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Blog Part One for

The Dallas Arts Revue show logo
30th Anniversary Member Show  A N D

The Back-room Invitational
Eight Dallas Artists Exploring Dimension

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

more like actual, 4 x 6-inch size (at 72 dpi)
except the type would look cleaner, but this is
not quite the latest version, but close. No more changes!
The cards will be available upon delivery of work.
There will be a one-time charge of $5 to be in the show.

Monday evening 11 16 09    Enrique submitted the invite files to the printer, but says "quantities go from 500 to 100 to 2,000 to 3,000, so [he] went ahead and ordered 3,000 cards for [us]. "That seems an awful lot, and he didn't say how much it would cost, but I am definitely charging members $5 each.

I should point out that the City of Dallas, through the Bath House Cultural Center, is paying me the sum of $200 to curate this show. So far, that's about a dollar and a quarter an hour. And miles to go before I sleep. So it should be obvious I ain't in this for the money.

Visual Art / Graphic Design / Curator Enrique Fernández Cervantes continues, "We should have them ready for the artists when they drop off their art." So take as many as you really need.

Would anybody volunteer to take them around to other galleries (besides the Bath House) and art establishments that allow the leaving of small stacks of cards?

Sunday evening 11 15 09    I just sent Enrique at the Bath House the biggest image files I had of some of the images, concentrating on the ones shown on the postcard, so when people see that they'll instantly recognize them from any press mention and identify more with them and value them (all image psychobabble understandings I've read about and learned directly over the years I've been in the biz.).

Most of the large files were sent for use on member's member page. I never managed to ask for Large Files of show images, so there would have been no reason to send me those, except that they already did. So it's my fault there weren't more of them to choose from. But I'm happy enough about my eventual selection:

The images I sent were, from the invitation:
All these links are to images on this page. Those images will move around, but the links will continue to work. As usual, hitting the "back" button gets you back here where you started.

Jerry Dodd   Wounded Samurai    2008   welded and painted steel sculpture [Large file from CD]
right triangle arrow   This piece was not among Jerry's submissions. It was on his member's page, but it was newer than most of the images he sent, and I'm all about showing new. I fell in love with it soon as I saw it. It does things I only dream sculpture can do. It's simple and complex, plays the two off together. I had to put it in the show.

Ray-Mel Cornelius   Caligula   2009   painting  [Large file from CD]
right triangle arrow   An immediately recognizable shape. With lots of bold color. Even tiny, this obvious painting holds its reconizability and solid composition. Good morning!

Peggy Epner   Good After Bad   2009   encaustic on wood panel   30x30 inches [Large email attached file]
right triangle arrow   It's distinctly not a painting or a sculpture. It's a luscious, rich encaustic. Very graphic. Pile of white tree parts, a scribbly shadow and one black tree downed. I doubt I fully understand it, but I want to touch. The colors are simple, exclusive, simplifying.

Carroll Swenson-Roberts   Flower   2009 inches [small attached file]
right triangle arrow   Another definitely not a painting or sculpture. Small, it looks textured like a rich drawing. Its colors lilting yet rich, gentle, feminine. The orange holds together the rambunctious blues and purple. The shapes definitely individual.

Not on the postcard but in the package that somewhat exceeds the "three or four" images Enrique requested:

TJ Mabrey   CrossCurrent/Missing  2009   White Marble [Large file that I recreated from her email attached photo]
right triangle arrow   I think that middle part moves. Not sure how. I hope it does. This looks and probably is big. Heavy. I tried to fit it on the card, but it looked like a tombstone small and monochromatic. I'm excited about having the piece in the show, that intricately woven slab. It has to be lighted very carefully, so those waves all show.

Pavlina Panova   Wild Flowers 1   2009   presses leavesral, green, made from the living tissue of nature. Lush, painstaking, rich, intricate shapes embroidered of reality and its real colors. on boad [Large file attached]
right triangle arrow   Another case of 'it's like nothing else.' It's natural, green, made from the living tissue of nature. Lush, painstaking, rich, intricate shapes embroidered of reality and its real colors.

Elaine Merritt - Milkweed

Elaine Merritt   Milkweed   2009    Digital Photograph    image provided by the artist

Elaine Merritt   Milkweed   2009   Digital Photograph   [Small attached file]
right triangle arrow   A photograph. Of plants. Various tones of green. Some difficult to accept as natural. But obviously real. Subtle, strong composition. Amazing mix of colors. White, green, dark patches and lines of purple, spots of red. In a field somewhere, but not just any field. Carefully captured.

