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The FierceIndex

Stories + Photographs by J R Compton

Fierce Gallery View - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fierce Gallery View with work by (L to R) Richard Ray, James Michael Starr,
Rebecca Boatman, Matt Kaplinsky, Sherry Owens and Kapil Dixit

Fierce was an exhibition of work by Dallas and Texas artists who were favorably reviewed on the pages of DallasArtsRevue.com.

Well that's what I simplified it to. I chose artists who know what they're doing, and what they're doing is not just exciting and different, but uniquely theirs. They have recognizable and evolving styles that are intense, aggressive and gutsy.

Defining fierce is an ongoing process. I've got close to it a couple times, but I ain't there yet.

Artists in Fierce

Art Shirer, Kathy Robinson-Hays, Nancy Ferro, Anna Palmer, George Bailey, Jeanne Sturdevant, Matt Kaplinsky, Dean Corbitt, Chris Fulmer, Sheila Cunningham, Susan Lecky, Gail Siptak, T.Stone, Rita Barnard, Rebecca Boatman, Norman Kary, Marty & Richard Ray, Heather Gorham, Gaby Prutit, Elisabeth Schalij, Jeane McIntosh, David Hickman, James Michael Starr, Kathy Boortz, Fannie Brito, Bob Nunn, Kapil Dixit, Cecilia Thurman, Ann Adams, Ken Shaddock, Jayme Nourallah, Terry Hays, Ramona and Dennis Placke, Cathey Miller, Randall Garrett, Ann Huey, Enrique Fernandez Cervantes, Charlotte Smith, Mark Collop, Sherry Owens and Jason McPeak.

West Gallery - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

L to R: work by Cecilia Thurman, T.Stone, Chris Fulmer, Jason McPeak and Sheila Cunningham; see links below.

Links to artists' studio visits, so far

Norman Kary   Matt Kaplinsky   Nancy Ferro   Jason McPeak   Elisabeth Shalij   Enrique Fernandez Cervantes   Terry Hays & Kathy Robinson Hays   Ann Huey   Kathy Boortz   George Bailey   Mark Collop   Jeane McIntosh   Gaby Pruit   Ken Shaddock   Charlotte Smith   Bill Verhelst & Susan Lecky   David Hickman   Rita Barnard   Randall Garrett   Paul Harris   Annie Davis   Rebecca Boatman

Examples of DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members in the show's work

Art Shirer, Kathy Robinson-Hays, Nancy Ferro, Anna Palmer, George Bailey, Jeanne Sturdevant, Matt Kaplinsky, Dean Corbitt, Chris Fulmer, Sheila Cunningham, Susan Lecky, Gail Siptak, T.Stone, Rita Barnard, Rebecca Boatman, Norman Kary, Marty & Richard Ray, Heather Gorham, Gaby Prutit, Elisabeth Schalij, Jeane McIntosh, David Hickman, James Michael Starr, Kathy Boortz, Fannie Brito, Bob Nunn, Kapil Dixit, Cecilia Thurman, Ann Adams, Ken Shaddock.

Links to invited artists who are not Supporting Members of DallasArtsRevue

Jayme Nourallah, Terry Hays, Ramona and Dennis Placke, Cathey Miller, Randall Garrett & RG & RG, Ann Huey, Enrique Fernandez Cervantes, Charlotte Smith, Mark Collop and Sherry Owens

See the The Fierce Blog [lower on this page] as it journals this unfolding exhibition.


JSturd & APalm - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mixed and Matched Work by Jeanne Sturdevant and Anna Palmer

Fierce Pages

Visiting Fierce Artists - on three pages, so far

PAGE THREE includes Enrique Fernández Cervantes   Marty & Richard Ray   Norman Kary  Matt Kaplinsky   and   Jason McPeak, more visits coming after mid July.

PAGE TWO includes Elisabeth Shalij   Terry Hays & Kathy Robinson Hays   Ann Huey   Kathy Boortz   George Bailey  Mark Collup

PAGE ONE includes   Jeane McIntosh   Gaby Pruit   Ken Shaddock   Bill Verhelst & Susan Lecky    Charlotte Smith   David Hickman   Rita Barnard    Randall Garrett    Paul Harris   Annie Davis  &  Rebecca Boatman

Lots of photographs and some interesting words from each of my curatorial visits with the artists in Fierce — to see them, where they make their art, what they are up to lately and sometimes even how they do it.

The Original Fierce Page

The initial organizing page with an explanation of what Fierce was all about, includes full list of artists, links to earlier stories on ThEdblog 001 and ThEdblog 003 that explain the genesis of this show and some images that were the last ones there when I quit that page to start going on studio visits with the artists in the show.

Fierce Art Space - a photo and video tour of 14th Street Gallery

The truly amateur video I shot of a walk-through of the space at 14th Street Gallery tops this page. Despite what it looks like in this un-color-corrected video, the walls are all white. My imperfect video gives a pretty good idea of the space and how it's strung together. Galleries are in both wings, on either side of the entrance hallway with entrance doors from the back parking lot or the front yard. Lots of art space.


The Fierce Blog

Every DallasArtsRevue show so far has had an online organizing page where I listed the latest info participants needed, what I or the space needed, and other organizational information, step by step. This Fierce one of those has evolved into this blog.

Sunday September 21

I'm still guilty enough that I expect to finish my story about the work in Fierce. I started it, then bogged down in too many details. There's a bunch of images I want to use, since I was careful not to show any pieces actually in the show till it'd been up awhile. There's lots more stories to tell about the show.

