Thursday, January 15, 2015

A few lessons to look through

On silhouettes: link and this link
Watercolor: link
Color Balance: link
Cool project: link
Oil Pastel: link 
Negative/positive space: link 
Mandalas: link 
Thiebaud Pop: link
Pointillism/Aboriginal art: link
Text art: link

kinetic art: link

Flip Book: link
Text and face: link
DeChirico Inspired Perspective lesson: link


Overall Great site for lesson plans: Link
Another great site for plans: Link
Overall site but not sure about: Link


Monday, January 05, 2015

URBAN THEATER: NEW YORK ART IN THE 1980s




Barbara Kruger
Untitled (I Shop therefore I Am), 1987
Photographic silkscreen on vinyl
111 x 113 inches
Courtesy: Glenstone
Photo: Tim Nighswander
© Barbara Kruger


Open up an art book about the 1980’s and without much exception you will find every artist in the current show at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. I found myself walking as slow as possible in order to consider every possible image. I only became aware of many of these artists when taking a contemporary art class as an undergraduate, in the early 90’s. By then, the moment and even the lives of some of these artists had past. Their influences on the next generation of artists and the emerging art market is incalculable.

1980’s was just a prelude to the hyper 80’s we live in today. The rich are getting richer, more people are become celebrities for less and less of a good reason, and injustices persist for class, gender, and race. Only then, critics were loud like the Guerilla Girls. Thier posters of protest exposed institutions said or unsaid policies of inequality. Barbara Kruger gave us short twitter like messages in her images to warn us not to be fooled by consumerism. A consumer culture that was rapidly finding new markets in the art world. Jeff Koons’ vacuum cleaners in a display box was in the show. This was at the height of his conceptual work, before he took the easy road of pure kitsch.

Graffiti came into the gallery with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. An abundance of mediocre graffiti to gallery artists have followed. Haring maintained his street style, while Basquiat emerged out of his street roots to become part of the Neo-Expressionist. I wish there were a few more Basquiat’s and a few less Haring’s, but both were worth seeing as examples of the era and evolution of artists. Painting continued to thrive despite the rising skepticism for the life of the medium. Eric Fischl had a provocative narrative image that had a bit more punch because the image was a painting. I somehow associated Christopher Wool with the 1990’s, but I guess his roots are in the 80’s. His word pieces are often made to slow your ability to read the words rapidly and then move on. He has painted his canvas like a cheap sign with stencils. The messages are collected from popular culture, but come off cold as his black and white stark image. Philip Taaffe’s Op like painting mesmerized me, yet felt familiar because a few Texas artists are still working in the same vein.

Photography’s rise to prominence as an important art medium coincide with powerful, sometime controversial content. Even as isolated as I was in a rural town, I knew about the Mapplethorpe controversy. His dark, sublime images in this show hint at the controversy without fully addressing the shocking imagery. Not that they had too, because the myth has already overshadowed the images. Film myth was Cindy Sherman’s game in her Film Still series. Countless papers have been written about these works. In the age of Selfies, we can look back at someone that predates us and did it better. Richard Prince was also dealing with photos, but he was stripping away the ad information and leaving an image. Yet many were familiar with these ads he altered, so a kind of residual information was left. Nan Goldin photos were of a downward spiral of people around her.

My only disappointment is that the show didn’t completely take the whole of the museum spaces. When I went upstairs I ran into the permanent collection, which is great work, but I was left hungry for much more. I settled for walking through the show again at my incredibly slow pace. I tweeted that I didn’t want to leave. Sadly URBAN THEATER: NEW YORK ART IN THE 1980s will be over January 4th. 

ModernDallas.net  for more images

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Keeping in site

Here are a few links I want to keep in mind for this weekend. IV Bienal Ciudad Juarez-El Paso Biennial 2015, Box13, Royal Academy, BEEFHAUS, Decia Gallery, Artcritical, and End Piece. Why, check them out and see.


Friday, January 02, 2015

The Amplifier


Image detail of one of my drawings




Almost over a few years ago, aka a while back; The Amplifier had an article about my show. The magazine is a staple for those that want great information art shows, music, and things to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The article gives a great quote by artist and director Andee Rudloff. An old article popped up about my undergraduate life too. Here is the link

Thursday, January 01, 2015

FRANCESCA BIFULCO


The Farmers - Acrylic on wood panel 30 x60 inches 2014


I finally made my long over due visit to WASS Gallery. What I found was a compound with a two story gallery space and a separate building with their office/storage space. The office space is basically backroom for the gallery. It was populated by your run of the mill domesticated graffiti art and Gen X/Y-Pop. If I had started in the office, I might not have had the power to reach the main gallery. However, WASS Gallery’s solo show of Francesca Bifulco’s paintings captured and repelled me so much that I haven’t stopped thinking about the show for weeks.

