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Considering 21 pieces of Serious New Texas Talent
Michael Powers Sad & Luxe #2 & #3 acrylic on canvas $1,500
21st Annual New Texas Talent at Craighead Green Gallery, curated by Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth Curator Andrea Karnes included Alan Siggers, Alice Le, Amy Beth Wright, Anguspaul, Anne Longo, Ann McIntyre, Antoaneta Hillman, Ariel Bowman, Ashley Whitt, Audrey Omenson, Austin Queen, Bill Thompson, Bob Quaglia, CeCe Skeith, Chris Bingham, Christin Turner, Claire Giroux, Carol Trice, Danqing Coldwell, Daryl Gannon, Felice House, Heather Vander Dys, Jan Anderson-Paxson, Jessica Kreutter, Jessica Martinez, Jillian Patrick, John Crouch, Johnathan Daake, Kerry David Kochiss, Lindsay Barker, Mandy Hampton, Mauricio Saenz, Michael Powers, Olivia Themudo, Paxton Maroney, Samara Rosen, Sonja Quintero, Susan Sponsler, Tatiana Escallon and Tyler Butcher Opening 5 - 8 Saturday, August 9 through August 30, 2014.
First time I saw this show, packed with an opening-night gallery crowd late on a hot summer afternoon, I was less than impressed. I thought the juror too conservative and wondered what fascinating pieces she might have left on the cutting room floor. But I'd always planned to come back when I could see art, not people. So I'm glad I did that on an otherwise dreadful day, to calm my spirits and see the art with nearly nobody standing and talking everywhere in the way. It's taken more time to translate from visual to verbal than I expected, but I'm liking the journey:
I see parallels of New Mexico with stair-step crenulations, lilting colors, off-white lights, black and off-black grays in calm contrasts wiggling across a cloudless Santa Fe sky. The artist had another, less powerful talisman there, but that one's too soft. This diptych's got spirit. I like the juxto-ironic assymmetry and the four, widely scattered sherbet oranges, cool on a soft, warm palate.
Ariel Bowman Kala Nag ceramic and resin mixed media 36 x 22 inches $5,495
This guy takes us back at least to 19th Century India. This crafty old, small, wrinkled brown anachronism of elephantine spirit with Mastodon tusks is both the most traditional sculpture in the show and an anomalous strange trip into realist fiction. It has African feet but neither African nor Asian elephant ears. Both species have longer trunks and distinctively shorter tusks, so this is either a cross between species or a fantasy extrapolation.
Those long, thin tusks got their own step-down riser in the gallery, to keep visitors from getting poked or snapping them off. And except for its long-suffering eyes and deep-set wrinkles, there's too little irony or pathos, although its costume fairly drips of it. This object has a strong sense of place but no space of its own. It's either a trophy or an elaborate and expensive toy.
Like Earth's largest sea mammals, elephants have huge brains and elaborate social lives. They could be smarter than we are, but without opposing thumbs and more adjustable frames, they need massively more space — and to be left alone. The headpiece, rugs and matching, upscale rosary extend the elaborate blue, green, honey and brown color scheme to surround the dainty red-pillowed, and happily human-vacant trekking chair, while that tassel seems a trunk-bumping nuissance. This is one massive, strong, but cowed creature, and I feel for it — still as a statue, waiting.
Samara Roxen Circulate 4 x 3 inches wood $200
Square pegs in a circular band, like matches or fireworks without the flames, but subtly smoldering.
I saw lots of red dots in this show, but not on lower-priced pieces. Truly new talent often has not the knowledge nor experience to price their work. It's one of those conudrums nobody really wants to mess with till there's a real chance to sell something, and by then it's too late. CG's split is more than fair, but two hundred bucks, even for something this simple is barely enough to split. The biggest difference between established artists and new talent may be their sense for setting prices.
Kerry David Kochiss Tawny oil on canvas 20 x 24 inches $800
Tawny to amber hues — with a little yellow and white in the mix — splattered, scraped, sloshed, washed, dripped, splashed, slashed, poured and painted, yet still of interest as wild form amock — a texture study, variations on a color theme. I wouldn't exactly call it beautiful, but interesting.
Chris Bingham If You Would Stop and Stay mixed media on canvas 48 x 60 inches $3,000
Another bright painting testing textures against a geo floating pattern of Mexican flag colors, cheap signs, wild, floating grafitti and a nearly steepled abstraction of blended architectural space smearing into place.