George Bailey   Evil Smirk   oil on hardboard   48x24 inches   [Medium attached file]
right triangle arrow   It's like sometimes he gets inspired, limits his palette, goes strong on simplifying the complexity in his head and in so many other paintings, and it comes out like this. Strong composition. Brutally graphic. When that happens, the splats and marks and odd figures in the black depth behind the main characters take on magical qualities. Color voodoo.

Besides having included some images on the invitation, further criteria included:

Pretty much the same criteria that put some on the invitation. When I did that I worked with at least twice as many images as ended up on the postcard. Of course, the criteria shifted as I worked.

At one time, the order of artists on the postcard was the chronological order that artists asked to be in the show after I sent out invitations to. But that got changed for picture placement, ascender/descender conflicts, long and short name placements and other criteria.

James Michael and Joan Iverson, however were the first to accept the invitation to be in the show, and Bob Nunn and Fannie Brito were the last. Most of the others are somewhat accurately chronological. A few aren't anywhere near. It might be impossible to correctly identify the exact order. The only accurate chronological order of acceptance is in the list called Members Curatorial Status, and some of that's a bit fiddly.blue dot = end of story

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


Sunday 11 15 09    Yesterday at the grocery, the clerk asked me if I had plans for next week. I was taken aback. I stared at him uncomprehending. He mentioned Thanksgiving. Already? I thought. I guess it's about time to start getting my own pieces together. Then I looked it up on the internet, and it's not till the week after the upcoming one. Clerks.

All the time in the world or at least two weeks, whichever comes first. Maybe I'll get to see some of the work in the Back-room Invitational. Maybe the last straggling members will show me theirs. Maybe a band of angels will come and play sweet Bluegrass Gospel harmonies to me. Or I could turn on my Sansa Click. Click.

Could have gone birding this early morning and got to see the little birds I usually miss, but the invitation came with warnings about "poison ivy protection highly recommended." And I thought back to the last time I caught that stuff. I asked what on earth now constitutes poison ivy protection. Thick sox and long pants.

I didn't think that'd be enough protection for me. Besides the thought of sleeping for twelve hours was alluring. I took the sleep. I still haven't worked up the pics from our last bird outing yesterday.

Then I attempted to think through the process of sending invitation files through email. I don't do this very often, and I was quickly stymied. I referred back to Enrique's letter on the subject. He'll take PSD, TIFF, PDF or EPS files. I'm a big fan of PSDs (Photoshop Documents), but do they go through in email? I'm opposed to PDFs, find them annoying. Same with TIFFs; I always think ill of people who send me TIFFs. And I simply do not deal with EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) anymore, since nothing I do is PostScript.

He gave me a special email, because it has "more storage capacity." I imagined him getting all sorts of JPEGs, GIFs and probably TIFFs and PDFs from artists who want to show at the Bath House. The only time I've ever sent him any image files is when he specifically asked for them.

I guess I've stared at those invitation files long enough. I didn't find room for a "curated by J R Compton" tag on the Back-room Invitational side. Besides, that notion is speculative, at best since I'm yet to see more than one nearly completed piece for that show. Maybe The Universe doesn't want me taking credit for something I haven't really done.

But I found a nook for one on the Members' side. I was going to use a blue asterisk after my name, sorta like the red triangles showing whose work was illustrated nearby. But it looked fussy to have another asterisk on the "Curated by J R Compton" credit. So I just left that. In gray to match lines at top and bottom.

The only artist to mention numbers of postcards says she could use 50-100. I like that an artist is willing to hand/send out that many. I don't even have a press list anymore. I figure the Bath House has a good, up-to-date one, though I haven't checked. They promote several shows every month or so. So they probably work at keeping theirs up to date.

Enrique says printing 500 cards cost $15 less than printing 1,000 cards, so I suspect 500 more cost may be $15 more, for a total printing cost of maybe $120, since prices per k tend to fall with more volume. $5 per member artist adds to $190, assuming everybody is willing to part with five bucks to be in this show, even though I didn't tell them ahead of time.