I started downstairs viewing Bifulco’s shaped canvas which I now know is her signature mark making of long slashes of paint. To be honest, I couldn’t quite get on board with these works. I thought the works were too simple and almost avant garde decorative. It didn’t really sink in that this was part of an overall style Bifulco was exploring, but this idea became very evident when I went upstairs and saw her more representative pieces. Bifulco was using these slash marks to create images of people and scenes. I had to give the abstract works downstairs a second look and consideration.

Bifulco’s collect of crowds upstairs is incredibly engaging. I found myself smirking at her humorous, yet poignant depiction of people on cell phones in groups. Titles like, The People I May Know and The Farmers illustrate the interactive world we live in across the airways, but not right next to us. Bifulco fences in her subjects in The Farmers like farm animals. I can imagine them playing something like Hay Day.  Even digital interactions have a strange disconnect. When  a friend was posting an update on social media, I have heard him refer it to “watering the plants.” In other crowds, Bifulco shows how  people avoid interact with others through just the act of walking from place to place. Even without cell phones, people find ways to distract themselves from the masses.

Thinking about crowds brings me around to her style of painting. Bifulco has a clear method and style to her work that doesn’t distract from her content, yet isn’t arbitrary either. I see her splashes of paint adding motion and energy to the crowds she depicts, but the style also seems to further emphasise the fact that she is depicting crowds. Her marks blur the figures, while defining them. The color shifts in some of the works also blurred and confused the image, which made me a bit disoriented and disconnected with her subjects. Returning to the abstract works downstairs, I get the feeling that her style loses something without a recognizable subject. Then again, her objective subjects use a multiplicity of lines that make up their composition. Maybe the abstract work just needs more complexity. However, I thinking I might have to go back and see her show again to confirm or reject my first impressions. Luckily I have time, because Francesca Bifulco’s solo exhibition will be up until January 3rd, 2015. 

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PATI OLEON



 Helix, 2013oil on linen over panel, 53 x 53 inches



Two years ago, I visited a show of photographs by Andrew Williams at the Magnolia Art Gallery. I first thought that the work was digital, but it turned out his images used traditional photography. I was fooled because Williams was reflecting in his work a kind of reaction against digitally manipulated photography. Recently at Cris Worley Fine Arts, I happened upon another artist tackling the digital photograph dilemma, only instead of reacting against this the digital divide, Pati Oleon embraces and even celebrates the manipulated image. However, her images are not photos, but paintings.

If you download many camera phone apps, you will get the ability to split your screen and take an image and make an opposite image in the same frame. Digital editing tools have been able to do this for years so now the effect has become a bit cliche in its overuse. Instant and a bit silly, I thought I had seen all I wanted to see of this kind of manipulation. Then Pati Oleon came along and gave this old tool new life. I was forced to reevaluate my dismissive attitude. After all with a click of a button, a reverse image can just magically appear. It reminds me of a bit by comedian Louis C.K. about how the commonplace of having a bad time at the airport should be trumped by the miracle of people flying. Oleon slowed down this amazing technology and likely takes more time than someone working in traditional photography. Oleon had to paint both sides identical in order to create the same effect. Any mistake and illusion would be blown. The painting Helix gave me shivers just thinking about her process.

Pati Oleon chooses themes of color in each of her works. Her paintings are interiors where the light seems to push its way into the picture, but held at bay by architectural elements. This creates darker, sometimes cool tones or earthy colors. Because her paintings are so symmetrical, you can start to see illusions to faces. This pareidolia effect made me see eyes, a nose, and a mouth in several of her paintings. Of course, these are illusions, just like the world she is depicting. She described her scenes as “layering of artifice.” I see Oleon using Jacques Derrida’s method to deconstruct her subject revealing the false constructs of past definitions of beauty and value in these places. However, Oleon likely reinforces our fetish with the symbols of wealth by the fact that she is creating a symbol of that world, an oil painting. Which has its own history and cache.

Oleon is well aware of the traditions of the past masters, because she employees some these methods. I would love to see a show of her work in various stages of production, including her research and digital approach. Although it was a real treat to see all these finished products. Pati Oleon: Parallel Space at Cris Worley Fine Art will be down on January 3rd. And in case you were wondering, Andrew Williams is producing strong narrative photography which doesn’t seem to be a reactionary, but rather lyrical, sublime, and a little journalistic in nature. 

 ModernDallas.net for more pictures.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

OUT AND ABOUT IN THE GALLERIES


 Lean 1 and Stack 1, 2014, wood, paint


When I was out and about a few weekends ago, I found myself at a few lightly attended openings. The Reading Room had felt full, but the space is pretty small. The gallery features the strangely odd, sometime humorous postcard project of Jennie Ottinger. I wish I would have brought a stamp to trade with her. Cohn Drennan Contemporary had some very interesting conceptual artists immersed into new media and data collecting. For a moment I thought I might have stepped into Central Trak. Sophia Le Fraga had edited some film stills with subtitles and created a kind of found poetry. Le Fraga’s use of the familiar and pulling text out of context then collaging it with other film stills captures much of the Conceptual art spirit. I was extremely engaged by her poems/art images. Liliana Bloch Gallery’s space hadn’t revved up their attendance either, but in their defence, I did come by pretty early. I hope more people dropped by after I left, because the sculptures of Ryan Goolsby would be well worth the time to see in person.