If there hadn't been so many new members — DallasArtsRevue has more members now than ever before — join while I was actively pursuing more and more studio visits, I'd probably finish all those visits whose tapes I can still find.

And burn-out enough that I don't want to. Yet.

Sunday August 31

I didn't even think about Fierce for about three weeks, during which time we drove to Colorado, Reooned with family, photographed birds, visited towns where it's cold in the summer, then came back to hot old Dallas and did practically nothing except avoid doing so many things except photographing more birds.

Then after avoiding it altogether most of that much-needed vacation time, I've begun writing my long-promised re-view of Fierce, although the experience feels a lot like necrophilia. I've got a dozen or so paragraphs already, some new pictures, and will add more and more and more in the coming uh... months, days, weeks, minutes, eons ...

I'm still just staring at my plastic bag of tapes recorded on all those studio visits I never got around to transcribing. I guess when I start writing about their pieces, I'll have to duck in and relisten to what they said. Maybe then I'll be compuncted to write them out. It could happen.

Wednesday July 30

High Five - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

High Five North to Plano

I rode with Anna and her granddaughter Alice June to fetch Anna's check from selling a piece and pick up her other two works on Fierce art pick-up day. On the way north — the trip keeps getting shorter — I realized this might be my last trip to Plano in a while, so I photographed the landmarks along Central Expressway. The High Five interchange. That big phallic church, under and over passes, clutters of signs. Not exactly a nostalgic journey, but a documented one. For a change, I wasn't already exhausted.

We saw Richard and Marty Ray at the gallery picking up their work; Marilyn Walligore photodocumenting the space, possibly for an upcoming show; and the 14th Street Gallery crew. Old Home Week.

Bill Verhelst - Fantasy

Bill Verhelst - Fantasy (detail) mixed media - $1,143

Among the many conversations — what is this piece all about? Wasn't it fun, etc. — I remember Gaby saying she planned to have it again next year, only without J R. I had no comment about that, but since I very publicly originated the title on this fully copyrighted site, she'll probably have to come up with a new title.

She said she wouldn't need me, because she already had contact information for all the artists. Again, Old Tar Baby, He Don't Say Nuthin,' but Marty Ray suggested that the artists might not do it without J R.

If I had it to do again, and I suppose I do, if I really wanted to — as much as I loved dealing with this set of artists, it wouldn't really be fierce if we just lined up the same bunch again. Another fierce show would need significant extrapolation. I have a few names already in mind.

AJ in the Back Seat - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Alice June in the Back Seat

To be memorable — and fierce, that second edition should be even fiercer. Which is in the realm of possibility, though more of an effort, needing more curating and, inevitably, more docublogging.

I remember in the deep distant past there being an event called The Vessel Show. Then they did it again. And again. Once was probably enough, and those who were in the first show can always say they were in the original, while all the others can only admit they were in one of the copies.

But I also remember the late Bob Trammell's Flying Red Horse show, followed by the Red Horse Flying Show. I can't even remember which one I was in.

AJ Shoes, Rebecca Boatman sculpture, list - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Alice June' Shoes, Rebecca Boatman's Sculpture and the Full List of Artists

It's the art, and thereby the artists, that made Fierce what it was — as of today, Fierce is history, so I can use the past tense. I'd like to but probably won't stop thinking about it. I still have more visits and a whole-show revue to write.

On the way back south again, Anna and I talked about proposing Fierce Too at the Bath House in say, two or three years. Triennial has a good feel to it, but not nearly as good as sesquicentennial. Now I can't recall whether we were joking.

Tuesday July 29

The number of fierce correspondence has passed 1,000 emails. Have to update the numbers again sometime. And two more pieces sold last Saturday. See Sold Fierce Art list below.

Sunday July 27

Laura Abrams - flower

Laura Abrams' flower — If I hadn't set Fierce's
rules so arcane, she would have been in Fierce.

I admit it. I've burnt myself out of art for awhile — never know how long these bouts of art ennui will last, but they're common enough. For me. I've burnt out often enough I recognize the condition, though I did not recognize it as quickly as I should have. Flying off too many handles.

Not altogether a bad thing. Reminds me I need a vacation or two. Time away or just time. A month might do it. Takes more sometimes. Not unusual a summer occurrence.

From art. I sat at Salon du FIT and saw only a couple of the many I'm sure nice pieces there. Barely saw my own. Again at New Texas Talent I saw only one threesome of work among the madding crowd. I don't even remember the artist's name. Didn't use my camera. Too many people. Too many conflicting notions running around in here.

Anita Horton - Hulga

Anita Horton - Hugla and Her Friends, 2008   acrylic on tar paper - 40 x 30 inches

Anita had been reviewed well on these pages, too. But
like Laura, she didn't ask to be in the show, so she wasn't.

I don't remember burning this far out over doing an art show before, but I wouldn't doubt I have. Nor doubt my ability to hide them from me, so I get to relive it in all their gory. I only reluctantly visited either show, and like I say, I was in one, though I seriously disliked my presentations in that — no problem with placement.

Now I'm in the middle of two other pieces for two other shows for which I have minimal enthusiasm. My participation less than the shows. I gotta get out of here. Send my brain to Arizona or Zanzibar. Something with Zs. I've already promised too much, so I won't anymore, but I'm probably still good for it. Eventually.

If you do a site search [top right most new pages] for ennui, then page searches for it again, you'll learn too much about my need for recurring mind vacations. I just did those as I built the brand new DARts Ennui Index indexing and discussing ad nauseam my art ennui references. A page whose time hath come.

Usually burns wait till at least the show goes down. That's next week. Though this show was ten times as long as our usual two-day events. This could be an interesting ride.

