Visual art news, views, reviews & calendars in Dallas, Texas, USA
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Jason Roskey was the first artist to respond to this page's request for non gallery affiliated artists who hope to be reviewed in DallasArtsRevue. His review is on the Jason Roskey page.
See also DejaaVu All Over, a roundup of requested reviews. Since then, nobody's asked...
Story + Photographs by J R Compton
Thanks to a letter from a local artist (See the Feedback page), I have a better understanding that expecting to find art in a commercial gallery, museum or art center is unfair to a lot of Dallas artists — whose work never shows in those places.
Dallas has many superb artists who are not represented by the commercial gallery system; who have not cracked the code to get into the museums; or who don't have time, energy or the inclination to get their art in those sometimes stilted and even stultifying places.
It's lazy and closed-minded for me to expect to discover untapped Dallas art talent in those same old spaces. Certainly there's some great art there, but undiscovered wonders are in a lot of other places, too.
I may not yet know where they are, but some of you do.
The letter-writer wanted to know DARts policy for submitting work for review, and I was embarassed to admit that, as much as I love to develop procedures, I'd never thought of one for that.
But it makes a lot of sense.
How can I claim to cover Dallas art, if I don't access art beyond the narrow, established local commercial and public art systems?
If D-Magazine is right, and I am Dallas' "Best Local Arts Promoter," aren't I missing a some important avenues of discovery?
Eschewing deadlines and "issues" and other archaic leftovers from print media, I strive to make this site as webbishly Internet-like as possible.
Why not use this medium to its max.
Well, everybody and his dog now has a digital camera, and with just a little tweaking, the output from one — don't worry about megapixels, just get it in focus without shaking the camera, using daylight — is good enough for a starter view of your art.
See the procedures below for more information.
But first, let me remind you that I only write about a tiny minority of the work I see — and I see a lot — and I hope this experiment will help me see more.
If art doesn't scintillate (thrill, excite, intrigue, fascinate, energize) me, I won't be interested enough to look at it more carefully — or write about it. Usually, I know right away whether it's worth writing about, but sometimes art needs thinking about.
What I know
Right up front, I admit that I am prejudiced, picky, fickle, opiniated and demanding, and I don't believe objectivity is possible — or preferable.
D-Magazine calls me a curmudgeon, which it probably got from these pages, but it also says I have an "educated eye." Nothing is quite so educational as being exposed to a lot of new data.
If I'm sure I do not want to write about your art, I'll simply say, "No thank you," and I probably won't even be able to explain why.
Unfortunately, that will be my response to most artists.
If I am interested in seeing more of your work, or seeing it up close and in person, I'll tell you soon. It probably won't more than a week, depending on how much art I see that week (and whether I'm in town).
Saying I want to see more of your work won't necessarily mean I'll review it, just that I'm interested enough to take a second or expanded look, but if this exploration leads to a DARts feature story, you'll at least be mentioned, maybe with a photo.
If I am seriously interested in your work, I'll probably want to visit your studio. That would be a logical next step, although that would be up to you.
Your work would have to be pretty amazing to lure me beyond Loop 12. But anything's possible.
At best, I'd write a review of just your work. At medium, I'd include yours in a longer story including several artists, which may be the logical extention of this experiment.
At worst, I won't mention your art, like I don't mention almost everybody else's.
When someone tries to pressure me, I usually squish out the opposite direction.
So no hype, please.
I like to talk and I love to look. If your studio or art room or whatever is even vaguely visually interesting, I'd want to take photographs and maybe even publish them on these pages — with your permission.
DallasArtsRevue credits work, and I don't mind posting copyright notices nearby, but if I'm interested enough to visit your place of art, I'll probably want to take my own photographs.
Writing positive reviews is more interesting, time-efficient and personally rewarding than writing negative ones, but I don't mind noting drawbacks or picking nits about work I otherwise am drawn to.
I'm not perfect.
I sometimes like artists but don't care for their work, or versa vice. Sometimes those feelings are powerful. I like to think I can write well even when personalities conflict. However, I know me well enought to know some things are not possible.
This is an experiment.
It might work great. It might be a disaster. The only way to find out is to try. So try we must. Your chance of winning is a lot better than the lottery.
This story is illustrated with a variety of art reviewed on this site — with an emphasis on work by younger artists early in their careers. Only one image on this page is larger than 16k. That's the top one, it's 24 k. Click on images to see the reviews.
A diverse linking of J R's reviews includes Billy Hassell, Linda Finnell, Celia Eberle, Sean Earley, Bruce Webb, Chris Mars, David Bates, Pamela Nelson, Phillip Van Keuren, Ellen Tuchman, Rosemary Meza and Steve Cruz, Nicole White and Robert Boland. Lots more reviews are linked from the newly updated (but still incomplete) Art Crit Index.
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