Visual art news, views & reviews
in Dallas, Texas, USA
Home Index Calendar Join Resources Feedback Contact
us Reviews Send
to All DallasArtsRevue's Supporting Member Pages of Their Art
Questions Concerning Edges
OTHER PAGE contains an accumulation about this show in not much order:
Organizing Letters The
Space After Dark needs Expenses blue
wad of tape The
Rules of Participation Show
ASSOCIATED PAGES: The
Space at 419 Tyler Our
first show 4 years previous The
First Edgy Story
time I thought about about the
As Night September 23, I remembered all the edgy art. When
we got our chance at the same space a little more than a month later, that
carried through, in my mind at least. I urged DARts Members to show edgy
art — art
that scared them to show. Then I
tried to explain what that meant but only
Still, a lot of the work at Big As Night, Too was edgy.
Kathy Robinson-Hays - Lake Winnipeg, 2006
ink & tea on silk, paper & wood 16 x 20 inches
I was hardly
alone in admiring her work at The
MAC's Trinity member show earlier this year, and though I
waxed prosaic about it then — and probably will again, I flat do not
what is going on in it and over and beyond her frames.
Her images are muted and amorphous,
laid out in a nearly naive sophistication with barely a nod to being framed.
not too far out there, but far enough to make me wonder what's going
in her mind when these things come out of her. My confusion is not altogether
Edge marks the line(s)
between an individual artist's present and future work. The thin slice of daring
and sometimes unsure transition between what they have
been doing, over and into what they might do next. Carrying the baggage of
the past over
that nearly nothing border into the unknown journey.
I am not saying that beyond these edges lies The Future. All
artists will never head in any one direction. That's the neat thing about
art. Recognized art stars begin as surprises who've pushed
themselves out beyond the crowd. Usually without having quite meant to —
although sometimes by sheer power of will, by intently and intensely doing
they do better than everybody else, or by doing something
Ferro - Angel Food Cake, 2006
Mixed Media 18" x 24" x 3"
Nancy was the first to sign on
to this show and the first to express worries that she didn't have
art that would qualify as edgy, then she brought this. Talk about arting outside
I'd kidded her about her pretty
work and told her to bring stuff that scared her to show .
Nobody knows what really was edgy till after the
edges flare into the future. Then it's too late.
I like to think I know it when I see it, but anyone
who thinks they know what art is edgy are likely to be confused or caught up
in hype. There's sure a lot of that running around.
This page is another
of my attempts to straighten out the concept. Like that's gonna
Inevitably, when people try to predict the future,
they get significant portions wrong, so I'll concentrate on the bridges between.
Art is not just edgy when it portends the individual
artist's future or the artist tries something new or different. To fully qualify
as edgy, the art must be an expression of self.
Helsem - Los Cristianos, 2006
oil on canvas 18 x 24 inches
Longtime DallasArtsRevue writer
Michael Helsem is also a poet and inventor of languages, which may be
part of what he is doing
in his painting, and a long-time painter. I liked this one's thick impasto,
jaggy edges and unknown subject. And I like guessing.
Some of the work on this page incorporates
the artist's persona in an obvious, physical way. Michael presents his Self
more metaphyxically, and stronger.
Since the show, I've wondered whether
requiring work finished within the last two months would be simpler,
more direct than asking for edgy art. People, including artists, understand
deadlines and rules.
We ignore a lot of them. We compress and ignore them, but we get the concept.
Too many artists showed old work, some
of it years old, or from the last century. Some of that was very good
and some of it
Big As Night,Too was not an edgy show, although it contained work
on some edges that wasn't hard to find. This page is about the edgy work in
Ball - Projection 1 (Series of 3), 2006
acrylic on canvas - 22 x 18 inches
I had to ask. Donna said the objects
here began as car bumpers, which she turned over in her mind and here. We are — all
of us — tiring
of what we have done before and seeking something better, newer, more us.
