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Outside The Lines

Sheila Cunningham - Divining the Future
Polaroid transfer photograph

Outside the Lines juried by David Newman, Carolyn Brown, and Jeff A Green with work by Paul Abbott, Jesus "Cimi" Alvarado, Kathy Boortz, Filiberto Chapa, Sheila Cunningham, C.J. Davis, Maria Guadalupe Diaz, Jerry Dodd, Jeanet Dreskin-haig, Karin Dreyer, Philip D. Foster, Chris Fulmer, Angela Gallia, Amy Gerhauser, Susan P. Giller, Ann Huey, Sonia King, Susan Lecky, Frank Lopez, Jean Mccomas, Robert Mccormack, Jean E C Mcintosh, Susan F. Mollet, Sharon Neel-bagley, Skip Noah, Deanna L. Ooley, Kevin Parma, Roxie Pillow , Suzanne Reagan Truex, Lesli Robertson, Kitty Alice Snead , Sharon Stevenson, Joe Stokes, Giselda-Heidi Strunck, Juergen Strunck, Marie Van Arsdale, Griselda Vanderford and Wilbert Verhelstat the Bath House Cultural Center through July 27, 2002

Outside the Lines, now 2 has become an annual event at the Bath House Cultural Center. Each time, it presents some of the same puzzlements. Outsde what lines? Where are the lines? How can anyone choose anything outside the lines when the lines are mostly invisible, or at least undefined?

Last year, I found only one piece that was actually outside any known boudries of art, and no one agreed with my assessment of that one. This year, perhaps due to the jury of respected local artists — David Newman, and Jeff A Green — there's more work that pushes the boundries. But by no stretch of the imagination are all the pieces in this show Outside any Lines. Indeed, many are boring and/or in the same old box.

Right about here I should note that Kathy was offered a place on the jury, and she really wanted to but couldn't, because we were attending a wedding in the mountains west of Denver. I should also note, just in case you might be reading some extraordinary curmudgeonry between these lines, that we both entered this show. And all our works were declined.

Thanks to that depressing turn, I expected to quietly despise this exhibition. We talked about dismissing it altogether — letting it pass without words or pictures from either of us. But that was before we saw the show. Turns out there's work in this show that's just too good to blow off.


Lesli Robertson - On Her Way
charcoal, fabric, thread

The first piece I really took note of was Lesli Robertson's On Her Way in the hall outside the main gallery, which was then inpenatrably packed with people enduring some sort of awards ceremony, completely inaudible from the hallway, except for applause.

Just chopping off her head, legs and feet places it into the category of Outside The Usual. Mixing fabric and charcoal tips it in, although it looks like a painting. Lovely cloth colors and textures create a subtly sublime abstraction, furthered by the flowered delta in just the right place, and the flanking, reflected reds and smudgy scribbles in the dark background beyond the figure. It hardly matters that the hands are badly drawn; the shoulders are muscular; or that the title distracts with an applied emotionalism.


Jerry Dodd - Strange Flower
Steel and paint

Jerry Dodd's brilliant, polychromed metal sculpture is largely a dark steel beam, rising from the floor, supporting what you see here. Above that dark column are the vivid shapes I thought immediately of as some sort of nautical vessel -- see the stacks on the stern?. Instead, Jerry calls it a flower, and though I still cannot see flora in it, it is immesely attractive and ... strikingly unfamiliar. Whatever those shapes might seem to you, there's little doubt this strange flowering is Outside most Lines.

Suzanne Reagan Truex - Tribal 2
Image transfer with graphite

I was particularly delighted to see Suzanne Reagan Truex' work in this show. It is, of course, very very strange in appearance, with its bizarre cross between line-drawing and radiologic textures, forming fictional faces floating in a flooded field of white. I had not seen her work on a gallery wall before, but what a perfect setting this show is for these clean, serene, decapitated heads.

The fact that she is a Supporting Member gave me a special sense of pride. More of her medical illustration influenced work may be seen at the bottom of this page.


There's not much Outside about Polaroid transfers anymore. But the star of Sheila Cunningham's litle photograph isn't technique so much as subject, although the transfer artifacts meld well with the luscious transurface textures. The subject's goofy, retro techno lenses lend a comedic, Terry Gillam, Monty Python-esque world view, and his silvering 'stash, graying, receding hair and the oddly bulbous, out of focus background all seem perfect together.

Kathy Boortz - Langur
( Kathy Glegg Collection )
Cedar, clay and metal

We discovered Kathy Boortz' whimsical, found-object creatures at last year's White Rock Lake Artists Tour, where we especially enjoyed a Berry Press Pelican, and her Bird Snipper at last spring's Garden of EASL was truly inspired. But this long-tailed Asian monkey of the genus Presbytis is exquisite. I seriously dispute its Outside status but would not question its inclusion in any exhibition. This sinuous monkey lends quality to anything near it.

Check out the Kathy Boortz page in our new Artists Watch series for a quick view of the above mentioned works.


Joe Stokes - Ceramists' Hands
collage of photographs ( early version )

Three other artists whose work is comfortably Outside most Lines are DARts members Susan Lecky, whose work actually comprises lines and spaces, but one look and you know it's uncompromisingly Outside; her husband Bill Verhelst, whose work has always been beyond most any ken; and DARts friend Joe Stokes, an early version of whose digitally manipulated photographs of his elementary students' hands working with ceramics, first appeared on these pages ( above ).


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