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See my big, new story about the new The MAC —>
ON THIS PAGE UnArt Downtown Tim Harding & Other Neo_Geos on the Levee Margaret Ratelle and Diana Antohe prints at the Bath House Anti-Depressant by Marty Van Kleek It'll Do Walls, Yellow Tube & Dragons Candis Wheat: A Life Drawing Barry Whistler's 30th anniversary and Ro2's new Cedars Space but The Ervay Street Contemporary essay isn't ready. 500X's 2016 College Expo competition 10 artists in 7 spaces: Bryson Davis Jones, Isaac Smith, Kenda North, Dan Rizzie, David Searcy, Celia Eberle, Denise Brown, Sharon Kopriva & Abhi Ghuge 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 See also the David McManaway Estate Sale on its own page.
Wandering Around Finding Art
even where it might not be.
Kinda like It's really all art, except it's not. But these are:
Marty Van Kleek Anti-Depressant colored paper
mobile for the reception table for the opening of the Outsides The Lines Exhibition
At the Bath House to kill time, maybe look at some art, I was surprised when Performing Arts Coordinator Marty Van Kleeck. whom I'd mostly known for her smile and presence at the Bath House Cultrural Center where I'd pass her office and sometimes say "hi," invited me in. I often converse with Enrique around the corner from there — unless he looks way too busy, which he often is. Marty was working on an electric blue peacock with real peacock feathers. We both enjoyed our sit-down, and I don't know how long we just talked. When she had to run errands in the center or answer a phone or talk with someone peeking in the door, I surveyed all that I could see, including this subtle, small piece hanging from a pipe from the ceiling that maay not be quite as colorful as I've made it here. I'd have to go back and look.
I like the lilting quality of the informal danglies. Looks hand-made and simple, but I admired its complexity, dripping string textures and utter disregard for formality. I think I photographed it when she was busy with something else, leaving me to wander around her office admiring pillows and other objects that didn't make as much an impression.
Then I revisited this show to revisit this:
Margaret Ratelle Roses Spit bite, chine-collé
I'd already seen this show, was there at the crowded opening. But there were some prints I really wanted to see again, because I'd been thinking about them ever since. First two were by Margaret Ratelle, whose work I've often admired. I have one of hers I bought when she was moving out of her space at the Continental Gin some years ago. That was $5, so it doesn't begin to match the exquisiteness of this one or her others in this show, but this one haunts my reverie, as someone has sung. There were some reflections in it, but I did my best to accurately reproduce it here. Making it smaller increases the contrast some, and I'm not sure that red is rendered perfectly, but it's almost as lush as here.
The show had a lot of bright colors, some rendered well. But this one floats in my memory, so I had to go back and photograph it right.
Diana Antohe Tongue Twister watercolor on etching
In a gallery of bright, steaming colors and strong shapes, subtle comes to play, and I remember. That, and this were small enough there was a place I could stand and get it mostly upright where bright reflections of the lights don't interefere. I like also that try as I might, I don't find anything solid here. References to shapes only. In the middle might be a face. Or might not.
Two artists who work in subtlety. One color bold and contrast, this time. The other fine-drawn a little abstract, delicate and unerstated. I still like the red one better, but there's more than a little to get lost in the off-white and lilac abstraction.
Timothy Harding 2015 acrylic on canvas 44 x 38 x 9 inches
Geo-Neo The slump look:
I've known Houston-born Fort Worthian Tim — or Timothy — 's work since I first found his wadded paper pieces upstairs in the art building at TCU during an opening of what we called "The AiM show" but the women's group who sponsored it and almost everybody else called Art in the Metroplex, one of the lilting few competitive exhibitions for North Central Texas fine artists. It has in the last couple years been being continued, but I wonder how well. I've got in nine times and would really like to make it an even ten.
During downtimes, I'd wander the hallways upstairs where student artists studio and hang work in the hall. AiM was a small show held in the little gallery downstairs at the J.M. Moudy building near the top of the hill up University from the turnpike from Dallas, where The East begins.
Terry Hays and I curated him into our Cura! Cura! Cura! at the Bath House show a couple years ago, so we got to watch him think one work from pieces in a box to a wall-full of third dimension. Nobody knew what it'd look like, because it hadn't been done yet, although I assume he had some ideas. Pieces like this one make me happy I've seen him work that out staring at it and off into space. Then it was. I wonder how long this one took, although there few enough of them, I can imagine what the pieces looked like before.
I like it for its slumped lump look loosely caught and brought from flat. Part painting but more parts sculpture. Wouldn't that set off a big subtle wall somewhere. It wasn't on a gallery wall when I saw and photographed it while wandering the back rooms and storage spaces I have long had permissions to explore. The more third-dimensional his work gets, the more I appreciate it. And it's so nice to see him circling back through and into the tried and true third dimension. I wonder if somebody bought it. I hope so. Lucky them.
I've been thinking how some artists hang with an idea till they've thoroughly and completely wrung every possible permutation out of it, find more in a dream or dissociation. Then where do they go? How long does it take to find a new train of thought to hobo along on?
Tim seems to be being chased by grids. Everywhere he goes, there they are. I wonder if he still doodles or marks on paper and wads them up.
One of Several Shipping Crates in the back of Cris Worley Gallery
I don't know if they are Timothy Hardings, but they should be.
I think these fit perfectly in the oeuvre, though mostly monochromatic and dimensional into the third. Tracking Tim through the net, I found a CV that actually listed "Cura, Cura, Cura "Curated by Terry Hays, artist; JR Compton, writer." Many of the artists I've curated into a full Baker's Dozen shows I've produced, so far, don't list in online CVs. I guess they were only practice. Another surprising Cura Cura Cura reference was my story on this copyrighted website on Cris Worley Gallery's site, where after the first 20 paragraphs, somebody went nutso with underlining the last dozen 'graphs. You'd think somebody would notice.
