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Cultural Center December 5, 2009 through January 30 2010
Names linked in captions and text lead you to Supporting Members' pages of their art.
May 8 2010 Only now beginning to think about our next show somewhere — not that anybody with show space has invited us. That's usually how these things start. Someone suggests we use some of their gallery, cultural center or whatever space. Nobody's been so bold. Yet. And I don't mind waiting till they do.
But I've been thinking about the eventuality, and I'm hoping to do a smaller, more careful show. Fierce, I think, was our best, most successful show yet. That gallery's out of business, and it was too far away, but even though it didn't get a lot of press, it got the best press we've had since Tranquilla.
Fierce was an invitational, a mix of DARts Supporting Members and artists around Dallas whose latest work I wanted to see, all in one place. I'd like the next fierce-ish show to be in about half that many spaces — essentially, that gallery had five rooms of various sizes. I'd like the next one in just two, somewhat larger spaces. Or one big one.
And again I'd like to try for up to three pieces by each artist. One if they're big, two if medium, three if smallish. Now that I'm imagining that, I don't want to line them all up in one place. Although for small ones, that might be best.
This is only the pre-preliminary stage of thinking.
Till now I was too tired to even imagine it. Now that's started,
no telling where it will lead. If anywhere. But a beginning's a beginning.
Hello, beginning of the next DARts show.
February 25 2010 Been thinking again about our next show, and I'm wondering if maybe I can find someone else to curate it. I also wonder whether it might be good to include non-members. Have it be a DallasArtsRevue show, but not a strictly member show. Just trying to change up the show. I'm at my wit's end at the same time wanting more shows and not wanting to have to do all that ever again. I'm longing for another Tranquilla where we used a temporary space temporarily.
What glory that was. On. Off. Gone.
Michael Starr - Diet of Worms in the 'Forever Show'
2:30 p.m. February 11 2010 Several artists, including some that supposedly purchased other artists' work, have still not picked up pieces from this show. I'm not coming down on them, because I have been grossly negligent in this department many times during my own exhibition career.
Still, artists have known the duration of our forever show since well before they delivered work to it, and it's been weeks since those shows came down and the Corazon show's been up. I have reviewed that heart show so many times, some people think of this site as the Corazon site, which clearly it is not.
We seem to have lost track of some of the artists in the member show and Back-room Invitational. One who has since picked up her work, suggested that I keep it till she got back to Dallas, and I would have loved to have, but I demurred and suggested she contact Enrique, who has safely and securely kept all the work artists haven't picked up.
The one I did keep — and I was careful in the waning days of the shows to keep quiet about, lest I scare up interest in it — is James Michael Starr's spider. I never cared for its actual title, Diet of Worms.
Answers.com says "normal spiders eat insects, although some species eat birds, other small mammals and small spiders of the same or different species. Some also eat worms and leaves." Which would make more sense than why Jim called it that. His title has to do with what Answers terms a "Meeting of the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire at Worms, Germany, in 1521, where [when] Martin Luther defended the principles of the Reformation."
"Luther had already been excommunicated by Pope Leo X, but Emperor Charles V granted him safe conduct to a hearing at the Diet. On April 17, 1521, Luther refused to recant his views. Disorder broke out, the emperor adjourned the proceedings, and Luther was obliged to go into hiding. In May the Diet issued the Edict of Worms, [probably pronounced "Verms"] declaring Luther an outlaw and a heretic and banning his writings.'
I love that line, "obliged to go into hiding."
The Catholics (I was raised one, and thanks to several vivid movies
and one spectacular black & white one, The
Inquisition lives in my
mind.) probably wanted to kill him.
I'd be surprised if they haven't tried to go back into time to murder
Spider Innards — Clearly this spider
insects and multipedes. Nary a worm in sight, inside.
I liked the title better when I thought it meant that this spider ate worms, and care less that the artist installed such a convoluted title referring to the birth of Protestantism (Luther protested.) which has so little to do with what the piece looks like and is.
I still like the piece plenty. But since I broke my foot, it's become unstuck in space and stuck in the no-man's land of my living room, which has too much junk to show that or any of the other, nearly all 3D art, in there, off well.
Jim was excited about the piece when I visited him before the show. He spoke of the artistic departure it was for him. But by near the end of the show's forever run, he was willing to part with it in trade for a lifetime subscription to DallasArtsRevue, if nobody bought it by pickup day. I obliged, partially because I wasn't expecting to go on with this publication much longer than the thirty years I've already sunk into it — and have done forever memberships for less.
I have been talking about retirement for the last year or so. In ThEdblogs and other places here, probably including on this blog. I don't call it the forever show out of idle ignorance, although my ignorance is rarely idle.
Something else that's startled me about this
show's run is that it did not seem to garner many new memberships
before the show, when I hoped and expected it to, but it seems to
have got people's attention during and after it — when none
of them could have joined the exhibition.
Troup It's Another Notch
in Time mixed 5 x 6.38 x 2.75 inches
3:09 ayem February 6 2010 I'm underjoyed that one is at long last over. Perhaps art shows, except maybe in museums, shouldn't last two months — especially during long, cold winters, or that so nearly duplicate the same show as the year before. Twice in two years running should probably not happen in public spaces used to a wondrous monthly turnover of citizen art. Too many artists thereby missing showing theirs.
The notion was that longer shows saved City funds, but I can't imagine much savings accrued. We paid $100 for 3k of our own postcards. Another might easily pay other expenses. $25 bucks each of us would go a long way and be a pittance per individual. Why not 50 or a hundred?
But it was a kind opportunity offered, so a chance taken. I'd probably take another such to show members' work, but what I am getting very slowly and distantly excited about — in a far future way — is to show another invitational, preferably about the same size or smaller than in the back-room in December 09 and January 10.
I've always had an affinity for small spaces, and there must be ways more interesting to show art than nailed to walls. The project room at Conduit, though narrow and too much like a walk-in closet, could be a boon. There are nooks at 500X that I've always admired. I looked longingly at the space around at the end of the upstairs elevator, that looked like an informal extension of somebody else's closet at their last show. Why not have art there?
