Monday, September 28, 2015

Volf Roitman sculpture found!

There is a MADI museum in Dallas that had the outside of the building covered with Volf Roitman's work. Then one day, the work disappeared. I wondered what happened to this whimsical art piece. Sometime later, I moved to Jefferson, TX. I was driving around in the city of Marshall, TX which is a short drive from Jefferson. There near the downtown square was the MADI wall on the side of another building. Here is their Facebook page.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Best Art Museums according to TIMEOUT

I have been to 8 of these and I would have at least added the Fort Worth Modern for the DFW area. Here is Time Out link. How many have you visited?

1.       Museum of Modern Art, NYC
2.       Metropolitan Museum of Art
3.       Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
4.       Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5.       National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
6.       The Art Institute of Chicago
7.       Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden; Washington, D.C.
8.       Seattle Art Museum
9.       Philadelphia Museum of Art
10.   The Menil Collection, Houston
11.   Getty Center, L.A.
12.   The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
13.   Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
14.   The Cleveland Museum of Art
15.   Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
16.   Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
17.   Chinati Foundation; Marfa, TX
18.   Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
19.   High Museum of Art, Atlanta
20.   Detroit Institute of Arts
21.   Milwaukee Art Museum
22.   Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
23.   Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
24.   M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco
25.   MASS MoCA; North Adams, MA
26.   Pulitzer Arts Foundation; St. Louis, MO

Sunday, September 13, 2015

This weekend in Dallas

Cris Worley Fine Arts
Shannon Cannings and William Cannings
Holly Johnson Gallery
Matthew Cusick

Mary Tomás Gallery
Johannes Boekhoudt 

Conduit Gallery
Anthony Sonnenberg

Craighead Green Gallery
Susan Sales

Barry Whistler Gallery
Tom Orr

Mod.Artist Gallery
Carmen Menza

Erin Cluley Gallery
Francisco Moreno



Monday, September 07, 2015

Work in progress

Work in progress . . . I will be cutting a design into this piece after I finish the drawing. As usual, this is poorly photographed, but I hope it still conveys some idea of what I am trying the accomplish.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Still House Group

The Still House Group

A group of artist that I am not sure I care much for their work, but I am posting it here to consider the work and to think about the work. Here is the link.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Jerry Saltz lecture

Jerry Saltz - Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture Series
Smithsonian American Art Museum

I watched this to get a little insight on his ideas. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Joanne Greenbaum and Charline von Heyl

Joanne Greenbaum was on a panel about the current generation of painters. Here is her website.

Charline von Heyl is another artist I am looking at right now. Here is her site

Sunday, August 30, 2015

HERE & NOW JURIED SHOW at Galleri Urbane

Keith Allyn Spencer repost by Todd Camplin

For over 100 years, abstract art has increasingly reached the masses and has made in roads on gaining acceptance from the masses. Some, like the Russian Constructivists, attempted to make a universally understood type of art through abstraction which promptly failed to meet their utopian idealism, but they left a legacy that influenced artists with great aspirations for abstraction. Kandinsky showed abstraction as an imaginative exploration of the unseen world. In the 1950’s here in the US, artists wanted to show their authentic selves through gestures of painterly expressions. In the 1960’s, minimalist artists attempted to reduce as many design elements as possible and still achieve an aesthetic experience. So, what is abstract art saying today. A lot of noise or poor abstract art is being made, but a great deal of interesting voices are also chiming to the conversation of abstraction. You might say, looking at all the different kinds of abstract art being made right now is like listening to an orchestra warming up. If you can focus in on an artist or two, the noise dies away.

This summer had a great deal of abstract art group and solo shows. Right now Galleri Urbane has a show titled, Here and Now, which features some of those interesting voices. In fact, I would say their show is a nice cross section of what is currently going on. Michael Will’s work is layered, using elements of hard edge style, but he counteracts that style with some expressive brush work. The edges are not meant to be perfectly crisp geometric shapes, but rather Will embraces the flaws of the edges. His work is about the exploration of shape and form in relationship to expression. His layers imply depth rather than a flat experience, it’s as if he is inviting you to excavate the paintings with your eyes. Layering for Loring Taoka is quieter and more minimal. Simple details can be easily noticed and explored in her work. Subtle shifts of shadow and shading reduce elements of design to their simplest form while maintaining a visually interesting object or shape.

Melinda Laszczynski is quite a bit more playful with her abstraction. It has been a trend for contemporary art to take a form or style and reconceptualize it in an irreverent way. Not that Laszczynski doesn’t respect the past abstractionist, but I don’t think she over internalizes her paintings like an AbEx artist would. Rather, she has the benefit of Pop and all the other reactions to those overly serious and heroic people. I see her mixing up serious and fun to blend out wild experiments in paint. Obsession is another good way to create abstract art and Lindsey Landfried has this going on all over her work with mark after mark filling up her given surface. I can understand the need to make small marks that are inherently different, but theoretically made to be the same to make an image. Obsessive pieces are about failing and succeeding at the same time. One cannot reach perfection, but in the repetition one can sure try to make that mark and in doing so, a very compelling image emerges. Flaws are another approach to abstraction and Keith Allyn Spencer goes for that weathered look in his painted objects. What has been removed is as important to the visual experience as what is there. Thus his objects are arranged for openings and the works seem damaged. Unpolished abstraction is a way to counter the slick ads and digital images so prevalent today in media.

