Home   Index   Calendar   Opportunities   ThEdblog   Resources   Feedback   Reviews   Search
Art by DARts Members   How to Join   Artists with Websites   Visual Art Groups   Contact Us

THIS PAGE  Back-room Invitational progress   1st Studio Visit   logo & name history   previous DARts Shows

Blog Part 1 for


The Dallas Arts Revue show logo
30th Anniversary Member Show and the

The Back-room Invitational
8 Dallas Artists who explore the Third Dimension

11 6 09   Spirits way up today: I visited the first of "my" invited artists for The Back-room Invitational, this year's Texas 3-D Artist of the Year Eliseo Garcia in his old studio — he's about to move to a new place after a fire in July that destroyed property and paintings and smoke-damaged sculptures. Including much of the piece we've chosen to show in the Invitational.

Small Eliseo Pieces - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Smaller Eliseo Pieces

I knew he wanted to show that piece. Just I couldn't quite tell what it was from the informal photographs he sent. Seeing it in its place near the fire-ravaged wall, however, I began to see in it what Eliseo did. We agreed it was unlike anything else he's done. He has a distinctive style that shines through many of the pieces displayed inside the burned-out (though not destroyed) studio and large fenced-in yard.

Eliseo Drawings - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gorgeous Eliseo Drawings for Public Art Projects on his light table

After these photos of the visit, you'll recognize his style, too. Just I won't show the piece itself here. It wouldn't be right. I may show other pieces — already have, will continue. But not that one, which Eliseo has been telling people visitors for awhile "wants to be exhibited." Sometimes, for compelling reasons arranged by Acts of God like an electrical fire, showing what the artist really wants to, is exciting.

I'm hoping that seeing this visit, other invitees to The Back-room Invitational will email an invitation back to the curator, so we can choose us some work for the show. Recent work. Fun work. Distinctive work.

More distinctive work in the third dimension comes via email from Terry Hays, who is working on trees as well as his usual houses. Well, these new ones are a quantum leap ahead of his old houses, but those are the forms these of his creatures now inhabit. He says he's "leaning toward showing one house and two trees," which is entirely copacetic with me. His detail shot of the two trees keeps moving around this page. Right now they're here.

Oh, and while promoting this blog on the Home Page, I came up with new tag lines for both shows. The Dallas Arts Revue is now "Our 30th Anniversary Member Show (adding the Member word) and The Back-room is now somewhat more compelling.

Of course I like them, but it'll take a couple days of mulling before I know they're here to stay. Except, of course, I keep changing it, making it shorter and to the point.blue dot = end of story

The Back-room Invitational
an exhibition of Dallas artists whose
work explores the third dimension


11 5 09    So much for a lull. Ray-Mel Cornelius joined via yesterday's mail. Always a treat to get money in the mail. Especially from an artist I've known of since the mid 70s, when we both attended what was then called East Texas State University. He's our latest member, reminding me that I have not even mentioned that anyone may join and be in this show and have a member page, etc. At any time.

I'd thought about closing it to new members after a certain date, but that's just silly. We'll take any and all comers. Whenever they arrive. I'll be working on his and Chris Fulmer's new pages when I'm not hot & heavy at something else.blue dot = end of story

Ray-Mel Cornelius - Caligula

Ray-Mel Cornelius   Caligula   2009   acrylic on canvas   16 x 20 inches   submitted by artist

11 4 09    Seems to be something of a lull going on. I was chasing my tail, so busy last week, and got a lot done. More than I expected. Now nearly nothing is happening. Not that catching up some straggler members is exactly nothing, but it's been slow.

I should finish the CD of new work for my favorite client, and I will. And I'm keeping at my Amateur Birder's Journal nearly daily, and I just all but finished party pictures for the 40th Anniversary Austin Sun (where I worked in the mid 1970s) Reunion Party and only pondered for about 37 seconds having a similar bash for the NOTES & Hooka staffs.

But I'm beginning to be nervous about the artists' whom I invited to the Back-room Invitational's work. None of which I've seen, so far. I am being careful not to rush anybody, because I want not just good work — hell, outstanding work. But I also want good feelings. I don't want to ruffle any more feathers than necessary.

Not that I mind ruffling feathers. It may be one of the reasons I'm here. I've usually thought that's a good enough reason for me to be, at all. Though I haven't had the necessary inclinations for awhile.

I admit I get dismayed when stories I write don't get any visitors, but I've been blown away by the popularity of this blog, which is the only new thing going on this site lately, although many many pages here achieve a life of their own once I quit checking their hit counters after the first month they're here.

It's really nice to be read. And to have something being accomplished, largely through it.blue dot = end of story

Kathy Robinson Hays - KRH Studio

Kathy Robinson Hays Studio photo by Kathy Robinson Hays

11 1 09    Some members of DARts I just try not to rush, make sure they know they are invited and know I don't need to pick the exact pieces they'll have in the show. One of the several of those is Kathy Robinson-Hays. I could name others, but you know who you are. Most members I'd still prefer to pick pieces for the show. Still want to see a selection from.

When I visited artists for the Fierce show last year, in which both Kathy and Terry Hays exhibited (Kathy's a member; so she's in this time's member show; and Terry's not, so his truly unique 3-D visions are in the Back-room Invitational.) they'd cleaned their house up within an inch of its life, and so, though I did get to see where they worked, I did not get much of a fathom how they worked, but this shot by Kathy shows that, and it's not terribly surprising, really, except for the quality of the photography.