Jessica Kreutter Of Ruin and Rooms That (detail) 2012 mixed media 96 x 120 $4,900
In this show, when titles went long, they stopped dead in their tracks near the right edge of the tag, leaving lots of letters in little piles around the gallery. These colors are rich, the shadows dynamic, and the shapes dark brown Black but hollow. The press-molds on the wall felt airy, and just about everything was enigmatic.
From the web I learned the full title is Of Ruin and Rooms that Breathe. Richer mediums are listed there, too: porcelain, gold luster, pins and abandoned objects.
That last concept is especially important to Kreutter. In an interview with Houston Center for Contemporary Craft's then-curatorial assistant Ashley Powell, while Kreutter was a resident artist there, she said, "The wear and decay speak to me about memory and time and transformation. I think of all the bodies that have used the objects as they move through time, leaving both visible and invisible traces. In a place of fantasy and imagination, what happens when these traces float free of associations, and how is memory transformed into a tangible presence?"
Quotes used with permission from the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
The gallery only listed two dimensions for this and Kala Nag, the old elephant above. This is 10 x 11 x 5 feet, and I've added its year date to the caption. Perhaps that's its original Houston installation. But this one is simpler with fewer objects on the wall, so it's much better balanced.
Alan Siggers Waiting oil on panel 38 x 48 inches $6,000
So pleased to see Siggers' painting similar now to his sculpture I liked so much a couple years ago. He is, by trade, a builder, and to have this piece rendered so richly in his new work is promising, even if the juxtaposition jars, the frame abruptly jolts and those colors feel raucous.
Cece Skeith Brausebad (Shower Bath) 16 c 20 inches photograph $900
The interior depicted in this twice-shredded stack of postcards is the "undressing room" outside the gas chamber at Dachau. Although the sign over the door inelegantly translates as shower bath, it wasn't accepted spoken Geman then or now, so it may have been mistranslated by the Americans liberating the camp, already reeking of enough irony for another world war.
The texture-matching crosshatch of segmented sunlight on the floor and wall is bright, joyful and sucks our vision into that door. No idea why these Halocaust postcards were started into the shredder twice, their cuts seem clean. But really, who would you send gas chamber postcards to?
Paxton Maroney The Writer photograph 30 x 30 inches $950
Pages of words scattered, tattered, walked and slopped on, then hung out to dry. I can feel it in my bones, and still sense the windows streaming more hot air without it fluttering any paper in sight. All those planar extensions at odds with each other lend this one-room world a dark-stained incongruity.
Olivia Themudo Untitled Self Portrait 15 24 x 34 photograph $375
Pink-orange and darkly shadowed flesh inside a contained, low-contrast, glassed gray-blue cage, under a post-industrial sunless sky, yielding startling depth, and up-close her smoke is elegant as a virus. A younger Cindy Sherman vamping with a vivid nightgown, hair net and cigarette.
Austin Queen Depersonalization mixed media on canvas 57 x 72 inches $2,700
Smearing in and out of reality while a line dance of cloud-like textures rumbas across the room, dominated by variously patterned and anti-dimensional, quasi-human, and room furniture shapes. I keep seeing his darkened lower face as a bowtie, as his depixelated hand reaches for dripping impasto, red-meat cherry pie, while they struggle for their own realities.
Tyler Butcher The Other Side Intaglio 36 x 60 inches $2,200
A deep hued, individuated lineup on the far side, their colorful backs to us in a smudged beige river place, as if searching. Adult and child in a boat coming back through the fog as we scintillate incorporeally into the dirty yellow air.
Anne Longo Magnetic Inclinations mixed media on panel 24 x 36 inches $950
Seen close, this slowy transforms a medium-view landscape into the known world half a millenia ago. The relevance of one vision to the other is not clear, but the wooded view is lovely, and the map ancient.
Alice Le Yuki mixed media 30 x 40 inches $1,500
I've never appreciated cutesty anime humanoids, but I don't mind them in these phantasmagorica textures, slow-mo falling and drifting like snow. Each flake different and the drifts more so. Depth and motion via texture, lilting blues, quilted whites and patterned grays galore, and I have to wonder whether Le's declined entries were as splendidly textural — or just cute.
Danqing Coldwell Green Olives "watercolor" 20 x 24 inches $1,00
I carefully inspected the surface of this print that calls itself watercolor. The original may have included some wet media, but there are no paper textures, pooling densities or wash of paint here. This is a dimensionally flat, semi-gloss photo surface without reflections — always a thankful thing in a busy gallery, but it is no watercolor.
