Visual art news, views & reviews in Dallas, Texas, USA
Home Index Calendar Member art How to Join Ops Resources Feedback Contact us Reviews Search
Previous DARts Exhibitions: 1026
White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour Big
As Night, Too
This is PAGE ONE — VISITS
continue on PAGE TWO and PAGE
The Fierce Index links all fierce info including artists visited.
Kathy Robinson Hays - Suspended Fears, 1996
acrylic and ink on organza and wood
See our visit with Terry Hays & Kathy Robinson Hays
After 20 visits — several I haven't written up yet, this gargantuan studio visit extravaganza is still gangbusters fun. Talking with artists I've hand-picked for this exhibition from all over the North Central Texas Area — seeing their homes, studios, recent work, collections and influences, meeting their families but most of all talking about their work and everything else — continues to be an amazing opportunity to engage in my favorites of the social graces, conversation. I never get enough of talking with smart people who make fierce art.
All this looking and seeing and understanding has made these last few weeks some of the most exciting I've experienced. Not perhaps as purely pyrotechnic as Viet Nam nor as rife with politics as my underground newspaper days, but I am continually blown away by the remarkable intelligence of Fierce artists — and the multiple visual treats at every visit.
Keeping up with this visits journal takes all of my time and energy — either doing it or running away from doing it and relaxing with a vengeance. I come home from a day of visiting and all I can do for hours is sleep while pieces of the conversations, art and moments of strangeness play in my mind's eyes.
The Cut-up Painting
First time I visited Jeane McIntosh — to photo work for her DallasArtsRevue Member Page, I required a bribe to drive that far up into North Dallas. I knew she had a Prius, because she'd said her large paintings wouldn't fit in it to haul to my studio, so I suggested I'd drive my elderly Honda all the way out there, if she'd let me drive her Prius. She did, I carefully did and loved it.
This time, I drove to her house after driving all over the frozen north of Dallas, because I wanted to visit artists and document the visits on this page. It was worth the trip, except a few minutes during which I managed to scare myself silly, and a couple days later when I slid into a bit of curatorial confusion.
Jeane McIntosh - Medical History Dress
I may offer suggestions when they're requested or write about art when words about it jam into my mind, but I shy away from telling artists what to do with their art. Mostly because such suggestions are rightfully ignored, but also because artists should never depend on what anyone outside themselves think they should do — especially what some fool who writes about art says. Unless the artist in question is serious about their art and their growth as an artist, and isn't shy.
I assume all the artists I've selected for this show, are among the serious sort of artists who read reviews of their work but don't get upset at the less than laudatory bits. As DARts Friend Marty Ray says, "J R is just some guy who writes about art."
Jeane McIntosh's First Painting
Modeling your career on my complaints is as absurd as getting all bent out of shape, but worse, because it takes your art out of you being you. So when an artist starts cutting off the parts of a painting I've just told them I didn't like, it scares me. I don't want the responsibility. Freaks me.
I can see how a review can be interesting, informative, maybe even helpful, but when Jean McIntosh showed me an earlier work that I was wowed by about 80% of, but really didn't like the goofy figure in the lower right corner, then she got scissors out and cut off the lower right corner of after I told her what I thought of it, I got nervous. Hemming and hawing is hardly the demeanor I want to project when I'm curating a fierce art show.
Jeane's Feet - Complete with Blue Nails and White Flowers
She insisted I wasn't the only one who'd disliked the figure, and that she hadn't been happy about it, either. I don't know what she's going to do with the painting, whose vivid, contrasting colors, wild forms and dynamic composition I greatly admired and still want in the show. We verbally explored several possibilities — including cutting more off, so the piece is only about three feet wide and and about six feet tall, sewing the far right edge there, so it's framed like the other three sides and hung on the wall raw, unframed or adding something where the figure was.
Jeane McIntosh With the Piece I Should Have Chosen
As I emailed her just before I wrote up this visit, "I still want to see what happens with the cut-up painting. I'm excited about its possibilities and look forward to hanging what comes of it in Fierce." She responded that she had "decided to cut up the figure into smaller pieces" and was "sanding the paint off. So who knows what will happen tomorrow."
She added, "I could just paint another version of that painting without the figure, which i have been thinking about doing — not actually doing it, just thinking about it." By now I'm past worrying about my responsibility in the process, excited about the possibilities, and eager to see what happens next. Not knowing what will be in the show — not just with Jeane's painting — has got me even more excited than when I thought I did.