I'm a big fan of Donna's photographs
and her long series of Birds of Paradise, but iit is still fascinating how
she seems constantly engaged in expaning her work in so many intriguing directions.
This image may not yet be right-side-up,
but it's getting closer.-JRC
is never always going to be good. When you're on or near the edges,
good is not even a consideration. It may be what we get, but it's not the
aim, although we always hope. You start by getting good at what you do. Then you
push edges. It takes awhile rattling around inside those real and imaginary
before you know where the edges
and which ones you can or want to push. Which ones need pushing.
When you're being as you as
possible, quality is not that important. Expression trumps value. What
is reaching beyond what you know and entering the space of
through that with art.
Pause, then push some more. If you've always done
the same kind of work, it's probably past due for some pushing. The edge beckons.
Erwin - Sugar Spice Everything Nice, 2006
acrylic on canvas - 36 x 36 x 2 inches
I assume this is Kristen.
sure from what. But proud of it. Certain. Assured. A transition —
intentional or not — accomplished. Look at the others of her work on
her page linked
above. This is a leap.
I write about putting ourselves
into our work, and Kristen had already done that. I was going to write about
her series of abstract collages that we hung over the door to the low white
room. They were elegant and intuitive, but this painting kept gnawing
Like many on this
page, it illustrates uncannily concepts presented in this essay. We hung
it on "the
Four Eyes wall", the first one inside 419 Tyler, with other double-vision
how artists use eyes and eyes augmented to explore their own visions.
The art on this page is not necessarily art I'd
normally choose to write about, but I have carefully selected these pieces,
because these are or are so close to what I asked for when I invited the Supporting
Members of DallasArtsRevue to be in this show.
I hope these selections are controversial, but it
doesn't seem so from here. Some of these scare me, too. The scarier
they are, the more likely they scared who made them, and the more likely they
are to be edgy, and beyond that, to be leading into new ways of making new art.
Mitchener - Superstar, 2006
acrylic on canvas 18 x 24 inches
We put this piece in the bathroom
at 419, at least partially because we didn't know what to make of it. We got
what we asked for — scary art — then we were too frightened of it to treat
Of all the artists in
this show, and of all the work, Marty's Superstar was
probably the scariest piece to put in the show — scariest for her,
the artist. She pushed herself, I think, when she made this, fulfilling the
most oft-ignored guidelines in startling fashion.
The artists who dared and
risked, who showed who
they were in a particular and personal way,
dancing out on the bleeding
By either not being afraid to let themselves go
into their art — or
by being plenty afraid and doing it anyway, the artists who showed work
that told us
what they've been thinking and how they've been thinking about it, and
did it in their own peculiar visual language, fulfilled their roles as artists.
Gorham - Her Head of Fire
10 x 8 and 5 x 5 inches - oil on canvas
Heather puts her Self
into her art more overtly than most artists do. There, she either makes fun
or delves into her soul. I'd guess that the best artists have learned
to channel themselves and their talents. I don't think it's calculated. Quite
They've found a non-physical place
where they can be free to do, not exactly what comes naturally, but what they
best know how to do, unfettered by all
the those constraints amateurs feel so deeply but haven't the faintest idea
what to do with.
We are not decorators. We are, at our best, stimulators.
When we are doing that, we are scaring or amazing people and making them think
new thoughts. Whatever imagery, mediums, colors, shapes, juxtapositions, styles
or formats we use in that endeavor matters not.
What is important is our personal involvement and
expression. Sometimes we know what we're up to. Sometimes it just comes out
us and makes
us think, too. We either care or are oblivious to the process.
I have known artists who paint over the scary stuff
that sometimes comes out in their work. Sad.
Process is wonderful, exciting and fascinating
stuff, but if
process is all we can think about, we're too far out of ourselves to make
art that matters.
Michael Starr - Cold Eye, 2005
found objects 27 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 7 inches
Of all the artists whose process
I know, James Michael Starr most strives to express his inner self, putting
pieces he has gathered in what I imagine as an extended sort of automatic writing
— automatic arting.
