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< < Blog Part One
Blog page 2

for The DallasArts Revue and
Back-room Invitational
art shows at the Bath House
through January 30,
and the
Informal Art Conversation
7-9:30 Saturday, January 9 at the Bath House Cultural Center

Staring at David Hickman's Sculpture - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Pondering David Hickman's Sculpture at the end of the opening

Tuesday 09 12 8   This blog is not over. There's more to say and show and more Dallas art to promote. Just that I'm enjoying a break from all things art and show lately, although perhaps I should have chosen a warmer time. This old house and this old body are cold, and it doesn't help that I bruised some ribs hurrying laundry after the opening Saturday.

One thing I'm dealing with here is purely physical — this page, not me, for a change. I've long thought it was top-heavy and top-busy, so I'm letting the big show logos drift down this page like all the photos and commentary has since I started writing this on October 9 2009.

I even put the DallasArtsRevue logo back on top of this page, like it is on all the other 1,300+ pages on this site. I took it off, so the name of the member show would stand out, but since nobody ever got it that the show was called The Revue, I'm not sure that helped.

The opening was great. Not as many people attended as I'd hoped or as attended last year's Winter Show opening, but as people kept telling me, there was a lot going on that Saturday night. I did not get to choose the opening day or really much else about our show calendar. It's before Christmas, so there was plenty happening in Dallas as there will continue to be through New Year's.

Those in attendance more than made up for their numbers in excitement and exuberance. I have never been told so many times how good the shows were and how good they looked.

It was no accident that they looked different; I'd only hoped they'd look good, too, although I was too close to it all to know. Apparently, they did. I certainly went out of my way to do show design things untraditionally. There was no invisible line through the vertical middles of every work along the wall that make so many shows perhaps easier to hang but so dully predictable and same-same.

Wherever there was an opportunity to make viewer's eyes pause and consider what's there, instead of blithely hurrying past work in the show, we did. Our design was aesthetic certainly but rarely did it fit preset standards. When I lined up all the i.d tags I could I thought just how important it was to be able to find those immediately — although I put them on walls, not risers, as is often done — mostly because I believe they belong on walls and columns, not on pedestals or bases.

So the only thing that lined up around the rooms were the tags identifying the art, and I knew all that Saturday afternoon that I could fudge all I wanted to, that hardly anybody would notice my deviations from a plan few could perceive.

Not that I knew what I'd do with those — or with the art during the hanging itself — before I started. I tried some things that didn't work till I had a feel for what might. Tried that, and when it seemed to work, marked a pole so most of the tags would line up, even as they melded into the also-white walls.

That's pretty close to how we hung the art in the show. We decided on certain parameters, then proceeded, making it up as we went along. When one wall stymied us, we'd go at another wall. Whenever we had the opportunity to line things up, we did not. Some artists who hung their own work — usually because it was too complicated and too much work for us — were startled that we did not have a line we hewed to.

But that is why, I believe, so many at the opening perceived the shows as 'looking good.'

So maybe our Art Conversation — we were calling it that before area galleries caught on and started calling their gallery talks that. I've attended a few, and they did not in any real way resemble actual conversations, although ours at The Winter Show last year certainly did — will be as unconventional and as successful.

Perhaps by then many arters will be up-to-here with holiday cheer and just need some art talk. I certainly will.

That's the next (and last) show-related event to look forward to. It really will be a conversation. People will gather at the Bath House. They will talk among themselves as they always do. I will nervously say a few things and introduced show artists in attendance, then I will blend back into the crowd and everybody will continue conversing.blue dot = end of story

The DallasArts Revue show logo - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Tiana Wages - Was It Here or Was It There?

Tiana Wages   Was It Here or Was It There?   2009
gouache and acrylic on paper   30 x 23 inches   JRCompton photo

Every time I pass this work now leaning against the wall in the big gallery, or here on this page, I think, wow! What an amazing, strong image this is. One of the fiercest in this show, and deserving of a lot of white space around it to concentrate viewers' attention. I see in this Degas or Lautrec-like portrait, age and vulnerability and mastery of the mediums.

The Back-room Invitational
Eight Dallas Artists Who Explore the Third Dimension

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

with work by Laura Abrams, Terry Hays, Gisela-Heidi Strunck, Charlotte Smith,
Eliseo Garcia, Diana Chase, Simeen Ishaque and Peter Ligon

Shows Calendar

Delivery 5-9 pm Saturday, November 28
Late delivery is TEN A.M.,Tuesday December 1,

Hanging continued from noon till 3-ish, Wednesday December 2

The Opening Reception is 7-9 Saturday, December 5 at the Bath House Cultural Center on White Rock Lake (See map).

with an Informal Art Conversation 7-9:30 Saturday, January 9
Shows continue through 4 p.m., Saturday, January 30
Pick-up Art 5-8 p.m., Saturday January 30

Lists of artists in the shows [link fixed] and show statistics

Taped to the Front - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Variety of IDs taped to the front of pieces,
so I could match titles to art works

Saturday 09 12 5   This is it. I spent three hours this afternoon posting identification tags near all the pieces, developing my method and measurements as I went. Eventually, I marked an extension pole for the correct height to place the top tag of any totem of them. But at first I just made them lips high. I'm 5' 8" so that might be about average.

I had signed up help but had to do the tracking down and taping up myself — a couple times till I got my scheme to work for all configurations of work hung, giving me time to commune with many pieces, including that one I had the artist remove pieces of. I called her, had her bring them back. I explained I simply could not justify editing pieces of a work, whatever I might think about its stumble-ability or effectiveness as a sculpture.

It often seems like a startling new idea to occupy floor space with art extensions, but it usually works out anything but, and if somebody trips on it, it can be dangerous. I hope that doesn't happen. I'll be watching the crowd over there amid socializing with friends and artists tonight.

To my knowledge, we only got one tag wrong — called a house a tree, and Enrique quickly corrected it. And one artist did not identify their works' titles, only their names taped to the front — as if I couldn't have figured that much out, so I had to remember what they'd called it when they submitted it, and when I used it on this blog. I think I got it right. It won't be difficult to just switch them.

Norman Kary's Detail - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Detail of Norman Kary's art in the big gallery: I thought I'd really seen it, but it took someone
mentioning that it moved before I tuned in to the sky map slowly rotating — much as it really does.

I also went around photographing the little details that I liked best in the show. Details that may not make much sense seen alone — and that I have no time to work up before tonight's opening, so you'll just have to trust me. I'll post the best of those later, maybe tomorrow. I think of them as telling details, although I'm not sure what they'll say.

Of course, I'll be photographing the action at tonight's openings for tomorrow's blog entry. too. Tagging took so long I only have enough time to dry some wet laundry, clean me and hope I can find something nice to wear tonight.

See you at the opening.blue dot = end of story


Peggy Epner - One and All

Peggy Epner One and All, 2009
encaustic on wood panel 36 x 36 inches

Friday 09 12 4    I've been thinking about not liking art lately. I suspect I scandalized some volunteers the first hanging day by openly expressing negative opinions about some of the art in the member show. For one example, there's Michael Helsem's little painting. He knows this, because I told him, but I usually do not understand his work when I first see it.

It grows on me. In me. Openly not liking it helps me pay it enough attention to begin understanding what's going on in it that upsets me. Same has been true in many other shows, and I've mentioned this recurring experience in reviews. Some work gets under my skin and prickles in there like the first itches of poison ivy. Often turns out I learn to appreciate new aspects and end up liking it all the more.

Eventually, what initially bugs or startles me or messes with my expectations, leads me to infer more about art. When Matt Kaplinsky did his impromptu show critique [below] the first painting he noted was Michael Helsem's.

