Sunday, January 31, 2016

Brandon Stapp

It is not often I talk about music, but in this case I would like to talk about the career of Brandon Stapp. We go way back to the second grade and every now and then we have touched base with each other. For most of middle and high school, Brandon was searching for a way to express himself. He did a little drawing, some short film making, wrote a little, but when he got to college, he started developing his passion for playing turn table style music. His first break was with the WWHR college radio station where he took the persona of Airon which he used during his Airon Later show and a Near Dark goth show. For more detail on this time at the station, check out this site that goes into detail. I knew Brandon was mixing music, but when my second animation I was producing needed a soundtrack, I asked him if he might be interested. What he delivered was a great track that fit the piece perfectly. Later, I went to a few parties he was hosting while spinning records and I was quite impressed with his talent. Doing the DJ thing can have its ups and downs. He hasn't been able to always play full time, but I am sure the music is still flowing through him as we speak.
He also got passionate about politics a bit and he blogged about things he was running across the internet. His blog is 43 Ideas Per Minute, but it seems he hasn't updated it for a while.  Back in 2007, he wrote to the Bill O' Reilly show and was quoted on the air. Brandon wrote, "O'Reilly, it's amazing how you behave like a spoiled child when confronted with a calm, factually correct guest like Dave Kopel." Check out this source link.
He is also a Facebook friend, but our friendship predates the site by a ton of years. I remember he also writes. One particular short story titled Nine Inch Neal was my favorite. His Facebook account is linked here.
This summer I am going back to Kentucky. Visiting Brandon will be a must do on my list of visits.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Julie Karabenick

Composition 101 acrylic on canvas 40 x 38 in 2011

Blocky abstract work, her paintings are like maps and other paintings are like buildings. I see urban planned abstractions with attractive color schemes. The work above is similar to a topographical map of a city or maybe the insides of a computer. Julie Karabenick is another Facebook friend of mine that makes paintings. I enjoy watching the work progress and I hope you get a chance to visit her site.  She is currently curating an interesting geometric form and structure show at this site. Read the goals of the site here.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alison McWhirter

‘Interior;into the Peter Pan Garden’ oil

Alison McWhirter makes heavy impost paintings of flowers and abstract shapes. Theses works are buttery like icing on a cake. The compositions are blocky simple forms that capture the essence of the shapes she representing. She is a UK artist and another Facebook friend of mine. Here is a link to her website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hernan Ardila Delgado

An example of one of his Assembles

Hernan Ardila Delgado lives in Barcelona, Spain. He is an artist with a great minimal/post-minimal skill. I was attracted by his work because I love minimalism that still have rustic elements. The juxtaposition of perfect with raw imperfection is quite pleasing. Here is a link to his site. Sometimes I get the feeling his work plays a little bit as sculpture and a little bit as painting. A nice hybrid of the two worlds exist in his work.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cande Aguilar

I first came across Cande Aguilar's painting at the group show at 500x titled Family Ties. We talked a little and became Facebook friends soon after. Here is a link to his page and his Facebook page is linked here. I once said, "His work are like cut up samples of urban life collage in strips," and I still agree with myself. His website has one piece after another that is just eye candy. I don't say that to be negative, but rather I can see how his paintings are luscious. In a world of bland and die abstract painting, Aguilar livens it up.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ariel González Losada

Detail of a drawing

Ariel González Losada uses information, factual images, networking, maps, systems, musical notation and text to create a composition that is complex and engaging. Like John Cage, he is not only working visually, but is also composes music. Here are some great examples of the art images at a Flickr account. Born in Buenos Aires his posts on Facebook are in Spanish, but I love his work, so I am happy to check in with what he is doing. I can get a vague idea. I have heard his work compared to artist Carlfriedrich Claus. But Losada is more systematic and organized where as Claus is more free form. Claus is almost using a kind of automatic writer where words flow all over the page. Here are two link and link of great little articles on his work.  Although both are creating a kind of visual poetry. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Richard Andrew Sharum

Image from his Louisiana series of photos.

Richard Andrew Sharum is a Dallas based photographer that has done some impressive large scale installation on buildings: link to an article. He also captures engaging moments. He his website has a slide show of some of his works. It is worth watching. Here is the link. His Facebook page has some images as well, but I can't separate his personal to his professional work. Worth check it out, here is the link.