Wednesday July 23

Pickup Day for retrieving art from Fierce is 10 - 6 Thursday July 31. I assume during regular business hours at 14th Street Gallery. If you can't do it then, you probably should call Gaby at 972 633-3822 or email her at gaby@14thstreetgallery.com to make sure someone will be there. They're very accommodating, I'm sure that easy-going style will continue. There is a master list, and you may have to sign out each piece.

Asking me won't help. The paragraph above is more than I know about the subject, except there never really was an official pickup date.

Anna reports that there's been so much traffic at the gallery that Gaby wouldn't mind leaving it up another day or so. Talk to Gaby.

Tuesday July 22

Enrique Cervantes - The Day Before the Eclipse

Enrique Cervantes - The Day Before the Eclipse, June 2008 - color print - $325

Spent three hours this afternoon at the 14th Street Gallery photographing every piece in the show. Exactly 360 shots, although most of those were bad exposures. And developing certain pathies and antipathies toward specific works, most of which I am responsible for putting in this show. I like the whole show more than I did week and a half ago. Lot more. Helped that I got out of town, out of time, and out of art awhile.

Some of the images are on this blog. Some others are on the new (finally) home page I call The Cover.

I still want to have them finished — and I will, but I'm not eager to complete the other studio visit stories, but I'm looking forward to reviewing this show, as long promised.

This came in Anna's email today:

Here's a little show in which I'm participating with three (!) paintings
(which have been seen by only a few people and of those few, 3 received
job promotions, 7 found money either in their sofas or pants, 2
won modest lottery purses, 5 lost weight, and one disappeared, leaving
behind only his shoes and a neatly-folded pile of clothing).
Details for the exhibition follow... /(the suspense mounts...)/

*curated by JR Compton*
*July 5 - 29, 2008*
*14th Street Gallery*
*1412 14th Street*
www.14thStreetGallery.com <http://www.14thStreetGallery.com>

for more information on the artists, the show, studio visits with some
of the participants, please visit www.DallasArtsRevue.com/fierce/

Hope to see you all there (well, few of us are "all there" but I hope to
see ALL of you there!)

*ann huey*

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
~ Groucho Marx

if you haven't had enough of us, here are our websites!...
www.AnnHuey.com <http://www.AnnHuey.com>
www.MartinMcCall.com <http://www.MartinMcCall.com>


Art Shirer - Starcatcher

Art Shirer - Starcatcher, 2003 - One of the several pieces the curator never saw
Anna activates its many moving parts.

Saturday July 19

So far, six artworks have sold:

Undercurrent - Anna Palmer
Ba-Rock Star - Kathy Boortz
Homeland Security - Art Shirer
Nature Girl - Heather Gorham
The Maker Of Sea Stories And His Assistant - Enrique Fernandez Cervantes
Bad Boy - Ramona & Dennis Placke
Celebrated Art - Marty Ray
Title unknown - Fannie Brito

The gallery usually pays on the first of each month unless other arrangements are made, but be sure to read the check carefully.

Later Monday July 14


Read the latest on the Fierce blog and it's always nice to know there is someone in the audience who "gets it." Thanks for the nice review. Even with Victor Dada, way back in the old days, we could always depend on you to appreciate what was coming down.

Part of me wishes that I had been better prepared, with a wireless mike, and a speaker, but then ya know, all that spontaneous chaos and confusion was kinda fun, and nobody really knew what was going on, maybe me sorta, but only in a general kinda way, and hopefully there was a real mix of emotion going on in that room, of people being perplexed or put off or startled suddenly or amused or angry or just whatever.

What if you could have taken a single second of that performance at it's most chaotic and sampled the emotions of every person who was even vaguely aware that "something" out of the ordinary was happening, like reading the rings in a single slice of a tree. So maybe not having a mike was the way to go, not giving the perfect performance created perfect moments, as all the moments were perfect in themselves for exactly what they were, which is to say, exactly the way life is anyway, completely imperfect.

I only regret that I couldn't have done a better job of destroying your picture. Damn! Next time ....

By the way..... "Said piece o fart, at Ken's request..." I know you put that fart reference in on purpose and I love it!


The Cold Clear Light of Monday Morning

Just like real life, the facts as we know them, keep changing. Manny apologized for stealing the Fierce Photo [below]; has now identified Ken Shaddock in it; took the periods out of my name, but still spells this site with spaces that aren't in the URL.

Gaby says she told the reporter [whom I'm calling "Mr. LSD"] about Rebecca Boatman teaching at CCCC; and loving the third dimension, glass and metal; but nobody's owning the references to Rita Barnard's anti-war work that's not in this show. [All cited below.] I've been interviewed many times, and reporters get it wrong as often as they almost get it right — why I don't read newspapers unless I'm in them. [Then stupidly get upset.]

And I've been cautioned to calm down before I blow a clot, so I'm gonna do something else for awhile, this time for real. I see trashy movies in my near future, but I'll be back.

Sunday Sunday Sunday July 13

Past Tense Tulips - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

J R Compton - Past Tense Tulips, 2008
After Destruction by Ken Shaddock

What probably a lot of people don't realize, even those who witnessed Ken Shaddock's madcap strange Nolan Ryan Whoopee Cushion Art Crit Timeless Transformation Magic performance art at the Fierce opening, is that what he is doing in the controversial photo [See A, the controversy, and B, the photo itself belows.] is utterly destroying a piece of art.

Said piece o fart, at Ken's request, was as pretentious as I could make it. Curators get pretentious when they put their work in a show. Even if the art is good, it's pretentious of first-person singular curator to select its own work. I waited till after the actual show was hung before finding a place for it, so it was not in the original scheme of things and did not acquire a I.D sticker.