Galleri Urbane could only bring together a small sample of all the different styles and happening going on in abstraction. Circuit 12 Contemporary just took one down that had a good variety of Non Objective art as their title suggested. Barry Whistler Gallery and Erin Cluley Gallery also have group shows with

Saturday, August 29, 2015

From the writers perspective repost by Todd Camplin

Often times in a review, I will give a laundry list of the works and artists in a show, some description of my experience of the gallery, and a little bit about ideas that are being explored in the show. But essentially I talk about the objects on display. This is standard for a lot of reviews because many writers want you to go out and see the show rather than experience the work from the gallery’s website. Art writers want you to be enticed by the art objects on display which takes a lot of space in their articles. This leaves less room for strong analysis of the ideas going on in the show. Sure I am guilty of this style, but it feels good to give my impressions of a show in a casual way. And because I write an article weekly, to be honest, not that many shows in a given year really unpack big ideas or show us an aspect of an idea in a new light. Some shows are just fun or the style or application of the material is interesting, but not all shows push the limits of what works in art.

As a writer, I think the big ideas of a group show are the hardest to discuss. Even though the theme is set, the different voices speak loud or soft about the theme, and sometimes description becomes an easy default. This descriptive approach can hide a writer’s passion about the art and might not inspire people to see the show, because they get bored with the article half way through. Listing top shows is catchy and helpful for a quick overview, but once again, it just highlights the art and is less about the ideas. I will likely stick to my “best of” list for the year, because it is nice to reflect on those shows, but now that we are in the digital age, at least I can link to the articles I wrote about earlier in the year, so the reader can go deeper into why the shows were so good.

If you haven’t noticed, I generally don’t write negative reviews. Mostly because there are enough shows out there that are worth seeing. If I see a show that isn’t working, I tend to not write about the art. Unless, of course, I see a show at an institution like a museum or an art center, and the exhibit is less than par. These spaces represent the art scene on a different level and should be putting out the best art for the public to see. I must say, I put institutions on a higher standard than a commercial space, because their mission is more about educating and less about experimentation. If a commercial space falls flat, at least they are taking a risk. I am not advocating against institutions taking some risks, but they should be mindful about how they are presenting the artworks in order to keep people well informed about their aim for their exhibitions.

I have been writing for since 2011 and I hope I have added a unique voice to the Dallas art scene conversation. As an artist, seeing so many shows, I know I have grown as an artist. My hope is that my writing informs and entertains my readers. I feel passionate about the art scene and I want to do my part to elevate the conversation. If you ever have any comments or complaints about my writing, feel free to vent at I will continue to push myself to write more complex stories that address the big and small ideas that are being explored by artists.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Shimmer 33 (River of yellow flowers, River of yellow tears)
Oil on linen, 20 x 20 inches repost by Todd Camplin

This week I traveled out to Shreveport Louisiana to visit Ellen Soffer’s studio. I went out there to see one of the artists in R02’s Chaos show. The gallery has 100 or so small works by artists from all over. The show is Dallas heavy, but I thought I would visit an artist that was not from Dallas, although still within the city’s sphere of influence. Soffer travels to the DFW area several times a year and I get the impression she gets refreshed by the culture the area provides.

Soffer is an abstract painter that uses colorful marks of paint that seem to flow from the outer edges of her canvas toward the center. Some of her works evoke playful organic objects that harken back to dreamy surrealist shapes of the past. Her paintings keep my eyes moving around the work and entices me to move in and out of the painting. Her dashes of paint remind +me of Van Gogh’s Star Night painting. Soffer is nonobjective, but like Van Gogh she is conjuring an emotional response from her work. Much of her work uses playful, nervous energy that feels optimistic and cheerful. Like the Pixar move, Inside Out, there are several emotions at play in her work, but clearly Joy leads the mix. We talked a little about formalist abstract painting. Her statement implies that she sees herself as part of the continuing development of AbEx aesthetics. But I haven’t come to the conclusion that all Soffer is doing is more of the same formalist work. I think the work is more than just art for art sake.

Ellen Soffer had to move into her house and work after a tree recently damaged her studio behind her house. Thankfully she was not in the space when the tree came down and most of her work was saved, but now her house has become her place of creation and she seems to be taking it in stride. I enjoyed flipping through her paintings and works on paper. She is working on a really large piece, and I was glad to get a glimpse into an ambitious scaled work. We talked a little about art and the history of the Shreveport art scene, but really, she talked about her life, which gave me more insight into what inspires her work.

Besides RO2, Soffer also has a show at the Longview Museum of Fine Art. She is part of their regional art show. She have several nice size paintings that populate their own corner of the museum. Of course to Longview show would give you a better feel for her work, but if you can’t make it out East then the R02 exhibition is this Saturday. You can see a small piece by her and at least get a taste of her work. Her Longview show will be up until September 26th.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Installation View - Caroline Sharpless + Chris Bexar
Photography by Frank Darko repost by Todd Camplin

If you find yourself south of I30 and between I35 and I45, you will find yourself in a place that is in a kind of strange transition. Some new residence spaces are there, other areas are under construction, yet other places are abandoned. The change there is organic and in the middle of it is Re Gallery. By driving around the gallery’s neighborhood, I understand Wanda Dye’s inspiration for titling the show Space/Non-space, because lots of examples inside and outside the gallery space can be found. Her background in architecture probably had some influence too.