Ryan Goolsby’s sculptures were on my list of things to see in Fort Worth earlier this year. He was showing a body of work he produced at TCU and some of the sculptures from that show were also at the Liliana Bloch Gallery. Although, in this deep Ellum gallery space, the lighting and general atmosphere worked to accentuate the lines and shadows of each piece much better than the TCU show. I was a bit sceptical that Goolsby’s work would even fit with this small venue, but Liliana Bloch allowed the pieces to migrate on walls around her office area and then into the gallery space. Each piece had plenty of room for you to consider the object. And what objects Goolsby has created. Because the lines of wood are so well fit together and any accent of paint is coated on with extra care to be near flawless, Goolsby has managed to negate a conversation about material and rather the viewer can focus on lines, shapes, and shadows. So many sculptures seem to put an emphasis their material’s capabilities and textures that  little else seems to matter in their work. Goolsby doesn’t seem to be interested in this conversation, but rather his objects transcend their materials. It is easy to anthropomorphize these objects and imagine they have personalities. Goolsby mentioned that Lean 1 and Stack 1 displayed together looked like a “couple”.

Lean 2 made you lean down a look at the different shades of blue painted in the slats. Since there were multiple light sources, the lights split the shadow into three. This gave the effect of multiple lines drawn the the floor by light. I say drawn, because these sculptures are in the spirit of drawing. Lines move and intersect with hints of color. Shapes seem to flatten, while still remaining three dimensional. I enjoyed the play of light on Goolsby’s pieces and his hints of color made his sculptures more attractive. Ryan Goolsby will be showing his sculptures at Lilian Bloch Gallery through December 6th. 

ModernDallas.net for more pictures.

Monday, December 29, 2014

JULIETA AGUINACO



 Pre-hispanic Mexico, Colonial Mexico, Modern Mexico, 2013, Acrylic on Canvas


On Payne Street a new vision for the Dallas gallery scene is taking form. From the outside, bold boxie letters declare TEXAS MILL EQUIP. CO. but the gallery space is called Cydonia, directed by Hanh Ho. The gallery’s first show featured ideas on masculinity with several artists participating in the question of what new boundaries might be emerging. The current show features the work of Julieta Aguinaco and her exploration of the experience of time.

It may not be too obvious that the show about about experiencing time and space, but Julieta Aguinaco leaves the viewer a great number of clues. Notably, the rack of clothes with corresponding photos of herself. 101 photos show Aguinaco wearing her own clothes, as well as her mother’s, and grandmother’s. The actual clothes hang in the gallery. Aguinaco acts as a genetic link to her family and a caretaker of her family’s historical past through these dresses. She plays the role of the past individuals that wore these items as well as her present self. The future intent of the dresses and images will hopefully be entrusted to individuals who take it upon themselves to become caretakers.

Aguinaco imagines time experienced of the soil, structures, and political climates in her landscape paintings. Border walls and gates hold a prominent position in these images, but the barriers are incomplete and open. Lines jet out over a painting with no clear horizon line. One could infer in the paintings a narrative of two countries with shared contentious history. But the colors and movement feel optimistic, as if Aguinaco knows that things will work out with time and effort which could wear down any physical border.

The road signs hold as much or more power as the clothes and photos. These signs for space indicated Aguinaco’s travels around Mexico City. Each place has a history and also a moment in time when Aguinaco found herself there. The middle row reflects the Roman Catholic cultural influences while the top row names reflect the Aztec cultures that once thrived before the Spanish arrived. Finally, the bottom signs reflect the ideas of the Modern world with names like Revolucion and Progreso. Aguinaco displays the names in a narrative timeline based on Western structures of organizing time. Top to bottom and right to left is the displayed structure. An archaeologist or perhaps Michel Foucault  might have displayed these histories with the Aztec at the bottom and the Modern period at the top.

I can’t look at the sign paintings without reflecting on On Kawara’s date paintings. Where Aguinaco’s painting signifies history and personal experience, On Kawara captures the moment. By default, he also manages to capture history and personal experience as days past from the production of the painting. Aguinaco goes a bit further by including Place.

Julieta Aguinaco runs through December 27th. I look forward to more thought provoking shows from the gallery named Cydonia, located on Payne Street in Dallas, Texas. Where mill equipment was once stored, and before that maybe an American Bison might have roamed. 

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2nd year with Art for ADVOCACY

 Film
30 x 22 inches
Ink on paper

Dallas Children Advocacy Center has an art auction every year and I have donated a piece a second year in a row. It is a great cause and since I have kids, I feel passionate about protecting children. If we could reduce and by some miracle eliminate child abuse a lot of societal issues would be solved and mental health would improve dramatic among individuals. Here is a link to my art piece for 2014.



