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500X Junior Senior Prom: No Ifs, Ands or Buts

Story + Photographs by J R Compton

Where the story continues from the cover

The full list of artists in this show, thanks to 500X, is at the bottom of this page.

Angela Rice - untitled

Angela Rice - unknown
one of the pieces I saw at delivery

Usually I see the show before I need to write about it. Not this time. From two images I noted at the open show's last delivery day — bright-eyed if fearful 'Red,' above and the mostly gray one at the bottom, I knew I had to shoot, then think this one through. The gray that I didn't shoot till last was already placed in the pit, the red that I shot soon as I saw it, barely made it to an upper corner of that same prestigious space later.

These images are all in the order I shot them, the rest from a full but quick tour, one wall at a time, in through the big clanging metal door out front, into the gallery, up through the hall room, ascending the back stairway, around upstairs, down again, along the opposite wall, into the main gallery, project room, the pit and out.

I pushed my pace, yielding no time to second guess first impressions. I shot each and its i.d quickly, usually not checking anything but focus, then on to the next. No time for words. Photographs only. These words come later, once the images were in my head. No rankings, just a mostly chronological run through.

Harmony Padgett - Only

Harmony Padgett - Only, 2006
oil on wood - $1,600

I love Harmony Padgett's work. Have since I saw the first big one on the wall at Mighty Fine Art in Oak Cliff. Scribble digs in the wood are an added attraction to female shapes and rich colors, some I've seen rubbed into wood on centuries worth of tribal art. Rich colors. A little difficulty discerning shapes, but this is mostly realism, of a sort. Historical with recent twists. I can't explain it but like looking.

Jon Jacobson - Torn Up

Jon Jacobson - Torn Up, 2006
acrylic on paper - $300

Reading the title, which I didn't when I saw it on the wall, I can see something approximating anguish. Titles can explain but I didn't want to entertain them. Initially I liked the rendering. The hand and face and hair. Didn't notice emotion. Still difficult.

Nice color. Appropriate for the title. In sunlight with a blue sky shadows are blue, has come to mean shadows everywhere are that hue. This guy isn't anywhere, but he's blue. I like the fiddly bits around his nose and scrunch between the eyes and the muted background. Not so sure about the stain his nose points to. Maybe it was a tear.

Studying this, the anguish isn't credible, though the art may have branched from it. The expressive abstraction of chopped off fingers leans us in the direction, but people who hide their emotions behind hands express less.


Carrie Kersey - Worries

Carrie Kersey - Worries, 2007
porcelain, wood, glass, fibers

Precious objects in museum boxes under glass. Impossible to photograph straight down because then I was standing in my own cast shadows from the bright lights way up. I would have liked to hold those ritual wrapped objects. Fondle them. I may have to wrap something here in glistening thread and neutral cloth.

They are pretty. Short color spectra wrapping similarly shaped yet mysterious objects in lush dark inside the rich wood. I like everything about these objects except the lighting. I even like that there are two of them. Little mysteries wrapped in enigmas.

Jack Swart - Big City

Jack Swart - Big City, 2007
digital - $190

The single cloud balancing the single figure teeter-totter down the composition makes this piece. The busy uneven walls of windows contrasts that simplicity. The person standing in front of shadows looking toward the cloud, is the only reason either of them exist. A minor closed system. Monochromatic green with recognizable objects convey a feeling, a mood, a sensation not so much expressed by the what of it but in the simple spatial relationship. Those truths louder than the composition of objects.

Loretta Gonzalez - The Seven Deadly

Loretta Gonzalez - The Seven Deadly Sins, 2006
acrylic on panel - $1,000

Soft, a little silly, porn from an alternate Disney universe.

Ponderous title, cutesy bluebirds and a once hope-filled forest, dripping dark my childhood movie friends. More lovable critters, some wide-eyed, and Dopey frame the action. Snow White deflowered, tit exposed, legs awry in the big middle, everybody else looking on or guilty. Bashful less than we thought. Reality leaking into a beautiful woman living with seven guys in the woods.