If for $130 we can get 2,500 (and yes, my mind keeps fighting for the freedom to glaze completely over with all this cross-cutting speculative math.) postcards, we'd have plenty. More than plenty. Maybe not landfill amounts, but plenty plenty.

Our show duration may be the beginning of Bath House austerity measures. Or it may just be an anomaly. Two months is a long time to have work tied up in a show. Especially one that starts before Christmas, when visions of sugar-plums dance in some artists' heads. Though it may stymie art sales just before Christmas, it will save the Bath House money.

Somebody just emailed me about some interesting species of birds at the lake today, so I'm going there, but before I go, I'll email the whole 12.8-megabyte shebang of invitations to Enrique, with a request to print, shudder, 2,500 of them. Maybe somebody will volunteer to take stacks to galleries that allow stacks of promotional materials, like Kettle, does The MAC? Must be some others.blue dot = end of story

Susan Lecky - Time and Again, To The New Future

Susan Lecky   Never, Now and Then Tomorrow Too   acrylic   79 x 80 inches  
image submitted by artist

Saturday 11 14 09    Went birding. Saw darned few birds there. Eventually will work those up. Came back. Slept the long and glorious sleep. Woke up again in the middle-late afternoon. Feel so much better.

Found out we could have had a 5 x 7-inch postcard and still not have had to use First Class Postage for only $20 additional per thousand. The Bath House needs only 300 cards. If we print a thousand, that'd be only 18 cards each, which might actually be enough for most of us. The only real use I have for mine is to send a copy to my parents and to stick a couple in my design scrapbook. I don't have a mailing list. (Although all artists should have one.)

I decided to stick with 4 x 6-inch postcards simply because I'm too tired to take four or five hours out to change the design to 5 x 7. If I had known that 5 x 7s still send for the lesser Postcard Rate instead of First Class, I would have done it 5 x 7 to start. But I didn't know that option was available, and I'm in no mood to change it at this late date.

I think I remember that last time, for The Winter Show, we had too many postcards, having printed 2,000 of them. But I don't think we had to pay for them. I chose to have postcard invitations this time, because the Bath House was not going to.

They're in financial crisis, as are many City agencies — although the City seems to have gobs of money to build concrete parks on top of freeways and downtown and to fill The Spillway at White Rock Lake with gajillion tons of concrete. Whoever's selling all that concrete has to be doing alright.blue dot = end of story

Jerry Dodd - Wounded Samurai

Jerry Dodd   Wounded Samurai   welded, painted steel   11 x 13 x 7 inches    
image provided by the artist

1,000 4x6 postcards cost $72. 2,000 postcards cost $100. I think it's worth $28 more of all our money, even if some of those go to waste. If 46 of us share the 1,700 postcards left over after The Bath House's uses, that's 36 for each of us 46 artists in both shows. Probably enough for most of us. So be it.

I started to say "pretty cheap for $5 each." Then I ran the numbers, and find that'd only be $3.63 each. I think I'm still going to charge $5 each, and if there's any left over, I'll buy some nice cookies or something more interesting than coffee or water for the reception or the Art Conversation. I'm trying to imagine actually getting $5 from each artist in the Member Show.

Apparently Enrique has written the PR for the show. I will submit high-resolution images — probably the five that are on our side of the postcard for Bath House promotion use and for their website.

Enrique also moved the installation dates for the show at the Latino Culture Center that would have kept him from helping us hang the show. Meaning he will be there to help hang the show in the four days we have to do that. We'll start around 10 o'clock each of the days it takes us to get the work placed, hung and lighted.

I'll post the absolutely finalized version of both sides of the postcard tomorrow (Sunday) after I deliver it to Enrique. He'll email it to the printer and pick it up from the printer when it's printed, so we'll have invitations for artists when they deliver their art.

Oh, and the policy for whose image tops this page is that I change it every couple of days, depending upon what I can find that I want to put there. Lately, it's been two days max.blue dot = end of story

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

The link at the bottom is operational now.
Presented this size, so we can read the text.


Friday 11 13.5 09    Well, I did it, and this is it. The actual postcard is rendered at 300dpi, and web pages — at least this one — are rendered at 72dpi, so the type looks messy, and it won't be in the printed card I got all the names in, only once each, and I managed to include five small pictures of members' work on one side and 1 image on the Back-room Invitational on the other side

I'm delighted to get to show it off here. It was a booger to do. I did a very conservative layout where everything all lined up with no pictures for the member side. Then I copied that and went a little deranged for several hours till I managed to puzzle everything together.