Patty Seyburn's Corot's "Girl in Pink"
2013
Ink on paper
22 by 30

Here is my art piece from 2013. This art piece was also a text and even an article was written about the show back then.

Friday, December 26, 2014

An Object of Beauty (a novel) by Steve Martin

I feel a bit uneasy enjoying this book, but it is a nice snap shot of the past few decades of the incredibly odd rise of the art market. The book follows two main characters. The most important character is Lacey Yeager, a Georgian that came to NYC to climb in the art market. She started in Sotheby's auction house, works for a secondary market gallery, and the runs her own contemporary gallery. Her relationships to people are kept either professional or uncommitted when it comes to personal relationships. The other main character is an art writer and he is a kind of keeper of her life story. The setting Steve Martin writes about even flows with little event and actions that seem interesting because I would like to think I live a little of it myself, but might not captivate an outsider to the scene. Although Martin does bring you along with information that is helpful if your not in the know.  I am still debating if I feel passionate about his characters. I still feel he could have gotten a little more deeper into getting to know Yeager. Over all I enjoy the book, if only because I was having fun taking an imaged art life of my own through the book.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

JULIETA AGUINACO


Pre-hispanic Mexico, Colonial Mexico, Modern Mexico, 2013, Acrylic on Canvas

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

On Payne Street a new vision for the Dallas gallery scene is taking form. From the outside, bold boxie letters declare TEXAS MILL EQUIP. CO. but the gallery space is called Cydonia, directed by Hanh Ho. The gallery’s first show featured ideas on masculinity with several artists participating in the question of what new boundaries might be emerging. The current show features the work of Julieta Aguinaco and her exploration of the experience of time.

It may not be too obvious that the show about about experiencing time and space, but Julieta Aguinaco leaves the viewer a great number of clues. Notably, the rack of clothes with corresponding photos of herself. 101 photos show Aguinaco wearing her own clothes, as well as her mother’s, and grandmother’s. The actual clothes hang in the gallery. Aguinaco acts as a genetic link to her family and a caretaker of her family’s historical past through these dresses. She plays the role of the past individuals that wore these items as well as her present self. The future intent of the dresses and images will hopefully be entrusted to individuals who take it upon themselves to become caretakers.

Aguinaco imagines time experienced of the soil, structures, and political climates in her landscape paintings. Border walls and gates hold a prominent position in these images, but the barriers are incomplete and open. Lines jet out over a painting with no clear horizon line. One could infer in the paintings a narrative of two countries with shared contentious history. But the colors and movement feel optimistic, as if Aguinaco knows that things will work out with time and effort which could wear down any physical border.

The road signs hold as much or more power as the clothes and photos. These signs for space indicated Aguinaco’s travels around Mexico City. Each place has a history and also a moment in time when Aguinaco found herself there. The middle row reflects the Roman Catholic cultural influences while the top row names reflect the Aztec cultures that once thrived before the Spanish arrived. Finally, the bottom signs reflect the ideas of the Modern world with names like Revolucion and Progreso. Aguinaco displays the names in a narrative timeline based on Western structures of organizing time. Top to bottom and right to left is the displayed structure. An archaeologist or perhaps Michel Foucault might have displayed these histories with the Aztec at the bottom and the Modern period at the top.

I can’t look at the sign paintings without reflecting on On Kawara’s date paintings. Where Aguinaco’s painting signifies history and personal experience, On Kawara captures the moment. By default, he also manages to capture history and personal experience as days past from the production of the painting. Aguinaco goes a bit further by including Place.

Julieta Aguinaco runs through December 27th. I look forward to more thought provoking shows from the gallery named Cydonia, located on Payne Street in Dallas, Texas. Where mill equipment was once stored, and before that maybe an American Bison might have roamed.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

JOHN POMARA



Digital-Distraction, 2014
Oil enamel on aluminum
70.5” x 46.5”


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

Every couple of years, Barry Whistler Gallery features the works by John Pomara. Last show was titled off-Key2 where he had some pieces that used clearer references to recognizable images. This time, Pomara returned to his more abstract images that reference glitches in information output.

I see Pomara’s paintings following the Jean Baudrillard’s precession of simulacra. He starts with an image he copies/references, masks it, removes from its reality, and then leaves it as a hyperreal object. Stripped of its former signs and meaning, Pomara leaves us with the power struggle of digital and analog. Analog has fuzzy edges like his spray can paint marks and digital uses hard edges and crisp lines. Advertisers have sold digital as superior in quality product, but Pomara’s art pokes holes in these lies. He breaks his paintings into sections like a glitched downloaded photograph. Hard-edge painted lines stream down the painting like lighting. In some of the work from this new series, Pomara introduces the analog which competes for attention. These spayed on analog elements stream down, reflecting the action of the digital elements. Ultimately digital fails because it starts as analog and ends up as a product in analog. No amount of process simulation of the digital element will end up purely digital, unless left in the computer memory. His painted product inherently are analog, though it simulates the digital look.