Amy Beth Wright 1942 at Night acrylic on canvas 5 x 5 inches $350
Stipples and spots and soft splotches of brown and black on white bright canvas. Subtle and wise. Not of machine, but careful and human. I thought I had to see more of these, but this was sufficient.
Mauricio Saenz Exile 72 x 108 inches mixed media $5,000
And this is just odd. I did not see anything electric moving, but there are bright, matching white cords strewn, and the screens built into side and top of the furniture stayed dark. Again, a Dallas artist who used to put art bits and notes in drawers of old, wood furniture comes to mind.
Chase Yarbrough's un-repainted desks and bureaus contained truths and fictions and were inquisitive-causing and quenching to unfold and unwind and read, and those drawers pulled and revealed, but I didn't try to open these or think to touch the screens, though I looked along the angular troughs that nobody could close.
I'm sure somebody sees something in these oddly protruding chests whose drawers angle down, around, up and out, but I'm not sure what. Once I got over the knobby rectangles of white on white contrasts, I lost interest.
Heather Vander Dys Invisible Archival Pigment Print 19 x 20 inches? $500
Not really invisible, just hard to see or identify, in an only barely human shape. A textural study — soft gray wraps around the shoulders, white lace makes flowers in the face in otherwise dark. A photograph with lots of headroom, so when the time comes, she can stand up and be counted. Veiled is an approved synonym for invisible, though we can plainly see this and pretend a human presence.
John Crouch Skirt 1 photograph 30 z 20 inches $600
I'm not saying it's too late to crossdress images in contemporary photography, but Dallas Artist Linda Finnell purposely confused gender in gentle self-portrait images thirty years ago in black & white and tones of brown. Hers were stare-at-the camera direct and formally informal positives in positive space. But this is a bold, well-crafted photo graphic image showing just enough object and ground by pulling the light out of its darkness. Its intriguing interplays of ground and objects shine in slivers and splats.
Manifesting that one delicately back-illuminated, yet texturally translucent glass object on the table, upper and lower skin and side-lighted hairy leg is elegant in careful-contrasted darkness.
From Deceptively Simple Dallas art and not-art to
more complex art beyond — Art that Intrigues…
Ashley Bellamy Ripening oil NFS
It's not like I thought this painting was the best piece in The MAC Membership show that opened a couple weekends ago, although I suspect it may well be. It's just the only one I photographed. I walked through all four exhibition spaces and counted eleven pieces I thought were better than most, but those were for people and political reasons, and you probably understand that about as well as I do. I didn't tell anybody whose pieces they were or which ones I liked enough to in- or exclude. Realistically, there may be five decent pieces in the whole show, but I didn't want to have to write about those, either, even if I didn't count this one that first time through.
I heard someone say "They certainly did not put the best work in the little project room," but it was difficult to discern where they did put them, because no two of my five were even close. This was in one of the big galleries, but I don't remember anything on those outer walls where they sometimes seem to believe they are showing good work.
I've been looking at this little painting, and I think I am beginning to understand and enjoy it.
Before attending The MAC, we encountered Maureen Brouillette and Joel Sampson at Cafe Express, behind which — though not in their parking lot proper, where they allow MAC patrons to park — we parked in the deep shade on this side of the street across from the cemetery, which along with that street, continues past The MAC to McKinney Avenue, and it was still in shade a couple hours later when we exited the show.
We hadn't seen the show when we saw them, but they had, because Joel had just applied the last bit of paint to his piece. We were hungry and willing to sit in a cool place and just talk and listen. Nobody wanted to be out on the patio just the other side of the glass, where grackles were thrashing through somebody's leftovers. It was too hot to think of outside as anything but oppressive.
Maureen told us this painting was the only one there she wanted to buy, but she was disappointed that it was marked NFS — Not For Sale. After dinner, much conversation, and a short, hot walk to the gallery, I sought it out and photographed it, and frankly, I didn't think about it again for a couple days.
The only aesthetic judgement I made at the time was, "Oh. That's not bad."
I got bored every time I tried to read this year's theme, and I never did get through it, so I have no idea whether this meets the supposed criteria. My friend Norman said he never pays attention to those, and his was one of my five. The couple times I've participated in their Member Shows, I paid strict attention, because I like the challenge of visualizing somebody else's ideas, though I never knowingly work with my own themes, whatever those might be.
