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Hot & Cold Art

February 15, 2003

by JR Compton

On the day after Valentine's, I followed up on two personal invitations to see some shows I might otherwise have let pass.

I'd nearly bumped into friend, fellow photog and former computer tutee Deborah Hunter at Elliott's duing my biennial tour of the hardware world.

I'd already listed their SMU art faculty show that opened that night, but SMU is such a nuissance to park at I'd thought I could miss it.

She suggested I see it. I said I would. Today was the last day.

Kathy and I'd hammered a recent show — and the Ice House's reputation in genereal, and they agreed with some of our points. But gallery coordinator Giovanni Valderas thought we should come see Subsist & Persist.

So, on a warm but rapidly cooling day when my head was exploding from learning new software, I headed out. Bucking all that and traffic, too, I headed south of the Trinity for a little art R&R, loud KNTU jazz filling my car.

First thing I noticed was that the murals on the front of the Ice House had changed. I shot the latest version, then tried to remember which was the front door.

Soon as I was in and photographing work inside, a guy asked if I was a journalist. Usually, I can get in and gone before anybody thinks about that. Reluctantly I admitted it.

He wanted to talk, and at first, I didn't. But the more we did, the more I learned about his art — the mural, for instance — and the Ice House community.

He also was also eager to explain some of the subtler points of Cindy Santos Bravo's subsist & persist sculpture, although I'd certainly got the point of a show about being caught wordless in a clash of languages and cultures.
 

Cindy Santos Bravo - impermanence II
wood blocks and chalk
13 x 8 x 8 inches
 

I especially liked the Spanish letters white-chalked on charred-black English lettered toy blocks. It was a lot less strident than the chalkboards with pittiful superimposed children.

And I'd laughed at the bitter joke of a chair on a pedestal in the far corner. Turned out it was just a chair, not art, but it helped set up an oppressive atmosphere for the overkill double sculptures of tiny school chairs chairs lined up in the middle of the gallery.

Cindy Santos Bravo - I will not speak spanish
chalkboard, PlexiGlas and ink
48 x 72 x 23 inches (detail) 


The show was an expression of personal passion — hot art, if you will. Though it wavered between too subtle and not nearly subtle enough, it was based on real life. It was human, warm to the touch.

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