I hoped to show you that piece, but the shot he sent was out of focus, and I haven't got to photographing work in these shows yet. Maybe I should do a little of that tomorrow before the opening or next week after. I'm not sure I can improve on Tiana Wage's painting [well below] but I'll make the attempt tomorrow after we put up identification cards. I did not know what to think when I first saw that one. Now I cherish its strange vision and technique.

Other pieces that have been in this ultimately transient category include Peggy Epner's green spine encaustic, One and All, which she submitted a good shot of, so I'm using it atop this late evening's entry.

Only after applying mind to art, did I begin to truly appreciate Peggy's wild ganglia of muted green encaustic sewn sharply together by dark spinal sutures. Now, it's difficult to believe I was a non-believer, but I remember the thought. Sometimes the obvious takes its own sweet time to coalesce. Now I like it well enough to plant it up there for all those who only read captions to admire my great taste in curating it into this show ...

Lorrie McClanahan's two pieces are still building their rep. I like them more than I did when she submitted JPEGs or brought them in, but I could see they were quality and can still feel my appreciation ramping upward, though I still haven't figured out what's going on there. I fell hard for her work still on her member page, but she's changed styles completely since then — at least twice, and though my perception trails her progression, I'm sharp enough to include them here even if I don't fully grasp their eloquence.

She's one of the many artists I just trust, and expect to catch up by the time she synapses on to another expression. There are other examples, but the night before the opening may not be the best time to explore those.blue dot = end of story

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

Buckaroos Scott Shubin and David Hickman coax
David's 350-pound circle up an inclined plane

Thursday 09 12 3   Someone who is in this member show emailed today asking why this year's "Winter Show" does not come up when you Google it — only last year's comes up. Fascinating to me that someone in the show does not know the name of this show, even though I attached that logo to their invitations.

But I do understand the confusion. I even expected it.

Nobody but me calls it "the Revue," which is its proper nick-name. Fact is we never managed to come up with another or better name for the show. See A Short Visual History of the 2009 Member Show's Name & Logo on page one of this blog. The Winter Show was a good name and before it, Fierce was great [See links to those pages' blogs, also on that page.]

But The Dallas Arts REVUE doesn't exactly roll off your mind.

I think there's a website with very close to that same name, and that, perversely, is why I settled on calling it that. I knew the tag line "DallasArtsRevue.com's 30th Anniversary Member Show" would often be cut off in publicity for the show (especially on somebody else's website), so I wanted this site's web address to always associate directly with any mention.

I've been careful to link our home page directly to this page, and I put the link to this blog on the postcard invitation as www.DallasArtsRevue.com/revue, which very few have so-far accessed (probably because we got the postcards so late in the game — my fault, as is everything show-related), although this blog has been remarkably popular, and I've been careful to feed it honesty every day.

So that part works mostly. But getting anybody else in or around the member show to call it "The Revue" has been futile. They call it this year's winter show, which it is, of course. This is definitely winter, even if that season doesn't officially start till December 21 in the northern hemisphere, and it is a show.

I really don't care much what they call it, as long as they show their best art here and/or come see it and The Conversation January 9.

I've been changing the tag line on The Back-room Invitational every couple of days through the life of this blog and that show. What it says near the top of this page now, however, is it, because it will be reproduced in glorious living color vinyl and pressed onto the outside wall of that show today or tomorrow.

"Eight Dallas Artists Who Explore the Third Dimension" always reminds me of the movie, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984) and even more so, now I've seen that YouTube video several times. Like so much else about either show, it applies to both.blue dot = end of story

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

Applied Exhibition Geometry - Susan Lecky works out the Intricacy of Art Spacing

Thursday 09 12 3   Almost made it the whole day without doing a blog entry — not that everything stopped just because we got all the art on the walls and in as perfect a place as we could find for each. Big and little controversies swirled, mixing in with jobs yet undone. As I type these words, I am jumping ship from preparing the sign that'll go over the art next to the door into the back-room for the invitational, and changed the phrase under it for one last time.

I'd hoped to just copy all the specification numbers from the much smaller version I made for the show's logo [near the top of this page]. But, of course, with the change of scale, everything else changed, and these letters need to be spread out (slightly) from that tight little logo for its much larger scale and longer viewing distance, but I didn't want to abandon all my kerning.

I could never back off far enough to see these shows as others will. Though I can see they are sparer than I dreamed possible along the way. I planned white space around some especially precious pieces, but it has inserted itself into the betweens of many others, also. I'm too close to everything about the shows to see their outer realities, and I need to take copious gallery shots, so someday I can see it as it was and not what I hoped and schemed it to be.

I promised to video it all for my mother, who can't make the opening, at least partially because Dad is speaking to a group in Corpus Christi about his experiences flying into Hawaii on a December 7 sixty-eight years ago. He's 94. Making that video may help me see what these shows really look like and are, but Mom and Dad will probably see very different exhibitions.

Instead of art on the walls and floors and risers all over those rooms and that hallway, I keep 'seeing' all the merry-go-rounding of pieces, trying this and that combinations, asking everybody else what they think, being open to so many differing considerations I hadn't thought of, then deciding — sometimes with sense behind it, often just because we needed to go on with the rest of it.

I still see all the mistakes we made and corrected and rearranged and re-corrected. Each piece involves so many, often colliding memories, personalities, egos, agreements and disagreements, highs and lows. It'd take one of those 20-hour Russian movie series to get at just the major themes. Comedy and tragedy.

I'll come back some quiet weekday in the two-month run and just settle into the spaces. Pretend I'm just some guy who's stumbled into a gallery for some cultural uplifting. Hoping maybe by then I can see what's there, not what we put into it.blue dot = end of story

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

Matt Kaplinsky and daughter Allie commune with art

Wednesday 09 12 2   Only Anna, who's working on the paperwork, the I.D tags and the resume book helped Susan Lecky and me today, but we finished hanging both shows early, then came back near dark to watch Enrique Fernandez light the entire show in one hour and forty-two minutes. Other helpers may have got there after we left.

I've rarely seen anyone work so fast, so carefully, effectively and with such dedication. I'd still be fretting the first wall. I made one suggestion, that was not possible, and I got direct lighting that'd been there maybe five minutes, off a piece of art comprising all-natural materials the artist had requested no direct light on. Otherwise, we observed.

Watching Enrique repeatedly climb that ladder, twist and turn lights and move them just so, would have been an education if we'd known what he was doing, but it looked like magic. The results were remarkable. We liked where we'd finally ended up putting every piece, but now, with professional lighting, it looks like a real art show. We're proud of it.

Enrique Fernandez Lighting the Shows - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Bath House Visual Art director
Enrique Fernandez lighting the show

I still have to drill one hole through the top of one riser to accommodate a plug-in and add an extension cord along the baseboard, but today we put our new packs of The Museum Putty to good use holding almost every flat piece level and in place.

We were again stymied by pieces that were not wired. Wiring work makes hanging so much easier and makes keeping that work flat on the walls much more likely. We added a couple wires and were stuck with a couple other ersatz hanging configurations that, while they were secure for the weight, caused pieces to hang well away from the wall or kept them from adhering flat to it, thus insecure for balance.

Some artists still act more equal than others, so they don't have to use wires. We of the hanging crew disagree. Vehemently. Only one piece in either show was safe and secure without a wire, though it was difficult to level. We much prefer quick and easy to slow and laborious.

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

Kathy Boortz and a Yet-unfinished Friend  

Today brought our two final pieces: Kathy Boortz arrived with a large, black, metal raven we found a place for immediately (I'd been saving the space, except we put her raven on a wider riser closer to the floor, opening up the lower wall.), and Matt Kaplinsky brought in a two-feet-square, smallish — compared to his usual work — painting that only took a little scoochying on the last wall in the big room.

