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Texas Sculpture Associaion Goes Silver
Brad Abrams - Going Under - cast glass
Texas Sculpture Association's 25th Anniversary Membership Show - [No artists are named in the official publicity. You'd think such an experienced association would want to promote its members.] at the ArtCentre of Plano May 16 through June 14, 2008
Once a powerhouse of the best and most innovative fine art sculpture in Dallas as well as all across Texas, the Texas Sculpture Association has gradually settled into a hoky provincialism, though there are noticeable exceptions in this show.
Brad Abrams' cast glass is gorgeous by itself and its stand is as exquisite in a different medium and format, making the entire presentation superb, and the placement here, in front of that bright-streaming window, classic.
I'd look at other pieces in that big front room, then reflexively turn back to this eloquently presented chunk of translucence and texture. Nice to see clean, clear, solid sculpture not in obeisance to some silly form. Brad Abrams is clearly one of our best.
Mrtha Aertker - Mary of Knots
steel and raku clay with found oubjects
Another artist whose work I've been watching, though not always so positively, is Mirtha Aertker, whose work often pops up in goofy galleries and obscure group shows. The craft and ingenuity is obvious, but until I laid eyes on this piece, still maybe a little too cute for my comfort, I worried she'd not get past the glib. Now I'm thinking she may be turning the long-smoothed corner from too-corny craft into raw fine art.
Gisela-Heidi Strunck - Path Delight, 2007 - mixed wood
Lovely also to see two pieces by Gisela-Heidi Strunck that continue her life-long progression. Beautiful, colorful, tactile totemic pieces of soft and hard shapes and textures.
Scott Trent - Mobile 101 - welded metal
Scott Trent's welded metal Mobile 101 was difficult to mobile-ize (I tried) but classic in porportion and balance, yet subtle of color and tone. Maybe it needs an open space and a good stiff wind.
Annelies Christian - Maria and Me - fired clay
Annalies Christian's quite large (I'm guessing three or four feet high) fired clay piece, Maria and Me, a vertically warped undulation of mostly white exterior and oddy juxtaposed, muted Klee-like plaid abstraction inside was lovely, even though my photo tends to tone merge it with the centre's white walls.
Overall, this being a 25th Anniversary exhibition, I register the show as a disappointment, because of the over-abundance of work more evocative of emotionalism and superficially clever craft — especially along the windows of the main gallery and in the back room — than aesthetics and innovation. I expected wall-to-wall excellence, but these, and a few other, memorable works make this silver anniversary show shine.
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