College Places to visit in Dallas

What is the point of a university art gallery? A good stock answer would be: art galleries and art museums on a campus function as an educational tool for their students and the broader public. But when I was getting my MFA, I found the campus galleries could also function as laboratories for students to experiment with displaying their work and testing out ideas. Both are good reasons to go out of your way to visit these spaces. It can be a bit challenging when attempting to park near a gallery, but if you plan ahead and get familiar with these spaces you will find visiting exhibitions of raw student talent, facility offerings, and uniquely curated shows rewarding.

The University of Dallas has the Beatrice M. Haggerty Art Gallery. I saw a spectacular show about painting one year that opened my eyes to a few artists that were new to me. Coming next month, the gallery has a Marc Chagall show, which to be honest isn’t particularly interesting to me, maybe because I have seen a glut of his work, but to see 50 original works might make it worth it if you like Chagall. The show starts on February 5th, so mark your calendars.

Pollock Gallery will have a faculty show on the 22nd. I always enjoy this type of show, because it helps you understand the influences the students are under. Slightly similar to the way artists in the apprentice eras were influenced by their masters, students of the University system either fully embrace their professors’ work and guidance, or the students react against it. Either way, this will help guide your understanding of what is coming out of the University. Plus, professors are also generally major players in the local art scene.

On January 25th, UT Arlington has a retrospective of John Hernandez. These are incredibly odd images and the show spans 37 years of his art career. Humorous, cartoony, with dayglow Pop color elements are Hernandez’s mode of operation. I see elements of street art and tattoo images, but melted and twisted into something a little more surreal.

Winter break takes out a chunk of exhibition time for many of the University galleries and UNT is no different. The UNT Gallery, Lightwell Gallery, Cora Stafford Gallery, North Gallery, and the UNT Art Space in Dallas are all closed until February 2nd. However, the University’s gallery on the square in downtown Denton has a must see show of Annette Lawrence. This show runs through the 30th of January and you will see a moment in her career where things begin to gel and inform her current exploration. Speaking of her current work, she also has a show at Conduit Gallery.

Not to leave community colleges out, Mountain View College has come off another strong year of shows. From paintings by Zeke Williams to Lynne Harlow, I don’t think I’ve seen a program at a community college with such a bold and impactful program as MVC. Maybe Giovanni Valderas left a legacy that will continue the next few years. I wonder what 2016 has in store.

Right now the colleges are gearing up for their educational programs, but Master of Fine Art thesis show season will begin soon in the spring, so look for the new talent showing around colleges and universities. You might see the next art star or at least someone that becomes influential to the next generation.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Brandon Reasoner

Absent Moments III 
48"x 36" Spray Paint, Graphite, Charcoal on Paper 
Brandon Reasoner, 2014

Abstract artist out of Waco, Texas: Brandon Reasoner comes from the legendary and now UNT Painting and Drawing department. His art is mix media which is influenced by the predominant force of gravity in the area: Baylor University professor Karl Umlauf. Although he is also wisely influenced by artist Ed Jasek. Reasoner and Jasek are in the same studio complex together and I believe Jasek has been a great sounding board for Reasoner to help him flush out his ideas. Reasoner is good at improvised mark making. He controls his composition while allowing drips and bleeds of paint to flow and play across the surface.
His recent work is simple and splashy. I see him clearing his composition similar to Kline's abstractions. Black and white gestures of abstraction is no Reasoner's mode of production. Here is a link to his Facebook page.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Jeffrey Dell repost of my article.

When does visual art seem to blend into the other senses? You will have to visit Galleri Urbane to see Jessica Snow’s and Jeffrey Dell’s solo shows to hear and taste the art. I don’t mean literally hear and taste, but these sensations seem to be at play each show.

Jessica Snow’s exhibition reflects sound through rhythm and color. When you walk into the space and turn left, on the long wall is an installation of individual framed paintings. Between the framed works are lines and shapes applied to the wall. My first impression was that this was was playing on diagramming sentences, but after reading about the show, I discovered Snow was influenced by music rather than grammar in these particular pieces. Snow told me that she was influenced by John Cage’s alternative notations of music. I have an old book with examples of these and I can see the correlations. Reflecting on this wall installation, I see the rhythm in her lines and colors. If you look and linger, the notes seem to seep in and I thought I could start hearing these works as well experience them visually. Many of the individual pieces had a minimalist quality akin to the music of Steve Reich, but the install felt more spirited like Philip Glass current work.