Someone who thinks and expresses herself in blobs and wiggly lines and textures is likely to have a lot going on at any one time, and this is the sort of studio portrait I probably would not be privy to unless she did it herself in the thick of creation. Thank you, Kathy, for a glimpse into your creative soul. She so hates to be photographed, but I do it anyway. But this shot is wondrous and wonderful, the first time in these show's slow short history I've got to show process.

Have been finding it an opportunity to do a little off-the-cuff art crit when most artists send work in. Though you'll probably never get to see any of it, unless they say I could. Consider it a privilege or concomitant indignity of membership, whichever way you might look at it. Many artists go their whole career without having some dim-wad writing about their work, but I know the mixed joy of that occurrence...

Probably wouldn't know what to say about Kathy's work, anyway. It's so very strange. And amazing and out of all the boxes and pockets I've ever experienced. So for those few whom I've told that I trust, just please bring something, I've left it open. It's all part of being a curator, of producing a show.

Another way is to hope. I have repeatedly contacted some few DallasArtsRevue members and told them I hope they will be in this show. I only hope hope hope they know who I'm talking about here. I have not heard back from them from the several entreaties I've mostly emailed them. I may not hear back from them till they deliver their piece or pieces. Though it would be nice.

This early, they probably have no idea what they're going to do, or for sure, if they will. They may be afraid I'd try to light a fire under their collective butts, if they even mention the possibilities, and I do have some long-stick fireplace matches just in that case. But they are welcome to show up with something at the electric last minute, like they usually do. Though that does not exempt them from having their habits discussed here.

And yes. I'd love to get jpegs of work in progress in their homes or studios from other member artists or Back-room invitees who'll be in these shows. Horizontal JPEGs should be 777 pixels wide. Verticals should be 555 pixels wide no taller than 8 inches (then less wide).blue dot = end of story

Some Rules

10 28 09    All accepted (essentially) two-dimensional work, even big ones, must be securely wired (wire screwed securely into the frame/stretcher) and ready to hang. 2-D work not wired for exhibition will not be exhibited. Check The Winter Show blog for specific illustrated examples of bad and good wiring. Artists exhibiting tip-able sculpture must provide and install their own physical security. One artist last winter tried Museum Gel which was thick and gooey but did its job well, even if it did ooze ugly. Many sculptors use "The Museum Putty" to tack smaller pieces. More about this at the link just below.

Some helpful tips about What Artists Have to do to Make Their Work Ready for Exhibition is well down on The Winter Show blog. Probably be a good idea to give it a good read, even if you think you might know what you are doing. In my show-producing experience, many artists have not a clue.

Don't decide that your piece is special and doesn't need wire. If it's got any kind of frame or stretcher or is mounted on a big chunk of wood or something or a frame of any sort, it needs a wire. No saw tooth hangers or anything involving nails in just the right places. No cheap Michael's gizmos. Wired work can be easily and quickly hung straight on one big or two smaller nails. Nothing else works as well or is as convenient.

The Bath House has lots of risers, but I expect we'll use them all. So if you have a nice, white, closed riser, we may need to borrow it.

Oh, reading through The Winter Show blog reminds me to remind you that sticking a business card on the front of your art is tacky tacky tacky, and we'll do whatever we can, however we can, to get rid of it, even if it damages the piece. Business cards and other publicity belongs in in plastic pages in the show book, which contains your resumes, brochures, lame artist statements and etc. Not on your piece in the show.

If Enrique has the time, he'll invite you to put your vitae, etc. neatly printed on standard white letter pages in that book. Viewers are often interested in finding out more about artists whose work they like or might want to buy. But he's doing two full-time jobs these days and may not find the time.

I hate hate hate having to look up pieces on a display or price list, so our shows will have identification of artist, title, year date, medium and size (yes, even size) adjacent to the work. That way people who see your work will know easily and quickly who did it.

If your piece(s) need any special installation, be sure we have all the parts and full instructions — and you there to help. It'll be fun. It always is.

If you'd like to learn how a show is placed and hung, hang around after you deliver your work and help us place, then show up when we begin hanging the show at noon December first and the hurried, harried days that follow. Please. Especially artists who've never produced a show, especially artists who have. We need your help, and you will have fun, and you will learn stuff you'd never find out any other way.

I've become repeatedly fascinated with all the stuff we learned and relearned while putting The Winter Show together. That blog is a treasure chest of information about how to produce a show and how to prepare your work to hang in a show. If it's worth my while to reread it, it's probably worth your time, too, to see read it once.blue dot = end of story

Kathy Boortz Preview - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Kathy Boortz' yet-unnamed work in progress for the Revue

10 28 09    Be so nice to fulfill the dream of showing three pieces by every artist in the show. That seems the minimum number to make visible the over and under-lying visual and sensual and intelligent themes in an artist's work. Of course, if their work is huge, it's much less probably we'll be able to fit in three pieces.

Ah, but if they're smallish, wow it's almost simple. Cecelia Feld has sent in three 15 x 18-inch, horizontal collages that will be so easy to stack up with a modicum of space between them somewhere in the show. Filling a 50- or so inch slot that both shows a breadth and depth of her work and looks like it all belongs together.

That's assuming we who put it on walls don't take some other track, finding thematic or textural or color reasons to put the individual pieces elsewheres than all together. Nice thing about having all the pieces to jig-saw a show together, is that many of the placement decisions are made as we go along.