There's a common simplicity in this painting of an apple on a disheveled bed that's rendered without a lot of hoopla. It just is. It looks like a bed with an apple tucked into a wrinkle, while the lower sheet rides up exposing the mattress and box springs below. It looks comfortable, if informal. There are hints of worn wallpaper behind the dark headboard, a fragment of rug and dark wood floor beneath, but not much else to go on.
I'm guessing it's a single person's bed with no one to insist on upgrades. I could go farther and note the dingy yellowish sheets show contrasting, bright white highlights and the fact that there's a food item where it clearly does not belong, although it looks right at home, and I'm comfortable with the scene.
This painting is a portrait of a place of contentment and ease, painted gently, yet superbly. I think every one of those wrinkles and folds actually existed and were faithfully rendered, and I wonder if it has a place of honor in the artist's home or if maybe someone who slept there saw the painting, fell in love with it, and wants to keep it forever.
That's easily credible, although it still makes sense he just doesn't want to sell it.
Targets at RE Gallery's Art Yard Sale
I realize this is not even presented as art, and I could kick myself for not at least inquiring about the price on the rounded person target 175 M. I'm talking about the target, not the bin of cute postcards or the gridded B&W thing on the right. I like it more every time I look at it. Which is why I photographed it, and placed it here. The texture that shows in the solid black areas, where the sun shines on it, only adds glory.
Evan Holloway American born 1967 58 2007 steel, brass, Sculptamold, lead and paint
The reasons I chose this object in the Dallas Museum of Art's Barrel Vault are a little more complicated. I liked looking at it, and even though I've cropped parts, I liked photographing it and don't think the people and art behind detract. I'd thought the title was some abstract notion, but I never saw the reversed 58 in it till just now, and I liked it more then.
It's just about the right combination of complication and simplicity, and they've placed it superbly. I may have photographed it from the open stairs in the back of that room, looking slightly down. I richly remember being told I could not sit there, and replying that I was sitting there. Then the art cop repeated what she'd said, so I got up and walked away — or I might have framed it better.
I think I have tried to settle on those stairs before, and I might forget again. They just look so comfy and empty, like they needed somebody's presence. I always seem to get into some sort of silly kerfuffle at the Mu. They've got so many rules they don't tell anybody till we've run afoul, at least they've lately let us photograph almost everything. I remember a private and personal tour of the whole mu with a PR Director, so I could photograph and write about most of my then-favorite pieces.
I sense a certain visual connection between this intricate sculpture and the The Thinker's Retreat below.
Nigel Cooke Thinker's Retreat oil on linen, backed with sailcloth 86.5 x 145.6 x 2.88 inches 2008
This is huge, and I think of it as a drawing that nearly fills one full interior wall in the barrel-vault. I think I could get as lost in it as I have in the space it depicts. It's a pity I cannot reproduce it here in greater detail and larger scale. My thing about the scale is what has to do with getting lost in it. All those surrounded spaces, nooks and crannies; the atmosphere, darkness, escaping steam condensing in the cold, and in-and-out dimensionality, make this a place worth losing a self into. I wanted to stand inside the glass windows downstairs and look out, feel the air moving as I watched the goings on inside. Although it might have been cold, I identified into the piece, and I wanted to stay awhile.
The DMA's label for the piece cites, "The curious central figure [who] wields the hardware of a painter, and seems to be going about his craft in a desolate world of abjectness and neglect. In this scene, science fiction, comic books, and art history are all rolled into one, creating an ominous yet somehow playful allegory of the "heroic" artist's solitary studio practice and the often-heralded death of painting." But I was too taken by the space and its depiction to see or feel any of that hooey.
Thomas Struth Stellerator Wendelstein 7-X Detail Max Planck IPP, Greiffswald, Germany 2009
C Print 5 x 6.64 feet framed edition of ten
I did not want to crawl into this complexity, but I liked staring at it. Its details absorbed me. The darks and bright whites lent this large flat piece enough depth to imagine getting lost in there and wonder what was up. According to Atlanta's High Museum of Art, this image "was taken within a German nuclear facility" and "presents an overwhelming mix of metal and wire in monumental scale, thus inspiring visual wonder of the technological realm. Together, the prints on view demonstrate Struth's interest in tightly structured, intellectual, and psychologically charged work."