I am reminded of Sol Lewitt and his attempt to make art more like music by giving instructions to his pieces to be recreated, thus reinterpreted. Snow isn’t give us instructions to recreate her pieces, but rather giving us a way to experience the visual while tapping into our sense of sound through music. With this unique installation at Galleri Urbane, we are is likely to the last people to see/hear these pieces perform together to make this music.

Jeffrey Dell creates colors so bright and inviting, I think I could just lick each piece and get a sweet flavor. Lucky for me, the Plexiglass was there to prevent me from trying. I remember past series where he was inspired by cake and parties. The colors in this series seem to be even richer and tastier. Dell also intrigues me with his rhythmic folds of the paper. This highly graphic approach makes the edges of the colors clean and crisp. I know he has done a series like this before, but these works blending color in such lushes ways I couldn’t help but taste each piece with my eyes. I think with each iteration of these works Dell’s images become richer and more attractive than the series before.

The two solo shows titled Side by Side be up through January 2nd. I know visually Snow and Dell make a good pair, but it is clear to me that the fact they both tap into other senses makes the pairing extra special. Kodos to Galleri Urbane for their vision, taste, and listening skills.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Mathew Zefeldt repost of my article.

An argument has been circulating that this current generation has far reaching breadth of knowledge, but lack much depth in knowledge. So, if this argument rings true, then you would start to see this reflect in the art being produced. Well, it is true that many of the artists in the current group show at Circuit 12 Contemporary cover a lot of breadth, I still see some meaningful depth behind their images.

Breadth knowledge is reflected in this collage society which we have made through cut-out and ready-made objects in the visual arts, through music in rap and electronic dance, and the grab bag of information through the internet and products through globalization. So, when you see a work by Matthew Craven smashing Op art patterns with images of ancient art objects; you wonder how these two worlds work together. But we don’t question when an ancient object is pulled out of a dig site and plopped down in a minimalist museum space. Craven juxtaposition is no less stark than the act of moving an object out of it’s context. Just a little more obvious, but it did get me thinking about museums and their relations to an object. If Craven is more about the global collage, Mathew Zefeldt is more about the internet collage. Well at least computer images. Minecraft come to mind when I look at Zefeldt’s work or better yet, the bitmap quality computer files from my old VGA monitor on my PC clone. Only Zefeldt’s images grab me and hold me. He uses what looks to be ancient inspired art objects and mixed in with random game elements. A bit cartoony, which brings me to Ryan Travis Christian, like Matthew Craven, he plays of the pattern Op, but he mixes cartoon elements rather than ancient references.

Susy Oliverira had a quirky c-print piece titled Hot Wet Planet with suggestive symmetry to boot. Although this was very leafy and green, I was left feeling unclear where she got the images to make this object. However, her exploration of the natural and artificial dichotomy come across clearly. Jennifer Nehrbass takes a classic James Rosenquist approach, but makes the work charged and a bit uncomfortable. Landon Graves carefully dissects his subject into parts then represents a clean, almost sterile representation. Nina Chanel Abney work is more topical in that the painting is about relationships of power imbalance. Issues of race and violence weigh heavy in her work, but the works could be a painting ripped from the headlines today or fifty years ago. Chanel Abney, like Craven uses collage of the now and the past and ties them together to pull out more meaning.

Like all group shows, it is hard to talk about all the artists, so I highlighted a few I remember catching my eye, however, other worthy mentions was Evan Gruzis, Taylor Baldwin, Tilman Hornig, and Nick Van Woert. I will definitely be dropping by for a second look. After all, the show will be up until January 30th of 2016, so I will have time to further contemplate these artists’ works.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

MYLAN NGUYEN repost of my article.

Last year I happened to find myself at the Public Trust down in Deep Ellum. Brian Gibbs talked to me about his plan to create a space for just one art piece for people to come and see. Now that he has moved to the Design District on Monitor Street, Gibbs has started implementing his plan. Each show is part of his Soliloquy series in which an artist presents a piece as the single focus of the show. So far, Arthur Peña has presented a painting and up now is Mylan Nguyen’s boat installation.