Several AbEx painters of the 1940’s and 50’s celebrated their violent gestures of mark making on the canvas. These artists were attempting to destroy what came before and supplant it with new forms and language in art. Pomara’s glitch art represents acts of violence on information. His paintings are purposefully destroyed images that are then reconstructed as paintings. As a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, he has seen and helped guide several students attempting similar aims of reprocessing information through deconstruction. As information ever increases at such an incomprehensible magnitude, glitch artists celebrate the failure of information to output correctly.

To paraphrase Baudrillard from Simulacra and Simulation, we have more information and less meaning. Pomara’s work appears to be slicing some of that information and repacking it as paintings. Paintings traditionally held higher meaning or significance over than ordinary images, but we are increasingly being inundated with so many painters creating their own information that even paintings are losing meaningful impact. Fortunately, Pomara’s paintings in this show titled Digital Distraction manage to draw more meaning and produce less noise. John Pomara’s show Digital Distraction will come down at Barry Whistler Gallery on November 29th.

ModernDallas.net  for more images.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mary Stone Lamb


When an artists studies an object or objects, some look to the detail and perfection of the material of paint to simulate the real. It would seem the Mary Stone Lamb is on this particular mission in her work. She is looking to perfect how the lights and shadows play of the skin of these apples. The apples look good enough to eat, so her simulation of these apples has been reached. I meet Mary Stone Lamb will I was in graduate school. She was teaching Design classes at the University of North Texas. She then moved to North Carolina were she now shows with Frank gallery. Check out her bio and process of art here. The gallery is a collective of artists that have come together and share the space. It looks like the can teach classes there at the space as well. Here is a photo of Mary Stone Lamb teaching a class. Next summer, if I am near Chapel Hill, North Carolina; I will have to drop in an catch up with this talented and passionate artist.


ALICIA HENRY



Re-post the ModernDallas.net of my article

A few weekends back, a high school theater teacher and I chaperoned some students to a comic/sci-fi/nerd convention. The convention was a glut of pop culture eye candy with people dressed up in outrageous costumes. Many convention goers were wearing masks of huge franchises of mass marketed characters. So when I suggested at dinner that our group hit a few galleries, the last thing I expected to see was more masks and mysterious faces. After we visited a few places in Deep Ellum, we came to Liliana Bloch Gallery and the Faces of Alicia Henry.

Out of all the shows we saw from the galleries, it seems that Alicia Henry had the most impact on the students. Personally, I hadn’t paid much attention to the press images I saw of her work and I think I might have even missed the show altogether if it weren’t for this impromptu trip. Which makes me question why I sometimes discount things from images I see on the internet, because clearly Henry’s objects had a greater impact in person. The students talked about how they identified with one face or another. Issues of self-worth and self-image were batted around while they moved to each piece. I was captured by how haunting each face felt. I could feel the shame and struggle, yet perseverance these figures seem to be portraying. I was reminded by my experience being poor when I was real young. Everything I had was hand me downs, and so too these figures look as if they are wearing old worn out clothes. Even the masked faces are hiding behind scraps. Henry draws you in, possibly making you a bit uncomfortable with her faces, but then ultimately makes you consider her faces’ individual stories.

I thought Alicia Henry’s work was a great contrast to the masks of the convention. Here was a show of faces that connected to the students and myself on a cognitive and emotional level, whereas the masked people at the convention were distant and a spectacle. After all, the costumed people are representing well tread stories that have a mass amount of people creating these stories and images, and the students all knew them. These characters were set in personalities and plots. Essentially we checked our brains at the door. Henry made us question and think about her mysterious characters that had unclear stories. Henry gave us a framework, but individual narratives about the characters were left up to the viewer. I imagined a few scenarios as did a few of the students. Henry allowed us to be creative with our imagination while staying in her parameters of content.

November 8th, the show comes down for Tennessee based artist and Fisk University professor, Alicia Henry. Next to Liliana Bloch Gallery is a much anticipated show for me; the solo show of Ryan Goolsby. His MFA show from TCU encouraged me to see more, so I look forward to seeing his upcoming conceptual minimal art.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Andrea Myers


Installation View

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.


This year Grand Rapid, Michigan’s ArtPrize shocked many with a consensus on the winner Anila Quayyum Agha; Andrea Myers’ installation with Jeffrey Haase also presented an impressive piece that engaged viewers from many different angles. But if you couldn’t visit Michigan, Andrea Myers has a solo show at Circuit 12 Contemporary this month. I sat down with Myers for a few minutes before her opening and I got some interesting insight into the work.