We had to see Kathy's black bird to know for sure where it went, but we found a short riser for it, admired it there for a few minutes, then she took it home for what she expected to be six more hours of finishing. The only other piece that is not quite finished is Diana Chase's Crimson Tide [below] wall piece in the back-room, and she'll be back tomorrow.

Fessing Up:

I broke a small chunk of glass off Diana Chase's multi-tenacled white glass piece yesterday, making everybody in the room so very glad they hadn't. Soon as I saw her today, I told her. I'd kept the shard, but neither of us could find where it broke from, and we shared a good laugh about the absurdity. I was lucky I was as aware as I was moving that piece. I'll need to move it one more time, and I'm already avoiding it.

Wet Paint on the Curator's Hands - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Paint smeared on The Curator's Hands
from hanging wet, unfinished work

I also removed two of five large, glue-dripping and paint-wet pieces that had extended from another work so viewers could walk through the smallish viewing space in the main gallery. Now as a concession, the artist is removing the remain extensions. We could not find anyone who thought that piece worked the way it had been, but I'd already decided it was a stumbling hazard we didn't want around so much art. We moved it where it is hoping to lessen the danger, but it was just as dangerous there, and by then every other wall was nearly perfect.

I also removed another entire late arrival that had been bugging me, although I love the other piece by that same artist. I used to have permission to edit poetry (a careful craft) by a couple Dallas poets, and I never edit art without serious consideration and conversation with disinterested parties. But I'm in charge, and sometimes have to act like it.

When Matt Kaplinsky brought his art today, he was generous enough to do a full, both-galleries, walk-around verbal critique, during which Susan and I were surprised at many of the works he especially liked. We looked at each other with big smiles at a couple of his selections. He definitely liked many of the stranger pieces I had vague qualms about — and one not-inexpensive one seriously enough to consider adding it to his collection.

Matt talked about that one for several minutes. Susan and I liked it before that, but it's always fascinating to hear someone willing to openly express aesthetic opinions off the top of his head. One of the reasons I like Matt so much is the direct, multi-layered opinions he's often happy to share.

Next step is to convert the logos for both shows from Photoshop into vector graphics, so Enrique can reproduce them in vinyl and adhere to the wall(s) outside each show. Sounds easy, but has been a challenge so far. I don't think I've ever tried this before. Anna and I are struggling with it, but we're both tired. Maybe tomorrow.

They said it snowed today. I completely missed it.blue dot = end of story

Artists in the DallasArtsRevue 30th Anniversary Member Show

The Contact Us page always has our latest email address, which could change. Rather than the usual, very arbitrary alphabetical lists, this list is arranged in the order that members agreed to be in the show, and the invitation reflects that order, though it doesn't follow it precisely.

James Michael Starr
Joan Iverso
Susan Lecky
Lynn Rushton
Anna Palmer

Rebecca Boatman
Nancy Ferro
Jeanne Sturdevant
Kathy Robinson Hays
Peggy Epner
Shafaq Ahmad
David Hickman
Elisabeth Schalij
Kathy Boortz
J R Compton
Michael Helsem
Rita Barnard
George Bailey
Matt Kaplinsky

T J Mabrey

Donna Ball
Elaine Merritt
Cecilia Thurman
Marty Ray
Cecelia Feld
Richard Ray
Tiana Wages
Pavlina Panova
Lorrie McClanahan
Jerry Dodd
Chris Bergquist Fulmer
Carroll Swenson-Roberts
Ray-Mel Cornelius
Jeanne McIntosh
Bob Nunn
Fannie Brito

Norman Kary

Use these links to see art by members in this show. To see work by other member artists, visit the Index of Supporting Members pages.

Back-room Invitational Artists

Laura Abrams
Terry Hays
Gisela-Heidi Strunck
Charlotte Smith

Eliseo Garcia
Diana Chase
Simeen Ishaque
Peter Ligon


Close-up of Simeen Ishaque's work - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Close-up Detail of Simeen Ishaque's Work in the Back-room
Invitational on a yellow wall with yellow shadows

Tuesday 09 12 1   This page was getting mean-spirited with the code gone astray, so I split it into smaller files. This is Part Two. Part One is back there. That one's still acting like it's got a brain cyst, but this page is gentle now:

Today at the Bath House was amazing.

We never thought we could have got as far as we did, but we did did, and we were wore out when we left the gallery about 5 p.m., having hung the hall, two sides of the big gallery and pretty much figured out where everything went in the Back-room Invitational, though there'll still be some scooting around in all three spaces.

Meanwhile, there seems to be some confusion about that back-room. I never expected anyone else would expect it to be all sculpture, but now I think I may should have invited at least one more 2-D artist who deals head-on with space, so Peter Ligon's work wouldn't seem so different from the others there.

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

Flower Delivery — Laura Abrams delivers her other piece 

My concept was that the invitational would show artists who are exploring the third dimension in new and interesting ways. That's what the P R says. Certainly not limited to sculptors. Photographers do that, drawers, painters, etchers, print-makers, all kinds of artists do. Pretty much we all do, one way or another. But I wanted to concentrate on artists in whose work that elusive third dimension plays a major part.

And I always saw Peter Ligon's drawings in there. Still do. Everybody whose work is back there deals with the third dimension in interesting, sometimes new, sometimes interestingly traditional ways. But all that is secondary to the quality of their work. When I see their work, I am amazed.

Perhaps because I am a photographer, I have long felt a kinship with spatial understanding. I've used those words to describe what I sometimes try to say in photographs. Stuff that some other photographers and aware artists sometimes see, but not necessarily a lot of others. There's a lot of that in that back-room.

I hope we can arrange it to amplify those subtle undercurrents about the illusions in that art, while simultaneously diminishing any confusion about the form that works take.blue dot = end of story


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

David Hickman (right) and Scott Shubin (left) running the
circle up the ramp to install David's piece in the main gallery

The big circle portion of David Hickman's Ring Tower III weighs 350 pounds, so it's hardly surprising that once they got it up and rolling, they did not want it to stop being vertical. The trick was to keep it on track across the rug without leaving deep scars, then turn it just so, so it could be coaxed up the inclined plane board, into place under the pivot — that's not in place in this shot yet — where it will hang and slowly swing.

Once all that was in place, and the several pieces put together in that quick but intense art performance/dance, it was installed. David's piece is the heaviest piece in the show, but one of Susan Lecky's paintings is dimensionally larger (though not as thick), and because of its also multiple pieces and intricate interfitting, it actually took her and Enrique longer to put them in place.

Struggling with Artist's Instructions - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Struggling with Artist's Instructions are Anna Palmer and Peggy Epner
and in the background, Terry Hays hangs a painting.

Enrique and, of course, Susan are experienced in hanging her work, and so those who did it best, did it today. Other artists' instructions can seem obvious to them when they plan it out, but such precision may sometimes baffle those of us who are trying to put those objects into a show.

This and one other set of interfitting objects forming, more or less, a unified piece, made for serious consternation today. In this case, telephone calls to the rescue. After too-long a struggle with an another piece, where the artist specified the exact fractions of an inch distances between pieces that we could not get to hang that way, we simply ignored the precision of mechanics and went with the practicality of the plenty-good-enough.

Artists who have never involved themselves in the intricate sequence of installing a show may be amazed how poorly their carefully prepared instructions communicate the realities of interfacing art to wall.

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

Terry Hays and Susan Lecky hang art by Kathy Robinson-Hays

After all that fuss I pitched about wiring every flat work, we got one piece that had some sort of stringy wire stapled (yes, stapled!) to the back of a painting. The sort of staple one would staple paper, not the sort of staple one would staple shingles or wire to wood with.