I've contemplated digitizing everything, then fitting a small-scale model of each piece proportionally into a digital wall. But it's so much easier and offers so many opportunities for accidents and purposes of other possibilities when we just pay attention as we fill one wall after another. I've long admired the marvelous ability of David McCullough, who hangs member shows at The MAC. His work, his shows are intelligently juxtaposed with caring humor, spatial and color and textural continuities all around the room.

Susan Lecky and I hung The Winter Show last December with that sort of combining skill in mind and lots of help. There were pieces we didn't care for that got shorter shrift, without ever quite seeming like they did, and others we admired greatly that we gave subtly more space around, more care to compare and contrast with its neighbors.

Placing (usually involving leaning pieces on the wall or stacking them on the floor in the order and placement we expect to hang them on the wall with) and hanging (installation onto the walls) is a joyous celebration. It's real work, too, and we'd appreciate your assistance. Anyone who shows up will be assigned tasks, most of which will teach you valuable lessons.

Susan and I have an accumulation of those lessons.blue dot = end of story

10 27 09
f you are responding —via email — to something I said to you via email, please quote back to me what I said. I'm carrying on about thirty conversations about this show or the other show these days, and you just answering "yes" or "no" or "maybe so "only confuses me unless I know what I said to you that elicited that response. I keep all the emails, so I can count them in that box, but tracking down just that one, is a chore I got better things to do than. If you haven't figured out how to quote the to email in your from email, learn. There's probably a dialog box that needs checking somewhere in your email program.

If you are a member but you have not yet been invited to be in the Dallas Arts Revue, email me, and I'll give you the scoop. Or check out the DallasArtsRevue Members Index. Maybe you just think you're still a member. I urge all members to check that list every once-in-a-while, but it is obvious that many of you do not. I am a terrible bureaucrat, and it's all I can do to list the end date of memberships on that page, if I get it done there. Expecting a notice from me about it is very optimistic.

Very late tonight, I sent out notices to Back-room Invitational Invitees who've accepted, officially telling them the Show Calendar and that I'd like to see what they're putting in, so I can pretend I'm the curator some more. Most participating members are sending me jpegs — three per email please, with caption info in the text of that email.

I think we have the show's calendar nailed down pretty good. It might have been a little more ideal— for us and for Enrique — if he didn't have to produce shows at both the Bath House and the Latino Culture Center at the same time, but we'll have to work around his and the Bath House's economy-cut-backs in time and resources.blue dot = end of story

Peggy Epner - Good After Bad

Peggy Epner   Good After Bad   2009
encaustic on wood panel   30 x 30 inches

   submitted by artist

10 26 09
ore emails crisscrossing the aether among Susan, Enrique and me, have resulted in the official
show calendar near the top of this page. Please read and heed.blue dot = end of story

10 25 09   E
nrique says the Bath House will be closed November 26 and 27. Something about something called Thanksgiving, and on November 28 (City of Dallas re-scheduled furlough day), then they're closed Sunday and Monday. He says
we can either load in on Wednesday, November 25, or on Tuesday, December 1. The Bath House opens at 12 noon.

Enrique suggested, and I agree that a late-afternoon / evening delivery would probably be more convenient for everybody. I'd rather do this one later than earlier, since we can't do much serious planning until we have everything there, and if we got it the Wednesday before, we couldn't do anything with it till December 1, anyway. And that doesn't begin to consider all those turkeys who ignore deadlines. With a turnaround this quick, however, we might have to eliminate latecomers or just stick 'em in willy-nilly pretty much like we did last time.

You want prime-time real estate, you bring your work in on time.

Now my stupid blankety-blank Road Runner / Time Warner Cable is offline again again again. So I can't send an email to Susan Lecky, who's volunteered to help hang this show, to find out if this calendar suits her.

Of course, all this timing and sending presupposes that the turkey-butt dimwads at Time-Warner Road Runner beep-beep will let me upload this. Truly off-pissing. I'm just settling into the new webhost, and now I've got to find real web access. Road Runner ain't it.blue dot = end of story

Pavlina Panova   Wild Flowers 1   2009

Pavlina Panova   Wild Flowers 1   2009   pressed leaves on board   28 x 16 x .5 inches
   submitted by artist

Gosh, this is such a luscious piece, talk about green art. Oof! I'm leaving this image large for now, so you can almost feel the dimensionality of her all-natural materials, so painstakingly pressed into its backing. I can't wait to actually see her latest work.

10 24 09
've just sent an inquiring email to Enrique to find out the best time to tell you all when to deliver your work. I'm thinking — but this is not official yet, not till I hear from Enrique, and their website is down, so he might be busy just now — I'm thinking from 2 pm till 7 pm Saturday November 28. That would give us the usual one week before the opening to put it all together. Right now, the official word is TBA.

And for those of you who have sent images but have not heard back from me, don't worry. I'm either mulling or busy doing something else. I know there will soon be a time when I cannot do anything else but this show. But right now I can and I am.

I generally sit down here at the computer once a day for this show, and get everything caught up. That's later today.  

Oh. Oh. Oh, I just gotta find some new and different image for the top of this page. Somebody else's work. I like Jim's piece a lot, and he was the first artist to sign on to this show, but I want it to be a surprise again. It's not finished in the image I've been using since day two, so it probably will be a surprise, but it'll be nice to have something different up there.