I'd have to go along, even if my image here and every other version of it I found online showed distinctly different tones and colors. Thanks to the trick of automatic cameras wanting to render everything they see as an 18% gray, all the renderings I saw online seemed brighter.
“Real” and Apparent Depth in selected work from
Ro2 Art's Chaos II, a curated show of small art
Matt Bagley Fine Specimen of Male SpaceBug #1 attributed to the artist Click Zing $200
Ro2 Art's CHAOS, a curated exhibition of small works featuring over 100 artists with work by Elizabeth Akamatsu, Olaniyi R. Akindiya (aka AKIRASH), Karla Areli, Matt Bagley, Josh Banks, Sibylle Bauer, Lionel Bevan, Daniel Birdsong, Chris Bramel, Bill Bridges, Fannie Brito, Ashley Bryan, Paul Bryan, Mark Burt, Angel Cabrales, Jay Cantrell, Aimee Cardoso, Christina Carfora, Rebecca Carter, Zack Chambers, Alyssa Chi, Kate Colin, Leah Constantine, Ray-Mel Cornelius, Camilla Cowan, RE Cox, Ken Craft, Val Curry, Chance Dunlap, Roger England, Sam England, Peggy Epner, Gary Farrelly, Erica Felicella, Piero Fenci, Nancy Ferro, Rachel Fischer, Jason Flowers, Michael Francis, Barbara Frey , Danielle Georgiou, Justin Ginsberg, Joshua Goode, David Graeve, Kurt Griesbach, TJ Griffin, Steph Hargrove, David Anthony Harman, Terry Hays, Hillary Holsonback, Scott Horn, Steve Hunter, Thor Johnson, Brian K Jones, Lance Jones, Mary Jo Karimnia, Sonali Khatti, Rachel King Barker, Joel Kiser, Mike Kury, Bonny Leibowitz, Eric de Llamas, Kai Peter Martin, Nick Mathis, Shawn Mayer, Scogin Mayo, Aralyn McGregor, Julia McLain, Tammy McNary, Jesse Meraz, Eliana Miranda, Brian Molonphy, Jimmy Montanez, Jennifer Morgan, Randy Murphy , Adam Neese, Vanessa Neil, Mark S. Nelson, Brooks Oliver, Ricardo Paniagua, Jeff Parrott, Madison Pechacek, Art Peña, Alvaro Perez, Cassie Phan, Julon Pinkston, Pinky Diablo, Robin Ragin, Fari Rahimi, Robert David Reedy, Jason Reynaga, Susan Ritter, Kathy Robinson-Hays, Adam Rowlett, Tom Sale, Sam Schonzeit, Brian Scott, Shelly Scott, Thomas Seawell, Carolyn Sortor, Alison Starr, Erica Stephens, Katherine Taylor, John Alexander Taylor, Ian F Thomas, Erik Tosten, Liz Trosper, Ellen Frances Tuchman, Joy Ude, Judy Vetter, Michael Westfried, Chris Williford, Byrd Williams IV, Scott Winterrowd and James Isaac Zamora. The opening reception was 7-10 July 12 and continued at 110 North Akard Street in downtown Dallas, through August 12, 2014.
We are all aliens, of course, so another one along for the ride makes it merrier. I like that this being is speaking binary. Except that none of us speaks it, it seems the right contact mode, now it's finally come out. Wonder how long it's been among us, and nobody noticed? Like any alien, there's a price on its head.
But the colors and physical links between what I perceive as head and body may be the best parts. They wind, wrap, tie and connect the body to soul, mind to spirit that make this and one other piece by Bagley, sing. Maybe the ones and zeros distract from the message, as does the $. But the connectors connecting it to its parts are subtle, meaty and beautiful. Plus big eyes, the better to see back into us.
I didn't notice until I'd been studying these pieces awhile, but most of the these works seem to have a lot to do with real and apparent depth.
When I wrote this, I only knew the artists for a few pieces, so most of my comments in this review were a little more objective than usual. Luckily, some artists still sign their work. A couple days later, I got a complete list of names and titles from gallery co-owner Jordan Roth, who then wrote back with corrections to names I'd mangled. Thank you, Jordan. I hadn't wanted to trouble him with sizes and mediums.
Scoggin Mayo Untitled II $175
This big show of little pieces was as inspiring as the light in the gallery was often terrible. That much art in a difficult room anyway, meant many pieces drowned in the dark. This, like glass-fronted others, was splattered with spectral highlights and other noisy reflections. I tried to get it clear of those and just hope I didn't change anything important in its resurrection.