But at least it's got the DallasArtsRevue logo on every page and my photographs, small, of Tim's work. I hope you can all see that I'm posting full copyright notices on his work in this column. I usually don't do that our of defernce to the artists, but some people do not want to believe that everything on anybody's website in America is automatically copyrighted t them. Some people need a little reminder. 11 points 333•••
Warren Isensee Solid State 2012 oil on canvas 42 x 60 inches
Next door, at Holly Johnson's, more neo geo in Warren Isensee's work that drew me down to the levee. Do you sense a pattern here. I had to go soon as I saw this image in the CAD monthly e-promo or somewhere. Vivid like supe- real only abstract, and the sites I visited with his name say he doesn't use tape. His and more geo neo. I sought a residence or birth city and found instead a lovely page-turning portfolio on blurb that says he was born in Asheville, North Carolina and lives in NYC — on more than one site. These are my photographs of his work on the walls at Holly Johnson.
Kinda like looking at the edges, and having the corners visible where he turned the brush like a farmer plowing a field in Solid State, letting the canvas show through the edges. Nice touch.
Warren Isensee Intuition Well 2012 oil on canvas 26 x 26 inches
I was only vaguely aware that Harding was showing at Cris Worley this week, but it was New Yorker Isensee's eye-popping geo-neo paintings that I was excited enough about attending that got me there. I've been day-dreaming and night-thinking about artists who start up with a simple idea then carry it on over years and years, lile Tim Harding has and is. I've written before about the challenging changes artists and their work go through over the years as they mature and and their work ripens. The Iffy Progress of Altering Style is one of my favorites of stories on this site.
After mangling the new The MAC story and its long and involved trail down that gargantuan page, I've been thinking that once I used to could write pretty good art-crit. I could have writ a half dozen of these with maybe twice that many artists included in the month or so I wasted on that. Pretty pictures half worth the trip..
Eyeball with Crane and Construction
Anna and I were driving down this street heading for art somewhere that wasn't there, but we both saw art here. She liked the crane in the windows. I liked the dark — green, I think — fence around the eyeball. We'd just had or were about to, I don't really remember, an evening of chasing art show opening that wouldn't open for at least another week. Both contributing to the confusion, although that's usually my job. I like the way the individual windows on the biggest building shatters the edifices behind me leaning out the window of The Slider takin this.
It'll Do's Playbill Writ Large
I liked the sentiment in another wall that stated in tiny all-cap letters, "Sour Grapes Kills," then in very large but rather ordinary outlined yellow cartoony script, "Booty Fade." that I liked the words but not the execution, so it doesn't quite deserve placement hee. Here, I like the figures but find the headliners kinda tedious. If the artist's not somebody's brother-in-law, maybe next time they can find a more vivid painter. Deep Elm, way back down Ellum toward downtown is crawling with them.
Seems like I recall the paint gets redone between all my visits but I only go through that neighborhood when we're going to the Shamrock Hotel's annual opening, which i what we were expecting this time, only it would be the next weekend.
Another, Funkier Wall at the It'll Do Club
This looks like it just happened, unplanned. But it's my favorite of the walls, and it looks especially nice set off behind that white-bottomed black pole and horizontal parking bump between the stripes. No Trespassing, huh? It might be too late. .
Yellow and Amber
Twenty-five years ago and more, when I was still shooting film, I loved to photograph big tubes and hoses all surreal in construction and reconstruction of new and older buildings, often downtown. Something about them attracts me, although when I was very young, dark pipes would follow me in nightmares till I woke my parents up and the dreams dissipated. I shot this crooked, over my shoulder, then straightened it out for here, only then noticing all the attendent yellows. Nice brown and gray and green and white against the yellows — amber, tungsten and brown, even if I was only after the tube. I like the black and the white cars in the big middle of the image, as if thse vivid cylinders were real.
The Solo Dagon
This then I shot months ago, and I've since seen one other, much less decorous but otherwise similar place somewhere else in DFW. In Irving, I think. But this one on the other side of the river (then grown way out of its usual path) in western West Dallas takes the cake. I shot these late last December expecting I'd use them on a page like this , then I never got around to it. Birds I do at least three times a week, sometimes every day. But dragons … ? I'm never quite sure what to do with dragons.
The Five-headed Dragon
I'm sure the five in five dragon heads has something to do with the religion, for surely this was a church or church complex, although I didn't see anybody, including anybody wearing religious outfits, and all I kept seeing was dragons.
A Solo Dagon
I'm more cuirous about these decorations and the beliefs I assume they represent, but I'm more into them as objects, but I wonder about those, too.
Black-wrapped Sculpture somewhere faintly familiar in sight of Downtown
Then, back in 2005, when internet pictures were small, because modems weren't built in but they were terribly slow, so images were small. I did these I don't think I ever used.
No idea what building this is or was. I shot this and the previous two way far back in March 2005. I don't think I ever posted them, and I wonder why I am now, but I'd like to keep doing them. Here or some other page.
Candis Wheat: A Life Drawing
at Brookhaven College's Atrium Gallery through April 1, 2016
Directions: The Atrium Gallery is directly behind the front wide main building that faces the sea of parking on the Valley View side of campus. Park close, in P4, P3 or P2 — if you can — and walk up the central sidewalk through parallel sets of doors in the front, through the narrow building, and out back through a light courtyard, and it's the little building on the left (with the campus police). When I wrote my obituary for Candis, Ray-Mel Cornelius wrote an addendum, most of which is particularly apt for this show he curated at Brookhaven College's Atrium gallery.
Candis Wheat untitled pastel on paper 18 x 13 inches
circa 1990 from the Ray-Mel Cornelius Collection
“Mostly she dashed off drawings in whatever media was within reach on scraps of paper. She was not at all precious about what she did. The Pieta has the same kind of expressive human empathy I found in her most offhand scribbles. It also represents the fugitive nature of everything she did. Her art was personal observations of everyday life, executed quickly on whatever was at hand, so archival concerns weren't in the mix. Candis always seemed surprised that anyone took note of them.” — Curator Ray-Mel Cornelius
Of the painting above, Ray-Mel said, "I don't think it was intended as a self-portrait per se (She wouldn't say one way or the other.) But I've always thought it captured her more melancholy side.