I was likewise careful not to tell the title, although I am fond of it — Anna gave me the tulips live, and I fed them and gave them the right light but still watched and photographed them dying, not all that pretentiously then.

I put my photo of them after they'd been dead awhile on a noticeable place not in the way of actual show art, meekly pretentious. I was going to sign it largely and ever so pretentiously, but I'd run out of color ink and couldn't see buying more, retail just to print another copy, to pretentiously sign.

I still hope to put the pristine unsigned twin of it in the August EASL art-off whoozit, making its brief appearance in Fierce a pretentious preview. It curdles my soul to think its pretentious self is still hanging where it started in that gallery, but I didn't know what else to do with it, and I hadn't the heart to move it. Like the X that marks a spot, it marks Ken's performance. Its pretension extending.

The frame, as are many of mine that size, cost $1.00 at a Dollar store. I had a bunch, but most are gone now. Wherever cheap little frames go.

Whoopee Cushion scan - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Quickie Scan of 1 of 6 Whoopee Cushions used
in Ken's Performance Art piece at the Opening

My lovely flower photo was destroyed utterly in an extended and I suppose somewhat pretentious piece of Performance Art. Aren't most of those that? I was careful not to include glass. I hate shiny-ing up a photograph with glass anyway, prefer a luster finish, and if I could flatten the photo without crinkling it stuck forever to sticky board or leaving little dabs of glue on its face from that other stuff, I'd never use glass again, but the slob in me nearly always shines through.

It was glassless so it wouldn't be dangerous to smithereen. As it was, Ken ceremoniously placed the whole in one pillow-case inside another [both shown below] to diffuse hazards to humans. Always it was meant to be destroyed utterly, although I am surprised how un utterly it actually wasn't destroyed — the frame splintered but the photo, wrinkled, torn and creased, not so much, although Ken really laid into it for awhile there. I like about art that it could melt and evaporate or get crunched into little pieces. More art should be transformative.

Anyway, that's what my friend Ken Shaddock and I were up to, although the depths of the depravity, well beyond pretentiousness, of his singular performance will likely never be entirely fathomed, although I do have video of it, whence came the frames in questions.

Saturday July 12

I'm giving Fierce — and me — a rest while I work on a couple other projects, including catching up with the new DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member pages.

Friday July 11

A Similarity - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

A Similarity of Styles: Heather Gorham's Nature Girl (top) and Annie Davis'
cast glass Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails shown before hanging.

Ahhhhhh. That's what I was hoping for. Sort of.

A notice published in The Dallas Morning News, specifically The Guide from Friday July 11, page 31 "reviews" Fierce — now you can read it online [sans headline and image but with plenty flashing ads], so I don't mangle their text, although they mangled it pretty good already.

The story is garbled, as if extensively edited then pasted back together by a kidnapper. Several of "the facts" are patently not true, but it does mention Fierce artists' names. Only a few, of course, and more or less at random, with descriptions of work not by them, at least not in this show.

DallasArtsRevue is the only publication in this area that lists all the artists in any show. Or tries to. I even list every artist on the page with a group show review. We've listed as many as several hundred names. We have oodles of space — and can always go back in and make corrections. Major metropolitan newspapers tend only to list the names they know, and they don't know much, and even online — where it's easy — they brook no fixes.

This story by Michael Granberry, reads like an interview with 14th Street Gallery director Gabby Pruitt, which may account for the discrepancies, or maybe Granberry was on LSD, I don't know.

And I don't much care. To have some artists' names bandied about, even willy-nilly like this, in the broad-spectrum press, is something most shows never achieve. It's like proof we existed there for a little while. That we did something worthy of notice, and somebody outside our realm noticed.

My favorite quote is that the show includes "some very fierce things that represent the artist behind the work." Doesn't most art do at least that? The story does reflect well on the gallery, however indifferently it treats the artists.

David Hickman - garden piece

The placement of David Hickman's metal sculpture was probably the best in the show. It took up no wall space and was out of walking traffic's way. It can be seen from in or outside the gallery, day or night. It was a piece David had been thinking about for years, and like others in Fierce, was made especially for this show. It will eventually find a gentle home in David and Linda's new garden.

If I'd been interviewed, I'd probably have junked their story up with too many true facts. I'd know which artist did what work, and what each was about. To my knowledge neither sculptor T.Stone nor mixed-media artist Rita Barnard's work in Fierce are "very timely pieces about the war in Iraq," although Rita has explored that topic before.

I am the proprietor of this site — though I prefer the title "Editor/Publisher." I do not "teach at the Frisco campus of Collin County Community College." And while I am utterly fascinated by art in the third dimension so am "very interested in sculpture," it's pig poop that I am likewise interested in, as the article continues, "stoneware and metal," although I know and value artists who are. [Turns out, however, Rebecca Boatman is and does.]

The old saw about any publicity being better than no publicity holds. The story, 'Fierce' at 14th Street Gallery, occupied the upper right third of page 31, with a nice big, though entirely too gloomy dark, image of Heather Gorham's Nature Girl [topping today's entry]. Thousands of people will see it.

They even mentioned this website address, which is nice, because Fierce is splayed all across and down the home page, linking to this page, which links to all the other Fierceness.

Dallas Morning News browsers may discover true facts about Fierece here. Come back the end of July, and I'll have a full curator's review of the show mentioning all the artists, it may be the only true critical recognition they get.