Simple shape, moderated nearly neutral brown-gold tones and prickly branches. The background showing through under the white collar and tie are perfect. Especially the hat. I think I can see a mustache. Unless they were self titled, none of the art in this show was. There were only small, white, scribbled garage-sale tags hung from each with the artist's name and price. That's all. So it was awhile till I got all the titles.
Sometimes, like this one, I wanted one.
Peggy Epner Floating Dock $375
Counting the days and nights afloat. Sometimes the ocean is the sky above us, sometimes it's blacker that we can see. Often our anchors do not hold, and we lose ourselves in dreams.
Eric de Llamas A Hero's Journey $375
I hope this is really the color of the paper. The moodiness of this drawing struck me when I picked it out among the clutter. I just stared, not wanting to look away from the writing on the flag and all that bloody detritus scattering from the donkey and human's centers. But gruesome sets the mood, and I wanted to see more details, all there for the deciphering.
Now I've been watching it larger than life, I'm thinking it might be too pat, needing more character but less detail. My eyes keep going back to the human's face. I like the hat, but I want to know less about that guy and more about everything else in the picture. I tried to translate the flag text, but it's fragments. Maybe from some culture's heritage.
Kathy Robinson-Hays The Big Squeeze
All this intricate yet inessential detail on a belly-bloated semi-human form, clamped and squeezed to within about fifteen inches of its life. A big, mixed-media metaphor writ in tiny, tattoo-like exactness on a corpse whose feet, head and shoulders are all chopped off. Too much going on in what's left to pertain to any human we could comfortably identify with. But I loved the clamps, and I warmed immediately to the piece.
It's a simple-enough object that gets a little lost in its own intricacies, topped with a textured black box that makes no sense, or did someone just forget it there? (Apparently, it was supposed to have been tipped up, but it wasn't.) I've seen and enjoyed this artist's work before, now I want it to say something more fanciful, forceful or important. Not that fat is trivial, but most of the details we get lost in here, are.
I never connected who did it with her, and now I wonder whether I would have said what I said if I had known… — The Editor
Ray-Mel Cornelius Jackrabbit Among the Aspens
I've always liked Cornelius' gentle animals, but this bunny is not cute or little. Sometimes a rabbit with big ears and soft everything else soothes us. But if those trees are the trees I know and love, this is one big rabbit. Maybe not king of the jungle, but at least an assassin of the arbor. Despite its cozy brown fur, sparkling eyes and major funky ears, I think this bunny might be dangerous.
Cornelius called this varmint "that jeopardous jackrabbit," when he told the title before I got them from Jordan, and asked if I'd seen Night of the Lepus, suggesting that might have been a good title, too. Night of was made in 1972, lasts 88 minutes and is about ranchers trying to rid their land of rabbits with a hormone that instead makes the animals 150 pounds bigger "and gives them an appetite for human flesh." And the promo asks, "Are the ranchers any match for the ravenous rabbits' reproductive skills?" It's called Sci-Fi Horror, and stars Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelley.
Cornelius was the only artist who emailed me with a title, but I'd be happy to entertain other show artists' comments, pro or con.
Christina Carfora The Grass is Always Greener $600
The beginnings of a fight, each mirroring action its own reaction. Or are these brown-lined women gently discovering who they are? The duality of one, muted flesh human looking and touching and learning against a muted green ground. Nice. Enigmatic enough to get involved. Are they twins or one in the same? The title almost makes it make sense.
Wandering the Internet for another review, I found this.
Justin Ginsberg What Might Have Been (part II of diptych) $1800
It's a posted note with pinned-on humans. I like that the writing is wet, blurred indecipherable, and the balance of black and white and gray is nailed to a nearly neutral board that's still the most colorful part of the piece. I think of it as a scroll. No idea what it's proclaiming, but I would listen.
Kathy Robinson-Hays 3/16/14 Recurring Dreams 9 2:37 PM
Kathy's a friend, but when I chose this piece, I didn't recognize it or remember seeing it on Facebook just after its creation, when I said I liked how she'd memorialized a fleeting moment in time by pegging it exactly (lowest left). I like it in an artist — even one whom I follow — that I sometimes have no understanding of what they're into lately or why. Too many artists get stuck in their ways, although there's an obvious complexity here that's hers alone.