Candis Wheat … untitled
There's one other, similarly dark head and shoulders portrait, both of which I understood were 'models' for one of Harrison's commercial jewelry shoots, which accounts for their difference from anything else in this show. I'm not sure it sells the jewelry as well as it does her multidirectional talent, but it's impressive. These images are presented in very nearly the order I photographed them, left to right around the gallery, starting left on the opposite wall as we enter.
Candis Wheat … untitled
I chuckled aloud when I grasped the sense of this picture, and I do almost every time I see it here. And I deeply wonder what brought it about. After repeated viewings, I didn't even mind the harsh splatter of light on it. These are my favorites, but YMMV. I tried to vary the rhythm down the page.
Candis Wheat When my grandmother died
Pencil lines here, not always sure but eloquent with careful bits of gentle tone. The closer I look, the more hints of smudge. Between her legs, in the red sash around her waist trailing into umber, like the darker shadows under her hair and arm. No other real color except drips and stains. Other subtle splatters of shadow here and there, and the flower. Odd, the shape of her head, the nose line continuing down through her lips and back into her thin neck. This feels like a quick sketch but careful in her details. Four fingers on one hand, a fist scrawl on the other.
Candis Wheat Groundhog Day 02 02 03
At least that's what I think might be a title line to this two-page spread. No two patches done in the same hand or density. The Southwest Premiere of Oswald's Ghost dated 2007; the page headlined 02 02 03. Nice contrast of colors and textures and tonal method. I like her gentle admonishment to herself, but I can't tell if other pages in this bound book have paste-ins, though I'm happy to have met this one, Lee Harvey and all. I'd like to turn pages, but I'm a little concerned about that covered-up dark smudge on the right edge, but it was in a glass case, and I really had only looking and photographing access.
Candis Wheat … untitled
This color riot is delicious. I also appreciate the blue framed nose and that pinned heart pinned, it appears, into her throat. And the contrast of uncontrolled colors at the right with subdued tones and softer scribbles on left. And now, staring at it, I see short fat strokes of vivid colors separating figure from ground. We see an attractive yet nearly shapeless woman but we empathize — and could almost dance to the colors.
Candis Wheat A Poor White Girl
I have to wonder what took a bite out of the yellow pad, but even I identify with the sentiment.
Candis Wheat Kitty Kitty
When I get a new camera, the first person I always photograph is my cat. They're usually around and are generally willing models. These colors seem utterly experimental and expressive. A wonderful mess.
Candis Wheat three cats and two dogs
I assume something like The Museum Putty holds these to the wall. I like the gathering and Candis' willingness to draw on anything available when the need arose. I know she worked various jobs, and I think I remember she worked at Blue Cross, where she made a game of collecting names that were oddly funny or strange.
Candis Wheat Holiday Fun
Deep irony in this self-portrait. I knew her right away — although I guess it could be her mother, but those who attended only might have know this was she. Few people in her work are identified. There's rarely dates I seek to understand where each fits in her history. She didn't care, so we will probably never know.
Candis Wheat self-portrait
This may have been the perfect choice for the invitation. Nearly raw scrawls below grow careful up from her throat. Her hair, barely sketched, becomes a blue and black scribble storm, lending stability. Her head and face soft, gentle, beautiful, though the nose tip may have got a away from her. The glasses, if an afterthought, perfect in crayoned red. I suspect it is her drawing from a serious but gentle place. Those anxious black blues so similar to the redhead [above] and, less so or calmed, the smudges in the portrait of Harrison below.
As usual, we don't know dates, but these are the important people, herself and Harrison — and the Cinco de Mayo piece [above], is dated 1999. So it's at least possible they might have been created then, though I am grasping at straws.
Candis Wheat portrait of Harrison
He could be sleeping. Maybe posing — and tired from it — I know that condition. — although I assume she's who tore it — not sure before or after the portrait. I wonder when she tore the page, and I apologize for the shadow down and right. I know it's not part of the painting, but when I try to correct things actually there, even if the artist didn't put them, it always screws up. I want this perfect, because these, with her oft-wrinkled and folded portrait above, are the best pieces in an amazing gentle little show.
untitled ink on legal pad paper by Candis Wheat
I like letting Candis end it with her quick variation on a Bronx Cheer. Whenever I wasn't watching the art on the walls of that little, hallway gallery, I liked standing in front of the big video on the right of the main gallery wall absorbing many more of her artworks than the walls could hold. Good job, Ray-Mel.
30 at Barry Whistler Gallery
Lawrence Lee Boksers 2016 graphite, ink and tea stains on paper
29 x 29 inches $4,250
30 celebrates Barry Whistler Gallery's 30th year. Though this image may not be classically beautiful, it certainly has impact. Stunning. Lovely, a knock-out punch for the show. Which itself was spare and lovely. Lots of great images, though I'm only showing you the spare few that really captured my attentions. I'd hoped to link to BW's site, but it hasn't been updated this year.
Andrea Rosenberg Untitled 42.15 2015 mixed media on paper 52 z 42 inches
I really worked at getting rid of the reflections on this one, and it's almost there, but … It is, like so many earlier Rosenbergs I have fallen for in years and decades past, exquisite, and so much more so in massive real life, bright and brilliant white behind major-reflecting glass (or plex) creating major and minor reflections from windows out and framed work in the gallery. All contrasting the luscious dark lines and smears. Lovely just to contemplate.