Thursday July 10

Art & Seek has the first I know of any form of press review of Fierce. Made several mistakes on first posting but have changed most of them on the current version, which I'm no longer posting, because that would be stealing. But like I keep repeating,

Who cares? They gave Fierce individual attention for what it is. Thanks to writer Manny Mendoza for noticing and writing and DARts Member Kathy Robinson-Hays who found his story online.

For reasons that become clear when you read it, I heretofore had not mentioned The Dallas Observer's (?) strange take on Fierce, about which the less said the better. My great advisor tells me to ignore the press, but it's all part of this exhibition game so needs be journaled here. Then quickly forgot.

Wednesday July 9

Mark Collop - bathroom piece - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mark Collop's deer in the men's room — one of
few pieces whose placement really mattered

Not surprising when there's a group show by 43 artists, that a lot of people attended the opening. That's one of the reasons we have group shows, so everybody and their families and friends will show up. Many artists have cited this as a proof of the show's success.

What I'd been thinking but been afraid to express till I learned of the Art & Seek notice above was that without some notice in the popular press, an exhibition doesn't achieve the notice of the wider public, which necessarily includes many artists and art others who are outside our closed loops.

The one wide public medium in Dallas, besides the TV stations and to lesser extent, radio, is the Dallas Morning News, which probably listed the event, perhaps even with a photograph (of what, I can only wonder), but critical notice is what this curator most seeks as a sure sign of an exhibition's success.

Critical notice not so much for me and my role as curator, although that's nice, but for the art in the show, which has yet to happen. That's what puts a show on the art map. Places it into a context of history, which is what this site is all about, and I do plan a review of the show, but that's me reviewing our work, very subjective, very us knowing about us and talking about it among ourselves. Inner, not outer.

I probably should have, but I did not write and distribute the press on this show. I was way too busy doing many other things when that came due. After my experience with the invitation whose design was messed with [way below on this page] after I couldn't do anything about it, I wasn't interested in having my PR effort also altered.

So I don't know whether the publicity was sent to the known critics in Dallas. Dee Mitchell, Charissa Terranova — probably others I don't keep up with. I rarely read their takes on things, because it's too easy for me to adopt their stance, and I try to keep my responses purely mine.

Family & Friends - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Family & Friends - Jason McPeak and daughters and
my old friend, artist Dwayne Carter, among others

That's an odd mutual exclusion juxta-inter-action. The one thing I would like to read in newspapers — besides the horoscopes and comix — but cannot, because I'm afraid others' opinions would unduly influence my own (They always do.) — is art reviews of local art. I used to enjoy that activity on the few ocassions when it was possible.

The art crit in art magazines is usually in a language I don't understand, which is part of why I publish DallasArtsRevue — so more people will understand art and artists without having to learn a foreign language. I used to think of my style as Art Populism.

I used to write for regional and national art publications, but they — Atlanta's Art Papers, Chicago's New Arts Examiner and more recently Houston's Glass Tire — all changed both my terminology and opinions to match their own predispositions, but left my byline on stories. Reading those reviews was aggravating as well as indecipherable. The one publication I wrote for that did not change my text or stance was Houston's ArtScene Magazine, which folded just before making me Dallas Editor.

I've repeatedly asked for copies of the Fierce PR, but I have yet to see it. I did make up a press release of my own for someone from the Dallas Morning News who contacted somebody who contacted me, so mayhaps I should send that to Dee and Charissa. I've been careful to copy the gallery on everything I've sent out, but they've yet to return the favor.

I would not have known to send anything to Manuel Mendoza, and I wonder who else I don't know about whom I should notify.

Is it even okay to write directly to a critic hoping they'll say something in print? I've got letters like that before, and I usually check out the work, but rarely write about it, because it doesn't speak to me.

Monday July 7

Dean Corbitt - detail

Dean Corbitt Detail — somewhere out of the middle
of it — I love all that sewn detail and integrated field.

What a joyous relief not to have to drive all the way up to Plano again today or morrow or the next day, although I plan at least one more visit to make sure I document every piece — including the several that just showed up without curatorial intervention — for a completely unobjective (as usual) review of the show.

Wonder what I'll say? I figure I know more about a lot of these pieces than I usually know about anything. Any other art, at least. So who better? That in addition to finally finishing off the Fierce Visits should keep me busy for awhile.

Several nice emails from participants saying they appreciated being in the show, and that we'd done a good job. I always wonder, about now, if it was worth all the trouble. I might feel differently if I had a piece in the show.

I hope they've taken down that bashed and shredded piece I hung briefly in the front room, so Ken could take it down and shred it utterly during his performance [image below]. It stood up remarkably, thanks to a strengthening and long-overdue flattening process gifted me by Jeanne Sturdevant (thanks again.). Nice piece I planned to donate its twin to EASL, but it was really pleasant not being in a show for a change.

More thoughts bumping around in here haven't quite coalesced. Guess I'll add to this blog, albeit more gradually.

Anybody have any comments about Fierce, I'd love to hear them. I have mixed feelings (surprise, surprise), so I'm open to negative as well as positive comments. If you don't want them published, that's okay, too. Just say so. Anybody out there who's seen it but aren't in it got something to say?

Saturday July 5

Mark Collop - Independence  -  photo Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Mark Collop - Independence out front
stayed in place for about a week.

The opening seemed a rousing success.

Denouement - "The final parts of a narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved, the climax of a chain of events, usually when something is decided or made clear," according to the dictionary on my iMac.

I watched the bright front gallery staccato fill with artists and gallery goers, oddly not counting the crowd — usually those numbers throng my thoughts. I just watched and talked with anyone who'd share words.

Early gallery visitors to Fierce - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"Shake and shake the catsup bottle. None will come."

