Solicited + Unsolicited Art —
Déjá Vu All Over the Place

Merde by

Vladimir Bourrec - Merde, 2002
15 x 21.5 inches oil on canvas

 

I asked for some of the art on this page. Others were unsolicited. Some came in response to my recent request for artists outside the gallery stream to send their work for review. Others slipped in willy nilly, with publicity or as if by E-magic.

For full particulars of sending your work for review here, read Submitting Your Work for Review, including the Official DallasArtsRevue Policy.

The one, serious success story in this series of requested reviews is that of Jason Roskey's paintings.

 

This story started when an artist tried to get me to review his work. I asked him to send samples. He did, and I turned him down almost immediately. I was, at least, somewhat polite, dismissing him with a curt "no thank you."

T. Scott Stromberg - Old School T. Scott Stromberg - Stole My Trout T. Scott Stromberg - Spilled Milk
T. Scott Stromberg - Old School, Brian Blush Stole My Trout, and Spilled Milk

I didn't want to have to deal with his art. I told myself I didn't like it, and I didn't like art like that. I wanted, instead, to review 'serious' art. As if.

PLEASE NOTE: The rule against sending in art attachments is now null and void. You are invited to send a single attachment to an email now that I've got high speed internet. But don't send more than one unless I ask you to.

But I kept what he sent, as I've kept art by other artists, including many who have ignored my oft-repeated instructions not to send images attached to E-mails without prior permission.

See How to Send Us Stuff to learn the proper procedure for submitting information for publication in the DallasArtsRevue Art Calendar.

That rule is because attached images slow down my already snailish connection, and I rarely use them. Until now.

When I see an unsolicited image sliding slowly down my line, I cancel the download, which nets me the words without the pictures. If an unsolicited image does get through, I take my own sweet time dealing with it.

Now, I figure anyone who sends unsolicited images without permission is as ripe for review as artists who actually want to know what I think.

Over the months since T.Scott sent me his work, I've grown to appreciate it more than I ever expected. It no longer seems amateurish. But it's still cartoonish; his ethnics seem stereotyped; and it's as if I've seen these same images with slight variations too many times.

But I like Scott's fisherman and that striated, mosaic river. It implies a power and kinetic rush similar to Spilled Milk's arcs of flying artifacts. Both have format similarities with the next artist.

This graphic artist's tendency to oversimplify sometimes gets lost in a comical complexity, but each piece does slightly extend my understanding of who he is and where he's coming from.

That's not always true.

Reno Moreno - Free
Reno Moreno - Buffalo Hunter
Reno Moreno - Ancestral Land
Reno Moreno - Free, Buffalo Hunter and Ancestral Land, paint on paper, 21 x 30 inches each
Austin artist Reno Moreno is another artist whose work I initially dismissed out of hand. He linked me to a web site showing his work, where, at first, I saw just another Indian portraying other Indians. These are exactly that. And perhaps less.

We've all seen similar work — stylized environmental portraits with a distinctively clad male (always), superimposed on a graphic, symbolic field — bright colors and simple shapes on muted, usually brown, backgrounds.

The symbols bespeak the romance and magic of the Old West before the White Man, although there's a goofiness in Buffalo Hunter's face and the elongated shadows behind him that probably were not intentional.

Note Free's clunky, over-sized hands that might have resulted from over-zealous copying. Because I've so often seen similar work, I have to wonder if these portraits were painted from real life or from pictures in a book.

There's a similarly too-familiar feeling with Vladimir Bourrec's Merde topping this story, although naming it that doesn't help my appreciation. Big-eyed, bald, greenish aliens are an abused cliché. I almost always turn off, soon as I see another one.

When so many artists paint the same stereotype figures, they lose their power to startle or, more importantly, to tell us more about the artists, their subjects and their worlds.

Richard Patterson's work suffers from a similar malady.

Richard Patterson - Richard Patterson -
Richard Patterson - Symbolic Secrets, 2004 (detail) 11 x 14 inches, ink on paper and The Progression of Beauty, 2003  18 x 24 inches, acrylic and marker on canvas

As intricately grotesque as are his pictures, I can't shake the overriding sensation I've seen these images too many times before.

Speed Freak Art is what we called it in my early 70s Underground Newspaper days, when young artists who had a deep need to draw often did not know what to do with their need, and tended to slip into stereotypical imagery like naked ladies, figures with interchanged heads, ritual tattooing and mechanized features.

There could easily be implications I'm missing here. And especially with the nude, I sense that it might actually be saying something, if only it weren't so trapped in its teen-angst obviousness, regardless of the artist's actual age.

I don't want to delve any deeper into this stuff than I have to.

An artist identifying himself only as Romanho sent the following, unidentified images in an E promoting a sale last August. "Let me know what you think," he said.

Romanho - flower
Romanho - nude
Romanho - Exit

According to his letters, he was enjoying ample exhibition opportunities, although I can't see why. His work seems vapid and unsophisticated, without any notable stylistic similarities or, dare I say it, meaning.

Galleries sometimes make too big a deal of the Body of Work concept — meaning all of an artist's work looks like it came from the same artist, often exploring similar themes. The similarities show us the artist's personal style, and making their work more identifiable and saleable. It marks a serious, even a professional artist.

Note the eyeball treatment so similar to that of T.Scott Stromberg above.

And there's that unshakable sensation of déjá vu, again. Again.

I have little idea how this image got to me. It may have been bundled into one of the Art Bar's long, rambling publicity E-mails, but I don't remember having seen it, and I think I would have. I sure should have.

?

I'm sorry I did not get to use it on the calendar to help promote whatever show it came with. I wish I could identify its artist/photographer. (Maybe they'll E-mail me about it.)

This photograph tells an almost intuitively obvious publicity story. It is simple, direct, startling, unusual, distinctive, sensual and lusciously tonal in a graphically contrasty way. It's memorable, human, and — best of all — original.

Or close enough.

 

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