Ann Stautberg 12-1-12, P.M., 2016 "archival ink on giclée print on canvas" 73 x 55 inches unique
Exquisite? sure. Like so many of her lush, mostly monochromatic scenes with hints of color that take over, there's a story being told but a dark and quiet one that bears repeating. Then that very odd description of the archival ink that comprises this print. See Giclée to understand this odd re-redundancy and its peculiar use of the French. Maybe we should just call them squirt prints.
Tom Orr Zephyr 2016 powder-coated steel, Plexiglas 70 x 55 x70 inches
In any show, I almost always fall for the Tom Orr, here marrying a metal grid bent in and out intersticing a plex plane with its own reflections. Simple, elegan,t gentle to contemplate, maybe even all four dimensions — height, width, depth and time I always find worth exploring. Nice stand and this image the best I could think of to do with that window.
& a duo show @ the New Ro2
This was to run with my new Mac story, but it's not ready.
Outside Ro2 on the Corner of Ervay and Sullivan
According to D Magazine, "The MAC will take up the majority [of the space in the tan building above] — "about 4,500 sq. ft., of the bottom floor of the main building with Ro2 occupying the rest. Inside the MAC, the area will be divided into three gallery spaces." The clean, well-lighted space of the new Ro2 is quite the contrast from the dark and dingy MAC down the street draped with Christmas lights. It was pleasant and comfortable in Ro2, where a crowd quickly gathered, few of whom dared into the darkness beyond.
inside the Ro2 Gallery Space with Or and Or at front middle in gray and deep dark brown coats
In a much nicer space inside and out — it actually has walls, than The current MAC, first new show in their new space was pleasant and colorful. I'm hoping they'll park their neon logo in the blanked-over front window.
Scott Winterrowd New Mexico Wildfire at the Inaugural exhibition at Ro2 Ervay
There were other varieties of art in Scott Winterrowd and Sonali Khatti's show, but none so graphically bold and involving as his fires, here running amok in rural New Mexico and in deeply ironic other places like Stuckey's along the highways almost in our rear-view mirrors exploding into flames. Laugh-out-loud worthy images I can't not claim not to have imagined myself. Great fun, but this was his best.
Sonali Khatti Moment of Clarity
More landscapes somewhat abstracted. Deep colors and gentle textures.
500X’s 2016 College Expo — of
Monsters, Stripes, Dots + Tones
Reyna Flores Itzcuintil 2015 wood scraps, house paint, screws, pastel on hardboard $575
First, a note: If you put your art behind glass, you're likely to protect it from some elements — and endanger it from others, but your work will usually not find its way to this site. I really liked Kayce Denkhaus' Disparate Devotion inkjet photo print of a rough-looking African Gospel Church with extended line-art daydreams of cathedral grandeur, but I could not find a vantage to see or photo it without reflections from the ceiling, far side of the room, windows, door or me in the glass over it. From its black & white photo, grows a pen drawing of a mightier cathedral, drawn with a fat steeple bent back and to the right. But unusable here for all its reflections.
This piece is lovely, rough with subtly colorful textures raw to the elements, it would be lost behind glass. It's up here, because it's probably my first favorite image in this varied show of often remarkable pieces from college students in Texas. The 2016 College Expo: Raw Talent juried by Ariel Saldivar, more about whom, here. I also visited upstairs, which is a whole different, solo show that I just couldn't get into, but the work downstairs was often remarkable.
Angel Mitchell Orikata I 2015 oil on panel 2015 $4,000
Probably the piece I thought and worried and most concerned myself about, which eventually gave way to enjoyment of the puzzle, its placement and joy in it for all its difficulty — was this flaggish explosion of stripes, colors and other repeating patterns. It's flat like an oil painting, but from any angle, photographs of it look like parts of it are sagging or flapping in the breeze.
It's under and across from the back stairs in a place one cannot back off far enough to see — or photograph — straight or whole, even with my usual art lens, a 24-70mm zoom equivalent. I tried to click it across the face of it, panoramic-style, barely getting its height in, then pieced its pano segments, but that looked as wrong as this does. Although the colors here are just about right, it's actually much wider, and it's that length that made it difficult to hang anywhere else at 500X.
Back when I still considered it a curatorial affront, I asked Sculptor Bill Bridges who gallery-sat that Saturday afternoon, whether whoever placed this show — the curator — had got permission from the artist to hang it there. No answer, but the more I thought about its placement predicament, the more I liked just where it was, if one was willing to see it at all — or notice it back there on the way to the bathroom. The back wall up the stairway itself used to be notorious, because that's where 500Xers placed work they deemed unoteworthy in the X's annual Open Show.
A few years ago, I had the joy of placing a similarly difficult, long, wide painting there myself at the 500's 35th Anniversary Exhibition, in 2013. That piece, however, was a triptych, each of whose tychs were discernible, different enough and adjacent, so although it did comprise a group of elements, not being able to stand back from them did not cause the consternation this one might. Eventually, I concluded that it was almost a gift to put it there, because I'd offered the piece to a anniversary show of old members well after the deadline..
Madison Samas The Neighborhood Only Lives at Night
I usually don't go for Monsters in Monsterland kind of art, popular as it has been in the last few years, I assume because someone more famous somewhere has got away with it bigtime — or we all like it anyway, but I like this scene of typical Middle-Class Suburbia, dripping with monster sauce (blood, I assume; it is kinda brownish) and inhabited with Nightmare Creatures like the guy on the right.
Madison Samas The Neighborhood Only Lives at Night detailI especially like this figure who might have come from the movie, The Fifth Element, from which flick I've seen several local art outtakes, and generally appreciate them. Monsters are guys (rarely gals, although there doesn't seem to be any movement toward including them) we more appreciate if we've seen them before, and once we get to know them, we find they're just like us, mostly. Maybe a little too much like us.
Joy Ellis My Fickle Memories of You
This was one of a equi-spaced collection of box-like protrusion involving eight protruding, third-dimensional squares with drawings and splats of paint extending from its photographs. Took awhile to decide this was the best of the bunch, but it had a lot of competition. I still remember my grandmother insisting that clouds aren't blue, but we know better.