But to tackle such a fuzzy concept, Re Gallery combined a group of artists with their own take on the idea. Photography is a great mode of operation when it comes to describing this contradiction. I fell in love with Allison V. Smith’s Maine series a few years back and I was excited to see her in this show. I had visited Maine about a year before I saw her show, and when I walked in and saw the work, (before I’d even read the work was about Maine) I knew I was experiencing that place again even though the images were not of anything particularly iconic or any particular place I had been. Her Marfa Texas series also captures a feeling of West Texas without capturing the expected image. Paho Mann’s take was photographing store fronts with the same basic architecture and showing the similarities and differences. These businesses have changed hands and been repurposed. Many are convenient stores that seem like eye sores, but also function as places that service their community and passersby traffic. Mann has made sure the weather is the same and the shot is set up the same as well. Thus the space feels familiar, even though I likely haven’t visited these places. Then again, how would I even remember that I did, because the places are so similar? I must say, after looking through a stack of them, I began to appreciate the variations. I just wouldn’t want to walk out with just one, but rather a set of three, four, or more to create a great dialog between images. Debora Hunter’s Storage Units is a great example of place and non-place. Storage units place objects out of use into a kind of non-place. The items are not in landfills, but not exactly fulfilling a purpose either. A kind of object purgatory and Hunter chose to photograph one that is in a field with a great view of the mountains. These units make the view even less of a place.

Paul Kremer’s Great Art in Ugly Rooms is a stroke of genius. I don’t think I have ever said that about anyone, but I am glad to reserve it for this body of work. Iconic paintings, sculptures, and pictures placed in the ugly rooms, ordinary hallways, bathrooms, trashed hotel rooms, etc. Outside the context of museums, these cultural objects seem demystified and of course, out of place. Marcel Duchamp’s painting leaning against 1970’s style wood paneling and thick brown carpet or a Dan Flavin hung on the wall over a toilet is just a taste.

Painting was not left out. Caroline Gary Sharpless and Peter Ligon left their mark on the show. Caroline Gary Sharpless had depictions of empty bookshelves and empty rooms. In her paintings, I feel like I could be shopping for a home or business store front. There is potential, but nothing is being fulfilled yet. Peter Ligon paints houses that feel nondescript and cramped in by the small canvases. Very painterly and loss, Ligon makes the houses lose definition thus lose place.

Jeff Baker, Chris Bexar, Shelby Cunningham, and Mark Lamster are also in the show and very much worthy of your consideration. The show runs through September 1st. Just in time for gallery season to gear up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SWELTER at Kirk Hopper Fine Art

Shayne Murphy, Big Black, Oil on panel, 2015 repost by Todd Camplin

Now that summer actually feels like summer, group shows are heating up the Dallas art scene. Kirk Hopper Fine Art melts together style and subject in a show titled Swelter, only the subject is a bit heavier than your typical summer read. This is Giovanni Valderas’ first curated exhibition at Kirk Hopper Fine Art and I had high expectations after his dynamic shows at Mountainview College.

Giovanni Valderas said, “I wanted to add an edge of intensity to the show by inviting artists who were having a dialogue about current issues of substance.” In light of this, Linda Blackburn and Ed Blackburn were perfect for touching on the hot button issues. Linda Blackburn washes out her figures and leaves a shell of what looks like film stills or journalist pictures. In similar fashion Ed Blackburn’s paintings touch on topical issues by directly responding to the news as it breaks. An accompanying text painting hangs next to his large image painting. Ed marries the usually vacuous Pop style with highly thought provoking conceptualism to create a hybrid where image and text play off each other. High concept and simple figurative aesthetics combined to form a political punch that is not preachy, but still in you face.

Carlos Donjuan also plays with contradictions. I found his work titled Tired of Dreaming, incredibly cute and creepy. I don’t think I would have paid it much mind if not for my five year old girl pointing it out. She asked me why the picture was sad. I said it was that the faces had slight smiles, but she insisted it was a sad image. But, she thought the two headed duck was cute, as did I. The boy’s mask in the picture was most revealing. People under some kind of mask seem to be Donjuan’s motif obsession. Michael Reeder has a piece that looks to be a silhouette or maybe masked like Donjuan, but Reeder adds an element of decay that makes the work somewhat haunting. I feel like the face was erased from the painting.

Some of the best art is made when an artist takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. When it comes to photography, few people bother with this approach, but thankfully an exception happens to be in the show. Sebastien Boncy has been taking the most ordinary experiences and recording them, yet the images are completely compelling. The urban life paused, without driving by, can be beautiful. I was excited to see Boncy in the show. Shayne Murphy plays around with this idea of extraordinary place in his work, Big Black. Murphy depicts a landscape that looks abandoned and further isolated it my placing the architectural object in a negative space. This highlights the object and make you want to come in for a closer look.