Anna was agog at the piece we saw Kathy deliver late from across the street when we arrived arrived early, but that one wasn't shown well at this show, although we saw some like it later at The Small Gallery in Valley View. I can almost taste the candied sweetness in these details. I sense a party with glitter aglow like fireworks and vivid flowers, but I still wonder who the Tiki is, and why its grin seems evil.
Kathy later told me, "The tiki figure in my piece is a Billiken figure in ivory, carved in Alaska. My aunt gave it to me years ago and I have always been fascinated by this one. The Billiken was created by American art teacher Florence Pretz as a charm doll that would bring the owner good luck. It is sometimes referred to as "The God of Things As They Ought To Be," paraphrased from Rudyard Kipling. But it has evolved to become a mascot for Saint Louis University and the Royal Order of Jesters of the Shriners. The sequins, the rock and the Billiken are all funny little things given to me by people I love that sit on my studio table. You are right though, this Billiken does looks pretty sinister from certain angles. In the first painting I did of this figure, he appears to have a more solemn countenance in profile view. My aunt lost the love of her life in the war, he gave her this little carving, which she then gave to me.
Brian Scott Slumpy $450
There's lots of characters in this show, but Brian Scott's police blotter portraits are the most poignant. Slumpy's a clown, of course, but hardly happy, despite his red runaway hair and makeup, pink slumping skin and his lilting, near-symmetry. Skin tones and face paint make sure of that. His being, like the muted background, is sullen white and suffused with gray.
Jeff Parrott Untitled $850
A sturdy litany of eyes and abstracted cartoony faces in parrot colors, protected and looking back at us through all those contrasting and containing frame-job proscenia. We're all in the Clown Parade now.
Sibylle Bauer Urban Still Life (Chair 1) $315
I assume this is a photograph, but I guess it could be a wonderfully executed painting of an almost real scene. Great texture. Perfect, bicolor hues set off with an elderly black iron chair. A scene literally littered with shapes and textures deep enough we can almost feel them on the souls of our bare feet. The chair is an aristocrat lost in the real world.
Mary Jo Karimnia Rainbow Pony $650
I liked another, not altogether dissimilar Mary Jo Karimnia work better at first, watched it awhile to solve its spatiality, but I kept zooming into the lilting sky blue detail of its subtly resplendent sequined dress, the notion of its glittery, muted hues glowing in its busy understated sea of black-outlined white women. Then I pulled back from those soft blues to to see this.
In both pieces, there's two figures that held my attention. One vivid and clearly out front in texture, form and color against a field of outlined white. The next figure back was less vivid, bold or intricately textured, but it's the colors that reveal this piece's dimensionality and that's lost in the muted blacks, gray and white in the figure behind and near the right edge. Karimnia's hierarchy of colors and tones sets the works' dimensionality, so we know where everybody stands without having to decipher the outlines.
David Anthony Harmon Remainder $550
This scene reminds me of Fort Worth's Blagg Brothers — especially Daniel — whose photorealist paintings of common urban landscapes imbue them with a magical force, although this is much more abstract. It could be a photograph, or it started there, but I want it to be a painting, and it could well be. With a similar look-down angle to the piece above it here, and a similar toying with dimensional color and feeling for shape. Here, however, we have to look harder for an object among the ground, but it's there. First I thought it was the rutted tracks, but now I'm convinced it's the deep dark shadow reflection of a bridge over this muddy field.
Elianna Miranda Moments in Syria III $175
The mysterious soft smoke and abrupt hard object and ground make a harsh color contrast to the chair a couple clicks above. Or is that a deep blue sky? I like the masked, dark-shape human releasing puffs of white vapor. Sometimes the questions art dislodges bother me. Sometimes it's the answers. A good mystery is dependable.
Aimee Cardosa Untitled I $350
The farther away I stood from this, all while avoiding the unending crowd and their shadows, the more like a photograph it became. I can almost feel the soft texture of the blanket and the cool light coming in from the window above.
Daniel Birdsong The Gospel Accorded to a Wild Hare $400
I liked this soon as I saw it, but delving into its details later, confused me. More bunnies, and a dog we probably all identify with. Dancing on roses-strewn ice against what? — the soft white mountain behind's almost-face confuses me. Our hero dog has one right, line-toned paw and elbow and one bright white left leg and paw, and oddly placed dark shadows between.