Joelle Nagy Saint Teresa 2015 oil on canvas $700
I looked at this one, considered its juxtapositioning of Disney and Santa Teresa, then giggled out loud — another nice thing about attending art shows other than at their official openings, when the X is usually blessedly spare of crowds.
Lillian M. Young Twisted Tail 2015 oil paint $375
This one's label actually states "Oil Pain," but perhaps we see bits of an updated Cinderella with tennis shoes and two-tone Roy Lichtensteinian Cinderella gloves and an already-bitten apple. Not sure what those other objects are, but liked the story that far, all neatly arranged on a lavender blue floor.
Yuni Lee Syzygy 2015 mixed media on paper $350
I remember that word from intelligence and other tests in highschool, and just last week it reentered my mind after too long to remember what it meant, so I promised myself I'd look it up, then forgot. "A conjunction of opposition, especially of the moon with the sun; a pair of connected or corresponding things, as in a diptych, which this could become, because I know Lee has other similar undulating swoops. I remembered the last instance of Lee's work near the bottom of the previous Art Here Lately page.
Ricardo Orozco Niños 2015 $900
I don't know this movie, but at least it's racially mixed, with larger people above, while on the red rug below, littler people do littler things one almost has to squint to see or understand, though I can't claim to know. Strong colors, shapes and personalities and a big blue couch, where neither full-bodied nor partials seem happy. It's a memorable image, whether we want to or not.
Detail of right-most of Grant Alan Kreizenbeck's sculpture triptych
will to be, will of me, will to do 2015 steel, copper, plastic, fiber $9,800
I almost liked this one — at least it was pleasant to photograph. I thought I'd shot the tall threesome from the upper level, looking dramatically out toward the front door, but I can't find that image. Objects placed in The Pit, just inside the X's big dark rusted steel door, are often considered the best in the show by whomever places them there, but I don't think that of these Wookie-esque monsters.
I guess it was easy to photograph, and looks good-enough up close, but at any distance it was just embarrassing. I had to wonder whether they'd be better placed at the bottom of the back steps and hanging Angel Mitchell's Orikata here, from the ceiling.
*As I subheaded in my immensely popular How to Photograph Art page [that had garnered more than 200,000 hits when my webhost, the so-called Dream Host yanked the hit-counteres it had provided, without notice], "the best way to photograph art behind glass, is to remove the glass."
Board of Directors
Reviewing 2 painters, 5 sculptors, 1 photographer, 1 printmaker and 1 author @ 7 Dallas art spaces
artists reviewed : Bryson Davis Jones Isaac Smith Kenda North Dan Rizzie David Searcy Celia Eberle Denise Brown Sharon Kopriva Abhibnya Ghuge
Bryson Davis Jones - Arbitrary Chemistry at Craighead Green January 9 through February 13, 2016
Bryson Davis Jones Mountain Spirits oil on canvas 60 x 72 inches $5,600
I'd seen these large paintings while walking back to the info desk at Craighead Green and was impressed, but I didn't want to get involved till I found out if Bryson Davis Jones was from around here, and not just some big-time art guy from out of town. I told Assistant Director Scot Presley some of what I'd been thinking while watching these colorful abstractions, "They're like what I sometimes try to do with my photography — make what's real abstract by honing in on the spaces and details … very architectural."
He told me Jones was studying architecture, and I said I could see it. Could almost feel the painter's understanding of things linear, spatial and flow. Turns out, Jones has a BS in Architecture from UTA, thus his work qualifies as Here Lately. So I carefully photographed his paintings, my two favorites of which are these.
I like, too, about this one is that it looks like a painting leaning on a wall in a gallery. And that painting curves back slightly at the top left of what might have been a corner, while extending left from its surface is that jet black strut reaching toward the slightly glossy blank wall beyond. To put my mind at ease that it really was all only a large, rectangular painting, I checked with my original, pre-cropped image, which casts a corner shadow on the wall under the bottom left of this image. Sometimes, it's fun to be fooled.
Bryson Davis Jones Have You Seen My Lithium oil on canvas 48 x 48 inches $3,200
This reminds me of a brightly-colored water tank I photographed decades ago on film, except Jones has a deeper understanding of the round and deep, even if it's rendered nearly flat, girded-in near non-representational linearity with unified shape and almost perfect colors. We sense that third dimension without seeing shadows, except one under the high pink panel in the middle, and maybe that so subtle horizontal gray under the upper black. No other areas here are traditionally shaded, but that is enough.
Figure is sharply distinct; ground is streaky dull and soft. The interplay of lines and solids lets it fly. Jones goes beyond rendering the real, telling instead spatial stories with texture, tone and mixed color palettes.
Isaac Smith at Craighead Green
Isaac Smith HB8 wood 20 x 12 inches $800 (sold)
The real stars of many CG showings are almost hidden unless you're nosy, off in little rooms and walls of the hall down the right side of the gallery, where I often find big and little fauna by Isaac Smith and others. New ones are always a treat, and today there were several Isaacs I hadn't seen, including two treetops of bright little birds [above], some carefully colorful middle-sized birds and a big white cat.
Two more Isaac Smith Birds — unidentified
These were, as smaller Isaac Smith carvings often are there, unidentified and unpriced but worthy of perusal. No I.Ds, because these are in an informal and interim setting of pieces that come and go and sometimes come back again. I always look in CG's spacious art closets and johns down that hall, because there's almost always something wonderful. I've darkened the background in this shot, so we can see the colors better.
I peek in offices, too, to see what's special to the owners this time. At many galleries, bathrooms and the informal spaces around kitchenettes are the best places to find informal presentations of work by local artists — things somebody there really wants to look at often. Me, too.
big white cat by Isaac Smith
Here's a big white cat with a signature on its right back ankle. Small ears, big head, tree-trunk legs with grayed, knife-sharpened Number One Pencil toes. Lovely black-rimmed blue eyes, a thoroughly proper nose with a balanced sets of whiskery spots and little bits of organic red showing in ears and nose. Not to mention a rather magnificent set of gnarly teeth with tiny, matching thumbs.