Some works felt like a direct contrast to one another, even though the works were far apart. Analise Minjarez and Sarita Westrup’s installation outside was eye catching and colorful. While Annette Lawrence’s candle images, located near the front of the gallery, were soulful and solemn. Nine individual candles could easily be the nine that lost their lives in South Carolina. Their lights shine on for change, but the loss is felt deeply. Lawrence’s installation was hopeful and I felt Minjarez and Westrup show a little hopefulness as well.

Like all group shows, I can’t talk about all the work in the show, because there are too many to mention, but I feel I could have mentioned just about every piece and said something positive about the work. Kirk Hopper Fine Art and Giovanni Valderas put on a fine show this summer. I look forward to his strong critical eye making an impact on the Dallas art scene. The show runs through August 16th.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Cris Worley Fine Art: Trey Egan - Wanna Be Forevermore, 2015
oil on canvas 52 x 70 inches repost by Todd Camplin

This Saturday, gas up your car, gather a bunch of friends to pile into your vehicle, and head out to 30 galleries round town. This year the Dallas Gallery Day is all over town and I don’t think I can make it to all the places unless I start early. Luckily the event is from noon to 8 PM. Plenty of time to see all this art. What is interesting about this gallery night is that a few alternative spaces are on the list. These places you might not visit on a normal art outing.

One such place is an artist gallery. Some artists get either successful enough or in Christopher H. Martin’s case, tenacious enough to open their own place to display and sell art. Martin’s strategy as an artist is making sure his work is always shown locally and to do this he has had a gallery space on and off over the years in different parts of the city. This current space, on Dragon Street, shows the most matured work by Martin. I think Martin is bold and confident to stick with such a venture, so I will pay this space a visit. Mary Tomas Gallery started out similar to Martin’s model, but has evolved into a more traditional space.

Neighborhood is a more traditional retail space located in the Bishop Art District. Places like this make the district enjoyable to visit and has also attracted developers that want to make the area bland again. But ignoring the possible future of the district, right now Neighborhood and places like it are making an effort to put a little style and art in our lives. They will have skate board with painting by Kim Kerr, thick squiggle line drawings by JWR, and the works from the wildly imaginative Bruce Lee Webb. Up in the Mockingbird Station area is the wacky store ATAMA. This too is retail but also gallery space. You will see cartoon based retail objects along with the NexPop and realistic cubist works of Jeremy Biggers.

Another space that breaks the mold of traditional galleries is Mod Artists Gallery. This group space of artists has rotating shows, but also acts as a place where artists in the group can take collectors and talk to people one on one about their work. Ever evolving and changing, Mod Artist Gallery is curated by publisher Jeff Levine. Kettle Art in Deep Ellum is another mold breaker as a career launcher space. I have known a great deal of artists that were in a Kettle group show of one sort or another and have gone on to have good solo shows. The gallery fits right into the funkiness of the area.

Like my coffee in the morning, I have to have my traditional gallery spaces to visit as well and there are plenty to choose from. Barry Whistler, Conduit, Cris Worley, Craighead Green, Cydonia, Erin Clyley, Galleri Urban, Kirk Hopper, Liliana Bloch, Re, WAAS, Valley House, and Zhulong are on my regular stops. And, of course, I will be visiting my show at Holly Johnson Gallery. I don’t get to see enough good photography when I am out and about visiting galleries, but this weekend I will be dropping by PDNB for their 20th anniversary exhibit and Sun to Moon gallery for their Nature scene in DFW area. Sun to Moon is a kind of vanguard for galleries crossing over Riverfront Drive and locating next to the river. I hope to see you out and about this Saturday. It will be a great day to see some art. Check out the Dallas Gallery Day website for more details. And if you see Brain Gibb of The Public Trust gallery, be sure to thank him for organizing a great summer art event.

Monday, August 24, 2015

ZEKE WILLIAMS at Erin Cluley Gallery

Single Flower (red, purple, cyan, green), 2015,
acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 inches. repost by Todd Camplin

A relatively new gallery on the scene is Erin Cluley Gallery. It is located across the river, over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, in the raising hipster themed neighborhood of Trinity Groves. Erin Cluley, once Director of Exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary, has brought some of the institution’s aesthetic sensibility over to a commercial setting. Most of her artists look to be flashy and energetic, like the current show titled: Heat Check by painter Zeke Williams a.k.a. writer Thomas Ezekiel Williams. But first impressions can be deceiving.

Upon arrival at the gallery, I instantly disliked this show. I completely wanted to dismiss it as being overly dramatic with garish colors that fade and shift on flat wallpaper patterns. I thought to myself that this was another example of an art fair influenced artist with nothing deeper than the surface. Yet, Williams’ painting stuck in my mind for a while and I just couldn’t shake my experience with his work. For some reason, I was hooked by his simplicity. His depiction of subtle folds in his patterns seemed sensual. Years of visiting Circuit 12 Gallery built a foundation of visual information that put Williams in a greater context with other artists. I don’t think I would have been able to see Williams’ painting in a positive light without that foundation. I also read that Williams was taking images of clothing and zooming in on the figure. Thus this abstracted his subjects without objectifying them. The women in dresses are important, but not in the way a typical “male’s gaze” might depict a model, but rather with a more sophisticated eye.