Jeane's Feet on Her Hand-painted Studio Floor
Then in another scary turn, I backed off accepting the other piece I initially thought I wanted in the show, took photos of, studied, then decided I'd go with one of her smaller and already framed paintings from her superb Swimming Pool series instead.
She's studying at Texas Woman's
University, and her swimming pool paintings is the direction her instructors
there are pushing her into, so I'd first wanted to diverge off into
another direction, then realized how excellent the pool series really is
and gave in to quality over protest. She's meanwhile entered that piece into
a competition, and I'm crosswise in the position of hoping a Supporting Member's
work doesn't get into a competition.
Gaby Pruitt at Work Among Big Color Printers
Gaby Pruit is a fine arts photographer and owner of the 14th Street Gallery where Fierce will show this July. She's who invited me to curate a show there — after two other people turned down the opportunity. I understand their timidity, but I've done this before, except never quite like this. I was attending someone else's show there when Gaby asked, so I was already familiar with 14th Street's layout, big windows and larger galleries out front and many small and large galleries back along the hallways.
Gaby's SP in the Print Trim Room in Back
I'd heard good things about Gaby, too.
14th Street Gallery Front Rooms
I already liked the space and warmed immediately to the idea of doing another DARts show in all that space we wouldn't have to paint, scrape or re-illuminate. With a lot of little and a few large galleries to organize an exhibition into. While I was there, I checked on availability of risers (yes), places to show translucent objects (yes and easy) different rooms for differing themes or notions (yes).
Meanwhile, I'm working on a
page to show a video of a walking tour of the spaces and photos of many of the spaces in
the two buildings that comprise the 14th Street Gallery.
Bathroom Inspiration - Ken's office walls are
but when I told him I usually photo what's on artists' walls as
inspiration, he guided me to the bathroom where these guys serve.
I've known Ken Shaddock just under three decades, first as the high tech member of the performance poetry group Victor Dada, where he often performed in a white lab coat, later as a poet, videographer and performance artist, and since then as a human being and good friend. He is the best and most open conversationalist I have ever known. He is also a multiple member of DallasArtsRevue.
Hieronymus Bosch Meets Religion - More bathroom inspiration
His day job is Chief Radiation Therapist in the Radiation Oncology Service at a Dallas-area medical center, where he supervises a team of radiation therapists (RT) treating cancer patients using high-energy radiation producing linear accelerators. Ken has been a RT for nineteen years. He's also a veteran, served in the Navy during Viet Nam; has a degree in philosophy; did graduate work in psychology; was a research assistant to a developmental psychologist researching separation anxiety in one-year-old infants; worked 10 years in a psychiatric hospital; and one day at a deli.
Where Cat Toys Go To Die - actually in Ken's Office/Studio.
and Susan have cats, and much of our conversation was about them.
Before my psychologist and poet/writer friend Jim Dolan labeled Ken's work I didn't know what to call it or how it operated, but I knew several layers of what it was about, why it offends so many otherwise intelligent people, and that I love his work, especially his intentions with it. Dolan calls it "transgressive," which American Heritage Dictionary defines as "relating to a genre of ... art characterized by graphic depictions of behavior that violates social acceptable norms often involving violence, drug use, and sexual deviancy."
Moose Head in Ken and Susan's Den
Think you got an open mind? Test it.
I'm happy to link to Ken's member page, but please realize that many find it offensive, and you will see why when you link through the silly warnings to his actual pages of transgressive art. Enjoy it or don't, but don't bother me blithering how outraged you are. You've been warned.
Ken's work offends by portraying the body parts we all have in new and creative ways, though usually not far from the ways we use them anyway. Like other invitees to the Fierce show, he's a serious artist who explores his Self by creating art.
My Friend Ken Shaddock
Many months ago, realizing the difficulties he encounters exhibiting — or even getting his art commercially printed, I suggested he deal instead of sex, with that other great obscenity, war. Unfortunately, Ken's been unable to spend as much time working on his art as when he wasn't his own boss. Then, he got a full day off every two weeks, which he often dedicated to his visual art.
Now his employer expects him to work every day, so his war
piece, which follows his usual darkly fascinating, high resolution, digital
collage style, has taken more time than expected. He showed me preliminary versions,
and there's plenty offense to go around.
Middle Charlotte Smith Work with Tiny Dancers
Visiting Charlotte Smith's elegant North Dallas home was a treat and that day's only visit, so I didn't mind spending serious time on her carefully guided tour. Not only did I get to see an easy history of her own work amid an extensive collection of art by fellow former 500X artists, but I got to watch Charlotte making the paint piles her work mostly comprises.