Kenda North — Flora Aquatilis at Craighead Green, January 9 through February 13, 2016
Kenda North Bouquet #12 54 x 43 underwater photography $4,500
I fell and fell hard for North's floating people in what I remember as lose, shimmering clothing underwater, and her subtle, textured fabrics on mannikins in a store window, but though I like the pool glimmers behind those vividly natural colors, I missed her buoyant figures in flowing fabric, which I used to think held her work together. Here, in this busy composition, I like the static field of sparks and wiggly lines behind this blatantly strange bouquet and its refections in the under surface above.
Dan Rizzie — Prints, Collages, Monograph, at Barry Whistler through January 30, 2016
Dan Rizzie Empty Chair 2015 woodcut, relief, collage, chine colle
39.5 x 30 inches edition 3 of 24 $3,000 / $3,400 framed
The invitational postcard for Dan Rizzie at Barry Whistler is push-pinned to my bare wood wall, near where also hang fellow mythical creatures Icarus and Zozobra. It, too, is an outlined central figure surrounded by gently muted pastels and oddly-textured circles. Rizzie was the major artist in Dallas at one time — we even saw him liking Dewar's on billboards along our freeways, then he got too important for here and split, I still don't want to keep up with where.
Dan Rizzie M.L.R. 2015 relief, collage, chine colle
Nice that his work has and has not changed since those glory days. There is progression, of course, but likewise Rizzie's work still manifests that remarkable though sincere simplicity, usually of a central figure surrounded by more subtle textures and hints of colors, even when it goes all scribbly.
Dan Rizzie Little Tantric Bird 2015 collage, relief, digital 17 x 14 inches edition 27/30 $1,000 / $1,150 framed
The starker that simplicity, the more memorable the image. I like the stains, smudges, shapes and colors — and anything with a bird in it catches my attention, usually more briefly than these. I stared at these a long time alone in the gallery. So nice to commune with the art without the distractions of opening-night mobs.
David Searcy reads Shame and Wonder Essays at The Wild Detectives, January 14, 2016
David Searcy reading his latest book, Shame and Wonder Essays at The Wild Detectives for WordSpace
I arrived a half hour ahead, found a parking spot a few steps from the loud glowing colors of The Wild Detectives bar and book store on Eighth Street in Oak Cliff not nearly far enough from Bishop Street, did not tour the room or peruse the short, scattered stacks of books, but sat immediately in the middle of the front row, so I could take this photograph. And, as it turned out, talk briefly with David [above], Allison [below] and other interesting folk, like the retired SMU prof who sat next to me and had known Gerald Burns.
Following David Searcy's arcs and sparks of tangents off tangents in his reading and the oddly formal interview after — by a friend who knows him too well, asking long, complicated questions peppered with oblique references, which were answered with more of the same, verbally echoing farther and farther out. But I was entranced by the reading, which was intellectually stimulating, entertaining and dotted with deep human humor. These essays are places where every thing seems real and worthy of further thought.
I am enjoying reading this book, but when I ordered it for my Kindle Fire, Amazon promised an audio version read by the author, for not many more dollars "soon," and I'd love that. But when I went back a week later, audio mentions were gone. Sadness, although I understand Amazon rips authors off. I probably should have recorded his reading, so I could speak more intelligently about it here — since I haven't read that story yet. I used to think I was pretty good at lit crit but am less sure now.
Many of the book's essays comprise arrhythmic balances of long, winding thoughts and prose, brightly contrasting with terse, to-the-point sentences. Searcy's text is replete with oddly contradictory concepts, each in turn weighed and considered in baby-step thought progressions into intellectual leap-of-faith ideations. And like a classic author of yesteryear, he writes, edits and rewrites in longhand.
I like reading Searcy, because his stories feel like I think I think — a flat rock skipping across the known universe, though he almost always returns to the reality of the moment, if only till his next extrapolation — while I might still be out there, wondering where I am, and should I fire up the GPS, or just keep going? Searcy, I suspect, knew the way all along.
Now, after dozens of rewrites of this story I was up to having read 37% of the book, when Amazon took away the percentages. I like slow for this book. I want it to go on — but I haven't got to the essay he read, and I am still savoring his prose in the twilights before and after sleep and looking forward to the stories Allison told me about — about some of the men she's married, whom I also knew, liked and have written stories about, so that'll be a treat, and I'll try to remember to link the pertinent DallasArssRevue stories here.
When I bought this book, there were no Amazon reviews. Now there's 23, mostly awarding fewer than three stars. His other two books netted fewer, except for those who give it five, like I probably will. Amazon readers are not necessarily the brightest bulbs, or they would recognize intelligent new faction when they see it, but I've ordered Last Things for $0.01 with $3.99 shipping, and will give it a try, when I eventually finish this. (That 2002 novel arrived "as new" with a $2.99 price sticker on its spine, a poem Foreword by Gerald Burns and plenty large-enough text for my elder eyes.
I not only hadn't read Searcy before, I hadn't heard his name since my dear departed friend, Poet and Raconteur Gerald Burns recommended David to me 20 years ago. I should have connected long ago, but glad I finally did, and now I'm on WordSpace's mailing list — and even if many of their events are not of that much interest to me, I know there'll be more gems like this, and I'll happily attend — might even take pictures. But I hope it won't be quite this popular, because that little place was stuffed to the gills for David Searcy.
An Historic Tangent Linking Word Space, This Publication and Nonprofit Boards
I should mention that David Searcy's reading was produced by WordSpace, with which organization, as I kept thinking while waiting for him to start, DallasArtsRevue shares a little twist of history. Friend, Poet and Writer, the late Bob Trammel and his then-wife Photographer Allison Kraft were working with and for this rag back when it was printed on paper (1979 ~ mid-1990s). She sold ads (!), and he had been writing stories about his many artist friends who were on their way to becoming much more famous, almost since the beginning of DallasArtsRevue.