Gradually, that solar oven heated. Glass facing the setting sun on cloudless summer evenings guarantees slow baking. Someone's brilliant idea to open the doors to entice the 100-degree breeze that'd cooked all day into the halls and little rooms would've been a trick. A guy who does air conditioning said he could definitely help. Awnings might mess with low Ranch Modern lines but could cool in summer while welcoming winter's warmth.

I thought The Contemporary's slavish light, temperature and humidity control, so they could borrow work from the Dallas Museum, silly considering what's history now once was detritus stacked in hot warehouses. But to further conserve the fading past's a tardy imperative, and it's almost always comfy there.

A Lottle - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

"And then a lot'll." — Richard Armour

We found cool spots in hallways and along the back wall of the west wing, but had to revisit the sauna for Ken Shaddock's 7:30 Performance Art that engaged a couple dozen visitors and drove many more away, effectively reducing the human heat source. His goals to humor and confuse succeeded, though it was hard to hear all the words.

Gaby named it her second largest crowd, bested only by one expensively advertised show. Plenty people attended, including some recognizable characters we wondered whether just go to everything. I guess gas will have to top $10 a gallon to slow our appetite for new art and intelligent conversations. Maybe then we'll hire electric buses.


Ken Explores Two Pillowcases - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Ken Shaddock explores The Timelessness ...

Driving home tired I tried to understand why I do these things — this being my lucky 13th exhibition extravaganza, though of course there's Getting To Run Something nearly topping the list. I love being Chief High Mucky-muck. Listening to myself pontificate about some niggling issue I'd never before considered, then have it all turn out just about right is intoxicating. But so's just talking with artists, which is probably why I do whatever it is I do in the art context anyway.

Unscrambling the eclectica of an exhibition, jig-sawing the people and pieces into a coherent, aesthetic whole is amazing fun. Gathering talented visual artists to make it happen accrues an Andy Hardy "let's put on a show" excitement that's contagious and sometimes even remunerative.

Ken Shaddock Explores The Tranformative Power of Art  - photo Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

... and The Transformative Power of Art.

Six artists sold something on opening night. Probably more will before closing July 30. I know of two sales but would rather list them all, so if you sold something let me know.

Only two artists 'mentioned' placement, one of whom seemed to believe that because she'd made special arrangments to deliver her work early, it should have attained better placement, and neither of whom had volunteered to help hang, but there were abundant compliments on the show's look, which was a major group effort — the hanging in many ways more fun than having it there to look at now..


Art Shirer Installs the Last Piece - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Art Shirer Installs the Last Piece
(Then he brought three more).

Almost thought I'd get a day off before the show, but the last artist called this afternoon, and we drove out there together to hang his piece, making it the official last piece in the show. Hooray! He and I celebrated with a meal of Mex and Margarita at Matt's and planned to go home and sleep. I certainly did. Now near the middle of the night I'm wrapping this up.

Artists who wish to bring wine are welcome to do that, although I think the gallery should, although perhaps Plano has some strange law. I don't know what all else anyone should bring, except themselves and their friends. I think having brought your heart and soul in the form of your art should be enough, but I also understand it should be a party.

See ya'all there. 6-9 Saturday July 5th at 14th Street Gallery in Plano, just west of the family doctors practice or something or nother sign east of downtown Plano, Texas.



Terry Hays Unwrapping Work - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Terry Hays unwrapping his work on Delivery Day.
This was shot a week ago, just a better shot of him
than him leaning over facing the wall.

Except one artist's work, which we haven't seen yet but know dimensions and almost everything about but when it will arrive, the show is up. Luckily, that artist is a superb show hanger (and lighter), so once the piece is delivered it should be hung easily (!) and quickly.

I'm pleased with Fierce's look and feel, though not eager to do it all over again anytime soon. Mayhaps quinquennially or decennially, if that often.

Small Painting Studio - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Enrique Fernández Cervantes' Back Porch Studio

Today's major assistance was from Enrique Fernández Cervantes. I didn't manage to get all his names on the invitation, so I like putting them in pixels here. He hung both of Susan Lecky's six-part-each pieces and several others. I inveigled him and Rebecca Boatman to help smooth out the last few bumps, and I appreciate their work. The first of the two artists notorious for their tardiness arrived in a swirl of energy with the amazing piece I've been watching grow via email snapshots for the last week or so. Complete with full, rich back story some of which I got on video.

Two of the pieces excluded yester are back in today, and maybe I shouldn't have mentioned them in this journal that's becoming bloggish, and may eventually find its own page. But I'm being about as honest as I can with this whole adventure, because few artists realize what a chore hanging a show often is, so call it educational.

I took a few more pix today than yester but stayed busy most of the time. I wish I'd photographed Enrique at work this morning. He was very dedicated and much appreciated, again. I hung four more pieces today, upping yesterday's level by all four.

Tuesday evening

Rebecca Boatman brought two fat loose-leaf notebooks yester, so we can cram all the bios and whatever else any artist wishes viewers to read about them. We're no longer limited to just the dreaded Artist's Statements. Bios, CVs, endless exhibition lists, are all eligible for our book. There's a couple business cards there now. Anna made new ones for me, with the right email address on it, and she printed up a bunch more of the DARts flyers we had, oh, somewhere.

I  think I have a one-pager on me somewhere. Maybe I'll remember to bring it opening night. Which would be fine a time to deliver other artists in the show's data, too.

I hope several hangers will show up today also. I'll be out there in the frozen north from 10 till whenever today. Sure was grande yesterday. I need to take more pictures today.