We know these folk and their deeply, disturbingly clichéd personal stories. About time a Disnoid got effed.

Mary N Wester - Petite Purse Parade

Mary N. Wester - Petite Purse Parade
mixed media - $1,500 or $150 each

A craftish tableau of ten purses on a white table at the top of the front stairs. Just simple enough. Playful in the grouping and scale. Well crafted. Something we all recognize, identify and with.


Loretta Gonzalez - Witnesses

Loretta Gonzalez - Witnesses, 2006
acrylic on panel - $1,000

Is that Cinderella's mean old mom, been bad at the ball? Another lineup of lovable mice and a fat fluffy cat. The birds in the trees are patterns reflected in the wallpaper. The birds in the curtains probably just where Walt would have put them. Love the old lady's slut slouch and empty glass. On beyond appropriation. This a new, more realistic story, funnier than Disney.

Sorta surprised they didn't hang them together for more impapct.

Tony LaBarba - untitled 4

Tony LaBarba - Untitled 4, 2004
clayboard etching - NFS

Less sure about the other three etchings whose totem this bases, but this one's lovely. The sky filled with broad, stylized white-capped ocean waves and a windswept beach in exquisite dark and white. The only element less than elegant here is that clunky signature. Why does it say '99 and the i.d claim 2004?

And what's with the straight etched line near the top? Would have been a good place to crop it. Now it's a distraction.

Andrew Grimes - Interrogation of a Child Molester

Andrew Grimes - Interrogation of a Child Molester, 2007
acrylic on canvas - $550

Optical delusion, guilty floating in a floor/wall corner changing colors. Simpler than its surrounding work makes it stand out. He blue tints inside Safety Colors staying penitent but I'm wondering if it's actually a questioned suspect or guilty tried true molester. Dudn't look adult. Too much anime in the universal figure but the color shapes extend through three frames. A pause to consider.

Jennifer Jones - untitled

Jennifer Jones - untitled, 2007
charcoal - $400

Here's a CSI mystery. That a body or a person? What up? Why the key? Key to what? Whose hand behind her head doing what? And why if this face is rendered with so much texture and chiaroscuro dark detail is her torso so barely there? Caught my attention. Held it. Glorious black & white.


Rachel Fischer - The Woman Who Beat The World

Rachel Fischer - The Woman Who Beat The World
oil - $1,000

Another female face, same angle of lean. More mystery. Lots of textures. Superrealist face without being quite real. Reminds us that she's paint. Love the slip strap, tanned shoulder, turquoise top with beadwork, disheveled gray black hair and sketchy backdrop. Not sure why the mug details in the nice shade under her wincing face. But I'm usually thankful for little mysteries.

Joyce L Martin - Fetish

Joyce L. Martin - Fetish, 2006
mixed media sculpture - $2,000

Third female form in a row. I liked this then I didn't like it then I liked it then I didn't again faster than it was spinning from the ceiling, till I had to get away. Thought about it upstairs — lights and shadows still spinning — and when I came back near the end of my whirlwind tour I still wondered. Sensations of: Tribal. Warrior. Primitive. Camouflage. Venus d' something rising.

Textures beautifully lighted even as it spins, unlike some pieces here. Its spinning helps. I tried to separate it from the background, now see it might be good to show some of what I didn't want to write about.

Pate MacKenna - Bildungsroman

Pate MacKenna - Bildungsroman, 2007
oil on canvas - $500

I started disliking this thing first I saw it, thinking I'd seen it on or in a sci-fi movie zine. Why it needed be here I could only wonder. Nice tonalities, the smudges more than the face. The negative spaces over and under smudged into gentle oblivion sucks my attention, damn it. Part of not wanting to like this was where they had already placed it, before most work was even delivered. Somebody at 500 is fascinated by this wretched thing. I can see why.