Perhaps, as I figure out more precisely what it is I want to show, I should make a proposal. There or at a community college. I never much liked the project room at The MAC. Too closed-in and sterile with no hint of natural anything, including light. The Contmp has jillions of little spaces lost in that vast wasteland, but what's the likelihood of them ever showing Dallas artists?
I have in mind smallish pieces in small spaces. Alex Troup's eclectic work was what set my mind to wandering into this figment of a notion. I have several, mostly gifted, pieces gathered over the decades from the artist I so thoroughly enjoy showing in my home. Some small exhibition involving craftfully personal art into the third dimension scintillates in my soul.
No idea now, whom else to invite. The concept is busy, like raw matter, growing its patina and quietly fuzzing over. I should let it fester.
Ahmad's Painting Walks Out the Gallery
2:27 ayem Sunday
January 31 2010 It's
over at last. I loved it for awhile. Got sideways a couple weeks.
Then really liked it again, if not more than ever. Then
tonight, poof! It was gone. Not everybody came to pick up
their work, but most artists in both shows did, and the place
was gala friendly during and noticeably different after.
Empty. Absent of art. I'm
either beginning to miss it or glad it's se fini.
Juergen carrying Heidi Strunck's Sculpture
Chats with Enrique Fernández Cervantes
I was joyed to hear Juergen tell that Heidi says she smiles at me even when she doesn't see me at openings. [Re: comments leading into a short review of her work, below.]
As we were pulling down art, Bath House people were pulling
nails and beginning to prep the walls for the next show. I wanted
them to leave them scarred and marked and nails for a little while,
as if our presence there were still present, still felt. But it was
on with the next show. Good good-bye to this one.
Mrs. & Mr. Smith - Charlotte and husband
take down her pieces
Odd feeling that. A little nostalgic after
calling it the forever show, because it went on and on and on. Nice
that it finally became finite. Big period punctuating that long run
surprised me. It's over. On to the next whatever. Several artists
asked when was the next one.
Brad Abrams Carries Laura Abrams' Rain Lilly
from the Back-room.
Left to right: Cultural Center Manager Marty Van Kleeck, Brad Abrams, Terry Hays,
Laura Walters Abrams, Susan Lecky and shows co-coordinator Anna Palmer
Probably hadn't been reading this blog.
I often wonder who it is that does. Grateful, because something I'm
writing draws people to it for reasons essentially unfathomable.
T.Stone [in blue shades) Hugs Linda Hickman
the Gala Deconstruction of the Anniversary Shows.
What I invariably said was two years. Before
I look for an opportunity. Susan Lecky says she'll help hang it,
so we're set. Not sure what that will be. I assume an opportunity
will present itself. I don't long-range plan them. They happen. And
they happen when they happen, not when I or anyone else wants them
Lecky, who helped spot and hang and
rehang these shows, rushes past the camera.
Thank you so very much, Susan. She's already volunteered to help do the next one, too.
If they happen too soon, I'll either parry
or watch them steam by. This one took a lot out of me, but I've learned
some lessons. Always do my own PR is one of those hard-learned lessons.
Another lesson might be to keep it smaller. Although I liked the
art in all three rooms, I like the unity of The Back-room Invitational
Boortz taking Big Head Raven 2009
metal, clay, bamboo 21 x 12 x 34 inches
in front of Ray-Mel Cornelius' Augustus acrylic on canvas 34 x 18 inches
Second was the hallway gallery, which I seriously
believe is the best in the building. The center is much less likely
to set up tables and chairs and other impediments out there. It's
easier lit, it has this amazing intimacy not possible in a large,
ungainly room with four large, can't see through them, columns holding
up the roof.
Enrique Cervantes Helps Delicately Remove Simeen
Masnavi in Black #6 painted wood sculpture from The Back-room Invitational.
Nice to have that big room, but — and I thought about this briefly before we mounted this show — it might be nicer to have temporary or semi-permanent walls connecting some of those impossible columns. More wall space instead of more floor space in that main gallery. Passing notions I wish I'd held onto longer.
David Hickman Rocking the Ring back and forth as Scott Shubin builds a mini-tower of wood blocks to raise the 300-pound ring off the top bar, then as it's rocked forth and back, removes blocks to bring the ring down again to roll down the ramp, through the Bath House on a succession of rug remnants, so there's no damage to the floors, and out to the truck.
Lots more learning will come now I don't have
to worry about the show being the show. More a poof in the memory
for awhile. Then all but forget it for another while before it blips
Too Much Fun Swinging on Sculpture - sculptor
TJ Mabrey swinging
on the 300-pound circle in David Hickman's sculpture. See below.
Alex Troup's heart piece [below] sold, adding
to the red-dot brigade. Especially nice since I pushed him to show. I
want to show more of his work. Maybe I'll round up a little show in a
little room somewhere where somebody else will worry it into existence, then
snuff it out 3-5 weeks later. The invitational lilts in my mind and mind's
eye. Only someplace without a yellow wall and a pink floor.
Good Good-bye, Bath House and Reflection
in my car's roof
In addition, James
Michael Starr's spider sculpture [below,
getting rolled into the gallery] got traded for a lifetime membership
in DallasArtsRevue, and will be on display soon in a living room
very near me. I'd been wanting to write about that odd piece
of 3-D art again for several, competing reasons, but I stopped me
fearing I might spark somebody else's imagination to
buy it, and much as I classify exhibition success on selling
some work (among other criteria), I didn't want that to happen. And
it did not. Maybe I can't call that enlightened self-interest,
though certainly the latter.
Hickman Ring Tower III steel 86
x 60 x 48 (detail)
9:22 p.m Friday January 29 2010 Went back, did it all again tonight. Feels like the right way this time, though I still haven't looked at the vid. At least these are full res. Yesternight's were — for some idiotic reason; I only very rarely shoot video, so why would I be mucking around in the menus, but apparently I did, and I screwed it silly — shot at 320 by whatever instead of 640 x 480.