Detail of Early Charlotte Smith Painting
Charlotte's early work, created while studying with Vincent Falsetta at the University of North Texas, more closely resembles her teacher's never quite simplistic color sets. In this work, she puddled, then air-pushed those piles of paint around a canvas interspersed with white, resist human figures.
Angled Canvas (detail)
Though the simple act of squirting successively smaller and taller daubs of paint on top of paint on top of paint continues to be the hallmark of her work, the layered columns have grown thinner, more resilient with new materials, and some of her surfaces are geometrically more complex. The corners of some pieces are angled, so viewers looking up at them can see all the little spikes, not have them lost on the hidden top.
Charlotte Smith Studio Detail
Sometimes, when the paintings are as dry as this was when she showed me how it's done, she rests her palm directly on the canvas. But when she's in a rush of medium flow, she uses a the padded wood bridge to keep her bottle, brush or self off the wet surface.
How It's Done
Being this close to her circles of paint reminds me of my visits to the old Pan American gallery off Lee Park very early in my awareness of her work, when her paint piles were only about this deep — like the little blue piece with the dancers atop this visit — just to photograph it in that space's bright bath of sunlight and watch it carefully from only inches away. Vivid work and vivid memories.
Charlotte Smith Protrusions
Tiny spikes of layered pure color
awaiting intricate inclusion into her paintings in progress.
Visiting Susan Lecky and Bill Verhelst is familiar. I've been there before. At least every year to update Susan's paintings on her Member's page or talk strange sculpture notions with Bill — until he stopped making art a few years back, but even then he's still got the ideas, most recently talking out there somewhere about sculpture changing form and concept as it goes from room to room through walls.
What I like about Susan's always progressing work is the individual pieces, six or eight of which she hangs together as a unit. More and more I am enamored of the single pieces in those compoundly complex patterns. And while I know I'd never get her to what what I'm liking best about them — and I shouldn't be trying to, of course — what I like most of those multiples are her singulars.
Instead, what's going in the Fierce show are two darker pieces that are smaller and probably simpler to hang, but comprise less electric color contrasts. I feel like I copped out with that choice. Sometimes in the thick of the moment of curating I feel I'm on the right track, then those choices seem compromised when I contemplate them later. Maybe I needed the break just to get over doing that and start insisting more aggressively, curating with more control. Then I know better and go on to the next visit.
Still, I like the color sense Susan puts in all her work, her on-the-phone doodles, little and large sets of inter-relating paintings — as well as in her garden. What Susan's work is about is natural shapes intertwined and woven into each other like growing plant shapes do. If one looks closely at the interplanted flowers and leaves in Susan's garden it's easy to discern the interconnections of those shapes and colors. Not unlike seeing two differing visions in the same space under only very slightly differing circumstances.
Lecky's Garden of Interrelated Shapes
Bill was making fierce art and floating it into creeks and tucking them into meadows, many years ago when I first tuned into his work. I remember an impromptu adjunct piece he made near another, more official piece out at Connemara Sculpture Park (now over-run by housing development) one spring. The Connemarians did not know how to deal with art when it grew unannounced, and they had it hauled off. A joke on them that Bill greatly enjoyed perpetrating.
Bill Verhelst's Sculpture in the Front Yard
Some time ago I
wrote how I thought their work was so similar. I still think so, living
together that long is sure to manifest similarities beyond the obvious.
Outside their front door just seems so perfect a place for something
strange as this has always seemed. I love Bill's in-your-face juxtaposition
of materials and rough turgid textures still vivid after all these
years colors that's been out there in the sun.
Yellow Hawaiian Flower from Susan's Garden & Feather from a Real Bird
I don't remember the name of the flower — it's
what Hawaiians make leis out of — or which bird donated me the feather,
but for for more than a couple hours in my hot car heading north, this flower
flourished. Even after it melted, it smelled sweet. While it was still velvety
and rich yellow held into that bright pink star I kept it in my nose for
many long minutes as I drove ever northward on Plano Road, turn right a couple
blocks, and there was the gallery this show will be in, and its owner who
offered me the possibility and her work, which is beyond what she has created
as the gallery, in the gallery.
Hickman showed his latest Kite Dancers at Children's Hospital
in Plano on his
computer. That might be he in orange hard hat at the base of the colorful twirling kites.