Apparently I was wrong (again) to profusely warn about such things, and we failed to screen each piece at delivery, so only discovered this less-than application later. So I got a volunteer to put it on right, and she did, probably quicker and easier than the original combobulation.

One thing I absolutely love about hanging an art show — and have need to discuss right here — is being in charge. DallasArtsRevue has had many helpers along its way to having a 30.5th Anniversary exhibition, but mostly it's us in our ones and twos of us doing anything. James Michael Starr, for one instance, has written a story I've been way too busy these last few days to pour onto a page and promote and publish.

That's one guy doing one story, and it's much appreciated, so I want to wait a few more days to do it right.

De- and Re-wiring - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

De- and Re-wiring Art

But getting to be the one in charge of this art show has reminded me of my glory days 37 years ago, when I was the editor/publisher of Underground newspapers Dallas NOTES and Hooka. Like then, there were lots of people helping today. Like then, it was up to me to keep them all busy at that task as well as individually creative, while not shirking work I could do to help, too.

Much of putting an art show together is a matter of personal taste. Five different people would do five different portions of this overall task uniquely. We each of us with experience in these things and spatial understandings of how it should look, will do whatever task arises in our unique way.

I hope that being the final arbiter makes these shows close to what I hoped they would be when I began envisioning them after Enrique offered us this opportunity. I only utterly decide stuff when it needs an ultimate decision. I keep the responsibility but prefer to spread the work and the many individual judgments around.

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

Simeen Ishaque and Terry Hays in the Back-room

I love to give someone I know can do it, the middle responsibility to do what I'm pretty sure they can do. I knew Susan and I would be busy with the hall and main galleries, so I asked Terry Hays to mostly run the Back-room where his work stands (behind him in this shot, but he later moved it to better exhibit it and other work back there).

On those occasions when he hesitated or questioned, I took it and either ran with it or spread it among eager or curious volunteers. Keeping everybody busy can be a chore or it can be great fun. When it's a pain, volunteers tend to un-volunteer. Today, when something needed doing, there was always someone there to do it.

From rewiring a lousy wire job; to driving off to buy us more The Museum Putty to secure paintings otherwise dangling on the walls; to hanging whole long lines of art; to following or chucking the usual rules, I was extraordinarily lucky today to have people who would, could and wanted to do what we had to do. Superb synergy.

And I stayed busy, too. It was gangbusters fun. Hope you'll be there to help us Wednesday.blue dot = end of story


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

Matching Outfits — Susan Lecky and Anna Palmer
on the Bath House's front porch

Tuesday 09 12 1   Made it somehow through traffic to my porch. Raining outside but I don't remember the porch slick. I must have walked to my front door, unlocked, and got inside, might even have collected today's mail of nothing much. Made it to the bedroom, thought about nap and leaned into my down comforter. Sifted those other feelings jangling as back pain, and ... I dreamt vaguely wondering where my pain pills were, my bright bedroom light staring at me.

I awoke an hour and a half later, light still blazing, shoes still on, warm in three layers of shirt, camera and mp3 paraphernalia. . I wandered into the office, lit the gas stove, pet Yo twice for about eight minutes of purr and took my night pills.

Still zomboid, I trickled hot hot water into the tub, remembered to turn it off before the tub was full, typed this, made one phone call and three emails to yet invisible artists, chunked this page's hit counter once to check that the new picture worked and saw I was hit number 2001 and feel forward to settling long and deep and hot into that hot hot tub.

I will add pictures from today's rewarding flurry later, all warm in the rosy glow of We're At Least Half Done with Hanging.

Thanks again to Susan Lecky, Anna Palmer, Terry Hays, Peggy Epner, Glenn Comtois, Simeen Ishaque, David Hickman and Scott Shubin, Laura Abrams, Diana Chase, Rita Barnard, T J and Steve Mabrey, Carroll Swenson-Roberts, Kathy Robinson-Hays, Richard Ray and George Bailey, who all helped one way or another.blue dot = end of story

Big Black Furry Thing - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Big Black Furry Thing

Monday 09 11 30   Took a little vacation yester. Worked today at the gallery but got off early, so I managed a quick trip to the lake, so I'll work up some bird pix for the journal later, after I finish this and watching Castle. Even took time to buy groceries. I keep hearing from artists who can't possibly make it tomorrow when we hang the show. Maybe the next day. Or the week after ... And I got a nice note from the artist whose busy travel plans our delivery and pick-up schedule cut into.

I found the big, black furry caterpillar stuck to the toe of my shoe after ... I'm not sure after what, exactly. But there it was. Tenacious little varmint. Hard to make it let go. I put it in a jar (this jar) and photographed it. Then I let it go under my kitchen sink. It's cold out there.

The metaphor — if there is one — is my mind, my expectations, my hopes, etc. for this show. A dark void, just now, but escape into freedom and ever hope. Or something like that. I just like putting my pretty little fuzzy friend on the top of this blog.

JMS Wheeling the Spider - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

James Michael Starr wheeling in the spider [below]

Saturday 09 11 28   Delivery was buoying. Lots of nice people. A pretty good supply of art in both shows. Only eight more artists need to deliver Tuesday morning, so it was busy, fun, social, interesting, exciting, nice. Took way too many pictures, except now I have plenty photos of the art, so I can commune with that instead of actual rooms of it.  

James Michael Starr [above] was the first to sign-up for the show, and the first to deliver work there during official delivery time tonight. Took us a little while to find the release tab on the cart, but once we got the wheels on the ground, bringing it in from his vehicle was quick and easy. Are we rolling?

3-D Artists of the Year Installing - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.  

Two "Texas 3-D Artists of the Year" install Eliseo's mystery piece

Can't show you the piece, because I promised Eliseo, who is this year's "Texas 3-D Artist of the Year," that I would not. I've photoshop obscured it here; that's not really what it looks like. Helping him install — it all took less than 20 minutes once they found the ladder — are "2004 Texas 3-D Artist of the Year" David Hickman and his wife Linda.

Laura Abrams wrangling heavy flower - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Laura Abrams wrangling one of her heavy metal flowers

If she can wrest the other one from its current holder, there'll be a pair of these extremely heavy, white (except in daylight, everything photographed in that back room looks yellowish. flowers in the back-room during the Back-room Invitational.

Fannie Brito with this-week new art - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Fannie Brito with this-week new art and half an armful of little ones

Unfortunately, I chose the other big one she brought. My bad.

More I look at this, the more I like it. Better? I don't know. I really liked the other one. And this one wasn't wired. But it's good, very good, strong and with several obvious (now) hints of new directions. Bad choice; I took four little ones that supposedly counted as one, maybe in size, but not any other way.

I needed longer than a few seconds to decide. Why I prefer to get jpegs in emails, so I can mull awhile, then decide. Or else I make bad decisions. My fault, again. Sometimes I need an instant replay. Sometimes I need to take better pictures. Would have been nice to include the top of an artist's head.

After working it out here, I emailed her asking if I could trade the four little ones (Where was my mind?) for that one new big one. I'll even go fetch it. The stupidity of the short-distance curator ...

Turns out, she painted it just for me. Well, for this show. Just this last week. I love showing new work, think probably everybody should usually. My own were done the day before the day before yesterday, and I almost used one I shot the day before that.

Two emails, one phone call, and one Facebook message (dint know which'd get to her first) later, she agreed, and I picked it up at her studio in the Continental Gin today, now all I gotta do is get out my wiring kit and twist me some eye-screws. On Fb, I noted that it "Would have been nice to include the top of an artist's head," which she said was "very symbolic of my current state of mind! Absent minded! Gracias, J R." Mine, too.