Put anything resembling two eyes parallel, a horizontal area long or wide enough to be considered a mouth and side-by-side nostrils in the middle somewhere, and we see a face on the left under the dog's head, even if the sharp detail of our dog's lolling tongue obscures its left ear. The big, soft, fat-lip grin below cinches the deal, and the confusion of tone and texture make it difficult to know where dog ends and the feline, snow-pile mountain begins.
Maybe the cat is spectre, amorphous as Elianna Miranda's smoke, its phantasmal white paw slung over our hero's left shoulder, its face smiling a bloated, clown-white grin out past the roses.
I think I know the cat's the mountain I mentioned, but knowing doesn't make it so. So we have another intriguing, if not entirely successful, attempt to create depth in a flat art form while the soft (back) ground and the hard, hairy (front) objects blur into each other.
Adam Rowlett Untitled $150
Turned wood. Was some discussion a few decades back whether turned wood could be art, and while most of it could not ever, sometimes someone gets it enough right to bring it up to fine art standards, whatever those might be. I know better than to touch art on a wall, but I did it anyway to prove those concentric grooves were more than shaded lines, which I still sometimes think they may be — pantomiming two dimensions in three.
Nicholas Mathis Dream Studies III
This is the best of three drawings done in the same style and which were difficult unto nearly impossible to photograph low in the dark gallery. I hope I am at least getting it close in this photograph. It is a portrayal of spatial intersections of differing objects in differing circumstance, each with their own texture, shape, colors, density or design.
It's yet another artist's exploration of depth without resorting to shadows or size, although I especially appreciate that one, concave shadow of whom might be the artist's favorite candidate for real in this complexity of intersecting forms. The others range from almost definitely there to not quite to nearly insubstantial.
It is all flat, of course, and behind reflecting glass, but the dotted lines are not our only tip-offs to its depths and collusions. We get the gist, and that may be enough, but as enterprising a task as it must have been, it doesn't seem to work all together, although my photo may limit our ability to see what was there. It all gets a little murky in the middle.
Cassie Phan Mammoth Punching Video Installation with Gallery View
Chiaroscuro, if you must — the dark and light of the room. Showing more illumination on the far, snack bar side and not much on the near wall behind me when I shot this scene. The video screen was seriously overexposed here by sucking some light out the darkness, but at least we can see the funky tower connecting it, if we can separate that from that long shadow of light falling diagonally into the picture from the left.
Video Detail with Horse and Tube
This is what the video really looked like with the plastic horse — its head down examining some tiny detail of the surf — as the tide came in and went out looping all night, a gentle vision in its own light. Nice respite sometimes, with video as color, texture and movement with nearly no deep-down meaning or back story. Time goes on and on.
Not all the art was on the walls or curated, and I was drawn to these dark marks on dark skin against a white shirt better than a lot of the littler art in the show.
Gallery View Looking Out Onto Akard Street
Some walls were well-illuminated, as long as nobody stood close enough in front of the art to see the details past the shadows. Big shows of little art are always a booger to light, especially in a dark cave of a space.
Looking Out onto Akard Street, Ro Sr. (center) and Others
There were more pieces I could have written about, if I could have photographed them better. I started on the wall by the front door, walked around staring at every piece my eyes could reach, then eventually, looped back through the middles, being amazed that that many pieces were in that small a space with major portions of walls left empty, if not blank. Ro and Ro left the place's most distinguished brick walls open and unadorned, leaving wide vertical spaces that never quite impinged on the growing crowd.
Ro2Art Outside from standing in the middle of Akard Street
From the first time I saw their gaudily blinking, amateur animated GIF in the email promoting this show, and skimmed through the long list of artists, I knew this would be a good time to start writing about art again after a couple months rest. I photographed every name and price tag I could find for the pieces I liked well enough to photograph, so I could ponder them longer in better light later.
As usual I didn't use all the work I thought I might have, but I gave every piece the time of day even in the far-back dark recesses of the little downtown space that nobody else wanted — or wanted to pay for, although I think the ROs are still in low-to-no-rent territory with The City, who wanted that place occupied and watched over.
Especially nice to have a downtown gallery to attend now that our downtown is finally a decent place to live and see and be seen in, after Dallasites for so long had to visit Fort Worth for such progressive notions as humans inhabiting downtown without fearing for their lives in the odder hours.
All Contents of this site are Copyright 2014 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All art shown on these pages are copyrighted by their originating artists. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are copyrighted by J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.
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