I tell everybody who'll listen that unless that top picture changes early and often, many people — who read pictures, not words — don't realize that the words under them have changed. You want people to keep coming back — why else do a blog? — you keep the top changing, because online, the bottom line is always on the top.blue dot = end of story

10 22 09    Something else I'm learning to be worried about is work by outsider artists. I'm not talking about Outsiders, self-taught artists (aren't we all, really?) who live somewhere rural and/or make primitivist images. I mean very specifically Ken Shaddock, who has created excellent digital paintings for the last couple of DARts shows that are not at all representative of his truly leading- and bleeding-edge art.

He signature work is transgressive:

involving a violation of accepted or imposed boundaries, especially of social acceptability ... art in which orthodox cultural, moral, and artistic boundaries are challenged by the representation of unconventional behavior and the use of experimental forms.              from Apple's Dictionary v 1.0.2

Something artists are supposed to do.

Ken's work is overtly sexual, involving naked male and female bodies and parts. Worse, they frighten, shock and/or royally piss off viewers.

I felt a glimmer of hope when I saw Robert Jessup's Fallen Angel Striding the Earth painting at our same venue in the self-portrait show last month (as of this writing it's here, but that's likely to change soon).

Fallen Angel shows a finger-legged human form with three faces, with two noses and a penis. Mild compared with Ken's transgressive work. Instead of outrage, it perpetrated knowing smiles.

In The Winter Show, I got Ken to submit religious instead of sexually transgressive work, which was fascinating on those few occasions when he had the opportunity to explain it, but hardly shocking. But it did not do what he wants his work to do. I robbed him of that, because the Bath House has rules against nudity, even though they allowed Jessup to show his dick (on his self-portrait).

Redirecting any artist's chosen direction just to use his talent is wrong. Morally and curatorial. At Fierce, the DARts show before that, that gallery's director refused to let Ken show his real work, while granting Randall Garrett permission to show his overtly sexist, male-dominant art in the far-back gallery. Because I so wanted to include Ken in that show, he selected some older Texas history images that were neither that interesting nor in any way avant or any kind of -gressive.

I'm sure I wasn't as disappointed as Ken was, but I was very disappointed with the two-faced attitude of that gallerist, as I am confused by the Bath House's changing enforcement of their guidelines, and I'm completely flummoxed about how to present work by an artist whose, I believe, spectacularly inventive yet disturbing work deserves to be seen by more people. You can link to Ken Shaddock's Member Page of sexually transgressive images.

What do I do? What can I do? How do I serve all my members without excluding one of them?blue dot = end of story

10 22 09    V
isiting Members' pages to make sure I got the right links for the big list, I noticed several hit counters that are not counting hits. Due, no doubt, to my own ineptness crossing wires with the new webhost's idiot complexity of hit counters that unnecessarily complicate matters and disappear periodically. Five times, so far, I've called it to their attention that their blankety-blank hit counters reset themselves again to zero, they say they'll fix it, don't, I remind them again. They tell me their production team (or whatever) is fixing it, they don't. I remind them again, they fix it for awhile, then it all happens again. (I have email trails that prove it.)

I'd thought our former webhost was less-than, but DreamHost's counters are still working even though this site is no longer hosted by them. Probably because www.JRCompton.com still is, and they've always confused the accounts. I'd bring JRCompton.com over to WestHost (the new one), except it is not the wonderful host that Kevin Kelly (whose contemporary whole earth catalog site, Cool Tools, which I still check almost every day) touted it as being, and I've all but decided to leave it where it is. Although I should probably pay it ahead two years to save the big bucks, since I'm paying it monthly now.

I might even take DallasArtsRevue back to DreamHost since I haven't caught them taking that site offline (my major complaint about them) for a long time. Used to be I'd catch them losing track of it every other month for days at a time. I've only once since switching, discovered WestHost doing that, but they have other peculiarities that drive me up the wall.

I thought I had the inside track to a great host if Kevin Kelly, who co-founded Wired magazine in 1993 and is still Senior Maverick there, said it was. Before that, Kelly was editor and publisher of Whole Earth Review (formerly Co-Evolution Quarterly), another of my all-time favorite tree-killer publications. More bio details on KK's Bio page.)

But his use of it differs from mine, and he has no need of hit-counters to show member artists and writers how popular our pages are.

I digress. But that may be what I'm best at.

Oh, yeah. Visiting member pages I was awed by the low hit counts on some member pages. I was especially shocked at the low hits counted on Pavlina Panova's exquisite images using all-natural materials. So I carefully added one of the newer hit counters that actually counts hits. That took some time, as I had to keep uploading the incrementally updated page onto the internet, checking my work each time till I got their idiot coding right. I think it's working now.

Two hosts ago, all I had to do was drop the exact same image (which had its own code) onto a page, and it always worked. But that's way too easy.

I suspect there are other members who joined before I got the new host's counter code down pat, whose old host counters are equally verklempt (See definition #5).

Her work is even more beautiful in real life, not something a photographer usually wants to admit, and I hope we can update her page soon. I know it is improving, because I've seen it out there, although I couldn't find more of it using this site's Google-magiggy.

I have begun to worry (something else I'm great at) about having too much work to show in all those spaces. Artists keep asking when I'll know how much room we have for how many pieces. The simplest answer is when we get it all ready to show. After it's all hung, placed, parked, whatever.

Susan Lecky has again volunteered to help hang the show. We worked well together last time and had a blast doing it, so that's great. Thank you, Susan.

I remember being worried about the same spatial issues last time then realizing when we had them all up, that we had plenty of room for some more. So I really don't know. I suspect there are better-paid curators out there who know or have figured out how to know this sort of information. But they never told me, so I just don't know.