If you see any errors, let me know immediately at the email address on the Contact Us page. Please.

Anna approved it this evening. I like it. Of course a 4x6-inch postcard is a small thing to start with. Add 38 names on one side and a bunch of info on the other, and you got one busy little space. I've yet to print out one, full-size (100%) version of it.

I'm so used to seeing it writ large on my screen, I'm a little dismayed to have to print it out at that tiny. It's like working in miniature. I prefer the larger size, but that costs us — and the City of Dallas, which is not gonna have it — more to post.

And now I'm wondering how much it would cost to print ours bigger, even though it'd be full First Class postage. Ah but that's a fool's game. They should all be the same. Too confusing. And that dinky little postcard will look pretty good, even if some of us elder folk will have to get out our Sherlock Holmes magnifiers.

Since I did the whole thing, front and back, in somewhat less than 24 hours, and I got all day Saturday that I'm not photographing birds (First thing first.), I'll continue to do some fiddling with spacing, sizes and such, though there's not a heckuvalot of squishy room. I did that for a couple hours before I showed it to Anna, then incorporated some of her suggestions.

She does this sort of thing for a living. I just have mostly fun with it once every couple of years, although I supported myself for two decades as a designer and typesetter [and teacher, cab-driver and Night-watchman at a Massage Parlor, among other things].

And I expect to spend another several hours finessing further minutiae. The angels are in the details, after all. Don't know if there's room for them on the walls of the Bath House, but there's room for one more artist in this show on the Member's side of the invitation.

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

And this is the address side / Back-room Invitational side. The big blank on the right is for stamps (for us) and the postal indicia for the Bath House's nonprofit mailing use. Below that goes their and our mailing labels.

I've carefully left a half inch at the bottom for the Post Office to print or stick down one of those strips of postal code it just loves to splatter across the bottom of our precious invitations. Not to say they won't make other attempts to maul it.

Terry Hays points out that those two trees of his on the Back-room Invitational side of the card are not the actual pieces he'll have in the show, but they are similar to the actual pieces. Not much I can do about that. It's the closest thing I have to an image of finished work in that show, since everything else in that strange little show, except Eliseo's strange big piece, will be new and different to me, the supposed curator.

Attending the Continental Gin open house tonight, I snagged two last-minute DARts Members for the show and picked their work. Or they did. So essentially, all that clap-trap about this show being "carefully curated" is sheer bullshit, like so much else in life. It's not so much how we planned it, as how it turned out. And I still have high hopes for that, whatever it may be.

The Skywatch for opening night indicates it will be stellar for social engagements and blind-dates.blue dot = end of story

George Bailey - Evil Smirk

George Bailey   Evil Smirk   oil on hardboard    48 x 24 inches     provided by the artist

11 13 09   I should be designing the invitational postcard for the member show coming up. I think I should be. I'm hoping I've got it safely on a back-burner — for creative effect. Don't think about it now, so I can think about it more clearly tomorrow when I get going on it.

It's still in my mind, because I feel guilty I'm not doing it, even though I bored myself silly with what I've done so far. I've got most of the important information down, even got all the names I know.

Those are all arranged on a page. And of course, another artist who tried to contact me through faze block instead of just emailing me directly added their name now that I'd finished that.

Two-up so I can keep some sort of standardization going on both sides of the single card for both shows. Even though the two logos are vastly different. One show on each side, so far. The Members show and the Back-room Invitational. I felt very out-of-it about that one for awhile, but now I'm getting excited. The only real change, however, is that it's getting closer.

I still have not seen most of the work   Let's stop right there. I still have only seen two of the pieces in that show that I am supposedly curating. Like all those artists I invited who entirely ignored my invitation. Did not even reply with a "no thank-you." I don't understand that sort of behavior. Though there are probably analogs of it all through my own life.

When Paul Rogers Harris curated any of the shows he put me in, he came by and looked through what I had or I could work up in time. Sometimes my curating is looser than that. I keep writing that a lot of the process involves trust. But if I get too carried away with that notion, I could end up without work for that back room.

Which is not really a major problem. We could close off that room. We could spread the Member show back there. There are several easily accomplished possibilities. Not that I mistrust any of the artists I invited to be in that back-room. Maybe I just like to scare myself silly sometimes. It's working.