I was also reminded that I had a similar knee jerk reaction to Nathan Green’s work when I first encountered it. As with Williams, I started coming around upon reflection. I think I came around to Williams’ work faster, because I am starting to see a trend take shape and I think this type of work is beginning to speak to me more readily. A type of painting that feels artificial like a video screen but doesn’t necessarily reference the screen. Williams’ gradient of colors remind me of all that work I did in Photoshop. Williams’ scale and number of paintings for his first solo show helped win me over too. At some point, you see all this brightly painted, patterned works in one room and you are bound to be moved (positively or negative). I don’t think you could come away feeling neutral about the show.

I have to remind myself that we live in an age that is less Renaissance: Michelangelo or De Vinci, but rather in an age of drama, exaggeration, and spectacle similar to that of Caravaggio. So, the artists take on Modernist tropes and play with them in extreme ways. Zeke Williams is taking another crack at Pop art sensibilities without the overt references to recognizable products. Maybe a Pop/Fauves hybrid, because those colors are not natural. Zeke Williams’ paintings will come down July 11th. And if you plan to visit the gallery, don’t worry if you find yourself on the narrow paved pathway, I can assure you that you are really on Fabrication Street.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

ORNA FEINSTEIN at the Museum of Geometric and Madi Art thru July 05 by Todd Camplin

Dimensions: 12.25" x 15" x 7" repost by Todd Camplin

After several trips to Dallas in the last few months, I was finally able to visit the Museum of Geometric and Madi Art. I do love the place, and I think it is one of the best little museums that I have seen out there featuring a specific style of art. However, since almost all the art venues have moved out of uptown, I do have to go a little out of the way to see the museum’s offerings. Even so, my visits usually yield something incredible and I think to myself, “Why don’t I come here more often?”

Orna Feinstein is reason enough to go out of your way, because her work engages the eye like no other artist. Well, I say that, but she comes out of a rich tradition of artists that have played with the eye. Op artists Yaacov Agam and Victor Vasarely have great influence on her work, but I think Feinstein takes this mode of visual experimentation and furthers the conversation by layering, cutting, sewing, and working on Plexiglas. When I first encountered her work at Craighead Green, I was impressed even though I only saw a few pieces. Later I saw her work in Houston at Anya Tish Gallery as part of a two person show, and then I was completely stunned by her sculptures which captivated me. I couldn’t stop waking around the work and peering down to see all the angles. This show at the Madi covers a wide range of her work and I was impressed with the variety of approaches she has tried.

Before you enter the show of Orna Feinstein, you will see three new museum acquisitions by Victor Vasarely. I am not sure if this was a coincidence, but it helped set an interesting context to Feinstein’s work. The art pieces are packed in tight, with just enough room for you to enjoy them individually. The museum tends to be on the salon style of exhibiting work, so this was not completely unexpected. Feinstein’s piece titled Translucentrees is an installation that fills a room with monoprints on Plexiglas. As I walked from left to right and back again, my eyes popped as her circles made of black lines seemed to move and blur. Her piece, Morel House looks like two tornados spiraling smaller circles in descending circles. You can get lost in her detail and layers of Plexiglas.

One innovation Feinstein uses, which completely took me by surprise, is her use of Plexiglas as a protective material and as a surface to interact as an art piece. Most works on paper are placed behind glass or Plexiglas as a protective layer. Feinstein has broken the pure utility of the Plexiglas and now makes it part of the art piece. This blurs the line between utility and art quite nicely.

You have a few more weeks before Orna Feinstein’s show is down. July 5 to be exact, so don’t miss this eye catching show. I am going to try to make the opening of the Madi’s Biennial show on July 10. It is a good preview of talented artists working in the style or subject of geometry.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Moses Hopkins update

 Here is a link of a studio visit by MoMA PS1. He is represented at Karin Sanders Fine Art and here is that link. An article from back in 2009 about his work, here is a link.

Take a look at this abstract artist. Here is what I said in 2007, the link is here.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Since Liliana Bloch Gallery and The Public Trust moved to their new location in the design district, both have had their first opening and are on to their second. Liliana Bloch started her own gallery space out of the Public Trust’s old gift shop space. The Public Trust, under a different name, got their start out of Denton and then moved to Deep Ellum. This new location for both galleries puts them on pretty much equal footing in use of space. Bloch can curate larger shows and Brain Gibb can have exhibits that feel more like a traditional gallery space. The space in Deep Ellum had high ceilings with limited lights that sometimes swallowed the art. The new space is brighter and makes his offerings of work much more enjoyable to see.

Liliana Bloch Gallery’s first show was Letitia Huckaby’s photography on textiles. Huckaby brings traditional quilting and narrative photography to create rich images heavy with history. The current show up now is Ann Glazer’s painting exhibition titled “PACKABLE.” Glazer pins and drapes her paintings on the wall. Not constrained by stretcher bars, her abstract images take on a quality that relates a little like sculpture and a little like a textile on display. If Glazer was wanting to create a feeling of temporal existence, I think she succeeded. The abstract images feel aged, rusted in some works. Normally this kind of abstract formalism could have been somewhat old hat, but Glazer’s decision not to stretch the work strengthens her abstractions. Reaping well tread Modernist territory is not Glazer’s goal, but rather a jumping off point to further the conversation of abstraction, painting, and where those ideas might be heading.

