone number (shudder) or a home address.

Unless you've already got a gallery — so you have professional help pricing your work, keep your prices lower than you expect them to rise to later. Make sure you get enough from one sale to buy more paint or whatever you need to make more art. Even if you don't sell anything, keep making more art.

What you really want is for somebody — anybody, really — to look at your work. And remember your name.

It will likely not mean to them what you think it means to you. So filling the space you could be using to make your images bigger, with words describing your art is a waste of both your and their time. Do what you do best. Make art, and make sure your art or color pictures of your art (with your name close by) get seen.

If you put at least two, different samples of your best work, in every piece of PR (public relations — press releases — postcards, notices on community art lists in newspapers, radio or tv stations), whoever sees or reads it will have a better notion of whether your art will be worth their time or attention.

Not everybody will like or find it interesting.

If, instead, you lay Art Speak all over them and skip the pix, they may not understand a word. Most of us don't understand art gibberish anyway. But we all understand pictures. And pictures in color move us.

See also:

How to Start Showing Your Work
How to Design & Distribute an Invitational Postcard and
How to Photograph Art — Or Just About Anything Else


All websites are either being updated or have been abandoned. There really is no other state. Until October 2017, this site has been abandoned for about eleven months. Though it feels like longer. But I've been cranking it back up lately.

The first to go was The Calendar, which I loved having, but gradually learned to procrastinate making it happen. So I hired someone else to do it, promising that she'd get full command of it. Then I found some mistakes and odd features I'd always loved (but that probably didn't make much sense to other people.) missing, and I took it over without telling her, then tried to give it back as I'd changed it. So she abandoned it, and I very nearly abandoned this whole site, which, essentially, was based on info in The Calendar.

There's not a week goes by I don't miss opening it up to see what shows might be interesting to see.

Over the decades I've done DallasArtsRevue, first printed in ink on paper, later in full color online, I've had days, weeks, months and years of art ennui so bad I didn't want to face DallasArtsRevue again. But I often miss it. Especially lately & now.

I had a particularly pertinent conversation with someone intelligent very recently, and he insisted that Dallas still needs DallasArtsRevue. I knew it was needed it when I started it in 1979, and there weren't any, really, others around and again when I revivified it online just into this century (after the DARE debacle put me off dealing with art and artists and "art organizers" for several years), then there was a lot of movement (Finally, I thought.) to create other publications that sold lots of ads and kept coming out regularly. But those are different — and significantly less than, to my jaded vision.

I was never very good at selling advertising, although Allison (then Trammell) was very good at it when she tried it with DallasArtsRevue. She was, in fact, so good at it, she and the late Bob Trammell started their own organization for literature and poetry, which has since become much more active and is still called WordSpace.

Lately, we've been attending art openings again, and some of those, I find I have things I want to say about, but just a few things, and I haven't strung words and ideas enough to make whole stories of. So I haven't started.

Now again I shall…


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