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 New Texas Talent or
 Survival of the Strangest?

Story and Photographs by JR Compton
For an alternative view, read Kathy's Hot Art story

Javier Lopez Cantu — West On Mary, 2002
oil on canvas — 48 x 48 inches - Austin

 

Craighead-Green's very competitive, 10th Annual New Texas Talent show juried by Dallas Morning News Arts Editor Janet Kutner is an intriguing and controversial exhibition.

 

Keith JR Hollingsworth - Bacchus
60 x 48 inches - Houston

Many of the artists I spoke with there and since had entered and had their work rejected. Almost all of them thought the choices ranged from peculiar to dreadful.

One wag said it looked like the art was selected by a writer from the local paper.

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Skip Noah NYC acrylic on canvas
24 x 40 inches - Addison

 

I did not enjoy the broiling heat inside or out, and the wall-to-wall crowd at the reception left me gasping for oxygen — one friend noted that I looked 'freaked' as I hurried out of C-G to find comfort and cool in the Cidnee Pat, two doors down.

Cooler and calmer when we returned the next day, I was pleased and surprised with content. I began to suspect that, faced with the more than 500 entry slides, Ms. Kutner went for what stood out from the crowd.

 

Jane Eifler - Night Shade
oil on canvas 24 x 20 inches - Houston

 

With so many to sift through, it had to be survival of the strangest.

If there's one way to classify all Kutner's choices under one, over generalized umbrella, it might be humor and wit, although utter strangeness also played its part.

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Marcia Alaniz Doll, Chair, Shaker
oil on canvas - 16 x 23 inches - Sachse

 

Still, there's a bit of subtlety in this show — though little likelihood of any agreement on which pieces qualify. Kathy turned her nose up on this gentle delight, making fun of the big signature extending the odd collection of dollish shapes.

I liked the solidity of the gray ground mass sweeping into the partially cloudy summer sky and the slight mystery of personal symbolisms.

 

Lucia Arbery - Recollection II oil, polycryllic,
polyurethane - 10 x 11 inches (3 pieces) - Dallas

 

And I've always been a sucker for translucence and subtle shadow play. So, naturally, this lovely abstraction played light games in my mind.

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Jahjehan Bath Ives - Silencio, 2002
mylar, shadow, 6 x 9 inches - Houston

 

In a similar vein, Silencio paints a linear, white picture almost invisible transluced on the white gallery walls. The drawing is created by the light shadowed under it.

 

Janaki Lennie - Stargazers #25
oil on linen - 24 x 20 inches - Houston

 

Another entry in the subtle competition is this elegant spatial painting that, again, reminds of people out standing on their cloud, yet looking further upward.

Striated cloud-like texture in a composition structured on a nearly abstracted, geometric figure that keeps reminding me of a team of baseball players looking into the sun — our local star, after all.

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Veronica De Anda - Apple (slight detail)
mixed media - 15 x 9 inches - Denton

 

One of the pieces that's grown on me is this oddly dissected, flesh-less little girl, doll clothes form "holding" an apple. In these days of Amber Alerts, this person less portrait just keeps getting spookier.

Another subtly spooky vision is the yellow skied, black cloud menace rolling up Mary Street in Austin artist Javier Lopez Cantu's painting at the top of this page.

 

Laura Abrams - Opulant Ovule
bronze - 12 x 12 x 24 inches - Dallas

 

The one piece selected by gallery owners Craighead and Green — and approved of by all those dissident painters was this simple form in the reflective and crowd-smudged front window.

 

  For another view of this show and the one down the street at Cidnee Patrick's, read Kathy's Sizzling Summer Art story.

 

All contents Copyright 2003 by JR Compton
No Reproduction in any analog or digital form
Without explicit, written permission
from DARts Editor/Publisher JR Compton.

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