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J R's Art Journal#1

Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

THIS PAGE:    About this Journal     Kül     Scott Barber Talk     2719     And/Or     Left/Right Neo Obsessivism

Kül's Downtown Cave

February 3 2006

Kül floor shot

Matt Kaplinsky's work filling Kül's downstairs

Odd sometimes how people and themes circle through our stories. This short one gathers around new DARts member Matt Kaplinsky and his new show of new work at the new gallery in, of all places, downtown Dallas, that I had not, till I shot his work for his member page, heard of.

Matt invited me to the opening, but like it better later alone. The name kept coming up. The Universe was ganging up on me. I had to bag up my quarters and brave parking downtown.

In Dallas, two is enough to pin a district on. Before The Nasher, Sympathy Hall and the DMA set the so-called Arts District. Uptown now is Plush and Kül. Their sizes contrast, but there's a funkiness of space and attitude their artists share.

Some galleries have gift shops. The posh Kül is has a small but budding art bookshop (two shelves) up-stairs and an immense gallery down. A secret giant cave like where I've often imagined the Magnolia Building — where the pegasi prance — has its bubbling spring. Like early 500X before everything got slicked down and sheetrocked over.

A big funky gallery with some of the nicest peeling paint patterns I've seen. Immense wide space Matt's work looks great in.


Scott Barber Talk at The MAC

February 1, 2006

John Pomara, Barry Whistler and Charissa Terranova (above) conducted a gallery tour/art talk about the late Dallas artist Scott Barber and his later work. See the Mac site for a great gallery view.

The show's title, Scott Barber: A Retrospective, curator Barry Whistler noted, included the dates 1995-2005. In telling us that, Barry was pleased to point to one work in the chronologically laid out show was from 1994.

The talk was about as informal as the talkers' outfits, freewheeling through the mac's two big galleries trailing up to about fifty people including artists, collectors and the occasional journalist who probably should have been taking notes but was instead engaged in photographing shoes.

As artist in attendance Matt Kaplisky noted, Dallas Observer art critic Charissa Terranova "likes red." Matching sox, shoes and hair.

Watching her, Anna said, was a lot of fun, as Charissa danced, twisted, nearly pirouetted, slumped, twirled, and laughed a little nervously perhaps, she also spoke dense, fascinating old school art criticism, full of intellectual, historic references and conceptual idealizations.

red art crit boots and red sox

Impressive. Guess I'm going to have to start reading the O again.

[Nope. Same t-tiny text, smaller even than this, segregated into a tiny corner of one page, no pix, lost in the middle somewhere.]

She carefully layered Barber's work into The New Flatness, which is not what she called it, but she said was what painting is all about — although in post event conversations, she admitted it was also about texture and "beating the fuck out of things."

John Pomara spoke about Scott as a friend, collaborating painter, teacher, learner and superb, professional level cook. He talked about being at Scott's house and studio, watching how he worked and how his art and his mind worked and how Scott's work seemed to make leaping progressions in amazing short time. Scott even assuring John that when he got out of the hospital (during what became his last stay) his work was going to jump forward once again.

Curator Barry Whistler made introductions, deftly but gently guided the ongoing talk, asked pointed questions, and was mostly carefully quiet.

See our story about Scott's two current shows and a bunch of other local art.



January 28, 2006

and/or exterior shot in

shooting in And/Or's big front window from Bryan Street

We visited the grand opening of And/Or Gallery on Bryan at Peak (on the left if you're going the right way down Peak), where there's just enough area for art in a shotgun space that jogs back to a nicely finished back yard that, like the gallery, has only begun.

Tom Moody

Tom Moody - Vermiform Abstraction Series, 2005
ink jet prints on archival paper - 13 x 19 inches each

I wanted to like Tom Moody's work, but except for a lilting little, silent, repeating video of him, perhaps much younger, playing rock star with a guitar and a white sports coat, that repeated nonstop on a tiny monitor, and seemed more poignant than arty, that stuff just left me cold.

I'm sure Tom, who used to write for DallasArtsRevue when it was on paper, would disagree. I'm glad I got mine of his, when I did, before he moved to New York and got medium cool. But I wanted to...

See gallery co-owner Paul Slocum's letter for more info.

Saskia Jordá

mostly just strange

No, it was Saskia Jordá's Mutations that grabbed me — eventually.

I had little taste for them, too, when I first saw them, especially the ones out front that still seem mostly just strange. Then I didn't want to leave, inclined to hang out awhile in a new space, (Barry, among others, was there, also — he does haunt The New) when we discovered wonderful food from our favorite Thai restaurant across the street in the back room.

That helped settle in. Then, spending time with the art closer to the back of the new gallery, seeing its conspiracy of textures and strange unity of patterned colors more carefully. I began to enjoy their strangeness.

I took a lot of photos to help me understand what was going on here, although I'm still not sure. Focusing in helped. I don't mind weird, in fact I generally prefer it. But it's nice to have something to hang onto out there. Throughout her work, texture won over shape and meaniing.

Saskia Jordá

Saskia Jordá

Interesting choices of textures and colors patched together almost randomly. I didn't touch them then, but looking at them now I want to. The work is a subtle amalgam of —

You know, while the isms were raging in the last decade of last century, I never gave a whit about the Post Modern one except in architecture, where it was obvious even to me. Now that nobody much uses those words in polite speech outside of movies anymore, I see the stuff everywhere.

My friend Georgia Stafford, way back in the early 80s, called her (and friend Lisa Lacy's) particular ism, that fit pretty tight into everybody else's then, but has since expanded to cover all of everything — although maybe it wasn't as obvious at her beginnings — called it "Left Right Neo Obsessivism," and despite the joke of it, she was dead on.



2917 Canton Street

by Barry's on Canton

Another new gallery is starting up next to Barry Whistler (one of those recurring characters) in Deepish Elm.



About This Journal

I've been thinking — and talking — about doing a J R's Journal for as long as there's been a DallasArtsRevue website. Maybe, finally, I'll get this thing going now. There's always been stops, visits, chance meetings and attendings of art around town that add up to something less than feature stories that still needed writing somewhere. Now this is where.

This likely will be more unified than the various caches of Short Shows Reviews in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and/or Short Reviews gathered from mentions in the calendar now stuck off in elderly DARts directories, although these stories will be about the same length, only strung-together, as above.

EAT ART still comes and goes and will likely come again. That holdover from DallasArtsRevue on paper is based on the notion that the editor of this esteemed and pixelated rag has personally involved community art moments. This Journal thing will be what I do when I'm not reading movies or watching poetry, or wondering when my new camera will finally arrive.

Please also note The New Flatness as expressed in our logo for this page. -JRC

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