One day, they showed up at my house insisting I become a nonprofit organization. I never wanted to be published by anything but me (From the start, I claimed to be "fiercely independent.") and having already been on three non profit and too often non-compos mentis boards of directors, I knew not to trust them. But Bob & Allison were insistent, so I let them go try. Took them many months to report back that they'd instead five-oh-one (c) threed themselves as Word Space, and I was first pissed, then pleased.
For a few months, I did the website for another lit group whose name I do not recall, and [she] let me produce an online literary publication I called twIg — the internet in the middle of their initials, assuring me she'd not mess with my selections — "It's your baby, J R," she told me repeatedly. Then she stopped me when I when I declined some dreadful poetry by a member of her board — and, I seem to remember, I took all my unpaid work off the web. So she called my shrink, and he and I had a laugh. But excuse my digressions.
I'm joyed to have an intelligent lit-based org in Dallas. Early DallasArtsRevues on paper as well as it early online (still including my own online lit rag called Loop 12 that hasn't grown or changed since 2004) attempted lists and calendars of Dallas literary events as well as art, but local art was way enough already to keep me busy.
Celia Eberle — The Mythology of Love at Cris Worley, January 9 through February 13, 2016
Celia Eberle Love Me Two Times 2015 ceramic, acrylic, Howlite 18 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches $6,000
On first viewing, I was dismayed with rough edges and disrupted planes I expected to be elegant, smooth and tight. Perhaps I'd looked too eagerly forward to this show, because I so loved that last show. This one has its charm, but its upscale unsmoothness, dents and mars ganged up on me till for awhile I didn't want to write about it. But I liked the multi-blue-eyed cat and the color contrasts immensely.
Celia Eberle Altar 2015 ceramic, wood, music box mechanism 16 x 6.75 x 17.25 inches $6,000
Then I settled down, viewed and re-viewed my other photos and sighed relief. What's on this altar is amazing, and others in the show are elegant but probably not as time-consuming as sculpting in stone, though my big-time sculptor friend in the mountains insists that sculpting marble is easy. The Master made the model, and the workers executed what became masterpieces of our art heritage, Michelangelo, Bernini et al.
I would rather have seen and photographed this piece on a darkish or neutral gray field, which might snap the colors as well as the lamb, but ooh, wow, such a visual treat despite that. Not blood splashing out the slit in the sacrificial lamb's throat, though it looks like that red stuff, but is blood-red tassels and sachets of perfume instead. For this show, Eberle developed four — like most older guys, my smeller hardly works any more — distinct (I sensed that much) scents. $100 a bottle — $350 the set of four, named L, O, V and E. I guess it's about that time of year.
Denise Brown at Craighead Green
Denise Brown Door piece #2 carved wood and copper 10 x 10 inches $1,500
Give me something that invites interaction, and I inter act. The central door, behind which is that 3-D hand, palm facing us, staring out from frame-shaded darkness, finger tips lost in the hanging dark, was closed when I saw it. But it protruded, and I might have seen hinges. I knew it wanted light. Needed it. I didn't have a lot, but I could spare a reach and pull, then stand back and click, almost never flash.
Something so comforting in seeing, again and again, shapes, symbols, burned into wood. Geometrics in the corners and a spinning top. Familiar Fingers holding coins on the outer edges, and a house on the bottom. I know this art, and that sense of knowing gives me comfort because I could touch and open that door to reveal more
Abhidnya Ghuge — Relavance at Craighead Green, January 9 through February 13, 2016
Abhidnya Ghuge Flight of the Canyon 145 x 75 printed paper, wire $19,500
I wasn't ever sure I wanted to write about Ghuge's work, either. It reminded me, every time I looked, of the Rose or some other Bowl and so many parades, and I don't think I've ever seen that event in person. Always on TV. I look, ponder and think I hear marching bands blaring by the grandstand. I'm still not sure how I feel about this object that might yet float away like one of those balloon Homer Simpsons loosed and set free — off from its moorings, up tall buildings and away.
But I like this photograph, because of its architectural background, so unlike its oddly open, curled paper self, which has a prettiness about it, despite that it doesn't look like anything at all, amorphous and indistinct.
Abhidnya Ghuge Autumn Forest (detail) woodblock printed paper, carved Birch 72 x 55 inches $6,000
Up close I greatly admire Ghuge's work. I guess what I don't care for is the greater shape / shapelessness of her large pieces. Like it's growing up and trying to become something but then that might be considered figurative, so we have to withdraw from it. In close, like this, it doesn't need a concept; the details are exquisite. The rhythm of the shapes and colors, tones and shadows and their variety of edge treatments are enough to keep our eyes and minds busy long enough.
Back off, and these structures remind too much of leis on steroids or cut flowers or pseudo-flowers on parade floats, someone on top standing and waving to the crowd till their arm falls off.
Nothing in the Big Gallery at the Latino Culture Center @ 5:11 PM, January 28, 2016
Main Gallery at the Latino Culture Center as beautiful as I've ever seen it.
Well, not nothing, really. Here are tools, a ladder, some pails, a couple brooms, an unrolled roll of brown paper, some smaller tools. It wouldn't be outrageous to call it an installation. Such an intriguing building and that room, with filtered outside light cascading down into it from above behind that black wall with what looks like five gray or white spots on its right side, and more luminosity pouring in through the glass at far left. Never seen the floor that dirty. Wonder what they've been doing in there.
Three Photographs of Two Unidentified Paintings from Circuit 12
I've emailed the gallery for the usual information about this artwork
at Circuit 12, but I haven't heard back. Looks like I won't ever. Oh,
well, no sense going back, I guess. Wish I could name the artist.