Enrique and his amazing cart - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Enrique and his amazing show-hanging cart

I was fondling that cart with my eyes tonight. Kept trying to photograph its rich detail and wide range of tools and supplies. Despite this less-than shot of Enrique (That's him, but it's not really.), it needs him to be complete. Enrique saw somebody throw it in the dumpster in the parking lot a little up the hill, and he rescued it, fixed it up and filled it. Probably several lessons in just looking at it and its contents.

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

Keeping Track

Anna used one of the invitations to keep track of who brought their work that first night. Thanks to her, even several artists who would deliver Tuesday morning showed up to do their paperwork, although three other artists showed up before we got there, insisting their emails said 9 to five, not five to nine. Not.

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

Ray-Mel explaining

Ray-Mel Cornelius talking about art, I think. Or maybe the cross of realism and imagination involved in this piece. Real chicken, some license taken with the colors, and the background's largely fantasy.

Close-up of Chuck's work - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One of Chuck's pieces in extreme close-up

I guess one could say many of those same things about this piece of Charlotte Smith's, to be installed in the back-room, though most people won't get this close. For more info on what these are, see my studio visit with her for the Fierce show (much better show name, that), complete with the close-up basting technique she uses to build up these little protrusions.

Jerry Daniels with Yardstick - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Jerry Dodd with yardstick to measure his work for paperwork

Was the first time I'd met several Supporting Members, including this other (Ray-Mel's new, too, but not as new as Cecelia Feld, whom I also met.) very recent addition to our merry band. Others arrived, did their business, and split before I even knew there were there. I was busy socializing with other members, a high-point for this gathering.

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

Dog-bit hands

Charlotte Smith tried to rescue her dog from a visiting pit-bull by prying the sudden aggressor's teeth out of her pet, and got bit through a finger and other damage for her trouble. Shudder.blue dot = end of story

Saturday 09 11 28    Despite all my railing against the turkeys who just can't get it together to deliver their art on time, even more gobblers have since said they can't make it at the appointed times. One yesterday, who got their name on the invitation, said our delivery and pickup dates and time — and the infinitude of options in that regard — interfered with her travel plans, so she was dropping out.

Once again that artist said she'd be in next year's show. As if. Nope, this is too much work with entirely too much consternation to do every year. I'm tired, and I am especially tired of dealing with people who make promises they do not keep.

Today, three artists, one not on the list or the invitation and two on both from near the beginning, emailed to say they couldn't make the delivery. The one not on the list or invitation has the flu, and I was excited about his showing. The others, well, they are the others, and always will be.

Jeanne Sturdevant and I are working on a digital exhibition that will never see a physical wall or gallery or deadline, really, although it will be over after a year, and we'll take the submissions when they get there. The show will be open all day every day for that year. No opening reception, no delivery and pickup dates everybody will have excuses not to attend.

Oh, what a relief that will be. As Anna says, "plop, plop, fizz, fizz." A competitive exhibiton in which promises will play no part. Only simple deeds. Like emailing jpegs and sending a small fee.

WARNING: I am no longer interested in entertaining excuses. Anna has more tact than I have, so contact her with your puny pretexts or lame justifications. Her email is on every mass email I've sent out, and it's on her member page.

We'll take whatever art is actually delivered and make a show with it. It will be a fine show. You will wish you'd got it together to be in it.blue dot = end of story

Laura's Manta Ray in the Corner of the Sunroom - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Laura's major Manta in the corner of their new sunroom

Still Friday 09 11 27    I have just did what I suspect was the last studio visit for this show, whose delivery day is tomorrow. It was with the first artist I invited for the Back-room Invitational, sculptor Laura Abrams, and on it I got to see every piece she had available, which is just what I'd wanted.

One piece Anna and I both loved was clearly too large to fit though the single door into that back gallery. Two other works I gradually chose, however, will very likely fit through that door easily, and two others I am sure will. Plus they have not previously been seen outside Laura's studio. That's one of the criteria for work selected for the invitational. Another big plus is that they objectify what I know and most appreciate in her work.

I consider Laura Abrams a shapist, if that's a word. An artist whose work is exemplified by her use of simple and simplified forms. Work whose major quality is their visible structure. That may well give rise to other thoughts, but its the shape that counts. Except for aesthetics and wonderment, there's no purpose for these idealized objects.

While visiting we got an exclusive flashlight tour of her and Brad Abram's extensive studio, show and living areas at the Abrams ranch and animated conversational romps through many of their ideas, challenges and projects, past, present and future.

All that and a great pumpkin cheese ball, garlic dip and pie. Yum.blue dot = end of story

Brad & Laura's Work in a Showspace - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

One of the pieces for the Invitational is in this wide angle view
of Laura's metal and Brad's glass in their back gallery-in-progress

Friday 09 11 27    Some turkey, some friends, some magnificent cheesecake pie, some cuddling with a big brown goose with goose down softness and hair-raising honking, some sleep, some birds soon, a 40-minute swim, some more sleep, growing wonderment what the morrow brings — almost like Christmas, some cat-petting times — where'd ya go, Yo? Some breakfast — blueberry pancakes sounds great, but I'll settle for a quick spinach omelet.

Some framing three matted prints — then decide which two go, some wonder whether they're good enough but to be delivered on time anyway. The usual confusion, more art friends tonight. 'S gonna be all right I know it in my bones as the Darkness lifts.

The need to get as many pieces as possible on Saturday is about finding the right space for each individual piece and all the pieces together. A little early missile warning. Our hanging schedule is severely restricted by the Bath House's financial peril. We'll take some serious back-burner thinking to let those subtle multi-interrelated spatial considerations stir and shake some before we learn where each piece goes and others around it.

It's a big show, and we'll start spotting quickly Tuesday morning, with volunteers buffering us from the late arrivals and those deadline smudgers' desperate needs for back-pats and atta-girls and boys. Oh, we'll get their art soon enough, but we won't have time nor patience for a last-minute social hour for art-stars unapparent.

This show should and will be a wild and wooly thing with at least 78 pieces just in the member show winding through the main salon and Hall, with somewhere more than a dozen others in the backroom.

That room will be its own kind of confusion, because its hard concrete walls are more difficult to hang art on, and I don't even know what color it'll be. Last I saw it, it was yellow and white, which is adequate, a little mellow. Wish I knew the colors of the art in there.

So it'll be ongoing discovery right up until it's lit, some night late next week, since the right light has to be when there's no other light coming in various windows, light sources and skylights that make day-photographing art there such a color nightmare when blue daylight mixes with subtle but sneaky green fluorescents and red-brown tungsten art lights.

Getting all that wild mix of color in various places around all three galleries down to just the tungstens is the only way we'll see it clearly enough to light everything just right for dark, then let all the other conditions of intervening morning, noon and evening light mix as they will. A highest common denominator.blue dot = end of story

Richard Ray - The CatFish that Swallowed Me

Richard Ray   The Catfish that Swallowed Me   clay and paint  9 x 12 inches 
Photograph by Richard Ray, whose paintings are concurrently
in the White Rock Museum also in the Bath House, so he's done sculpture for us.

Here's another of the really amazing pieces in this show. Amazing partially because it is not Richard's usual medium. He's generally considered a painter, although he has collaborated with Marty Ray by painting some of her pots. He's showing sculpture in this show, because hist concurrent painting show in the White Rock Museum across the hall pretty much covers his paintings and usual subject matter.

So then comes this three dee surprise. Simultaneously glitzy and folkish, yet beautifully and humorously presented. I picked it up to move it delivery night, and my hand naturally found that big tongue for handle, and I almost expected it to be wet.