The Public Trust opened their new space with a group show. However, hints of the upcoming show appeared, which happen to be a great lead into this month’s offering of two collaborating photographers: Kasumi Chow and Desiree Michelle Espada. In the group show, Chow and Michelle Espada had this absurdly humorous cut pony tail on a yellow background. Despite the brightly colored background, I thought the picture was a little tragic, but that only seemed to make it more hilarious. In fact, their show titled “truly, madly,” going on now, is a mix between funny and sad. With balloons on the floor and campy lettering for title of the show, you might think this was a light and airy exhibit, but investigating the photos, you start to see that things are more complicated. As Lesley Gore would say, it’s my party and I will cry if I want to.

Liliana Bloch Gallery and The Public Trust are located close to Galleri Urbane on Monitor Street. I am excited about their new spaces and hope you can go see these truly great places for artists to show their work. Both “truly, madly” at The Public Trust and “PACKABLE” at Liliana Bloch Gallery will run through June 20th.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

THREE PAINTERS Frank Badur + Martha Groome + Mark Williams

 Frank Badur - #14-03, 2014 repost by Todd Camplin

What is so interesting about minimalist art? Barry Whistler Gallery seems to have proposed this question by presenting three prime examples of artists that have come out of the Minimalist era and continue to work and innovate in this calmingly sublime style. Minimalism was an art movement in the 1960’s and 70’s and Frank Baudur, Martha Groome, and Mark Williams entered near the zenith of the movement. In 2015, these three artists show that the art movement is alive and evolving. Their voices are distinct and clearly different in a genre that would seem to have little wiggle room for much variation.

Left with little information, artists from this era and later generations of minimal artists have explored minute differences in shape, form, and line. Much of this kind of work is a mediation on the ideas of simple artistic and natural structures. Frank Baudur’s lines and grids with limited color palette would lead you to believe his work was quiet and unassuming. In fact, I took quick looks at the work and then moved on, but his colors of yellow or orange create a bit of nervous tension that made me want to look again. So, I came back and was rewarded with his choices of subtle contrasting colors. Martha Groome had her own sight tensions playing out in her work. Like the painting, Let it Lie, where a small rectangle in the corner of a black field seemed to unbalance the whole picture. Her colors were cool and calm.

However, Mark Williams stole the show for me. When I visit Barry Whistler Gallery, I expect to see a work by Williams now and then, but this was a real treat for me to see so many pieces. What I found most interesting is that his approach to the work shifted a great deal from his 2010-11 work and his 2012-15 works. In the early work, Williams was like Groome’s and Baudur’s approach of exploiting subtle tensions. Lines seemed to stop prematurely, and fields of color sometimes were slightly broken. I was reminded of when I would miss my registration mark while screen printing a shirt. You would get a thin line separation of one color with another color. The tension of imperfection was Williams’ game back in 2010-11, but now he has made a break. You might say he has brought in his work more expressive marks. It looks as if he is scraping his paintings with a squeegee. Instead of subtle celebrations of the accident, Williams has fully embraced chance. I don’t even think he is doing Minimalist work, but rather minimalism with a small “m” instead. I am reminded more of artists like John Pomara and Gerhard Richter rather than Robert Mangold or Ellsworth Kelly.

Barry Whistler Gallery will be featuring the works by Frank Baudur, Martha Groome, and Mark Williams through June 20th. These works take time to sink in, so at least spend a minute with a few of these paintings. I hope you will be rewarded for your effort like I was.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

JULES BUCK JONES at Conduit Galley repost by Todd Camplin

The city of Austin has a wild spirit and working in that culture is the artist Jules Buck Jones. This year, he came up to Dallas and turned Conduit Galley into an imaginative wonderland of wild animals and chaotic plants. Only the formal element of framing his work, pulled me out of his dream. But that can be excused for works on paper.

You can enter into his world of strange, high rendered plants and animals. His colors smash and clash with hints that reference real colors in nature, but just barely. I wouldn’t call his work “wild beast,” though he employs quite a few. Many of the works were jungle scenes that seem to convert the room into an installation piece, along with his sculptures that pushed into the space. I could almost imagine pushing back the hanging vines and running into one of his creatures. Buck Jones’ world is reminiscent of folk art with a hint of David Bates, Billy Hassell, or even John Alexander. Only Buck Jones’ colors and shapes, used to build up his drawings, are very much his own invention.

His stunning owls look at you with eerie energy. Canidae is a wolf head seen in multiple perspective, like a cubist work, or in his case, trianglism, because the triangle plays heavy as a design element. But if the picture is not an individual wolf, it might be a tightly packed pack of wolves. Either way, I get the feeling of dread and beauty mix to make a subline composition of unknowable animal thoughts. His woodpecker sculpture uses a sound element to push home the tragic clashes between man and other animals. After all, this was the last recorded sounds from an Ivory-billed woodpecker, yet people are hopeful the bird is still deep in the woods of Arkansas.