Not HD. Tonight's video was all on my three-year-old Canon S5-IS, made before HD was a word generally associated with TV or digital cameras. I guess I'll find out when I finally play the thing. I don't think my voice wavered although I wasn't very formal about holding the camera. I tried a tripod last night. Tonight I went without.
I know I shook when I held the camera (mostly)
still in front of some pieces in the shows, but I guess I can always
use a freeze-frame and run the narration over that. Might actually
be better, though I would have to learn vid edding software to pull
it off. I shot it the way I first envisioned myself shooting it.
Informally walking through the gallery looking at this piece, then
the next one, then the next. For my mother, really. I promised her
Bob Nunn Scenic Overlook: Far and Above 2009 oil on canvas 42 x 42 inches
I remember telling my Mom on the video how much
I love Bob's nearly abstracted mountain and valley ranges with their
detailed city- and farm-scape maps in contrasted plats rolling over
his densely colorful landscapes. What amazing thoughts pattern his rich
paintings of the world as we only see it there.
Very informal, talking about each piece as I stood in front of it vidding. Flipping the camera here and there as I referred back to something else that one reminded me about across the gallery. Have no idea what the transitions were. Same wall, I just walked it to the next one. Sometimes there's probably slurred swirls involved.
I promised myself when I first dreamed this up that I'd bring a water bottle, because I planned to push the button to start and not stop till I was finished or the camera melted. But I didn't. And I did get parched. The camera blacked out at about 21 minutes and something when I was back in the Back-room Invitational having already shot all but two artists' work. I think. A lot will be clearer when I look at the vid, but I'm not eager to see it. For the usual reasons.
I hope the audio is clear throughout. Except
at the end when some loud-voiced cell phone talker was taking a call
in my space loudly. I think that was after the cam blacked, I figured
it was the end of shooting, turned it off, then right back on again
and kept shooting. Hope that works out. We'll see.
The Back-room Invitational left
to right: Simeen Ishaque Farhat [black], Laura Abrams, Diana Chase,
Eliseo Garcia (hanging from the ceiling), Gisela-Heidi Strunck, Peter Ligon, [a sliver of] Terry Hayes
I waited till the theatre opened doors and shunted everybody throughout the building into there. Two guys hovered around Norman Kary's piece on the far wall in the big gallery, talking loud in the echoing gallery. They were there for the art, not theatre, so I waited and they were leaving when I started talking into the camera aimed down the hall past the main gallery and distantly into the back-room.
I only used one card and one set of the three sets of batteries I brought. The 21 minutes soaked up four gigabytes, which may be the S5's max vid load. The end of the tour and quick flurries through the other two galleries took 235.9 megs. I'll probably work up the courage to look at them. Later.
After the vid didn't even make that old camera
warm, I put it away and brought out the big gun (my Nikon and big, heavy,
short zoom) and shot everything I felt like shooting. These shots
are some of those.
Troup Heart Congestion 2009 material
Alex was invited to show "a piece like this" in the upcoming Corazon show at the Bath House. I doubt he has more like this. Like most artists, he craftfully manifests one idea, then goes on to the next. I've been scrutinizing this piece, and now can plainly see that it's about the obvious.
A heart whose lock is rusted and congested over with grodty growths that get in the way of its internal lock locking or unlocking to lock again. There's text in the darkness behind, but since we hung it low late in the show's duration, I never needed to understand it enough to kneel before it and pry out its literal meanings.
I liked it for its more obvious, visual understandings that subtle into the eye's mind while I struggle with its symbols.
12:38 ayem Friday January 29 2010 Wow, the show sure looks its best when it's dark outside, whether that be night or rain. I began the video of the shows Thursnight. I'm a lousy videographer, but I knew to shoot little snippets, not try to get the whole thing in one, big, long video file.
Trouble is I have not operated a video editing
program since the mid-90s. I'll keep these shots, but so far, I don't
even want to look at today's 'rushes.' I love looking at stills. But
Moonscape mixed media
27 x 50 inches
This one also sold, to fellow artist Matt Kaplinsky. Remember when he and his daughter stood in front of it for several minutes saying one thing after another very complimentary about it? He said he would and he did.
I do want to finish the job tomorrow when dark strikes our world again. I promised my mother I'd take video of the show, but I only vaguely at those moments had any idea what I might be up to or up against. Ignorance. I shot till my batteries died twice. Actually, the batteries kept telling me they were dead, but I'd wait a couple minutes, shoot another couple minutes, and do it all over again.
I shot the main room copiously. I did a few establishing shots, a couple herky-jerky pans all the way around the big gallery, some shots up and down the hall and into the back room. Tonight (Frinight), I'll bring three or four sets of batteries and shoot till I can't shoot no more.
Maybe someday I'll re-learn to edit video. I
got pretty good at it all those years ago, but I don't look forward
to doing that now. Not like I've run out of other things to learn
how to do.
Sturdevant Inner Sanctum
digital painting 10 x 40 x variable depth
January 28 2010 Like I haven't confused
you guys enough yet. The correct
art pickup time is 5-7:30 this Saturday. About a week ago in my idiot confusion, I 'corrected'
the right time with a wrong time and posted it above where the right
time had been for years, er... months. I'll probably be lost in Bath
House land until they lock the doors. I'll send out an email today. The
forever show is finally coming down this Saturday after regular open
Richard Ray's "Self-Portrait" on the back porch of the Bath House Cultural Center
Here's another goofy Richard Ray shot he invited me to photograph, so absolutely of course I did. No dallying. When he has a photo op idea, I've learned to go for it, and we did. Took a couple shots to get the exposure right. Lots of bright blazing light outside on the lake. dark on the porch, so I used the tried and true. Shoot, check the LCD; change settings and shoot again; check again. Till I got it right, moving closer each time. This is the third of five shots. Richard insisted on calling it "self-portrait." See also Fu and Man Chu and Eatin' Paint and I know there's another somewhere.