Being a hopeful pessimist can be grueling. I used to have business cards that called me a "cynical optimist." Sometimes the trust shall set you free. Sometimes it's just scary. I want to have some pictures of work in both shows, but I can't imagine them being on the same design I got so far.

So I'm being a major optimist and self-confident, to boot, to even imagine I can pull this off. But I think I can. Usually I spend a week or so on an invitation. But by the day after the day after tomorrow, I'll have finished it. too. It's just past midnight Friday ayem now. That's getting closer, too.

I'm putting this story on this page instead of on the show blog, so I can keep the image above on top of it. It would be too confusing on the Revue Blog, because it's not anybody else's work in the show, and it's not my work for the show, either. I don't think.

What that object is is a Captain's Prism. Who bought it assumed it would splatter light into pretty rainbows. But it doesn't. It's to be stuck in the deck above the Captain's quarters so it spreads day light around in those cramped, dark rooms. I think of it as a sort of magic, spreading light, intelligence, positivity.

You can still be added to the show, but no artists names will be added to the invitation, effective immediately.blue dot = end of story


Carroll Swenson-Roberts   Flower   2009   ink   36 x 24 inches     provided by the artist

11 12 09    Not sure what I was thinking. If I even was. But the 4x6-inch postcard design — with color front and back — is due Sunday afternoon, and the Press Release is due at the same time. So now I gotta whip those out. Luckily, Enrique will distribute it to the right outlets. Basically, we'll be listed in The News, maybe the Observer and whatever else there is. More than that will be good (or bad) luck.

We will have postcards when artists deliver their work. That's about five bucks per member payable upon delivery of your work. The only other cost for being in this show will be to bring food stuff to the opening.

Back-room Invitational invitees are our guests, although all the artists are invited to attend our Art Conversation 7-9:30 Saturday January 9

As usual at the Bath House, the reception is a potluck food fest. Please bring a snack or desert or something that doesn't require utensils to eat.

The Bath House will provide some refreshments to contribute to the potluck, but Enrique says, "unless the artists are willing to pay $140 to hire a security officer for the reception, we will be unable to serve alcohol during the reception (new City rule). We'll have water and coffee for the public."

I am personally opposed to getting other people drunk, so this is up to you artists. And unless I hear otherwise, I plan not to have alcohol at the opening. As usual, groundswells of member opinion will be noticed, maybe even acted upon, but I ain't paying for it.

TJ Mabrey - CrossCurrent/Missing

TJ Mabrey   CrossCurrent/Missing   2009   White Marble  (slight detail)   85 pounds
image submitted by artist, then doctored by J R

11 11.5 09   Heard back from several artists, cleared up a couple of confusions — some mine — and at least one of them asked when was the delivery date. Strongly indicating they had not seen this page, including that big, bold red and green portion near the top.

If I were in a show — if I still participated in that hysteria, that'd be the most important info to learn to see if I could fit my busy schedule into the show's. But then I like clicking on actual links in emails. I'm sure there are people out there who hit more sites a day than I do, but I am curious. I counted and was disappointed. I've only visited 96 web pages so far today. I thought surely there were more than that, and I was tracking down some info on a new toy. Oh, looks like that's about average here lately. Hmmm.

I still have little use for PhaseBoop, but I'm happier now I've limited access to it once a week. Web guru, my foot.

I found myself actually being optimistic about this show twice today. Not sure if it's a habit yet, but it's up from where I was. Added some Xs. Now for some WHYs.blue dot = end of story

Terry Hays - Trees Detail

Details of Back-room Invitational invitee Terry Hays' trees   Photo by Terry Hays

11 11 09    I
'm attempting to gather a definitive list of artists who will definitely show in the Revue next month. Some DallasArtsRevue members said they would be in it a couple months ago, but I haven't heard a peep from since. Others I dearly hope will be in the show, but I've had a similar sense of noncommunictions from/with.

I want a list of names before I commit to a design for the invitational postcard, even though I haven't heard back from Enrique about that still being a possibility. As with so much else of my life right now, there's just so much up in the air still about this show.

I'm trying to ground me and ground them, and there's lift-off and bring-downs and a lot of bobbing in the betweens. It's a more or less normal state of affairs in the life of most large group shows, but I need to level the field so I can get the right names on the invitation, even though there's often one artist who thinks they're going to be in the show but they'll never quite get around to doing everything that would require.