When we free our minds, and let
our hands and fingers do the bidding of our inner selves along with all the
accumulated understandings we have gathered over the years or decades of our
work, we make edgy art whether that's our plan or not.
It's an act of spirit, and it is
an awesome power, if we're willing to engage it — I believe that Jim has been
stepping carefully over the edges with his Self flapping in the breeze for
now. It will be interesting to see how far it carries him.
The best art comes when we
are on automatic pilot. Our minds may not be all there, but our souls and spirits are engaged.
It's less about engineering
or intellect than emotion, although all of those become powerful by it. When
we are who we really are and show it in our art we
Those who fall back on golden oldies work and crap
they hadn't been able to sell in the years since they made it, and many of
are probably thinking just as deep and scary thoughts but don't
to show, chicken out.
Reagan Boatman -
pit-fired stoneware, mixed media - 14 x 6 x 6 inches
Rebecca assured me that her fetish-like
objects portrayed strong women, but I and others saw them more as women under
can say what they think their art is about, of course, but they are only
the creators. Viewers and crititoadies complete the circle of understanding
and meaning. Especially while engaging in art along the edges, the
artist is often continually clue-light.
I see figures unsure of themselves
being attacked by unknown yet powerful enemies. These victims or former
victims are still standing, wearing their piercing arrows like armor, "facing"
Perhaps because we
created a space that looked —
as much as we could manage on no budget and only a few days sweat equity by
some of the exhibiting artists — like a traditional gallery, the artists
who inhabited it with their art felt
they should only bring nice art — nothing daring or scary. There does
seem to be a correlation of rough spaces with rough art.
We smoothed this gallery considerably in the days
before Big As Night, Too. The
September 23 first, Big As Night event — as
well as most other artists' work in the other spaces along Tyler the same night
as our show — was
held in some pretty rough spaces, and much of it seemed edgy and edgier. At
least some of that art was being created and installed while we polished our
bright white space.
Maybe those other artists put more energy into their
much more recent art than into the space they would only occupy one night.
Maybe that makes more sense. Maybe
pigs fly. I'm not convinced.
Kary - Collage II, 2006
mixed media - 13 x 9 x 3 inches
I wanted to use (did for awhile)
Norm's "Stepping Into The Unknown," one of his inter-stellar, EVA spacemen
the ongoing theme here, but this is much more appropriate — and
human. When I emailed Norm for the correct title, he told me, "It
is called "Collage
II" ... as
mundane a title as I could think of. It
was an opportunity to use an object (that is a sink) that challenged me to
"As far as I am concerned it was
an experiment from my studio that I thought I
would show (to the public).I like the freedom to show work that doesn't "fit" the
kind of work the public is used to seeing. I have shown at 500X 's Open
Show many years (sometimes under an assumed name) that doesn't "look" like
my work and putting a very affordable price on the work. Haven't sold one yet.
"These "experiments" tell
me the piece is a failure; they don't see my
name on the price list; or the work was placed upstairs with all the other
looser pieces. I don't take it personally; it's fun to come to the Openings."
3-D collagists like Norman Kary
and James Michael Starr — who
both kidded about the common confusion between their work during installation, may have
a leg up on edgy work. Putting physical elements together can be an essentially
Although I've tried, I've never
got to watch either artist work — nor do I blame them. I'd want to talk, and
they need to think visually, which may be mutually exclusive activities. I
have, however, interviewed both about their work and process.
See interviews with both Norman
Kary and James
Only one artist in the show sold any art. Norman
Kary, who with his good friend Art Shirer, placed and hung most of this show
(with much help and some direction), sold
two pieces to a couple who would not wait the
to take their work.
They had to have it right then. Still seems
rude to take art off the wall in a one-night only, four-hour show, but
since Norm hung most of that wonderful intimate little room his and other artists'
was in, why not.
He quickly moved some art around and had
it presentable in those piece's absence within minutes.