Still Wednesday    On a positive note, I've just gone down this whole huge page, making uniform the spacing above and below pieces of members' art and seen all those notes that images were provided by the artists. I've been through the long process, written a major, popular How to Photograph Art story and badgered and cajoled for nearly a decade, urging artists to photograph their work and learn the up and down-loads of this medium.

At last it seems to be working. Artists may yet not have figured out to put their own names or the titles of their work in their image file's names, and many are still inclined to include commas, question marks, # signs, quotation marks and space bars that I must always surgically remove each by each, because my end of the internet won't show pictures with those in them. But there's a subtle, incremental blossoming here. A whiff of progress.blue dot = end of story

Still Wednesday
It's still Wednesday, only calling it Procrastination Day seems more apt. I finished my prints, so I could talk down about all those who are still struggling for a time clue. In fact, once I started printing, I got into the rhythm and flow and perverse logic of it and made a half dozen. Might still be making them, except I ran out of wake. Needing sleep, I took it when I had the urge. It might come in handy next week.

They're coming out of the woodwork. One member whose work I'd very much like to have in the show said they guessed they were too late in their reply" to my invitational letter some months back, could they still be in the show? Yes, but it's too late to be on the invitation. Okay with them. Okay with me. Too bad for all of us.

Next came a raft of who just couldn't get it together to deliver Saturday afternoon, even though they've known about it for months. They join at least half a dozen who won't be delivering on delivery day. Owing to the idiocy of having a delivery day 61 hours before we can even think about starting to hang this show (and during which delay we are prohibited from even visiting the art), several artists have cajoled Enrique or me to allow them to dally their deliveries till next Tuesday, when we had hoped to begin the complex process of hanging us some art, not screw with the procrastinators.

Some did not even tell me, hoping Enrique would remember. I should remind us, that our Bath House Benefactor is working two, maybe three jobs these days, and that busy-ness seriously impacts his response time. He already tracks an amazing array of data. Pu-lease as to be telling me about your issues with our timeline and other contractictions. Directly.  

They all promise to be there bright and early Tuesday morning, but I doubt. I am a procrastinator from way back, and if we can inveigle an inch, we'll steal a star system. I fear that art will be dribbling in all day, and each time a new bunch of it arrives ta-daaahing, we'll have to stop what we're doing to entertain their tardy needs.

If you've followed me through this curious literary form for other shows in other years, you can probably guess their names. ...

I would dearly love to visit the Bath House over that closed-for-budget-reasons weekend to commune with the art that is delivered on Art Delivery Day. Begin the unpuzzling. Acquire the beginnings of those subtle visual notions and nuances that cannot be put into words. Those optical and visual understandings. Just something I always do. That always has so helped hang a show. Nope. No can do.

So we have to accelerate Tuesday morning to full racing speed.

The three-day delay between getting and hanging was no doing of mine. I bows and I scrapes, joyed at the opportunity to ply this craft for all of us every one, this one more/last time.

So after the great long lag Sunday and Monday, our beginning at too long last next Tuesday mornin' will be often and repeatedly interrupted (that chaos Susan and I hoped to avoid.) will not be clean nor prompt. We will, all of us, have to struggle to get through and beyond. My procrastina-phobia has already kicked in bigtime.

Some fool notion danced earlier in my head like sugarplums that if I wrote frankly and directly about the last year's yet unidicted conspirators, the condition would not repeat itself this. Ha! Humans plan. God laughs.

I Googled "fear of procrastination" and got "Overcoming Doubt, Fear and Procrastination" and "It's Not Procrastination, I's Fear of Rejection."

Yup, and the longer they wait, the more we suffer. Don't hardly seem fair.blue dot = end of story

Anna Palmer - Sunset Orbs

Anna Palmer   Sunset Orbs   digital photograph   provided by the artist

Wednesday 09 11 25    Still wrangling the last few pieces for the invitational. I want vs. they want, usually meeting somewhere near the middle. Really want this show to be what I envision it but need the artists happy and excited to show what they need to show.

No telling what the member show's going to be like. That portion of the challenge's is wide open, and Saturday's delivery is sure to bring startlements and consternation.

Had a good chat with fellow show hanger Susan Lecky this evening. We agreed on everything, as we'd pretty much have to. She didn't want it to be chaos when we [she said spot what I call place] the show next Tuesday morning. Figure out where everything goes. The big pieces first, so when they arrive, we know exactly where.

And we want help, but it's not a competition and can't be a melee. It will be in control and a learning experience for who haven't done this yet — and those that have. Many of the names on that list know their way around producing an exhibition.

Should be a fascinating experience, with lots of ideas flowing. A remarkable synergy. I, of course, love being in charge. Like to decide things quickly and with arbitrary certainty when I can't figure any other way. Even if I'm willing to 180 after that first harrumph.

Susan and I did the last winter show, and we work together as well as I marveled that Art Shirer and Norman Kary did at the Big As Night show on Tyler Street in 2005. What we may lack in techno understanding, Enrique will know for certain.

Working a show with people who are equally, yet differently, visually oriented is one of those sweet journeys that don't happen near often enough. Or maybe exactly often enough.

Anna's running Saturday's delivery. She pays attention to all those details I usually don't care about then but that might grow into pain later. I could only be more excited about Saturday if I'd finished my other print already. But hey, the deadline's still four days off.blue dot = end of story

Elisabeth Schalij - Pre-historic Fairy Tale Figures

Elisabeth Schalij   Pre-Historic Fairytale Figures   2009
lithograph with color pencil   18 x 12 inches   provided by the artist

Here's another surprise, not that it's so good, but that it's so fascinating and fun. Furry forest fauna in a frieze of fantasy creatures not unlike the fine, textured bark on an aging, mossy tree. An odd, Old World delight. Simple, direct, yet subtle and sweet.

Tuesday 09 11 24    I spent most of the night last, writing this letter to exhibitors:

Hello DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members and artists in the Back-door Invitational:

Just a few more days now.

Art delivery is 5 - 9 p.m. this Saturday, November 28 at the Bath House Cultural Center. There's a map and driving instructions linked to their page at


We'll be there Saturday to take your pieces and info — including titles, year dates, mediums, sizes, prices (if your work is for sale), so each piece can be directly identified. There will be a price list in the shows' notebook, but each piece will be identified on the wall close to it, so it's obvious who did what.

Please gently tape your name and title to the front of each piece, so we can correctly label everything without taking work off the walls.

hooba hooba

Shafaq Ahmad   Ya Zahir Ya Batin   2009   oil on canvas   48 x 60 inches   provided by the artist

We also ask for $5 each from exhibiting members to pay for the invitations, which we should have plenty of. Artists in both shows should take as many as they actually expect to use for mailing lists and handing out. Last time, the Bath House paid for them. This time, thanks to the economy, we do.

To mail invitations, affix at least a 28-cent postcard-rate stamp directly on top of the Bath House's nonprofit indicia in the upper right corner of the card, so the U.S. Postal Service doesn't get confused. You can use a 44-cent First-Class stamp if you want, but any combination of stamps adding to just 28 cents postage is all it takes.

Lean your work against the wall somewhere in the main gallery or the hallway (members) or the back room (Invitational artists). Please clearly identify your packing materials, so you can get them back when you pick up your art.

If you can't fit our schedule, let J R know, but make arrangements with Bath House Visual Arts Coordinator Enrique Fernandez. (He's working two jobs, so he is very busy. Don't expect instant response.)

Delivery day would also be a good time to bring your plastic pages of resumes or artists' statements for the 3-ring notebook that will be on the sign-in table at the entrance to the main gallery during the shows' run. Do not attach business cards or other promo junk to your artworks.

We'll begin hanging the shows at 10 a.m., Tuesday December 1 — and we'll continue till it's all up, though we probably won't work very late each night. It's likely we'll light the show after dark that Thursday or Friday. We'd be happy for your help any time that week.