Buck Jones also uses a bit of humor in his work. Like using an open mouthed pelican to act as a stand for a nest. Flintstones came to mind, only with a twist, a hawk instead of a person is using the sight gag. Of course, his manipulation of the animals and plants plays into his environmental concerns. I see a vein of his passion for the environment, but his work is too complex to reduce it down to just one message.

Jules Buck Jones is showing with Matt Clark in the front gallery and Scott Daniel Ellison in the project room. I want to revisit the gallery to give these two artists their due. I think Matt Clark’s paintings in particular might be worth spending more time. Particularly his pieces that focus on lines and geometric structures. All three shows will be up at Conduit Gallery through June 20th.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Manic-Cinq, 2015,
etching, 23 3/4 x 23 3/4  inches
Edition of 20 repost by Todd Camplin

This last weekend was quite a feast for the eyes, but I had to cut my visits short because of my own opening. I could have easily been late, because my second to last stop was Cydonia Gallery and the show there completely captivated my imagination. Cydonia’s current show is etchings, lithographs, drawings, and sculptures by artist Bronwen Sleigh. I was fortunate enough to meet Sleigh and we talked about her work. She comes from Glasgow, Scotland and this is her first solo show in the States.

Sleigh draws from architecture and simplicity of the line. I could tell right away that these works were about the sublime and tragic look at human constructed spaces. A counter to the utopian visions of Modernism, Sleigh lays out her lines in a world of grey tones with just a hint of color. Though much of the works are etching and lithography, these works feel like delicate drawings. Of course, part of the etching and lithograph processes are like drawing. I remember fondly my printmaking classes in lithography where I used oil pen on stone to create my images. I think if I ever go back to school, it would be for a printmaking degree, but I digress. Most of Sleigh’s edition runs are small, ranging from 12 to 25 editions, but she also has a piece titled Pacific Quay which has a run of 40. I’d have loved to have seen an etching plate or two of her works.

The sculptures also celebrated line and the architectural structures within a building. I could easily imagine her sculptures as part of a skeleton of a building. I was vaguely reminded of New York artist Moses Hoskins’ abstract paintings which are defined by lines found from furniture and ornamentation on buildings. In contrast, Sleigh seems to invoke the more Modernist buildings, with their clean lines and stripped down minimal quality. Although stacked inside her work are small lines supporting the more defined thinker lines, so the minimal quality is really an illusion, held up by supporting structures. Sleigh is showing a kind of Bowellist style of giving us all the normally concealed parts. A work like North Pier lays bare the normally hidden areas like a blueprint, but so many of the marks don’t feel final. As if these are works in progress or possibilities for the future. Sleigh is tapping into the powerful energy between Being and Becoming, which cannot be resolved. Thus, the work remains interesting and open to interpretation.

Although architecture seems to run through the works quite thoroughly, Sleigh’s work also feels a step away from the source where the lines don’t always make complete sense as a structure with gravity as its limit. So the rules of abstraction seem to take over, where her images become ideal objects or more likely a playful spin on the source material. Sleigh could be foreshadowing future architecture in low gravity orbit, but only time will tell. Cydonia will be displaying Bronwen Sleigh’s work through June 19th.

Monday, August 17, 2015

RUBEN NIETO at Cris Worley Fine Arts

DC-01archival print on perforated vinyl
36 x 24 inches repost by Todd Camplin

Ruben Nieto returns to Cris Worley Fine Arts with a new batch of comic book inspired mashups. The majority of the show consists of mono-digital prints with just a painting or two to remind people about Nieto’s roots for the new work. I made a general nuisance of myself, keeping Cris Worley at the gallery late while I looked around, but couldn’t help myself, I had my eye on the show ever since I saw the press release drop in my email.

When I think about comic books in art, Pop art comes to mind. Many art historians have asserted that Pop artists were reacting against the abstract artists. Both groups of artists were in conflict, because their approaches and personal philosophies were at odds. Nieto combines the Pop reference and then puts these images into a kind of visual blender that turns the graphic illustrations into abstractions. However, because the sourced images are from bright, straight forward colors, the usual expressiveness of abstractions which the Pop artists were reacting against, has been stripped out. Now the images remain flat like the comic pages, only cut up and layered to make abstract images. If you look closely at printed material on buses or some buildings, you might notice small holes all over the surface in uniform fashion, well this industrial material is perforated vinyl and Nieto uses this perforated vinyl as his surface to print his own images. I am reminded of Roy Lichtenstein's paintings that incorporate dots like the printed comic books of his era. By using this material Nieto is being very retro in style, but contemporary with his surface and use of digital media.

single that could not be reproduced well by photography. He is attempting to make his images more like textured paintings, which also can’t be well represented by a snap shot. I wonder what my selfie in front of his work will look like. Each work was engaging and some had hints of texts, but I was a little distracted by the white frames. Nieto had one large unframed piece that looked more like a painting and I felt held its own without the aid of a frame.