Soon as we heard someone wanted to buy art, I ran
up the street to track him down. As if it were a revelation, some sort
of a miracle. And in some ways it was.
Oh, and the other big news was that Kathy Boortz
was invited to show in an upcoming animal-themed show at Valley House Gallery,
one of Dallas'
We were envious.
Mabli - Joyful Rain, II, Rotated, 2006
collage 20" x 23"
image courtesy of the artist
Barbara's work is consistently
out there. We replaced one certifiable edgy work she'd brought that was too
overall gray to hold its space in iffish light, with this charmer that reminds
heart surgery. Some vivid cross between a real heart and a candy one in red
veins and arteries, she'd made it for the Bath House's Corazon show last February.
Her gray piece that holds its
place on her Member Page very well, was, I believe, the only piece that anyone
brought that was not in the show. This replacement was not the only piece that
arrived at 419 North Tyler after the delivery deadline.
All four of Art Shirer's work
was, in his inimitable style, delivered well after deadline. When we had a
pretty good idea where all the art we had was going, and where needed some
more. Like Count Basie, he filled in the spaces in our little impromptu show.
Since Art put more effort and time and sweat into this show than anybody, he
got special dispensation, and probably always will.
Other than that all we got
was a good time, a lot of art talk and the experience of a lot of very different artists working together
— producing another show. I kept thinking of those 30s
movies with young Andy Hardy and the gang putting together a stage show. Like
that, putting together this show in that space had the sense of community about
it that I — and obviously others — miss. It
long, arduous, fun and amazing in many ways.
The night before the show, Anna
and I finally put together a DallasArtsRevue flyer that explains what this
site is about
with a few links to important indexes. The text of that flyer has since transmuted
into the Simplified Introduction to
Barnard - What Is An Eight? - Mixed Media
I Am Finished - Mixed Media 24 x 24 inches
You've Got To Have Heart -
Mixed Media 32"x 32
The best of Rita Barnard's paintings
and installations have strong elements of either Self and Family or Politics.
As Rita has done before, this vivid personal work deals unflinchingly
with her sister's medical issues.
The sum of those aspects as well
as her politics, which sometimes scare people, often approaches
edginess. Instead of calling it that, however, I'll settle for classifying
them as the
an often daring artist who crossed over some pretty fierce edges some time
back, although the differences
may be subtle.
Another mature artist in an amazing
long-term groove is Kathy Boortz, who creates her work in an uncommonly
fashion, But I still wouldn't call it edgy, which name should probably be limited
to artists actively engaged in crossing the lines while letting their true
selves shine through.
There's more that needs saying and showing
about this quick up-and-down exhibition, and I'll probably say some of it in
I'm especially interested
in defining our set and setting in a series of near neighborhood
photographs shot during my daily visits there. And a page gathering
all the best photographs, showing our progress through the
steps up to the show.
But this is enough for
- Fan, Light Pulls
ink-jet print - 13 x 19 inches
Desperate to counteract the curse
of old art and unsure whether my work was in any manner edgy, everything I
was shot and printed within one week of the show, while I was already plenty
busy doing other stuff for it and DARts.
The most and best of what I brought,
all under the same deadline everybody else had, were photographs of
the building at 419 North Tyler where the show was.
I had cake-walked all over too
many notions about golden oldies and the accidental new, and still harbored
deep feelings of not-good-enough and too-boring about what I delivered, but
it was recent and scary.
I watched people watching art all
that only night of Big As Night, Too. I especially watched a guy in vivid pajamas
pants and strange unmatching shirt (it was Halloween weekend) stare at this
photo on this wall and step back to contemplate it.
A little later, I saw him walk
to the middle of the room and gently touch, almost fondle the pulls
hanging there. He didn't pull, he just got in literal
touch with the objects in the photograph he'd figured out.
I always worry whether my work holds
meaning. So I was pleased with that subtle connection and confirmation. I have
lost expectation to sell work, but seeing him do that was direct visible feedback
And, yeah, I was the official curator
of this exhibition.