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Critic's Choice 2001

Some artists taylor competitive submissions to what they surmise are that juror's predelections. But the notion baffles me, and after viewing the 57 very different artists in DVAC's summer Critics Choice show, I see no consistency attributable to the juror, Nasher Sculpture Center director Steve Nash.

It's a spare show -- much more so than that Heinzian number could foretell. There's a short eternity of white space between the groupings in DVAC's recently expanded gallery, allowing eyes and minds to settle between juxtaposed visions.

J R Compton - Raintrees

J R Compton   Raintrees   photograph

Of course, there's a lot of stuff I would never have selected here and more than a few that I love. My own piece, the digital photo, Raintrees, was simply the best piece I did last year. I know people who do it and do it well, but I've never been able to second-guess jurors.

Elizabeth Baler Mahy   Seaside   monoprint

And I thank whomever's responsible for its terrific placement, near the beginning of this long and winding exhibition. Just inside the front door, it's settled in a complementary feeling and color environmental context, while diverging texturally with with Elizabeth Baier Mahy's rich and lovely, nearly abstracted Seaside monoprint [above].

The paired, visually similar, yet totally different matched set of Skip Noah's large, mixed media Revolution and Dale Andrew's even bigger, Prophet and the Windbag oil on canvas, much further into the show, both featuring a melange of arcs, lines and scribbles in 3 and 2-Ds respectively, obviously belong together, as do many other visual and contextual juxtapositions throughout the show.

Bob Nunn   Memories and Make Believe

Bob Nunn's oil on linen, integrated triptych, Memories and Make Believe, continues his tradition of using cylindrical shapes, but now, those geometric forms have progressed to less mechanical, more organic shapes, soft, rounded and more subtle.

Suzanne Dulany   Journal, April 2 1:14 PM

I love Suzanne Dulany's startling, acrylic, thread and book, Journal, Arpil 2, 1:14 pm, ( above ) with its thin, dark, wavy threads piercing out through the white blotted pages to bend forward and subtly blow in the barely perceptible gallery breeze. Just above it on the wall, Larry Thompson's obviously Vernon Fisher-like, oil on wood homage, Chasing Blue Sky is neither as verbally subtle, nor visually sublime as the master. But it's still lucid.

Paul Greenberg   Barber - Beijing, China   1999

Paul Greenberg's inviting photograph of real people interacting with his camera and persona, Barber - Beijing, China, 1999 ( above ), presents a very humane reality, directly and personably. Dr. Greenberg's works tend to do that, and it's always an honor to share show space with his fascinating gateways into other cultures.

James Michael Starr   Beneath the Surface   assemblage

James Michael Starr's Beneath the Surface assemblage gets closer at what's going on in the best of art than any verbal essay. Bilevel, but subtly, securely and substantially deep, this aged monochromatic brown, earth-like, moral, religious and scientific shadow box mixes real and imaginary, reality and imagery, along with cross textures, cruciforms and their overt and subtle roots, into a refined philosophic terrarium. 

I'm probably missing some obvious cultural references, but Adrienne T Rosenberg's presentationally simple, yet spatially complex, photographic Betrothal II ( below ) speaks eloquently of contrasting shape and mass, and spatial and pattern interplays. Elegant and subtly colored, this piece is the one work in this wildly diverse show that I immediately liked and still do. I want to look at it again and again.

Buster Graybill   10w40   oil

I must have startled fellow gallery viewers when I gave Buster Graybill's 10w40 Oil Painting — a shallow stainless steel box whose negative, axe-shaped well sunk into the steel is filled with thick, viscous motor oil — a gentlish, swift kick, just to hear the dull metal resound, and watch the oil dollop and roil. I can only wonder how many at the mob scene opening last week stepped on or tripped over it.

One work I overlooked the first time I viewed this show, but which gnaws at me now, even more after I've gone back again, is Carol Barth's small, vividly colorful, very painterly thick and textured oil painting, Cocoon, which I really wanted to show you here, but it was behind highly reflecting glass. I'll go back and get it. It'll be worth the trip. - JRC

Greenberg photo reprinted from the catalog.
Other photos by JRC
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