I still want to have each artist show three pieces, irregardless of the size (Dr. Louise Cowan taught me that was a perfectly good word at the U of Dalals a thousand years ago). That may be a dream.blue dot = end of story

10 20 09    There's already enough artists for a small show, but of course, I want this to be a big show. I want every member in it, and will do a lot to make that happen. Several artists have attached images to emails, and I've been looking at their work that way, and like what I see, mostly. A few artists still want to show work they did years ago and that lots of people have already seen — I call it the Oldies But Moldies syndrome. We get attached to our work that's been popular, and if we're not selling enough of it to have to make new work all the time — which covers most of us — we're more inclined to show the tried and true than what scares us, because it's so revealing of who we are becoming that we haven't figured out yet.

What scares us now, usually turns out to be pretty tame in the run of it, but it's the scary stuff that makes for change in our work. And I know full well that change is scary, and fear hurts. But grit your teeth, artists, and show me what currently scares you, and we'll all be better off. I really — as always — want to show the work that frightens you to show it. The stuff that's so who you are becoming that it scares the pooh out of you to let anyone see it, because you're not sure who that is yet.

So, the point of it is, that I want to see new work. Preferably done in the last few months. Certainly not stuff you've been dragging around for years.

And I want to see work by every artist member of DallasArtsRevue, especially if you think you're not good enough. I'll make those determinations. Some of this work will be the best art in Dallas, I have no doubts. But DallasArtsRevue is open to artists at every level, and this show should show that.

Come on now, all you unsure and unexperienced artists among us. Send me what you've been working on. You can't grow and get better as an artist if you don't make mistakes. I can weed those out for you (hah! wish I could do it for myself, too!) I'm the curator, let me decide. Send me stuff. Get this dialog going all you hold-outs and hold-backs.blue dot = end of story

10 17&18 09    G
ot to spend time during the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour talking with some of the artists — both in the tour and touring the tour — I especially want in this 30th Anniversary exhibition, clearing some things up, ignoring less important details that will come later.blue dot = end of story

10 16 09    Have decided not to do studio visits for all DallasArtsRevue Members for this show. Too much time and travel. Instead, please send me jpegs of the work you think you want in the show. Send up to three 777 pixel-wide @ 72 dpi JPEG images (555 pixels wide for talls, to a maximum of 8 inches tall, then less wide) attached to one email — with all the usual caption information in the right order. I may have you submit more later, but that'll do for the first go-round. I will be carefully curating this important exhibition.

Don't make big art if you've never made big art before for this show. There's a lot of learning that goes into making big art. But go ahead and learn and show me what you got. I'm especially looking for big art for the main gallery. We do, in addition, have the hall gallery again. And yes, there's plenty of risers.

Tell me you want to be in the show if you want to be in the show. The list of members who have, so far, is below. These are mostly members who have been paying attention and reading the Member Page I always urge members to check periodically if they want to know what's going on.

Late this evening, I sent out the official open invitation to all members and pointing them to this page.blue dot = end of story

main gallery - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Main Gallery with its Concrete Posts during the Dia del Muertos show

10 13 09   A
pparently, if one is invited to be in a show, and one does not want to, the protocol seems to be to ignore the invitation. Maybe a snide look up at somebody else's opening, maybe not even that. Guess I better start inviting other sculptors and sculptor-based artists to fill up the back room. Got a great bunch to start with. The eleven I invited might have filled up the space, but five is not enough to.

I've still only heard from twelve DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members who wish to be included in the Members' portion of our show. I'll invite the whole lot of them this Friday via email. Maybe that will wake up the rest. I've dropped lots of broad hints here and there, but heard, so far, only from ten.

I haven't really decided whether I'll do studio visits for members for this probably penultimate DallasArtsRevue Member Show. Email was very handy for last year's Winter Show. I'm leaning in that direction. Most likely I will for accepting invitees to the Back-room show, but for everybody else, I just don't know yet.

If you're a member, and you want to jump the gun, send me 777 pixel-wide wide images or 555 pixel-wide tall images up to 8 inches tall, then less wide images @72 dpi, and I'll yay or nay them quickly. Might mull a coupla days. Be sure to include physical dimensions. We got a lot of space to fill up.

The reason I chose three-dimensional and 3D-related for the back-room, is because sculpture is my favorite art form, and I might not get another chance like this. Nothing can be better than the inexpressibles expressed in sculpture. I like to feel it with my fingers, my hands and my mind. Sometimes my nose.

Then I began to wonder why I don't have a lot more sculpture in my home, and I looked around and see a big () hand-made Mexican drum up and to my right on the closet door in the office. It's a real drum, has wonderful tone when the air is dry, winter or summer with the AC on, and lousy flump tonelessness otherwise. It's simple. Nestled into an American flag and my collection of computer cables.

I think that's sculpture. Just happens to be useful, too.

Ringed by an ancient Aerobie and some metal rings and a wood one is a protrusion of that aerosol-splooshing stuff that fills in the gaps of, say, a plumbing issue. It's vivid DayGlo and clearly does not belong there. What else could it be but sculpture?

Further down that same wall is A. M. Hudson's thing that hovered over my living room couch for a dozen years. It's bare wood hanging on bare, sheetrock-less old wood with a marvelous golden brown patina. Looks good over there. I love all the raw wood, with the white edges of that single, former drawer from Ray Nasher's house, projecting out from my wall.