Which condition might explain my name on that list without an x behind it, as well. I have many grandiose ideas, but I strongly suspect I will end up printing a couple shots and putting them in a cranny or nook somewhere in the melange of this show.

I likewise have not heard from most of the Back-room Invitational invitees, although I trust that they will each and every one come up with something perfectly appropriate. Though probably on their schedule, not mine.

There's a lot of trust inherent in this curating business. Some small smidgen of it badly misplaced, but I won't find out till it's up or over, which condition obtains.blue dot = end of story

Chris Bergquist Fulmer - Campus Math (detail)

Chris Bergquist Fulmer   Campus Math (detail)   submitted by artist

11 10 09    B
een a couple days. Staying busy with the shows. Now I'm wondering if we'll have room for everything. Long lost members — who either weren't paying attention and/or let their memberships lapse — have been coming back to the fold and wanting to be in the show, of course.

Even I want to be in the show, but I hate making prints that never look as good as the images on my computer. I can't imagine getting everybody's art on those spare few walls, except we're going to cram them in, and that's my favorite way. Salon style. Floor to ceiling. I'm still hoping the sculpture will stand apart. I'm willing to be wowed by stuff I haven't seen yet, only been told, vaguely, about.

Seen a lot of pictures. Wonder how close to reality those are. Will find out bigtime in 25 days. Then we'll have four or three days to put it all up, and we're going to need some help doing that. Everybody wants to be in it, but damned few have shown any willingness to help. (As always, those who help get special consideration for placement.)

There's no charge to anybody in either show. Invitees in the back-room should be free. That will be an amazing show. I know it down in my bones. Marrow deep. Even though I've only really seen one piece so far. I'm excited and worried. Can wait, will have to wait, thrilled and chilled by the possibilities.

I think it's probably already too late to do an invitational postcard. Guess I gotta contact Enrique about that. Names keep needing to be added. Might have to stop that soon. Just cut it off. I've sent out invitations and reminders and. And I know for certain, that several more somebodies are going to wander in at the last moment, having paid no attention whatsoever for the last six months we've been talking about this, and say, Oh, well, of course, I have to be in it, too. Right?

Right?blue dot = end of story

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

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

Smaller Eliseo Pieces

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

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

Gorgeous Eliseo Drawings for Public Art Projects on his light table

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Ray-Mel Cornelius - Caligula

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Kathy Robinson Hays - KRH Studio

Kathy Robinson Hays Studio photo by Kathy Robinson Hays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joan Iverson - A Reinvented Flaw

Joan Iverson   A Reinvented Flaw

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peggy Epner - Good After Bad

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

 image  submitted by artist


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

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

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

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

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

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

Pavlina Panova   Wild Flowers 1   2009

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

Gosh, this is such a luscious piece, talk about green art. Oof! I'm leaving this image large, so you can almost feel the dimensionality of her all-natural materials, so painstakingly pressed into its backing. The work itself is darker, less contrasty, can not be shown in direct gallery light. I want to show it in its best light, but the artist needs low light, so maybe, again, it needs white space around it to remind the viewer that it's so special.

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

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

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

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

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

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

His signature work is transgressive:

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

Something artists are supposed to do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I do? What can I do? How do I serve all my members without excluding one of them?

More than a month later, another member asked why he wasn't participating in this show. I replied, "Probably because the Bath House, like most public galleries is scared shitless of the kind of art he would prefer to make. There's a mini essay [This one] about that issue. After each of the previous showings I've asked him to make other images for, he has handed them over to me. Like they are not really his. This is an untenable position I've put him into, and I think it's utterly wrong for me to participate in the subterfuge.blue dot = end of story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yada yada.blue dot = end of story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Short Visual History of
the 2009 Member Show's
Name & Logo

The Dallas Arts Revue show logo

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

The DallasArtsRevue REVUE

The DARts Show

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

The Dallas Arts Revue show logo

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

Revue logo 4

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

The DallasArtsRevue Revue logo

I think I like it!

The DallasArts REVUE

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

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

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

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

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

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


Our shows so far

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

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

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

the YUDAR logo

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

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

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

the winter show

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

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

the Fierce show logo

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Visit Part Two of this Blog.