4:07 p.m. Saturday January 23 2010 Spent the last three hours photographing pieces in both shows. No tripod (so no backache), using the 50mm f/1.8 Anna gave me for Christmas two years ago. I love that little lens. It let me shoot everywhere I wanted to shoot, although since I have to back up to use such a long (!) lens, there's one piece in the member show I just could not get all of in the frame. But overall, nice photographing session.
Heidi Strunck Path Melody 2008 (detail)
Maple, Mahogany, Padauk, Yellow Heart, Ash, Lacewood,
Wenge, Zebrawood, Birch, Copper, Clay, Aluminum and Glass
33 x 9.75 x 6 inches
What I like about Heidi Strunck is that she always smiled at me at art openings before she became legally blind. What I like about her work is that it is distinct from anybody else's, and that, while it has grown over the decades, its overall presentation has not significantly changed.
Heidi continues her pursuit of a stylized expression that deals more with texture, color, tone and shape than representation, either physical or emotional. Hers is an intellectual expression of spatial relationships revealed in precious, often exotic details and spatial juxtapositions.
Within its formal presentation, her choices involve beautiful and contrasting materials, best viewed like she sees them, in their minute details.
Today's shows documentation was
up many gentle times talking with old and new friends. Marty Ray brought
some friends — "The
Barbaree Babes" to show them about Richard Ray's paintings in the White
Rock Lake Museum and out front, that also closes
next Saturday, although his show's been up since October,
months longer than the Revue and Invitational.
T.Stone Tres painted steel 10 1/2 x 14 x 13 inches
Especially with sculpture, getting just the right angle, so all the shadows reinforce the positive and negative spaces is always a big chunk of the challenge of capturing its essence. This is a piece I've always appreciated, now, with this photograph of it more than ever before. Such deceptively simple elegance and subtle coloration. Always a surprise when someone can do that. Oof! Beautiful.
Pleasant little, very informal klatch over pizza and art. Met and talked with several very interesting humans. Great respite from photographing art, although I photographed people while I was being careful not to be shooting art. But most of the time I photographed the art in our shows, and of course I've fallen for a few more and absolutely love a couple more than that.
Robinson-Hays either Obsolete
paint & tea samples on silk and paper
23 x 30 inches
or Roam mixed media on silk and paper 23 x 30 inches (very small detail)
5:54 ayem Saturday January 23 2010 Been using shots from the shows in various places around this site. The Calendar, the cover, my How to Photograph Art page when I lucked out with Diana Chases littler piece in the Back-room Invitational and managed to coax our local star to engulf the fused glass in that piece and glow like glory, and gradually, eventually, I'll post some more here. Partially because I have to go back and shoot a lot more individual shots and a few more gallery scenes.
But probably not with my big clunking digital single lens reflex, because that hunk is a paint to keep teetering on a tripod. And because my back ached for hours after I quit, because I kept having to stretch and bend unnaturally to see what I was shooting down or up or sideways at. Next time, I'll use my only camera with an articulating LCD that I keep jabbering away about in my latest opus, Cameras & Lenses Useful for Photographing Art.
I've also been writing short reviews of other
people's shows on the Calendar and helping Anna reorganize that page. So it's
not like I've forgot DallasArtsRevue, its members or anything else DARts.
I just been busy.
January 15 2010 Shot
the show Thursayem and need to shoot it
some more, but I got some really good shots, and — naturally, I fell
in love again with some of the pieces in both shows. Pictures
here, and if Jim Dolan's story doesn't come soon, on the cover.
Lynn Rushton Line Dry oil on canvas 36 x 24 inches
I photographed this, one of the most interesting paintings in the show, back when I shot all those other distinctive details [below]. The details here are delicious, and I've photographed several small areas in this painting, but I always pull back and see the whole thing, and how marvelously everything holds together. I like how the American Flag on the left is reflected in the striped curtains on the right and the lilting, aged colors throughout the alternately busy and placid composition. I keep being fascinated by Lynn Rushton's non-emotional works, and I keep falling for the emotional ones, and especially wanted one of her 'hugs' in this show. But I'm so pleased she chose also to show this.
Monday January 15 2010 The first DallasArtsRevue exhibition at 1026 Tranquilla in White Rock Lake-ish East Dallas was up three days, and sales-wise, at least, was our most successful show ever. It was also gobs of fun because there was so much working together to make it happen.
I only remember a few sales at our second real show (There was a really friendly, lilting, almost-showing on the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour that was a mixed-blessing, sorta art show but recorded no sales — I think; then I'm pretty sure there were some — some even controversial — sales at Big As(s) Night, Too. Plus one member snagged an association with a major Dallas gallery.
After the Big As Night, Too at 419 Tyler, we enjoyed spectacular aesthetic and decent sales at the Fierce show in Plano. Lots of people in attendance at the opening, actual (though often errant) press coverage. It was copiously journaled with as many artist's studio visits as I could wrap my typing hands around, and it was probably our best-looking and most diverse exhibition ever, at least partially because it involved both members and invited guests.
Last winter's the Winter Show (2007-2008) was a major crowd-drawer/pleaser with mob-scene attendance at both the opening and the informal conversation, back when Bath House publicity was handled professionally and in-house. I expected this winter's exhibition to be at least as well promoted and attended, but I have been repeatedly disappointed.
Counting all those as actual shows, which all but one were and that one almost was, we are averaging 1.16 shows per year, which is probably why the few members not in this show continue to expect to be in next year's. Which, in turn, leads me to the conclusion that we've either been having way too many shows in too rapid succession, or we (meaning I) have to rethink this thing altogether.
Luckily, I'm more than willing to do that. This
show-maker needs a break, and which, soon as this forever month finally
winds down, may just happen. The current Revue has already been up one
eternity, and it's working on another. Sixty days seems a lifetime.