David Hickman makes monumental sculpture in all sizes. His work graces many public buildings in Dallas and around Texas. He was Texas Three-Dimensional Artist of the Year in 2003, and I once saw him utterly awe a group of some of the best sculptors in Dallas when he taught Some of What He Knows About Fasteners during a Texas Sculpture Association meeting in his studio.
David in Part of His Extensive Workshop/Studio
Check out the link under the picture above to see some of his completed sculpture projects over the years. The breadth of his knowledge and the scope of his work is mind-boggling. For the Fierce show, he's been thinking about a piece that will be six by six by six-or-more feet — something he's wanted to do for awhile but has been too busy.
David with Maquette
Fierce is for work that has not been shown in this area, but to have ultra-busy-all-the-time artist David Hickman, whom his wife Linda described as "at the peak of his career," take time to create a new piece for this show is exciting. This maquette has nothing to do with the piece, which he showed me a small, three feet long model of during my curatorial visit. I'm not showing the pieces for Fierce, because I want you to come to the show.
David Hickman - Portrait of Linda
This is a piece David did of Linda many years ago, while they were dating. Linda reports that she was knocked out by the gesture.
A Little Bit More of David's Workshop
He probably has more tools than most sculptors can imagine. He even has tools for making tools, and over the years has invented more. Importantly, he's not just a tool nut — he knows how to use all those things. Nor is his just a mechanical mind. For example, his Vortex, a detail of which is on his member page, at the City's Northwest Service Center streets and sanitation building, is a graceful and beautiful object, whose interlaced arcing supports set my mind to wanderin' every time I encounter it.
David Hickman - a subtly symbolic scattering of shapes and color
Then there's this, somewhere along the path from
his house to his barn of a studio. His dragonfly and butterfly series are
overtly mechanical yet poetic and notable. This is something you could literally
stumble over and never see. Simple, succinct and beautiful.
Rita Barnard's studio is in quick walking distance, even in today's light splattering rain, from her home. Past her lush xeriscaped front garden, through some bushes and a gate and up wood stairs into an open, two-car garage apartment. Carefully organized but loose, with lots of big and little pieces waiting to become parts of her sometimes complex and detailed installations. Many ongoing projects gathering texture and sense, and boxes and file drawers and stacks more objects for works in progress, gathering into the future.
Rita Barnard in Her Studio
I admired the rich, dark wood that frames her workspace, and we talked about both our old houses built in the 20s, unadorned wood grain and foundations. Her work, which I've admired for years, and her sister who died early this year. Her sister who has served as subject and inspiration for much of Rita's work and whose fatal cancer sparked the visual research that inspired the piece Rita is creating for Fierce.
Spare Parts — Stars Escaping
There's a preliminary, two-dimensional 'sketch' of that piece, now growing into the third dimension, atop the Original Fierce Page, although I didn't see it — or didn't recognize it — in her busy studio. But there were lots of little and large pieces and processes in progress scattered about the spacious but cluttered space. I felt right at home.
Rita's Workbench — Pieces and Projects In Process
We talked about life and death, inspiration,
family, our beliefs and philosophies and understandings and everything else
for nearly an hour while we sat in her rich, comfortable studio.
When I visited Randall Garrett, former gallery director at 500X, owner of Plush Gallery (2000-2006), multi-media artist, performer and curator, I'd been thinking about the differences between truly fierce artists like Randall, whose mediums always include a strong sense of self, and whose art is rich with multidimensional concepts and deep thinking, and all those amateurs who paint a different picture every time, as if their artistic life depended on never exploring the depth of any idea, let alone their own consciousness.
Randall Garrett in His Studio Talking Deep Concepts
Randall's various awarenesses were splayed out big and little, simple and complex on the walls and shelves of the living and dining rooms, kitchen and upstairs bedrooms of his studio. Unlike much of his art, his studio was neat. Probably like his mind, a lot was going on in various projects around the apartment.
Art in the Kitchen
We talked about his work, what he was thinking and making art about: reinterpreting Tantra and reintroducing the feminine in the divine. In rich conversation we talked about art, mysterious symbols, religion, politics, his titles from lyrics and what he wanted to show in Fierce, among other wide-ranging topics. As we conversed, an idea would spark, and he'd tour me through the apartment to show something in a piece he'd made or was working on, up and downstairs in his studio filled with starts and finishes of ideas.
Downstairs in Randall's Apartment Studio
We spoke about the randomness of symbols, one manifestation shown on the bottom of a piece in progress in which he is reinterpreting the Shroud of Turin to include the feminine, shown in the photo below, a detail of which is on the top of this page.