Although much of her cut-out work in frames are her prints on paper; she, like me, felt these works were invoking the language of paintings. But as I reflect on whole show, Myers really is a fibers/hybrid forms artist. Even the works on paper celebrate the tear of the material. Her prints and found paper play with the surface, and is part of the reason my first impression was that these works were like paintings. Any in her Hollow Series seem akin to Post Minimalism, which have stark white areas hand ripped to expose the next several layers. The Ripple Series reflects the effect an object might make dropped in water.

Andrea Myers is a recycling true believer when it come to her work. Myers told me she never really throws anything away, but rather incorporates her leftovers into expansive works like Expanse. I told her it reminded me of those late 1800’s crazy quilts, where quilters would take all their leftover scraps and create a chaotic quilts. These abstract textiles were indication that Modernism was moving across multiple disciplines at the time. Fibers during the 19th century were not seen as art, but now textiles have been elevated to art status and I can see Myers work as part of this growing tradition. Myers denies practical function to her fiber work Expanse. This object acts more as a tapestry installation of colorful abstraction.

Myers creates works on paper, installations, and in a work like Soft Knots, she makes an abstract sculptural form. Upon looking at this object, I am reminded of abstract pottery or natural stones, but then the colors pop out at you. This makes the you reevaluate the object. I have to remind myself that this is made from stacks of fabric, because I am so use to sculptural shapes like this made from variety of hard surfaces. Her object has been placed on a flat plain white display box or pedestal attached to the wall. Part of the sculpture seems to ooze over the front of the pedestal. This draws your attention to look around and even under the object.

When I think about Andrea Myers’ work as a whole, the variety of approaches with similarity of style makes for good solo exhibition. I felt that all her art in the show played off each other to create a narrative of color and tears. The show will be up until 15 November at Circuit 12 Contemporary.

For more images ModernDallas.net

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GABRIEL DAWE + VINCENT FALSETTA + SARAH BALL

Gabriel Dawe Training Thread (Spenser)

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

What comes up must come down.

Gabriel Dawe celebrates his temporary installations’ deinstallation in this exquisitely beautiful, conceptual show at Conduit.  Vincent Falsetta seems to be deconstructing his paintings and Sarah Ball is helping to pull apart the last remanence of Victorian morality with her depictions of inmates which show ‘bad character.’ Three engaging shows with very different aims, but I see almost an undercurrent in theme which runs through each show.

Gabriel Dawe’s show of thread and drawings had a strong connection to artists like Sol Lewitt or Christo and Jeanne-Claude. All the evidence of Dawe’s pasts shows was present without the actual construction of the piece. Dawe’s displayed the artifacts of his installations; his drawings and thread where what was left from his presentation of a finished work. You might say his thread was on stage for a moment and the curtain went down when he deinstalled the art piece. In this show, Dawe is following a rich, all be it brief, tradition of Conceptual Art. The concept that these art works were planned, executed, shown briefly, and finally removed is part of what makes Conceptual Art so unique. Unlike a painting or sculpture, Dawe is not interested in the product or object, but rather he is creating a brief aesthetic experience. If these thread pieces are anything like Sol Lewitt’s paintings, then I could image Dawe’s art being installed and uninstalled by later practitioners of Dawe. Like a musician playing a piece from J.S. Bach by following his notations, an artist could play Dawe by installing his piece through his instructions.

I have written a great deal on Vincent Falsetta and his body of work and I wasn’t sure I could say anything new about his paintings. But it occurred to me the Falsetta might be deconstructing his paintings.  What I mean is that he is showing the parts and process of his paintings, much like his collection of index cards which tell a similar story. What is important in this show is he also has paintings that completely cover the canvas with his technique. This set of paintings are being paintings.  While the art works that look more unfinished feel as if they are becoming paintings, they are in reality also being paintings. The idea of becoming has a great deal more tension and feelings of unresolved issues. Both groups of paintings seem to talk to one another. I can imagine each group of paintings wishing they were the other paintings. The feeling of resolution is cathartic, but the feeling of becoming is exciting and dangerous.

The little room for Sarah Ball is perfect for her little portraits. We are still dealing with the residuals of Victorian Morals, though that era is over a hundred years gone. Ball explores the 19th century idea of physiognomy or the judgement of people’s ethics by their outward appearance. Look at the contemporary studies of juries, they are more likely to convict someone less attractive for the same crime than someone more attractive. In her own way, Ball is poking at this issue of our hangups that good looks equals an ethical person. Although, even before I knew much about her content, these little portraits were still quite charming. I wouldn’t mind getting to know one of her paintings better.

I wish I could have focused on one artist at Conduit Gallery, but Nancy Whitenack  and Danette Dufilho make it hard to pick a favorite, so I had to write about all three. The curtain comes down on all three shows, November 15th.

For more image ModernDallas.net

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

JULON PINKSTON + ERICA STEPHENS

Julon Pinkston - Candy Forest

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

When heading towards the Design District after visiting galleries from Deep Ellum, one commercial space bridges the gap of worthy art locations in the middle of downtown Dallas, and that is R02 Gallery. The gallery has hosted some pretty wild shows of late, like their cluttered pottery show and show titled CHAOS, which was an explosion of random small works on the wall. In fact, Julon Pinkston and Erica Stephens both had small pieces in that show before this current exhibition paired them up. Their show has been up for a month and closes down this weekend, but I think the Luscious pair of aritsts’ paintings are a worthy visit.