The opening is 7-9 Saturday, December 5. DallasArtsRevue Supporting Members are urged to bring food or drink (no alcoholic beverages) for the reception. Of course, you are all welcome and bring your friends. You can even wear one of the name tags that will be spread out on a table in the hall, so people can easily find artists they want to talk with.

A second reception will be held for our informal Art Conversation 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday, January 9, 2010. Our Winter Show last year had one, and it was fun and well attended. If you don't bring food for the opening, bring snacks to the Art Conversation.

Don't worry. No one else will have to prepare remarks. The only one who'll be doing any public speaking that night will be me, and I promise to get it over soon as I can. But I do want to introduce all the artists present, so people attending will know who did what. Then I'll urge everybody there to talk with each other, and they will.

The Show continues through 4 p.m., Saturday, January 30, with the official pick-up times from 5-8 pm that night.

If you have questions about anything to do with these shows, reply to this email soon as possible, and I'll respond as quickly as I can.

Thank you all for being in these shows marking DallasArtsRevue's 30th Anniversary, and I hope to see — and meet — you all at delivery, the opening and The Conversation.

Meanwhile, everything else you'd ever want to know about these shows is posted and updated almost every day on the very popular Shows Blog online at



; j rblue dot = end of story

And I only misspelled one word... but I used Mac dashes (—) instead of double hyphens (I am a Mac, so I still don't know if PC ever fixed that) ... and I didn't send to invitational artists (in a corrected version) till the next morning, after I'd had some sleep.


Monday 09 11 23    My current state of mind can best be expressed in the nine syllables (or ten) of two words that seem to go together well: curatorial paranoia. I've only just this morning finally heard from the one invited artist in the Back-room Invitational I'd developed major fear about.

I met them out in the world somewhere, asked them to be in the show, then did not follow through with information. Now, that artist is asking basic questions like When is the show going to be? That's scary. And very likely my own fault, since I didn't track them down sooner.

I've heard from every DallasArtsRevue Supporting Member, so that show will have plenty of art. No doubt. I have heard from most of the invited Back-room artists. But not all. That's still frightening at this late date. But it can and will be handled.

Later tonight I will send an email to every artist who's agreed to show in either show. It will detail the basic calendar information that's been riding on the top of this page almost since there was a this page. It's still there.

Delivery date for all artists — except those who have made special arrangements with Enrique at the Bath House — is this Saturday.

Just this morning I thought of another artist who probably would have accepted the invitation for the Back-room Invitational, whose work would have been spectacular for and in that show. But I'm only now thinking of them, and it's a tad late.

Two other artists I wanted in these shows are so angry with me — not exactly sure why, but it's a common enough occurrence that I never fully understand and have long since stopped trying (though I continue worrying about it. When I'm good at something. I keep at it.) to coax them back in — I have not and probably will not hear from.

Many are the it might have beens and if-onlys.

After 5-9 pm this Saturday, I'll have slightly fewer worries. But the little ones left over will grow ever larger over that weekend (Sunday & Monday) when we cannot (because of City budget constraints) do anything about hanging the show that opens that very next Saturday, except dream (or nightmare) about it, till at last, the crowd of us (mostly women, but then this membership is mostly, anyway) make this show happen with what we have to work with then, although several artists have contrived to deliver their work early or late.

My own preparations to show my own work in this show are continuing apace. I will probably be ready, despite numerous, sudden 180-degree turns along my way, with my two prints. One's all but framed, and I have the mat and frame ready for that one, maybe for both if I can find a more squarish shape I can live with — and digital 'exposure' — that's acceptable. In the end, I'm turning primly Conservative in my presentation. But that will be good. Or at least it will be adequate, and largely unnoticed.

Don't know about the rest of these conundra. May never.blue dot = end of story


Jeanne McIntosh   Take What You Like and Leave the Rest   36 x 48 inches
  image provided by the artist

Saturday late evening 09 11 21    Someone emailed me this evening complaining that their name is not on the list of members in the show and not on the invitation. A nervous sense of dread exploded, I started sweating, and I replied almost immediately that "it's probably my fault." Whose else?

I ran the usual tape about me "trying to keep up with some forty members. I am a terrible bureaucrat, which is why I attempt to keep the list on an important page in plain sight of everybody."

Then I remembered the phrase I deleted from under that list just yesterday — because it was no longer pertinent or operable — that "if your name is not on this list (the list I copied to put names on the invitation) you should contact me immediately." It had been in place for at least the last month.

Then I looked at the list, then at the invitation. Guess whose name I found on both?

The issue may be a matter of spelling, in which I would fall back on that sentence I deleted yesterday. Nope. They looked right at both lists and did not see their own name. Sometimes it's difficult to stay ahead of everybody in the class. Really frightened me there for a few speedy minutes.

Breathing easier now.blue dot = end of story

Representative of Gisela Heidi Strunck's Recent Work - Photograph Copyright 2009 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Gisela-Heidi Strunck   Piece representative of recent work,  2009
Not necessarily one of the works in the Back-room Invitational
Harrison Evans image provided by the artist

Friday 09 11 20    Birding much earlier today in the rain and gray actually netted several interesting wet birds. Got an email from a member whose name was not on the Members Curatorial Status list [below] that they were "bowing out," even though they'd never officially bowed in, but they would help organize, prep and hang. So, so far, everybody who's on that list — and the invitation now at the printer — is in the show. That hasn't always happened, but it's so nice to keep the invite honest. It would, however, have been a more interesting show with that member's work. I was looking forward to seeing what they'd come up with. Would love to check in on it later.

Got the last other (than me) member's work in the email today. Two quite different pieces by ceramist Joan Iverson, one of which I'll show here Sunday. (I've been keeping work on top of this page two days each. I think I have enough to keep doing that for awhile.)

The other you'll have to come to the shows to see. I am attempting not to show everything before. Wish I was certain we'd have room for three pieces by each artist, so I could show one, and keep the other two back till you've had ample opportunity to see the whole show.

Maybe by the end of the show — it'll be up December 5 through January 30, a total of eight weeks or 56 days — I'll have posted many more shots of work in it. That's a long time. I've written about a few pieces already. I'll gradually get around to writing about art by most of the artists in both shows.

I don't believe objectivity ever exists, and I know it doesn't exist in my writing, so I don't let all that hooey get in my way. Still there is a need for fairness and intelligence. Sometimes it takes me awhile to either warm to a piece of art that I chose in a few seconds from a attached jpeg. Often it takes days, weeks or longer to figure what some object, painting, collage, drawing, whatever, is about.

Meaning this page will go on and on.blue dot = end of story

Diana Chase - Crimson Tide prelim (detail)

Diana Chase   Crimson Tide   fused glass wall hanging
image provided by the artist

Thursday 09 11 19    Heard from two of the Invitational Show's Invited artists today. Gisela-Heidi Strunck and Diana Chase. Heidi had completed several pieces and had a friend email them, and Diana had finished one piece and planned to fire the second part this weekend.

Because I was unable to determine titles from the JPEGs — and because I couldn't decide which ones I liked best — I liked them all, I left it to Heidi to decide which pieces would be in the show. This or one very similar could well be in the show. I'm looking forward to seeing and feeling it.

Three more invitational artists to hear from, and I can stop worrying — about that show. And my email in box has swelled to 136 messages, not counting very many for these shows but that these shows have took up the time I'd usually spend sifting through all those.

I loves doing these shows, then I doesn't loves it for awhile, then I loves it again.

Planning ahead to do a show sometime in the future is futile, because I don't have a gallery, and them that do are not always fascinated by the notion of showing our work. But I know that if someone else some future time else offers the opportunity, I'd probably run with it.