I brought Gaby that last hundred or so invitations, so those should be available at the gallery now. She printed 1,000, and all but those 100+ have been used. Sent, I hope.

Couple corrections and clarifications from yester:



Randall Garrett Installing - photo Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Randall Garrett installing elements of his installation right on schedule

The first day of hanging went spectacularly well, with only three artists not delivering their art yet. I knew not to expect two of them till the last possible moment though followed progress of one via email snapshots and have since been notified of the size, media and provocative title of the other.

Many Fierce artists helped, so the work we got up went up well and quickly. It looks great. Some work hasn't yet found placement, but that may have to wait until everybody delivers, hint-hint. Strange that one of those set the original deadline, then reset it sooner.

Special Thanks to Terry Hays (not Robinson as I earlier reported. She's Robinson; he's Hays.), Rebecca Boatman, Nancy Ferro, Bob Nunn, Chris Fulmer, Charlotte Smith and Randall Garrett for hanging today. It felt dream teamish. By 1 pm, my back hurt something awful even though all I did was direct.

The curator curated a couple pieces out due to a variety of aesthetic and other reasons, and for awhile we thought we'd broken a piece, but turned out it was delivered broken, so now we have to figure how to hang it high enough to dip down to visitor's faces and get them not to notice it's broken, a challenge.

One artist's work has been categorically excluded because it included "too many penises." Another's was (temporarily) dismissed because "they didn't want children to see" a big naked woman in the hallway outside the hair salon which cohabits with the gallery. Two others works showing genitalia — an obvious male in the men's room and an installation involving images of several vaginas in the back gallery are still in.

I don't understand, but I'm clearly not in charge, much as I'd like to be. As curator I was never given any rules about selecting work, so my humbled apologies to artists whose work was excluded after I selected it. Censorship is a moving target in a gray area where the rules change from moment to moment.

The Bath House, where our next DallasArtsRevue Member Show will be, has very clearly stated rules that even curmudgeonly curators can understand, since that space is run by the City of Dallas. That show will only be very lightly curated.

There were niggling other difficulties, but overall, it was a fun, exciting, fast-paced happening that restored my hope that this show may actually, finally, be up and running by the opening 6-9 pm this Saturday, the opening reception for which should prove rather special.

chicken - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Teeny-Weenie, one of Marty & Richard Ray's backyard chickens
Whom I had the opportunity to hold a half hour some time before.

The Weekend Before - Yours truly managed to leave the tiny details of PRICE and size off the list of things to tape to the back of each piece of art. So Fierce artists now need to email gaby with prices per titles.

Be sure your 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper taped to the back of each piece includes

artist's name
title of work
year date completed &

Gaby's email address is gaby@14thstreetgallery.com

Gaby's phone number is 972 633-3822



Unpacked Work - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Unpacked work awaiting placement

When I left at about 4 pm, only about half of the artists had delivered work. Kinda scary, except that the delivery dates got changed at the last minute, and many deadline-centric artists were depending on these last few days before hanging started.

I had no input into the old or new delivery dates, so it was as big a surprise to me as to you. It seemed to make more sense, except that no hanging happens until the original deadline date of July 1, and now everybody's either confused or late. I wish we could have had more pertinent delivery dates to begin with.

I cannot do any intelligent placing of pieces until we have nearly all the pieces to play with. With what we have already, there's no issue of where to put them all. I do not know when Gaby has agreed to let others deliver work, but we are going to begin hanging Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock. I already have several ideas, and we will take into consideration ideas of the volunteer hangers, as well.

Work that's late will go into the back rooms, not that those rooms are particularly less desirable. Just that the front rooms are visually more important, and I want them done when the hanging crew is fresher.

I'm not a morning person, but I've been catching up on sleep and will start early and stay till 7:30 Tuesday. If your work isn't there by 10 am, it'll get trundled off to the back rooms, where we can deal with it later.

Gaby has told a couple of artists that only Artists' Statements will go into the book on the sign-in table, but I think Artists' Statements are pure bunk, and that visitors will want to know more than just what statements we can concoct.

Delivered Work Against the Wall - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Delivered Work Against the Wall in the West Gallery

Someone should bring a fat standard binder, (Rebecca did.) and we'll start our own that we can put anything we want into, although the pages should be pre-punched. I saw some hole-less and mostly blank typing paper being flagged around expecting to get included in some book.

If you've already delivered pieces, you can bring pages the night of the opening.

I  haven't been a big fan of those books, but Enrique has changed my mind about their efficacy.

The stack of invitations that had been under the cushion on the blue couch on my front porch will be at the gallery Tuesday morning. There's a few left under the cushion now (and in response to an email, I'd leave more).

Volunteers to help 14th Street's crew hang this show include, so far, Chris Fulmer, Marty Ray, Enrique Fernandez and Rebecca Boatman. We'd be happy to have more — if you are an experienced hanger.

Hanging will be 10 am - 7:30 pm Tuesday & Wednesday July 1 and 2, possibly July 3 if we have to.

; j r

flower & feather - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

flower from Susan Lecky's garden and feather from a
large white bird on my dashboard as I drove north

Delivery Dates - 10 am - 6 pm, Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, 2008.

This information is for Gaby's records and to get suitable identifications made.

It has been brought to my attention that this list does not include price. That's my fault. I left it out accidentally. Was kinda busy that week. Woulda thought a gallery owner mighta caught it.

All artists who are trying to sell their work, should probably email gaby (address just below) and tell her the prices for the titles.

There'll also be a DARts flyer that Anna did on the entry table. And a sign-in book we can probably get copies of.

Pick up times are 10-6 July 31, although Gaby will again entertain stragglers who require special times & dates, and says she'll even open that next Saturday, if you just gotta. She's been very good about that.