It's done well and intricately. Liked the frame immediately; the painting took me longer. A lot of why I take photographs, is that I don't always warm immediately to new-to-me art.
A similar work in a plainer wood frame — in the second image down — that I likewise grew to appreciate, in red and white and blue, does similar things in larger-scale waves. This purple electrifies and ecclectifies the edges of this piece I am learning to enjoy, but it took some staring. I wasn't sure when I was in the gallery, but I already knew I had to think about it, and I think better when I have a photo to study.
I remember when Dallas artists began doing geometric paintings. I didn't know what they were, so I called them NeoGeo, which is also a Japanese game-maker, whose name is stylized as NEO•GEO, but I still like the term.
Detail of unidentified painting by unidentified painter
When I first saw instances of it, I wondered if it were original to that artist (Ricardo Paniagua), or are many artists engaging in it already, like in Los Angeles or New York or someplace I don't follow? And I just didn't know about it yet? Were my first sightings of the overtly geometric style just by the first artist around here to do it?
Whatever you might call it, it may well be an historically-compelled style that feels newly psychedelic to this aging hippie. But I'm still considering this painting. It was already interesting before I took its pictures and began thinking about it, so it has become — gradually — attractive. Its intricacy adds an optical delusion I like.
But it also troubles and confuses me. As a photographer I like pictures of things, even if they are abstract, but I realize that is so 18th Century, so there's no sense in my being fuddy-duddy about it. This painting took a lot of time and dedication to accomplish. It's very well done. Expertly executed. I am not put off by it or its implementation, and if I had any wallspace left and enough cash on hand, I might buy one and hang it. I do admire that frame..
I've always eschewed photos of artists standing in front of their work smiling. But when I saw this, I couldn't help myself, I had to click. All my other shots of this artist are essentially similar. Intricately textured sweater, looks warm. Dark red stocking hat. Black pants. I assume he's shy, but I don't mind. I almost always don't like my picture taken, either. I got five photos of him, and all of this same view from different distances in the gallery.
Unnamed Gallerist Shows Back of Painting
This is the other artwork by the shy artist, here held by the gallerist. I kept wanting to photograph the piece, then the image on the price list, like I like to do to keep them together, but this guy insisted I do it his way and, as I might have expected, I lost the paper with title, etc. When it's just another image on the camera, it stays with me.
If anyone knows the artist, his name, maybe even the title of his works, please email me at the e address on the Contact page. Thanks, J R.
Sharon Kopriva Tubers, Tablets, Turfs, Tails? at Kirk Hopper, January 9 through February 27
Sharon Kopriva Cathedral Green 2012 oil and mixed media on photo board
81 x 186 x 3 inches $75,000
She's from Houston or somewhere down there, not here, and I haven't seen nor followed her work in decades, but Houston-based artist Sharon Kopriva's show at Kirk Hopper has its qualities among the verdant jungle of her work. This was, by far, the biggest and best piece. On her site, Kopriva calls it "The Verde."
Oblique view of Cathedral Green by Sharon Kopriva
Here's an oblique shot from the right end of The Verde, so you can see its third dimension better.
Elsewhere on DallasArtsRevue, there's a grayscale rendering of one of her little monsters on the right of a 1993 story by Michael Helsem, 5 Sermuncles from Food & Fiber about DARE's first and last Texas Biennial in Fair Park's Food & Fiber building. That same image reappears in Lee Murray's Wherefore Art Thou, Tejas? in 1994, and three more churchish pieces by Kopriva are the fifth, sixth and seventh images down the page at the 2001 DADA Do Benefit Bash and on the 7th page of my extensive and luridly colorful story about the 2005 Texas Biennial in Austin back when I still covered that extravaganza before they named some other rag the official publication for it.
I wonder if it's still going.
Sharon Kopriva Fish Tales Tablet 2014-15 mixed media on tin 14 x 8 inches $1,500
I didn't like this or much else in her show at Kirk Hopper then, except that big church. But thanks to my photos, which I've been perusing, I'm beginning to warm to this work. I assume she's a fellow lapsed or escaped Catholic, and I've long admired her work that shows that best. Not that this has much to do with The Church, except it's presented as an icon, and the idea of angry fish just seems to fit right in.
Remembering Tracy Hicks
Tracy Hicks drawing — artist unknown
The night after I streamed the 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, while I think most people just go with their emotions. It was hard not to, but 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 from Dallas. When I first met Tracy, he was a photographer. Except for documentation of his own, late and very popular 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 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) 1930–33 6.5 x 9.13 x 2.7 inches
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 1934-35 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 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 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 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 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
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 (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 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 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 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.
- The Dripping Point, Peter Schjeldahl's story in the December 21 & 28m 2915 issue of The New Yorker
- Museum of Modern Art site where I found Pollock's fairly primitive Western Series box
- WikiArt's chronology of Pollock paintings
- Hans Namuth's Jackson Pollock movie on YouTube has terrible audio quality, but at least the strange whistling music goes away quickly.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 (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.
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 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 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
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…
John Henry Tatlin's Sentinel 2001 painted steel 101 x 45 x 40 feet
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
I shot 11 images from a variety of vertical and horizontal angles to get this one. The real art was much more easily obtained.
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.
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 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 Paladin 2015
Both Tom Orr Installations from the front door
Tom Orr Mr. Lucky 2015 wood, aluminum tubing, mirrored aluminum 84 x 192 x 120 inches $35,000
Tom Orr Mr. Lucky 2015 from the far end of the gallery
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
Tom Orr Moiré
Chaos at Ro2 Downtown August 1 — September 12, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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 $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 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 $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 $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 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
I needed the toyness of this, red fuzz — and all those eyes. Art should get to look back at people sometimes.
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 $
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 $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 $350
This one is nice enough, but a tad timid, maybe tepid. Definitely a like, but a mitigated one. Griffin's other one that used to be below, was worse.
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.
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