Just past that is a friendship bracelet of red, white, black, blue and cyan beads. Not sculpture, exactly, but three-dee for sure. Around it are a newspaper clipping, a snapshot of niece Joyce thumbing her nose and smiling big, a patch from Philmont Scout Ranch when I was 17, and a Valentine photograph.

On the wall opposite, over the door, there's a Pamela Nelson paper hand collage whose fingers curl outward, taking a bunch of cut-out magazine text into the 3rd D. Somewhere else is a similarly cut-out, curled hand made from a DMA brownprint.

On top of the right speaker next to my Frank X Tolbert drawing is a small plush toy Eeyore. Down that shelf are a carved clay Wizard by Margarite Handy, a luminary (pot for a candle inside with a design cut into the wall of it, so that a lit candle in it projects the shape of a tree on the wall), and Sherry Owens' first pot and a very early candlestick.

Above and behind me on the top of a tallish shelf full of books and stereo and clutter is: a funnel-shaped Screaming Demon fireworks fountain shell exploding with bird feathers with a big, red-eyed screaming demon logo. I don't see anything else in plain sight that might be mistaken for sculpture, is sculpture.

Once I start thinking about sculpture, I remember other pieces scattered around my home. It's everywhere.

Not as ubiquitous as paintings and photographs, I have to admit. But so far, in my newly renovated living room, there is only sculpture. Some time and place, I'll have to write about those pieces. I also have a crowd of paintings and drawings lined up, ready to queued up to get into there, but they might have to shunt off to the dining room instead. I keep finding more sculpture for the front room.

When I want to design a dream exhibition, it's filled with the best sculpture available in Dallas by Dallas artists, and with spatial-oriented flatwork on the walls. Kinda like The Back-room Invitational.

Back-room - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Looking toward the lake from the Back-room
We can probably paint it any color we want.
The Hall Gallery is just out that white door.

10 6 09   The artists invited to The Back-room Invitational who have accepted are Laura Abrams, Terry Hays, Gisela-Heidi Strunck, Charlotte Smith, Eliseo Garcia, Diana Chase and Simeen Ishaque. If you do an in-site Google Search for those names, you'll find plenty mentions, including images. I like those artists — and the others I've invited, because they each bring unique visions. None of them is caught up in trends or copying concepts. Definitely not me-too artists. They've explored new territories, different techniques and styles. They are our visionaries, if you will. And I hope to.blue dot = end of story

10 5 09   Have been busy tracking down whom I consider Dallas' best sculptors — or at least my favorites and, as I said in the invitational letters, "others whose essentially flat work incorporates sculptural concepts" for The Back-room Invitational. I'm publicly keeping track of my results in the floating box below. I'm writing an invitation letter now to sculptors and painters, whose work would fit right in. There's two for whom I have no email address and three others I'm still considering asking.

Which puts me in a quandary, because many DallasArtsRevue members are among Dallas' best sculptors, and I don't want them to feel left out of the Invitational, but I'd rather show their work in the main gallery, where I hope it will dominate that big open space between the walls of flat work.blue dot = end of story

10 2 09
   Met briefly with Enrique today and learned that our show will open 7-9 Saturday December 5, have an Artists Talk (like last time, everybody will talk, but this time, I will introduce the artists who attend, maybe point to their work around the galleries, then all in attendance can talk (like we did at the winter show last December) without anyone but me having to engage in public speaking. More like an everybody there conversation (or an opening at a gallery), really, on January 9. And we will close the show on Saturday January 30.blue dot = end of story

The back gallery will be an invitational exhibition of artists who are not members of DallasArtsRevue but who have been written about on these pages. Well or ill, it matters not. I change my mind about these things. But I will decide. That invitational will not be an open invitation. It, like everything else there then, will be carefully curated, whatever that might mean.

We have all three Bath House Cultural Center spaces for this show. The main gallery with really big works, the hallway with smaller works and the back room invitational. I like that name, so I whipped up a logo to make it real.blue dot = end of story


9 21 09   I think I like the DallasArtsRevue well enough to proceed with it. Maybe just The Revue, but I want the rest of the site's name in it, too.

I've had artists suggest themselves for invitation into this thing, but darned few DARts Members who say they want to. I've not emailed the whole bunch of them yet. Usually the number of members swells before a show opportunity, but it is still in the thick of Mercury Retrograde, so I won't count chickens till October 16, and this blog probably won't get going good till then.

I've wasted enough time being pissy for real and imagined slights, and my house is being renovated around me — nifty new stairway down to my driveway, so I don't have to walk all the way around with groceries any more. And myriad other improvements. Probably will have to repaint my until-today Parrot Green living room something else entirely, now that all the old sheet rock has been ripped from its 90-year-old walls and half the ceiling's been replaced, with more to come, soon as José trusses up the walls a tad.

All that to improve a mood that's moody at best, but it might just work. I've lost about fourteen pounds in the last three weeks, will continue to swim laps every day I can get away from here or there. Life progresses. Probably many people will still think of me as a creep, and I'll probably be one to some, almost nomatterwhat.

Everything else is improving. Day after tomorrow is my birthday. The pelicans are back at White Rock Lake, and I've been finding other birds there, too. What else could I ask for?

At that moment I noticed I hadn't opened today's mail, and there was the beginning questionnaire for my 35-mile ambulance ride from Port Isabel to Harlingen's Valley Baptist Hospital. No idea how much that'll cost. Oh woe is I. Worth it, no doubt, if only for the chrono-synclastics of it to prove that Time Travel's not all it's cracked up to be.