During Paul Booker’s show, I didn’t have time to consider Maysey Craddock’s work, but this time I felt like I was walking into the second gallery space for the first time. Craddock’s paintings are sewn together images of an old ruined church. Maybe the fact that the decline of Christians in the United States was in the news, or the fact I am reading a Ken Follett novel, or the strange sublime scene of the destroyed structure, or a combination of the three made me experience the work in a new way. Ruben Nieto will be opening this Saturday, May 16th and the show will run through June 20th. Maysey Craddock’s paintings will be up for the opening at Cris Worley Fine Arts.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Some more Art Beat part 3

Another clip on Art Beat shows Philip Taaffe's work which they likened it to wall paper. The went to an Amy Sillman show which they gushed over. What I found great about this show is that they are at toe Philip Taaffe show and they run into Nancy Dwyer and Mary Heilmann visiting the show too. Both artists were amazing and I particular loved Nancy Dwyer's art that focused on words and language. In another video, I was introduced to the work of Andrea Zittel. Her highly organized life was laid out on display in graphic detail, which was humorously boring. It was the first time looking at someone else's boring life in detail was fun.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Art Club 2000 and Art Beat part 2

Art Beat was tolling the halls of an art fair when they came across this group called Art Club 2000. I had not heard of this group at all, so I looked them up to see what they did. Here is a great page of their work.The group consisted of seven art students from The Cooper Union School of Art. Members include: Daniel McDonald, Patterson Beckwith, Sarah Rossiter, Craig Wadlin, Shannon Pultz, Gillian Haratani, and Sobian Spring. Their staged photos got quite a bit of attention. Some of the artists have links to their art today. The group was organized in the early to mid 1990's but I am not sure when the dispersed.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fred Tomaselli and Gallery Beat part 1

So I have watching some old Gallery Beat clips from the NWC public access past of 1993 - 2002 and they have some artists I was either was vaguely aware of or not at all in my memory. I wish I had in my collection all the episodes, because these are get snap shots of the art scene in NYC during that time. The people on the beat are sometimes snarky and other times gushing over the art the encounter. One clip at the Whitney Biennial shows them on the street, apparently kicked out of the even for asking questions. Mark Kostabi confronts them on camera about their criticism of his work. The camera work is raw and a little shaky, but I really felt engaged by their attempt to make sense of the art scene.

So first up is Fred Tomaselli and his funking art paintings. He seems familiar and I am sure my professors talked about him during my undergraduate years, but I probably wasn't listening. This artist takes little objects and places them on the canvas to make these very spiritual, shine, and bombastic paintings.  Here is a nice collection of his work at James Cohen Gallery.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Andrew Winship

Texas Tea Party, Grocery List

Andrew Winship teaches at Herron School of Art + Design. Here is one of his tamest paintings. Check out his school site.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Places to submit Art

Submit your art at these 5 places.

The Art Guide
Artist Trust

I have used some of these sites. Here is my source.

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Return to Byzantium-The Art and Life of Lilian Broca"

A film about Romania mosaic art. "Return to Byzantium-The Art and Life of Lilian Broca"

Note from a Linkin Friend:

Dear friends,
I am thrilled to announce that the feature documentary "Return to Byzantium-The Art and Life of Lilian Broca", will premiere on Romanian National Television, TVR 2, on July 30th, 2015 at 10 PM. This one hour film won the Best Documentary Award at San Pedro International Film Festival, CA, in 2012.

I would appreciate your forwarding this announcement to your family and friends in Romania who may be interested in watching this program.

Thank you kindly,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Looking at artists

I am looking at these artists and I am thinking about painting again. I have a few experiments to make first, but I feel the need to breakout doing something new/old.

Jonathan Lasker is an artist I have always been interested in while making my art. Google link.

Shirley Kaneda is another artist I ran across that I am now analyzing. Google link.

Charline von Heyl has also come to my attention. Google link.

David Reed has also been a great artist for his interesting painting style. Google link.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Visual Art Source by John Zotos

A review of my art show at Holly Johnson Gallery. If you missed the show, you can drop by the gallery and she will be glad to show you some pieces. Check out Visual Art Source link for the review. Thank you for the review John Zotos.

John Zotos
John Zotos
John Zotos

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Contain Me: Todd Camplin

One last look at my solo show at Holly Johnson Gallery, now over yesterday.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ink on paper

This piece uses ink on paper, text, and I cut out a few pieces, so you can see behind the drawing. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Todd Camplin as Backdrop

Top 5: June 4, 2015 

Every week, does a show about the upcoming shows. This one is on June 4th and the two wonderful presenters (Rainey Knusdon and Christina Rees) use my art as a backdrop and also mention my show. Glasstire list gallery openings, does reviews, and generally supports the arts around Texas and they also have a link to Southern California.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

William Kentridge

So far, I have seen several films of his stop motion drawing films. The Menil Collection was showing two films when I was there a few months ago. The Fort Worth Modern had a huge show of his work with a great deal of his films. I must have spent hours being transfixed by this work. He would do a charcoal drawing, shoot it, then rub it out, draw over his old marks, and shoot again. Thus, he was making stop motion animation. He had strong political and social messages that both connected to historical context of the past 70 years.  Link.

Art in Dallas