Two pieces sold. I know of at least
one important, pending trade, and there are probably others, but keeping
a show up longer does not seem to result in more sales, only in saving
more the Bath House's budget — and extending the visibility of works
in both shows. A worthy cause certainly, but I wonder the cost. I worry
that two shows in one place two winters running might be too much to
be worth keep going to.
Bob Nunn, Marty Ray and Terry Hays discuss
Terry's work in The Back-room
Friday January 15 2010 The Informal Conversation failed to draw many people besides artists in the show. There might have been a dozen others, but maybe not quite. About 35 people there. Of course the Cowboys were playing playoff that night, it was cold, and there were plenty of other, well- and intelligently-publicized art events that night.
Ours was publicized by the City as an Artist's Lecture, even though the PR turd was told two hours before he sent it out that it was to be an informal conversation. That drudge-wad probably couldn't get his feeble mind around the concept. Dealing with Bath House art guy Enrique Cervantes was amazingly positive as usual, but dealing with The City was a box of cockroaches. You always know what you're going to get.
I haven't given the show much thought since then. I still like it. I'm still proud of it. People still drop by to see it. It looks good. It's got some amazing art in it. Those things are all still true.
I still don't know why the conversation couldn't have coincided with the Art Pickup, like the one for The Winter Show last year. But that date was not allowed, so we were stuck with when it was and who came and how badly it was promoted. I had fascinating conversations that evening, and I saw and listened to several artists explaining to fellow artists about their work. So, in a limited way, it was a success. But I did so want to have a nice crowd there to keep the artists busy.
The next show I am involved in will be strictly online. Maybe the one after that, too. We'll see. Right now, I'd rather be photographing birds than art, although I've been putting a lot of time into my immensely popular (just under 40,000 hits) How to Photograph Art and the new, yet-undiscovered Cameras I Use to Photograph Art pages, both of which I update often.
I plan to photograph the shows in detail next
week. At that time, I'll probably become re-enamored of some pieces,
and I may even write about them here.
Sculpture on the Wall to its left
and Ken Boatman's eclectic Bottle Tree
Later Wednesday January 6 2010 Turned out spectacularly. Better than I could have hoped for, especially if I hadn't been worrying that it wouldn't, instead of planning ahead, though I generally throw a little contingency into whatever I'm up to.
Just in case, I asked Susan Lecky to bring a piece and Jeanne Mcintosh, who needed to pull one of her two paintings on the opening wall, to bring a couple of possible replacements. Susan brought a painting she'd just finished, but we worked it out well with what we had instead.
Ken Boatman delivered his bottle tree with a box of all same-colored (green) bottles of uniform size and shape at noon, but I was quick enough to ask for a mix, like I'd seen on his backyard tree when I checked them out earlier this week. He delivered that in plenty of time for us to install later.
After Ken left, but before Anna and I returned when Susan could make it at three, so we could decide where everything — both new and old pieces — went and put them there, I looked around and noted some other possibilities of presentation changes — a piece on a riser that the artist had told me might go on the wall as well, and some others I parked on the back burner with the engine running to keep those thoughts warm.
I went off to find and photo some birds, found
those and had grand fun photographing them, then met back with Susan
Lecky and Anna at 3. JeanE McIntosh showed up somewhat later with two
possible replacement paintings.
Lecky and Anna
Palmer moving the Bottle
But by the time she showed up, I'd parked T.Stone's karma piece on the wall where the painting had been. It was almost too easy. The light for the T.Stone was already almost perfect, and her sculpture fit well with plenty of air around it, and the arc-ing shadows it cast on the wall were terrific.
We moved Ken's tree around at least a dozen times — with and without the new color and shape diversity of bottles — but eventually it found an idealized position that Enrique quickly back-lighted perfectly.
Soon, Alex Troup's vase of luminescent antique glass shards shone in its light, and Jeanne Sturdevant's writhing scroll of dragon shapes (That's what I see in it, at least.), that she'd delivered at noon, looks great where it is on the far side of the gallery. We moved several other pieces but just stared at David Hickman's still-tolling tower.
Now I almost think of today's big change-up as a great idea, but I know I had much doubt, too. I am much more energized by the changes.
January 6 2010 I must
be daft. Hoot-owl certifiable. Over the strange beyond nutso. Instead
of coasting along being mildy bored by a show that never stops, going on over
decades now. I'm actively seeking to change it up with last-minute additions
the week before the big Conversation Convergence. Bonkers, I say. Mind-numbed
idiotville. Somebody stop me before I screw it up.
Dodd Wounded Samurai welded,
12 x 14 x 8 inches
Tuesday January 5 2010 Not sure who at the Bath House has it firmly ensconced in their noggin that Jerry Dodd's exquisite little sculpture is part of The Back-room Invitational, not the Revue in which it is exhibited, but I don't seem to be able to dislodge that bit of disinformation. I told them weeks ago, but new publicity keeps putting his piece over headlines for the invitational.
Probably because I intentionally did not include images of the invitational, because I wanted people to come see it, not already know what was back there.
Nice piece, certainly, or I wouldn't have put it on the member show invitation. It would fit right into the back-room in any case. Several members' work would have, and it's a shame we could not have put them there, except the back-room is smallish and where they are, they glory in all that space.
I should have prepared all the publicity myself, but then I would have put the right pieces in the right shows and would not have repeated the same line about the big show, "A mixed media art exhibition curated by J R Compton that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Dallas Arts Revue," which is fine and plenty.
Nor would I keep calling The Informal Conversation, which is what it will be, this Saturday Night, despite Bath House insistence that it is a "Gallery Lecture & Discussion with the Artists." It will be a discussion, in a gallery involving artists. But it most assuredly will not be a lecture. I've tried to keep that distinction clear. But whoever prepares the P R from there clearly is not listening.
Those are the terms bureaucrats think in for an art show, whether it is or it isn't, that's what they'll call it, because that's what's they're used to calling such things and going around the edges, or outside of boxes, in not in their purview.