Walking back with my mail, I scathed my arm on the sharp rusty steel edges of my door, bled awhile, now just itch.

I know stuff like this should go in ThEdBlog instead of here, but I was about to answer my own question, "What else could I ask for?" that more members would be nice. There's dozens of people out there promising to send me a check. Some who come up to me every time I'm in public just to assure me they really are going to send me a check.

Yet I know full well, that the people who do, just do. They don't pre-announce. They don't promise. They just send a check after reading How to Join DallasArtsRevue. I am so tired of talking with people who keep saying they will, then they don't. This is a big-deal sterling exhibition opportunity. But it's only for members. And anybody can be one of those. But first they have to join.

I don't think you could buy an opportunity like this that cheap anywhere.

yada yada.blue dot = end of story

Bacj-room - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

The Back-room toward the rest of The Bath House Cultural Center  

9 14 09   Am considering the possibility of doing an invitational in the far-back gallery. The other possibility still exists that could be where pieces not selected for the Hall and Main Gallery showings show. The main space alone seemed vaguely constricting. I mean just how many pieces could fit in there when we've got thirty-something members?

Now with the hall and that back gallery, too. Mayhaps we have too much space to fill with just one show. (Nah!)

I've dealt with the hall gallery twice now. Had a show of early Lake atmospherics there once, some years back. Probably counts as my first solo exhibition. Then The Winter Show last year. Had another sometime after the White Rock Museum began there, and I prefer the Hall space.

I still like that hall space very much. It has so much more a community feel and strong, simple aesthetic compared to the grand salon main gallery, concrete walls back space and the always jumbled Museum.

The best work will be in the big gallery, with big sculpture in the middle. Then other works of two and three and four dimensions. Time. Video. Whatever. in the hall. Then other things in the back. That space is more difficult to deal with. Concrete walls make everything a challenge, although risers fit there well.

It's all too much, and not nearly enough known about it, and the possibilities open and open.

And I'm still futzin' with the logo — and the name.blue dot = end of story

9 12 09   We talked with Enrique today while visiting the Bath House to see the Self-Portrait show again trying to revive my spirits after the AiM show debacle. I had been careful not to bring up the topic till he was ready to tell us exactly what times were available. First he offered us use of the Hall as well as the Main Gallery, which I knew would make it more likely more DallasArtsRevue Members could show more work. Then he offered the back gallery, too.

We accepted immediately. We now have all three galleries at The Bath House for our 30th Anniversary Exhibition. Which itself means that we have a lot more space for more and much bigger work. Or different sorts of work in each gallery. He'll email us next week with the exact dates.

I had two questions. Might it be okay if works in the show were sold for Christmas, to remove those pieces and replace them with others? I know it's an odd question, but I'd been thinking about the possibility, especially if the show goes on for two months, including a month after Christmas. He said there were specific rules against it and other that could amend those rules. So yes, that would be possible.

I'd noticed that the Bath House no longer sends out invitational postcards, so I asked if we could pay for our own. Enrique said yes, and we could use the printer they usually use. For the Tranquilla show, we got each exhibiting artist to kick in, I think it was $10, and that didn't seem excessive. Ten bucks each is still possible a price to have our names on a postcard we could mail ourselves to our own mailing lists. I think Enrique said postcards with four-colors on both sides would cost us $125 for 2,000, which ought to be enough.

You do have a mailing list, don't you? Professional artists do.

So things are beginning to move in many directions. I still want the art in the main gallery to be the absolute best I can jur into the show from members in good standing. I suspect that art in the hallway won't be as strictly juried as that in the main gallery, and I'm not exactly sure what will be in the back gallery yet, but I have some ideas that need fleshing out before I tell you.

You might read through our initial proposal for a DallasArtsRevue show at the Bath House somewhat earlier this century [2003], to get glimpses of what that back gallery might comprise, though there will be substantial departures from those early ideas.

I have not yet written about my first Studio Visit for this show, but I will. When I catch up with my tail, hold it carefully like I do with Yo, my cat's tail, then slow me down enough to think straight again, if that's possible.blue dot = end of story

The Dallas Arts Revue show logo

This is the latest final version. Anna likes it, and that's usually a good sign.

The DallasArtsRevue REVUE

The DARts Show

For about half a day I wanted to call it The DARts Show.
I didn't, because of all the confusion with DARTS Rail, even
though we called this that before they called theirs this.

The Dallas Arts Revue show logo

Then along came The DallasArts Revue, which I warmed to
then got cold about when it was just way too confusing
to use even when everybody knows that a revue is a
"light theatrical entertainment consisting of a series of
short sketches, songs, and dances, typically dealing satirically
with topical issues.  ORIGIN French, literally ‘review’

Revue logo 4

Not sure this helps anything, but I needed to try.
Then more recently, I've been thinking about the less
eponimous and maybe even less confusing,

The DallasArtsRevue Revue logo

I think I like it!

The DallasArts REVUE

But not as much as this.
And it's getting simpler.
But Anna still likes the
first blue one

9 11 09 These pages usually start with the logo, but although I fall in love with a new title every couple of minutes, I'm not at all certain what this show will be called, although I've called it several things already, and might call it a couple more before this is all finalized.

Anna suggested The Dallas Arts Revue. My first reaction when she told me what I ought to call it was that it was too long and had too many syllables. Then I thought about it awhile and began to like it. Gradually. Slowly, I realized it was obvious. Then after awhile struggling with it, I'm beginning to see just how confusing that title can be.