The 500X Open Show, The Junior Senior Prom in late spring 2007 included art by Ben Hancock, Michelle Ewing-Juarbe, Sarah Tune, James Lessen, Geraldine Brettmann, Geoff Ford, Natalie Khan, Howard Weliver, D’Arcy Bellamy, Soo Kim, Richard Ross, Angela Rice, Amanda Kutsch, Tony Bones, Christina Phensy, Rachael Fullerton, William Rosshirt, Casey Kent Johnson, Joe Ely, Ashley Cary, Chris Martin, Janie Cantrell, Paul Finley, Josh Fletcher, Erick Maybury, Cameron Sands, Joel Sampson, Maureen Brovillette, Terry Shuck, Scott Born, Meranda Dawkins, Steve Tate, Ashley Milow, Lauren Manera, Mirtha Aertker, Cuyler Etheredge, Morris Smart, Liz Kerrigan, Billie Heath, Judy Clark, Beatriz Cabrera, Alejandro Trevino, Heather Hare, Patricia Lindberg, Todd Hagler, Daniel L. Birdsong, Rex Gee, Kathryn McLaughlin, Miryam Prodanovic, Eric McMahan, Robert Rodriguez, Giovanni Valderas, Susan Whitmer, Kim Alexander, Mark Pease, KFX, Steve Herndon, Unkmata, Warren Cozby, Scott Pollock, Andrea Stigdon, Bill Barter, Jon Holland, Jonathan Brown, Brian Gore, Kaki D. Crowell-Hilde, Pate MacKenna, Amanda Dyson, Kate Stipp, Bre McFarling, John Bell, Stephen R. Hill, Edward Brassart, Nina Harp, Jon Jacobson, Vinh-Luan Luu, Todd Camplin, Roma Misra, Heather Wood, Pat Sutterfield, Elissa Stafford, Clayton D. Morrow, Scott Lutrell, Lisa Chesley, Ann Nguyen, David G. Smith, Griselda Saenz, Shari Wallace, Kim Kolker, Lori Dolan, C. Kirk, Megan McCauley, Nathan Porterfield, KeLaine Kvale, Michael Uskovich, Ellen Weaver, Cedra Wood, Jill O’Brien, D’Arcy Bellamy, Dentist, Adam Sachs, Rachel Fischer, Ivonne Acero, Alysha Singh, Jack Swart, Nancy Brown, Andrew Douglas Underwood, Jack Swart, Don Relyea, Tina Aghilar, Bobby McGehee, Sonia White, Shelley Hampe, Jee Young Choi, Melody Hay, Angela Thornton, Angel Cabrales, Carrie Kersey, John Losey, Colin Laflin, Harmony Padgett, Alvaro Perez, Joyce L. Martin, Daniel Estrada, Clayton Hurt, Fernando J. Contreras, Sunny Sliger, Steven Chomistek, Allen Brock, Mary N. Wester, Bertrell Demond, Loretta Gonzalez, Stephanie Leonard, Anna Palmer, Maggie Such, Oscar Chacon, Jasmine Whitis, Michael D. Smith, Christi Meril, Andrew Grimes, Jung Ok Whang, Alex Burton, Justin Allen, Lana Renee Waldrop, Nicole Neeley, Casey Arguellues, Jeannie McKetta, Adam Pena, Bobby Jackson, Kiba Jacobson, Mohammad Jilani, Mary Emma Hawthorne, Tania Kaufmann, Esther Hasskamp, Teryn Loebs, Annie Carter, Jennifer Jones, Alan Brecht Skelton, Laura Jennings, Jacob Latchem, Chuck D’Arcy, Meranda Dawkins

Full list of artists promised but never delilvered, but after I made a stink about it, they published it on their site, for the first time ever. That's where I got this. The show was open through June 2, 2007.

An open show means anybody may deliver work to be shown. In this case, they pay $25 each. I doubt there is any limit. The event is the anual fund-raiser for 500X.


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