Randall Upstairs with Art and Ideas
As Randall talked about art, he got more animated and intense when he spoke about installations he's created here and around the country, and we mutually arrived at the concept of him creating an installation at 14th Street Gallery for Fierce. He can have any space he liked, I said, suggesting he visit and pick a place in the rambling former doctors offices that are now 14th Street Gallery. How much space do you need? I asked. He stretched out his hands indicating that much, already talking excitedly about bringing a box of stuff and making it happen.
Randall Garrett Descending a Staircase
I was as excited as he was.
There's links to DallasArtsRevue references of Randall
Garrett at the bottom of Plush
Is Plush Again.
Paul Rogers Harris is a long-time friend, fellow Dallas artist and writer, former director of the Waco Art Center, winner of the Dallas Contemporary's Legends (of Dallas Art) Award and my curatorial hero. The idea for these studio visits are based on some he visited upon me late in the last century. Ever since meeting him and talking about curating shows, I've wanted to follow in some of Paul's footsteps.
Paul Rogers Harris at Club Schmitz
Anna and I visited him in the house where he grew up, out near Love Field, to see what he's been up to lately, check out his work for Fierce, go out for what he said some people believe are Dallas' best hamburgers.
Paul Harris in His Studio
He took us to lunch at Club Schmitz, and we took him on some errands. After that, we explored his home and his and many friends' art, sorted through his own older and newer pieces in portfolios around the house, watched him work briefly in his elaborate but self-contained and neat as a pin office, then we explored a free-form scrapbook from when he worked at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and other memorabilia.
Paul's Piece for the Upcoming EASL Heist in Fort Worth
More information about Paul's life and art is linked on the bottom of his DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member page.
Archivist Paul Harris Shows His New York Scrapbook
Best of all was animated conversation on a wide
range of topics and a private tour of Paul's collection.
Our visit to Annie Davis' studio was during the North Dallas Artists Studio Tour in April, when I was looking at art, not studios (despite the tour's name), since I'd already visited Annie's studio pretty well on the first North Dallas tour.
Annie Davis' Aromatic Rose
We were email negotiating time for another visit when Annie reminded me I'd done one just last month. So these pictures and words from our April tour stop are a reconstituted here as a studio visit.
Annie Davis - Big Momma's Happy - terra cotta
Besides this art, which I'm really happy I can finally show, the most memorable moment at Annie's studio was me in the garden near the door to her studio with my nose well into the rose. I can still taste the aroma of those sweet flowers.
Annie Davis - Little Chris - polychromed hydro stone
Becky Johnson - - On The Outside Looking In - steel and glass
Inside, I didn't take any studio scenes, because I was so intent on her art (for my own documentary purposes and for her Supporting Member page), and the other art all around her in her studio, an environment rich in art, but nothing as rich as that rose.
Annie Davis - Monica - painted terra cotta
Becky Johnson is Annie's teacher. One of them.
The teachers list on Annie's member page is impressive, but so is the collection
and diversity of her and her friends' art all around her and George's yard
and her studio.
Rebecca Boatman's work for the show, still very much in progress, is about her childhood and the dolls — especially her favorite — that her seven-years-older big brother cut all the hair off.
Rebecca Boatman - Spare Parts Snakes for Eventual Sculptures
This many years later, she is working through the trauma in this piece that features one of her human form sculptures with very short hair she showed me how she implanted and various other additions, like the snakes above, that will go into the mix as she figures out that piece's story.
Rebecca Boatman's Studio (detail)
I've specifically requested work for the show that has not already been seen in the North Central Texas area, so though some artists' work there will be familiar to fans, only very close friends will have seen any of them before. To see other, previous work by these artists, visit the link under their visit photographs.
I'm looking forward to this series of visits, though I really didn't have much in mind, except I definitely wanted to do official studio visits. The notion seems so romantic (as in adventure), although I've already set up a couple semi-official "visits" via JPEGs attached to emails — I don't like PDFs — from people who are far away or more private than others.
Rebecca and Ken Boatman
I don't expect to be fed at each visit, but the salad Rebecca made for me and Ken was fresh from their garden, delicious and healthy. Like the visit.
This is PAGE ONE — VISITS continue
on PAGE TWO and PAGE
The Fierce Index links all fierce info including artists visited.
Contents of this site are Copyright 2008 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.
Since May 10, 2008 - for all Visits pages.
Since June 11 2008 for Visits page 1 only.