Any battle with bureaucrats is uphill, unending and insipid. I don't even try. I apologize now for those expecting a lecture. No lecture will happen, although I will nervously explain what really will happen, then as quickly as possible, get off the stage, so everybody there can talk to everybody else there about anything they want, hoping that some conversations will touch on the art there, art anywhere or the notion of art.
It'll be like another opening. It will be as
much like the Informal Conversation we had for last year's Winter
Show, except I hope to introduce all the artists there. It will be fun,
and nobody has to worry about prepared statements or speaking in public.
Ken Boatman Bottle
Monday January 4 2010 I've got appointments with artists — both those who are already represented in this show and those who not yet are — tomorrow and Wednesday to pick and install work for the Member Show's 2010 Update, and I am still hoping to hear from others I've emailed and even those whom I have neither contacted or heard from yet.
Sunday January 3 2010 In attempt to shake up this show that's already been up for nearly a month (all the rest of the last decade, unless you believe decades begin in years named with ones on the ends.) I've begun to add more stuff to the space between the walls of flat work.
My first addition is one of Ken Boatman's bottle trees (He's new here, so he doesn't have a member page yet). I know his trees lean more on craft than art or sculpture, and its bottles aren't tipped at the right angles to catch wind-borne spirits that fly in the wind that does not flow in that gallery — although that could actually help, but I wanted to add some things large to the space. Another possibility is the work of my friend and long-time DARts Member Alex Troup, who had the flu and couldn't bring work on Delivery Day.
I've heard from Jeanne
Sturdevant, who has promised
to bring one of her "scored foamcore sculptures," and I hope to hear
from others. This is getting exciting again.
A Bath House person who is not Enrique told
me with a straight face
that people were thrilled to be in the gallery with all that great art.
Oddly enough, I got permission to maybe change
out some pieces as we were determining what would happen with this show.
I'd all but forgot that, but this add some later deal is wholly legit.
But I'm going to do it anyway.
I am also open to other opportunities for free-standing work, and have contacted a few artists whose work didn't quite make it into the show). The walls are beautiful and full, and I'm not in the least interested in changing any of those.
The floor, however, had enough space to park four big tables and a half dozen people each, last month, so there's plenty more space in there for more art that stands on its own and takes up some space.
If you have something that might qualify for this electric last-minute opportunity, I'd like to hear from you forthwith. I'd like to have everything in place before the informal conversation this coming Saturday. The Contact Us page has the latest info for getting ahold of me.
James Michael Starr Wrestling
The Spider on Delivery Day
Wednesday December 30 2009 It's a time for reflecting, reconsidering and reviewing. Not so much the writing about art as looking around at what is and wondering what about all that really ought be changed. I've already glimpsed some new possibilities and needs must keep considering more.
We are approaching the end of this year and the beginning of the next. The crux, crossroads in time. I've been seeing more time-travel movies than ever before, almost feel caught up in the switch-back flow of it. Perhaps in anticipation in this soon jump.
I came upon JMS (James
Michael Starr) wrestling
The Spider and wondered why I hadn't worked up that image before
and had no good answer, but I let it fall between the cracks of other
practicalities. After that one, I looked further through the tiny
camera and found more, and shall find more still after these.
I don't know the names of the dogs lying on these slats, but those feet, shoes, sox and legs belong to Brad Abrams, married to Back-room Invitational sculptor Laura. This when Anna and I visited them hoping to upgrade her contributions to that show. It worked in spades.
In general, I was sloppy with that back-room show's curating. Trusting artists — always an iffy business — when I should have been carefler and more precise. Turned out better than it had any right to, considering, but much of the work of it was last-minute in preparations and settling for better than original offerings.
I've had my little vacation from this show now,
and shall return forthwith (I've just seen my latest time travel flick
back through Jane Austen-ville, and talk funny some days. Happens everytime
I visit other realities and is why I don't read much other art crit.
2009 ink 36 x 24 inches (detail)
Tuesday December 29 2009 Officially, I don't have to pay much attention to these two shows till January 5th, when the holi- and holy- days are over, the Bath House returns to current contemporary reality, and we can secular ourselves back into art, especially of the public variety. I still haven't shot the shows, each by each and one by ones, all through all three galleries, so I should oughtta do some of that soon. Kinda lookin' forward after all this delay
The cover was looking ugly, so i changed that,
added a couple of the details I shot of the member show, probably should
use that as today's illustration, so onlookers (or bylookers) can tell
immediately there's some change on this page at last. I can't say I missed
it terribly. Nice when the other aspects of one's life folds back in
on itself and envelops first-person-singular and that other person singular,
and we get to spend some interesting times together.
T.Stone Karma II 2009
painted steel 22 x 21 x 26 inches (detail)
Saturday December 19 2009 Except for the nagging feeling that I should return the pack of The Museum Putty I left in my pocket when I last used some to firm down some art that'd got misaligned at the Bath House more than a week ago, I have been blissfully not thinking about these shows nearly all week. Maybe once every couple of days I let the notion that I need to take both shows' portraits scintillate through my mind.
When I mentioned this predilection on Facebook recently, one of the exhibitors told me that I should "stay focused," but I don't know on which of my endeavors she meant. I'm almost always focused in on something. It's not like I just stare off into space very often. Or often enough.
Although that would be a desirable condition these days. I got to do a little of it at James Gilbert's art talk at the new Dallas Contemporary earlier this week — so interesting I took my negative posts about their grand opening off the Calendar page (that Anna is organizing now) and stuck them on the Old News page before I posted the new remarkably positive story about the new contemporary.
The Bath House probably won't need the putty till they mount their next shows, which will be after January 30, when these come down. And I always expect the rest of my life to calm down a bit after Christmas, although Mercury goes retro the very next day. The City changed the Bath House's open times again (closing Tuesdays), and their new, City-designed (?) website is so much less interesting and easy to find stuff on than their colorful older one that I linked to often, that I don't really want to hunt them down.
Then again, the open times are near
top of this page.