Like this one, the title for Fierce took a long time, then, suddenly, it became obvious. Once that show notion got a short, sweet name, everything got a lot easier, and we got amazing work and lived to tell the tale.

This title is longer, of course. But somewhat familiar. Except maybe for that initial "The."

You know I like The DallasArts Revue as a name, because all that but the The has been on the front of this magazine and on top of almost every web page for the last 30.5 years, but I'm still finessing the logo and worrying about the name. It sure is confusing, almost as confusing as "The DARts Show."blue dot = end of story 


Our shows so far

In reverse chronological (chrono-unlogical?) order, our official DallasArtsRevue.com Supporting Member shows, so far, have been: These are links to either the blog for them or the index page with links to the other pages or a page with other links on it.

The Dallas Arts REVUE - December 5 2009 through January 30 2010
The Winter Show - early December 2008 through early January 2009
- July 5 - 29, 2008
Big As Night, Too - Late October 2006
DARts on the WRLAST - October 15 and 16, 2005
1026 Tranquilla
- December 6, 7 and 8, 2002

When I started having DallasArtsRevue member shows, I didn't know about blogs. The Tranquilla web pages began as pages of rapidly-changing information that artists in the show — or those who wanted to be — would need. That's how I handled the next two shows, too. With Fierce, I began the show blog, with nearly everything — except the studio visits — thrown in on one rapidly-growing page arranged chronologically starting from the bottom. Like this is/will be.

the YUDAR logo

For about a week, I called this show the name in the quasi logo above. I knew it was stupid, but there was some history behind it, and with a name this insipid out there, I thought I might be inspired to come up with a better one. In a roundabout way it seems to have worked.

YUDAR30.5AMS was Yet Unnamed Dallas Arts Revue's 30.5th Anniversary Member Show. Which is a big mouthful. I couldn't even remember it.

The illustration was from a book about radar that I put in a chapbook I published many years ago called RADAR, which was about communications that go asunder. Like radar waves going out and not hitting anything and just going and going and never coming back. I loved that idea. An idea that is particularly apt for organizing an art exhibition without a title or with one as stupid as YUDAR30.5AMS.

the winter show

The first portion of this show was called The Winter Show, because that's when it would be — and was — and I only had a day to come up with a title and logo. Like many artists, I usually don't even start a project until the electric last minute, but that time I was surprised that the show was finally coming through after already waiting years after official approval.

We've got a little longer throw on this one. The show in question doesn't start till December of this year and runs through January of the next year. I still don't know which exactly, and though I do care, I don't want to bother the Bath House's already harried curator/director person, because Enrique has plenty to do and precious little time to do it in already.

the Fierce show logo

When DARE, which more or less became The MAC somewhat later, was trying to come up with its own name, co-founder Greg Metz began calling it YUNAG, the Yet-unnamed Art Group. So that's where the Yet Unother part came from, at least.


Though not all of those pages qualify as blogs. Blogs is something we grew into. At first — at Tranquilla, for instance, which was our first DallasArtsRevue.com Member Show — I just had a page of information where members could find out what had happened and what needed to happen next, and after that, for the show to happen.

Only later, somewhere about Fierce, did the show's organizational page begin to organize itself as a daily — sometimes minutely — blog. Fierce and The Winter Show's — even now six or more months later — blogs continue to be very popular. Tranquilla's index of pages about it only got gathered sometime after the show itself, and it's never been particularly popular.

But Fierce and The Winter Show are. They are also very informative about the sometimes mysterious — especially to those who have never put together an art show — business of putting one together, and so have become remarkably popular pages to read the whole long, day-by-day blog of.

I suspect this will become one of those. It'd help a lot if somebody would come up with a great, short, succinct name for it, but we've still got time for that. Something with five or fewer syllables.blue dot = end of story

James Michael Starr's work in progress - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

James Michael Starr's work in progress at the first studio visit
This is the only piece so far that I know will be in the DallasArtsRevue Member Show.

9 10 09 My first studio visit was with long-time DARts Member, contributor and friend James Michael Starr, although actually, I never got into his studio. We met in his driveway, where he showed me a piece he was working on.

I'd sent out an email to members I knew worked in three dimensions, because I really want to have some strong and interesting pieces in the mid-section of the main gallery at the Bath House during our 3oth anniversary show there, and his was the only response I got.

It's early still, but you know who gets the worm.

Mostly what Jim and I talked about was his reticence/fear to show this piece that's so different from most of his work. Certainly no one would pin this wild concoction on James Michael Starr as we know him, and how perfect for a show like this — as I keep saying, whatever that might mean.

I'm not guaranteeing that everytime we build something that scares the poo out of us, it's going to be a breakthrough we can look all our careers back to, but it is a momentous moment, redolent of change. Full of change. I've felt those same fears, and those that bring them are always the right one to go with, and I'm especially excited to show work that isn't just another one of what an artist usually does anyway, but something from off on a new, scary — usually because it comes from a place in ourselves that expresses our selves in new and often strange ways that we do not fully understand yet — direction.

Objects, dimensional or flat, that may bring more like it or open ourselves to different possibilities beyond our current scopes and especially, expectations. That's exciting stuff for a curator and an editor. Scary for the artist, until they recognize the fear, as Jim has, and learned to go with it wherever it leads.


This Shows Blog Continues from Page 1 and Continues on Page Two > >