I have a time trying to find a place to park nearby the gallery, but I could always use the walk, so a block away is nothing to complain about. At the gallery, unlike the last few shows, the space feels cleared out and each art piece is given enough room to demand your attention. Julon Pinkston shows paintings that almost feel alive with thick paint that is surely still drying. Many of his globs of paint remind you of candy or icing on cake. If you told me six years ago, while we were both at UNT, that Pinkston would be making paintings like these, I would not have believed you. The groundwork of this development into abstract in Pinkston’s case comes from his understanding of the representational object. In grad school he was creating realistic charcoal drawings of objects found on the side of the road. As individual parts, each object was rendered realistically, but as a whole, they became abstract. Now I see his paintings and I can’t help but think realistic content is still being pulled in to make these abstract images. Pinkston was simulating tape and stickers with his paint, but then he got bolder with his paintings. Abandoning strong visual references for an all over feeling. Candy Forest is one of those paintings that gives you the impression that it is a muddy mess, but then the painting pulls you in and make you want to touch and taste it. Grackles in Flight on an Alabama Night remind me of Charlotte Smith’s early works of populated paint drips on works, only Pinkston has allowed his to go wild and woolly.

The other dynamic in the duo show is Erica Stephens. She has a long history on the Dallas art scene with a brief time away at grad school. She was busy hanging out with the cool kids of Oh6 Collective at UT Dallas while I was working on a humanities masters there. They were an inspirational group and I saw several of their shows. Stephens continues exploring aesthetic boundaries with her Frosted Florals series. It is rare to make a painting that manages to be in imposto style while remaining flat because of her color choices, but a work like Unidentified Poppy manages this masterfully. It reminded of faded wallpaper, but clearly the thick paint stands in contradiction. The Ladies Biedermeirer: The Erica is one of a few small piece with flat elements and globs of paint. The globs make the paintings of flat flowers feel off kilter or spoiled. For me, Stephens pushes the garish and goodie into an aesthetically interesting experience.

This is the last weekend for Erica Stephens and Julon Pinkston, yet surely R02 will throw them into a few more shows. They would be crazy not to. Luscious ends October 12th.

Erica Stephens has an interesting Blog about art.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

JAMES GEURTS

Installation View


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

A fairly new space has emerged on Dragon Street, Zhulong Gallery. The front of the gallery is all glass coated with white. I must say it has been a while since I have seen a front entrance of a gallery space that builds up my expectations to go look inside. I visited a few times, interacted with the staff, put my email in their wall table guestbook, climbed upstairs, and peeked in every space they would let me. I came away excited about the space. I could tell this gallery was going to have some focus on new media artists and further research from their site confirmed this fact.

Currently they are showing James Geurts. An artist that plays in several media, Geurts reflects in his work the rhythms of the earth and water. While looking at the work Drawing In, Drawing Out: Sydney Harbour I wondered if he needs to hear BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast to fall asleep. Though clinical, his drawing was soothing and calming. I found the recorded movements in his drawing familiar and primal while also scientific and rational. Geurts mixes data driven images with a strange, slightly spiritual connection. I could imagine a modern day animist commissioning Geurt to create a project like his solstice site specific light installation Magnetic Eclipse. Geurts' photo doesn’t capture the magic of the event, but rather is more document of what happened. Thus, like any artifact, this image can’t tell the whole story, so I just felt sorry I missed it. I thought Drawing: Horizon was also an installation shot, on the ocean shore, but I felt enough information was revealed to make this work readable as an art piece and an artifact. 90 Degress Equatorial Project moved beyond artifact and into the realm of conceptual art with this global installation event. In this installation, Geurts creates the four corners of the earth by placing his object on the far stretches of the planet earth. It was fun to look these places up on Google maps and follow Geurts' trip along the equator.  

Zhulong Gallery has a slightly strange space between the window and the front desk. Geurt exploits this space with the photographic print Spatial expansion #3: Oceans Passage, which fits perfectly. The bands of color look like sediments or maybe chemical strips, but I also see the spirit of color field painters as well. James Geurts is the kind of artist I expected UT Dallas to feature at Centraltrak or on campus, but it is nice to see a commercial gallery giving a solo show to such a heady, media diverse artist.

The gallery was founded by Bob Corcoran with a mission to have a "meaningful and different" contemporary art space. It is clear to me that Zhulong is succeeding at its goal. James Geurts’ show titled Re-Surveying: Measuring Site will run through October 11th. The gallery’s next show is Systema, a group show with artists: Hiba Ali, Erika Blumenfeld, Varvara Guljajeva, Mar Canet, Vesna Pavlovic, and Patricia Reed starting October 25th. 