Panova's Bulgarian Cake and more else's cake at the opening December
Enrique sent me an email. That might be the easiest way to know when when they are open in the evening and when I feel like spending two or three hours dragging a tripod around all three galleries to commit every piece and grouping to silicon (evening, so sunlight won't mess up my photo colors) will coincide. Then again, I might just wait till next year when my excitement about all this stuff builds again just before The Informal Conversation, which I am really looking forward to.
I won't be fashionably late to that one, and I will make special effort to wear the same pair of shoes on both feet — unlike at the opening of these shows earlier this month. Someone asked me if I were trying to be cool. To my understanding, trying to be cool always fails, like my mind did when I shod myself opening night.
Except for my very brief — and likely
nervous part where I tell people to keep doing what I'll interrupt them
from doing by abundantly and utter redundantly announcing what that event
is and what it should continue to be after I mercifully shut up, and
the fun part of introducing the show artists in the crowd
that evening — although none of them or anybody else (except me) needs
to prepare any remarks, that Informal Conversation will be entirely everybody
there talking with whomever they like about whatever they want.
Chips & Stripes
And looking at art, which will also be allowed and encouraged, even while conversing. Essentially, it's a party, and if you have any questions about any art in either show, you can raise it with the artist or the curator.
Which is as an informal conversation should be. Think of it as what happens at an art opening, except you don't have to dress up. That's the informal part. It may be cold out, but it'll be warm in. And there will be goodies to eat and drink. These shown here are my favorite pix from the opening.
I used to review the food at shows whose art
I either also wrote about or I didn't want to. The food at our opening
reception, just as I expect the food to be at our informal conversation,
was and will be pretty wonderful. If you want to bring something, it
will be welcomed. If you don't, that's fine, too. "Informal." Op.
cit. The Bath House will help, no doubt (I believe those are their
cookies above), but so will those of us who didn't bring stuff for the
Cordovan & Black — The curator's feet at the opening
Oh, and these lists really need to be on this page:
Artists in the Member Show: 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, T.Stone, 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, JeanE McIntosh, Bob Nunn, Fannie Brito, Norman Kary
Artists in the Back-room Invitational:
Laura Abrams, Terry Hays, Gisela-Heidi Strunck, Charlotte Smith,
Eliseo Garcia, Diana Chase, Simeen
Ishaque and Peter Ligon.
Friday December 11 2009 We (Susan Lecky and I who hung the show) got with Enrique (fresh from producing the Jesus Moroles show at the Latino Culture Center ((the other part of his job these months))) to get whomever (we know who) has restacked Nancy Ferro's already problematic piece from restacking it again. I had a pic of what it was supposed to look like on my little cam, and we arranged it close to that.
We rehung Chuck's piece in the Back-room Invitational straighter and listened to Enrique's bad gallery dream and snuck some of the food left over on the several large tables that keep getting dragged into that only sometimes now pristine gallery space we worked so hard to make look nice. The tables utterly destroy all the design we put into the show, cluttering it up with stuff that should never be there.
But the clutter will continue there every noonish for a couple hours till their current pre-Christmas theatrical production run ends. The sandwiches, fudge and cookies are nice, but the sight of those ugly tables makes me shudder.
Happy with our progress, and understanding that the Bath House's only cash flow comes from the theater, whereas the art portion only spends money, and I doubt they make any real profit, we left.
Later Enrique emailed that bottom one of the six pieces in Diana Chase's beautiful tiled glass Crimson Tide in the Back-room fell and was destroyed.
She'd had trouble with the glue while she was mounting them, redid one piece altogether and now the bottom one fell to the floor and smashed. I'd love to have shards from that little disaster to glue onto one of my windows.
I had suggested that she just nail it to the wall,
but Diana turned that radical procedure down. I'd rather see nails sticking
through than shards on the floor, but artists art and curators sometimes
just watch and hope.
Eliseo Garcia Rise from the Ashes 2009 Foam 8 x 3 x 3 feet (detail)
Thursday December 10
2009 I promised details.
These are details from The Back-room Invitational. Little, visually interesting
bits of larger work that shows some of the the style and color of the
whole piece, which you pretty much have to visit the Bath House to see
the wholes of. I started to call it "a
different way to look at art," but
it's not. It is exactly how we all look at art, especially when we
are up close and personal with it. We see the details. Our minds tie
them together, one way or another, and we get an overall impression.
Heidi Strunck Path Melody 2009 33 x 9.75 x 6 inches (detail)
Except here, you only get the details. I know too much about almost every piece in the show. I'll share a little of that between the pictures sometimes, but I have not yet photographed the show carefully. I just walked around shooting details that jumped out at me for these. There are many more details, some of which I'll document when I go back to the Bath House. It's been so lovely this week not to go there every day.
As her work did before she lost most of her
image down here with more of the story], this
sculpture employs style and mediums completely different from those in any
other work in either of these shows, certainly one of the more interesting
ways of dealing with the third dimension, which is what The Back-room Invitational
is all about.
Terry Hays The Neighborhood: House #2 2009 45 x 21 x 11.5 inches (detail)
The houses and trees Terry Hays builds are
toy-like in their monumentality, on fire with creative texture and
monumental in middle-sized chunks of obvious art, slightly less obvious
sculpture — but viewable from front, sides and back here as most
of the places he's got to show his art objects. Texture is where
it's at in these angular structures that step up into their miniature
skies like real pyramids do, in steps and phases, that pull together
an eye-startling wonderment of intersticing textures and colors.
Peter Ligon Alamo Plaza 2009 ink on paper 20 x 26 inches (detail)
Peter felt odd to have his flat drawings in with so many fully three-dimensional sculptures, but it had never even entered my mind that his work would not fit in with those other explorers of the third dimension. His eloquent monochromatic drawings of local color, whose places we tend to take for granted, map the third D in subtle yet forceful ways.