If you have gallery-related questions, ask Gaby directly. If you have other questions, read this section first, then email me. I usually answer emails within hours.


The show opens 6-9 Saturday July 5 and is up at 14th Street Gallery in Plano, Texas through July 29, 2008.

Pick Up Work July 31, times TBA


Richard Ray Eating Red Paint - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Richard Ray Tasting Acrylic Paint — somewhere on the Visits Page.

Driving Instructions

14th Street Gallery is at 1412 14th Street in Plano, Texas, a couple blocks east of the Plano Art Centre.

Driving up Central Expressway, exit at 15th Street, turn right on 14th just after the Home Depot and drive East to the tall Family Practice doctors' sign, turn right into the doctor's lot, then into the extended lot behind the gallery.

MapQuest and Google Maps show you where it is and how to drive there.

Previous DARts Exhibitions

1026 Tranquilla
Our White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour
Big As Night, Too

Future DARts Exhibitions

We expect to have a DallasArtsRevue Members Show (all current members invited) called The Winter Show (now with its own page) December 2008 through the first several days in January 2009 in the main hallway at the Bath House Cultural Center. See the December at the Bath House page for more details as they materialize. There's also a growing section near the bottom for Member Feedback and suggestions.

Jeane McIntosh - untitled

Jeane McIntosh's piece is in the show even though she cut it up while I watched in shock and surprise during our Fierce studio visit.



These are not the final numbers. I'll deliver those sometime near the final date of the show.

My spreadsheet keeps track of the artists, current status, suggested and set studio visit times and driving instructions. As of the middle of the afternoon of Wednesday July 2, 2008 I've selected pieces from 7 artists via JPEGs in email; 30 by direct studio visit and 2 from my photos of a visit in April; heard back from all 42 artists (2 of whom I knew to expect at the electric last moment with something fabulous, and 1 of which has finally been delivered; have finished studio visits with 6 artists I haven't yet written up, leaving 3 artists who wouldn't let me — or didn't have time to — visit and a few others who live too far away; 2 sent CDs to choose images from; 2 decided what to put in after they installed solo shows at other Dallas galleries early this summer; I thought I had selected an amazing piece by 1 artist, but he'd sold it already, but promised (and delivered) a similar one that's in the show; another 1 said she didn't have anything that hadn't already been shown in North Central Texas, then made a new piece in a new medium that I hung on the 2nd day of hanging.

The 1 artist I hadn't heard from until the show was mostly hung but trusted all along now has 2 pieces in the show that I did not choose but am happy with. Another whom I did visit but never saw any new work by hung 1 piece in the show that I did not choose or place, neatly sidestepping the curatorial process altogether. With only 3 days left till the opening I have only 1 set of emails in my Fierce Active file, meaning I get to deal with him soon, but I always enjoy his company, and trust him implicitly. The 1 artist who had complained that it's really a theme show and did not have a clue what to show, is showing — as are several others — very new work in a new dimension (the 3rd) or medium.

I have exchanged 920 email messages — I almost always answered the same day I received them — and 7 phone calls (I usually don't answer) about the show. I've driven 379.4 miles and only got lost 1 time for about 20 minutes, and expect to drive another 84 or so more miles (I tend to piddle along at 50 mph on highways, letting everybody else pass, trying to get Blue to log an elusive 30mpg, although I've only pegged 27, so far). Since posting that I'd only seen 1 lousy movie about Picasso and maybe 7 TV shows almost never all the way through, I have seen 6 episodes of the Brit MI-5 program that I'm almost addicted to, so maybe I'm finally relaxing  some. I have also listened to about 3 dozen randomly shuffled chapters of Mark Twain's Life On The Mississippi; 4 translated short stories and 7 chapters of other audio books from the public domain — free via Librivox.org; maybe 6 shorts poems and perhaps 8 podcasts of Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich's fascinating RadioLab (some several times) and Charlie Gillett's World of Music from the BBC.

There's a 4.9-megabyte QuickTime movie showing the gallery space (empty of art), along with 13 still photographs on the Fierce Space page, and all the Fierce pages together have so far acquired 3,036 hits.


The Invitation

The Fierce Invitation

I got one name incomplete, but not splitting any took hours.


the back of the invitation - Copyright 2008 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Back Side - Following my own rules on How to Design an Invitational Postcard.
The gray shows my original design with ample white space at the bottom for postal use.

The Designer's Lament: Well, that was the plan. Gaby moved the "Visit the ... through July 29" text block down. Never mind I'd carefully gauged the space around the word Fierce to float it in minimal white space without making it look stupid — on my original design. Now it does, but I'm not showing that version here. When I asked why she moved it, she said she had a reason then but had forgot it. We'd been spatting; I assumed she was showing me who's really in charge. Clearly not me.

Many people do not know that the post office recommends — they have rules, too, but they're not enforced or widely promulgated — not to fill that space. The actual printed Fierce invite I got in the mail had the usual postal tattoo smeared across the space I had attempted to keep clear for it, obliterating the through date and all that lovely white space I'd tried to leave. Nice stamps, though.

I was given the choice between usual small postcard and 5 x 7 inches and took the larger, knowing it would make fitting all those names easier, but neatly forgetting that a Postcard Rate stamp is significantly cheaper than the First Class one required for larger than official postcard size. My apologies to postcard mailers. Next time I do a show, I'll make it regular postcard size and take it to the printer myself.

Mailing our allotted 25 invitations to artists cost $2.50 each packet. A dime each. Postcard postage is 26 cents. First Class is 42 cents.


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