Even though I know better.

Or I should. Actually, Jeanne Sturdevant and I are working on a little different sort of show idea for soon after this one. I've already got a really great logo. Reality can't be far behind.blue dot = end of story

Thursday ayem 11 19 09    Had two dreams about doing art shows last night. First one was our show at the Bath House. The lighting — in the dream and in the gallery was fabulous, and so was the art in it. All of it. All those invitational pieces I worry about because I've not seen them, were wonderful, amazing, thought-provoking, scintillating. I wish I could remember what they looked like.

The second dream was a nightmare. Only it wasn't our show. It was a show I was producing in some small town at the turn of the 20th (not the 21st) Century, and it was rifled through with small-town politics and colorful but recalcitrant people, some of whom professed to be artists, without ever quite proving it. I don't remember the art in that one, either. But I that foreboding sense of dread lasted half the day.

Then I woke irrevocably up, desperately wanting more sleep. Anna and I went morning birding for a change and some something fairly rare, but we let it get away without either of us photographing it.

When I got home I discovered that this stupid Dreamweaver web-page-making program had inserted more than ten thousand spacebar spaces and several hundred <strong> instructions into the code to make everything bold (and now I see that it's setting type justified both left and right, which causes more problems) into this document, which slowed it slow as molasses, and I had to pick those out one at a time, and I still haven't got my precious sleep, and my fingers are sticky, although I eventually, on the third attempt got all the bolds out and defragmented most of the fragments of words hidden in paragraphs through this page.

That wasted several hours and tons of patience I'd rather have spent on sleeping — or swimming — on stomping all that idiocy out.

I must have sinned mightily in a former lifetime. PCers dream of life without Microsoft. I dream of life without Adobe.

Arghhhhh!.blue dot = end of story

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

David Hickman Measuring Ring Tower III at 72-inches high — big sculpture!

Tuesday p.m. 09 11 17     Delighted to hear from sculptors today. When I say "hear from," I mean via initially or entirely email, as has been the vast majority of my communications for these shows.

The first was somebody I thought I hadn't invited to the invitational but probably should have. She's good, and her work is always interesting. She's the first invitee to acknowledge my invitation without accepting it. A little late but charmingly acceptable for all that. The only invitee to tell me, no thank-you, directly. A very acceptable declination. Everybody else who opted out did not bother to tell me. I never heard back.

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

David Discusses Ring Tower III with his Helper Scott Shubin

Today's second sculptor was David Hickman, who had his piece close enough to finished to show. I sped over and loved it. I'd asked for big sculptures, and this one is seven feet tall and as wide as I can reach. I thought of Leonardo's drawing of The Proportions of the Human Figure (Vitruvian Man) as I stretched my hands up and around measuring its height and the big circle's circumference.

If I remember correctly, it's steel and weighs 750 pounds and can be moved, he said, very carefully by two people. Once delivered, it will take less than an hour to put together. When the show is over, it will join a similar sculpture in the Hickman's extended yard. Today's photographs show an unfinished piece. When all the pieces are together, he'll water it lightly and perhaps treat it with a little acid, so it grows its own natural covering of light rust.

It is and will be beautiful, and I can't wait to see it in situ in the big gallery at the Bath House. David did mention that he only wants to have to put it together one time, so we'll have to carefully place it. Part of it moves, so no one should put fingers or hands in the places where it comes together. But once set into motion, it will keep moving for a long time.


T.Stone is today's chronologically third sculptor. She submitted three images of exquisite smaller pieces, I happily chose two, and told her as much as I'd like to have those in the show, I'd like even better having a really big one. She emailed back asking if I'd give her till delivery day without requiring any further images to make one big. I quickly answered, "No, I don't have to have a photo, and yes, I happily give you right up to the delivery date to make something big. Sure."

So I'm really looking forward to seeing that. Her circles are amazing. Her large pieces are fabulous. Check the link above to see the work on her page.

The pieces she eventually delivered were small.blue dot = end of story

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

J R Compton   Zig Zag Rain   digital photograph   SD 780 IS

Tuesday ayem 11 17 09    Guess I ought to be thinking about what I'm going to put in this show, since my name is already on the card. What I usually do is go through the last few months of my Bird Journal and ThEdblog, since that's usually where I post my latest interesting bird and rest-of-my-life photographs. Though there's a few on my member page, also.

I don't hoard my good shots, I put them right on out there. I'd thought briefly about hanging a photo frame and letting a bunch of images flit by a couple seconds each. But I don't have a photo frame and probably can't afford a big-enough one, and wouldn't know what to do with it the rest of the time, although I could probably guess.

So I guess it's back to good old tree-killer prints on paper. I listed 19 images in a text file, now I'm trying to remember most of them. Some stay scintillating in my mind. Probably those should be the ones. But like the rest of us, I'm never sure.

Pretty counts for a lot. But interesting scoops that, and intriguing, that. Soon as I made the list, I scored them down to those that won 3 asterisks in my initial poll. So now I've got them down to [All these link to long, other pages, so make a new tab, and wait for it to load.] these.

Scrunch Down, Twist Around, Catch a Pile of Fishies - a Little Blue Heron, bent down, legs akimbo, turned around, zig-zag beaking for fish, looking altogether vulnerable and funny
Exchanging Attitudes - I don't know what these Forster's Terns are on about, but the exchange only lasted a few seconds, and I'm amazed I got them in any semblance of focus. These are not big nor slow birds.
Cathedral on Pacman Day - the downtown Catholic Cathedral disjunctively and distortedly reflected in a high-rise window. It may not make it into this show, but I'd love to show the cathedral blown all out of proportion, so it hardly looks like a church at all, just abstracted blocks and arabesques of color.

It's really too bad I can't just attach them off to the curator and net his usual rapid-fire yay or naying, without so much as a why. I like the top one and the one on the bottom. You can keep the rest.

I started with eight possibilities, and worked it down to five. Scratch that. I know which three I like enough to submit to the curator. Everybody gets two. I've just ordered new black and color cartridges and plan to print them the first couple times in the next few days. It usually takes several tries before I get it right.

I still love that Cathedral strangeness. But I'm going with birds, as I have done for most art events in the last several years. These two show birds at their more interesting, not human precisely, but something we all share. They give a view into their realities, show a little emotion. Their personality. Who they are and what they're up to. Were I a portraitist of humans — and of course I do that sometimes, I'd want the same qualities. It's more removed with birds, and more a challenge, but it's all the same thing.

*      *      *

Or so I thought. I struggled mightily attempting to print the bird shots and realized what I could do quickly and easily with small, low-res images for the web, I could not do, at all, in the same quality, with high-resolution images on my elderly "archival" printer that's limited to printing only up to 13 x 19 inches.

About then Anna pointed out that she really liked my shot of the Cathedral reflected in a downtown window. So I struggled very little to print that in its abstracted gloriodsky colored splendor. Then I figured it out the image file's name that it had been shot of my new, tiny, pocketable Canon SD780 camera that I keep raving about, and I thought, 'Wouldn't it be neat, to show two images taken on that splendid little camera?

When I realized my best other selection would probably be another window shot, this time out of, instead of reflected in, I got even more excited about using Zig Zag Rain. Still am. That both images employ an odd sort of realistic abstraction helps, too.

Choosing work for a show is part aesthetics, sure, but there must also be a large contingent of practicality. Beauty is pretty useless, if I can't make a decent print of it. blue dot = end of story

This Blog is continued from Part One and continues on Part 3.

Every artwork on this page is copyright 2009 or before by the originating artist. No reproduction or approximation of
these works may be created in any medium for any commercial or nonprofit use without specific written permission from the artist.