His other ink on paper drawing, "Oak Cliff Mirror & Glass" shows that company's sign seen from the Oak Cliff side, casual, matter of fact, then abruptly, the top of the Reunion Tower and some skyscraper on the edge of downtown proper, we have to realize thousands of feet away, across the gulf of the Trinity River, unseen behind the high point of the levee, the bare roof of a shack-like structure and the nearly totally abstracted corner of the more solid building that holds the sign. One tree gives us the glimpse of nature and power lines lend us reality.
Alamo Plaza on Fort Worth Avenue, our own little
Route 66-like turnpike to Fort Worth, has long been one of Dallas'
Most Endangered Historic Places. This neon-edged and circularly extrapolated
star sits atop the big sign out front with a big, orange arrow
pointing at the motel courts along what used to be a long procession
of oddly picturesque and uniquely themed named motels.
Laura Abrams Cascade 2006
x 10 x 3 inches (detail)
The way Kathy
Boortz finds wood that looks like
politicians or birds, Laura Abrams finds the metal detritus of our
industrial world and sees abstract sculptures. We've long been fans
of her distinctive work, and first showed this piece hanging
on a wall in her studio three years ago during the annual Art
in the Hood tour, although it's got funkier since then.
Simeen Ishaque Farhat Masnavi
in Black #6 2009 painted
wood variable size (detail)
When I invited Simeen (at the PAC-We Performance Rally for Health Care), I expected one of her flowing installations, but that would have dwarfed the other work in this back-room exhibition. This comparatively simple pair of glyphs were near perfect for this wall in that back-room, and like everything else in that smallish room, the bright yellow walls and putrid pink floor did not detract from their distinctly three-dimensional protrusions.
According to Wikipedia, Masnavi is one of the best known and most influential works of both Sufi and Persian Literature" illustrating "man's predicament in his search for God," and it refers heavily to verses in the Qur'an.
The reason for the
development of Islam's beautiful and amazing glyphs and script is
their prohibition against representing human and animal life — "The
people who will be most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection
will be those who aspire to create like Allah." and "Every image-maker
is in the Fire. For each image he made, a being will be fashioned
to torment him in Hell," and "The angels do not enter a house wherein
there is a dog or images representing [people or animals]." — from
Diana Chase Crimson Tide 2008 fused
glass 3 x 3 feet (full piece) (detail)
Glass, of course, is already liquid. So having it portray as liquid a liquid as water is a breeze. Colored water all the better. Part of liquid's definition is that it flows freely but of constant volume. Actually, it's a little more difficult to coax glass to flow freely, but these shards of diagonally directional flow seem to 'move steadily and continuously in a current."
Possibly the only condition that would make
them seem more liquid would be to illuminate them from the back,
so light more readily transuses them. Because they are cupped, light
does that here, and because they comprise liquid anyway, it's true.
Charlotte Smith Pinnochio Series acrylic
on wood 2008 8 x 24 inches (detail)
Charlotte Smith's work transcends painting with their intricately piled up tiny daubs of paint, not just up, but out and sometimes — like here — down, although it was very probably painted up. A minute but noticeable expansion into the third dimension, and a distinctively memorable exploration.
I like standing close as museum guards will let
me to paintings with amazing brushwork you could dance to or, as here, the
paint is already dancing, whether that be evident in pigment-based work by
one of the Impressionists or an Abstract Expressionist, although the subjects
and action of most paintings are best understood with a little distance.
A little of that may be too far away to appreciate these tiny structures.
Ferro Harvest Moon mixed
media on canvas and wood 5 x 3 x 4 feet
As arranged by the artist — except for the specks on the carpet
— minimally invasive
Wednesday December 9 2009 Visiting the Bath House to take pictures for tomorrow's blog entry, I noticed two things that concerned me mightily. Three, if you count the tables of food and dishes and other clutter stuck in the main gallery's prime viewing areas for at least several hours — though not particularly close to our ersatz sculpture garden in the middle — more like around the outer edges of the room, very much in the way of the art.
Many days each week sometime around 1 or 1:30 pm there is a performance in the theatre, whose attendees get a brunch of sandwiches and cookies and probably coffee. That meal is served in the gallery, which has to be a semi-private, multi-use room, away from the too-public hallway where the food usually is usually served at opening art receptions.
That's difficult to appreciate for someone like
me who's put his all and a number of other peoples' a lot into making the
show look really really nice without being busied up by tables of food surrounded
by chairs and people, many of whom couldn't care less about the art all around
them in that room, who are there to see theatre, not art. Though that did
concern me, it did not concern me mightily.
As Rearranged by someone who is NOT the artist
— But who?
— maximally offensive
What did concern me majorly was that one of the pieces in the show — the very piece I struggled most with, was rearranged, and I bet it was so rearranged without the artist's permission. I know it was rearranged without the curator's permission. And I know that artist was already upset by me rearranging her art.
In the end, I could not justify altering her art, so I presented it as near as we could make it, close to the artist's original presentation. Of course, my major concerns was that it might be a danger. Now along comes someone at the Bath House and they re-rearrange the piece.
Very dismaying. But even more dismaying was that one of the pieces in The Back-room Invitational had, apparently, been removed from the wall, then reattached to that wall incorrectly, and it is still on the wall crooked and incorrectly spaced. Susan Lecky and I had put each of its two halves on the wall with wires, because we could not get it exactly right any other way. I was not able to rehang it on the wire correctly today, and neither could whoever messed with it after Susan hung it successfully during the official show-hanging process, then the official opening.
I was thankful it was still there, but it had most definitely been messed with. We didn't get it as close together as the artist probably could, but we got it pretty close, and now it's not anywhere near close enough, and it's crooked besides. Very very dismaying.
This blog is continued from Blog
page 1 and
Blog page 2. This is Blog
The Invitational includes 8 Dallas artists who explore that elusive third dimension in interesting ways, including Laura Abrams, Terry Hays, Gisela-Heidi Strunck, Charlotte Smith, Eliseo Garcia, Diana Chase, Simeen Ishaque and Peter Ligon.
now includes 720 emails and 19 phone calls from 38 member artists including untold numbers of excuses and complaints.
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.
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