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Friday, November 14, 2014

GEOF KERN


Untitled (model flying from  the bedroom window), 1995

Moderndallas.net re-post of my article

When visiting galleries on Dragon Street, sometimes I make the mistake of not dropping in to see PDNB Gallery. Yet when I remember to peek inside, I often find images that move me or challenge me. Because photography is encountered by us everyday in multiple platforms, sometimes I forget that photos can be artfully made. This month PDNB Gallery features Dallas’ own Geof Kern and his dialogue photos with Modern artists.

I say the Kern is in a dialogue, because he not only references Modernist artists directly, but also plays within the style and motif of these 20th century artists. I read a few articles that bat around the term ‘surreal’ to describe his style and I see Kern playing with this idea of dream imagery, but I think this term of ‘surreal’ oversimplify his photos. I would more closely align his work with the absurdist writers. Kern plays with the slightly off, out of set narrative rather than the completely conscious realm. I can’t stop thinking about Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void, when looking at Kern’s Untitled (model flying from the bedroom window). The leap is more of a walk, but I see a clear correlation between Kern and Klein, only Kern’s model takes on an expression that looks like it came out of a Paul Delvaux painting.

Geof Kern may add to the glut of images you see in ads, but at least Kern meticulously stages his work like a filmmaker might orchestrate a movie set. His drawings conceptualize his ideas and then his production of the image leaves less to chance. Personally I enjoy photographs that are heavily staged. I feel comfortable with the language film and moving pictures have created and Kern manages to recreate this modern mythical feeling in his photos. Similar to the feeling I get when I see a Cindy Sherman photo from her Untitled Film Still series. You come away thinking, haven’t I seen that shot in a movie? You might say Kern helps to add a little mystery in his images. It might be just me, but I see the possibility of a Hitchcock type plot playing out in some of these photos.

Now I have been critical of glossy, soulist fashion photography in the past, but I am also enthusiastic about anyone that can take their craft and turn it into art. I believe Kern is one such photographer that moves his craft away from the mundane vehicle of selling a product to a photographer that make extraordinarily engaging images which just happen to associate themselves with desirable objects. Go to the show and see if you can pick out some of the artists he pays homage to, and also see how he takes his own direction on themes. PDNB Gallery will be showing Geof Kern’s photos through November 15th.

For more image Moderndallas.net

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

GARY SWEENEY


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article
 
It must have been eight or nine years ago when Gary Sweeney visited the University of Texas at Dallas. I was in grad school, and during a slide show of his work, I became increasingly excited about his brand of art. I had already been reading a few books on DADA and I was enchanted by the works of John Baldessari at the time. I even tried my hand at bold faced ironic art, but my jokes feel flat. I didn’t have the tenacity of Gary Sweeney to stick with the gags. After his 40 years “Overview” at Blue Star last year, Red Arrow Contemporary has extended some of the tour to Dallas. I was familiar with some of the work, because he talked about them in his lectures so many years ago, but I was getting to see many of the works in person for the first time.

I say jokes and gags, but really Sweeney is smashing the institution of metaphors. Those tricky, distrustful foes of the Post Modernist, the metaphor has been taken down a peg or two by the discourse of philosophers and artists. Sweeney is also pushing off a cliff the overused images of 50’s and 60’s style ad art and illustrations. Retro dipped in irony. And yes, I just mixed some metaphors. In the case of “My Mother-In-Law’s Sloppy Joe Recipe as Written by Abraham Lincoln,” he smashes the cultural meaningfulness of someones hand written letters and converts them into the personal and mundane. At the lecture, long ago, Sweeney gave me a card with an image of his work. The card depicted Georgia O'Keeffe's signature from consecutive years as she got much older. Her signature became less and less legible. It reminded me how time changes a signature, so a signature is really a snapshot of a person at that moment. One got a real sense of time and aging from the image. I just wish it was in the show.

I remember Sweeney talking about his assemblage of old outdoor signs and letters.. He would trade old signs for new ones he made. He started to have quite a collection of those outdoor fragments. I am reminded of how archaeologists will take fragments and piece words together in an attempt to make a coherent messages. However, Sweeney took the words of the public space and repurposed them into new messages. I think his quotes about art using these signs make a playful gesture to the high minded quotations. At Red Arrow, there was a photograph of one of these works. I don’t know if the piece still exists and the photo is the piece now, or if both are separate from one another. Simulacrum can be confusing, especially when it is coming from an artist. Why is Joseph Kosuth popping in my head just now?

Well Sweeney is a conceptualist. It seems his images just slap you in the face with the obvious, but somehow not so obvious at all. You might snicker or laugh, but you will also think and consider. For me Sweeney’s images might be read with ease, but then they sink in and you start thinking about them more and more. You want to revisit them and draw something else out of them. Red Arrow will give you till October 18th to see Gary Sweeney’s show.

For more images ModernDallas.net