Arthur Peña’s painting was accompanied by live music at the opening. His painting was on the far wall, with all other walls bare. This was not a huge painting, but by being the only piece in the room, I believe it gained a great deal more presence. The Impressionists in their first show attempted to slow down their viewers by allowing each painting enough space for people to see each piece, which was counter to the salon style of the day. We have come so accustomed to this spacing in the gallery, we find ourselves once again rushing through art spaces, and give each piece less time than it probably deserves. Brian Gibbs wants art viewers to slow down even more by removing all distractions and recreating an almost reverent space for one object.

Much of Mylan Nguyen’s work that I have encountered has been little informal drawings with a bit of manga/Yoshitomo Nara influence. These are generally figurative works that are very cartoony, sometime edgy and other times sweat. Her approach presents drawings out of sketch books and loose sheets of paper as finished pieces is not completely foreign. After all, Raymond Petition has made his career presenting an informal product. Nguyen’s current installation incorporates her drawings, but only as part of the whole art piece. I understand at the opening, her boat was on a kind of pedestal which made the work a little less inviting, but that has been removed and now a textile that simulates water has replaced the pedestal. Nguyen also encouraged a friend and I to take a seat in the boat. I carefully entered the boat and I felt quite at home with her piece. I was able to look at the small objects in and around the boat a little closer. I felt swept away as I was sitting in the piece. You might think Nguyen turned to installation to solves Gibbs’ vision, but she has a track record for doing some elaborate installs. Her show at CentralTrak was sprawling and intense. She also explored her own brand of tent display that looked to be a little more playful than Tracey Emin’s.

As I was leaving the installation area, I noticed she had several small pieces framed in the entry room and even some clay pieces. These were charming and I enjoyed looking at each individual piece. Though, I did notice I spent more time with her boat, so I guess Brian Gibbs is on to something.

If you missed Arthur Peña show at Public Trust, it is currently showing with Francisco Moreno at the Dallas Latino Cultural Center until January 15th. Mylan Nguyen’s installation will stay afloat until December 12th.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

THE MAC + Cedars Open Studio Tour

image courtesy of Michael David Needleman repost of my article.

Out of the blue, I was invited by someone to visit this year’s Cedars Open Studio Tour. I must admit, it has been a little while since I took the tour, so I figure, why not. Last time I had a lot of fun meeting artists, but this time I have the added bonus of visiting one of my favorite art non-profit venues in Dallas, The MAC.

The MAC has a new location and this is their second show. Their first was a members show, which shows where their heart lies. Several artists will be there to talk about their work, so I am excited to hear some good conversation about process. As an art teacher I am always looking for tips to pass along to my students. I would like to get talk to David Needleman, he has some conceptual and abstract work I would like to ask him about. I would like to talk to Lindsey Owen about her art works. I have seen drawings on her Facebook art page, but I would love to see her demonstrate her techniques. Seeing Tauma Wiggins make a watercolor would also be a treat.

The MAC will also be hosting a group show titled Lost Worlds, which might apply for the theme of these works, but the Cedars Neighborhood will now be found because of this important institutions move south. For me, the MAC acts as a counterbalance for the Dallas Contemporary. Their mission has been very supportive of the local artists, while bring in relevant artists from outside that inform the artists and art loving community. I see this new space as a potential shift for the art scene as a whole. RE Gallery is already in the area, although closing, but I predict more galleries will move into the Cedars.

Lost Worlds should be an interesting show and not just because all the artists are working in the Cedars. The show includes artist Sheryl Anaya who works in photography and installation, Joshua von Ammon who focuses on conceptual type art, Ali De Vito who uses patterns and colors that feel disconnected, alienated with the look flat wallpaper abstractions, Michael Morris and Sean P. Miller both work in glitch art, and finally Sean David Morgan who has the Deep Ellum style of painting. Like all studio tours, Cedars will have a mixed bag of good, bad, and ugly. However, the MAC has brought together a great highlight show which illustrates the quality of the art being created in the neighborhood around this institution.

Both the Cedars Open Studio Tour and the MAC open this Saturday, November 21st at noon and will be open until six o’clock. The MAC will continue their show of local artists through December 12th.

Monday, January 11, 2016


"Amplified 1" - mesh banner print / shredded original painting on mylar

82" x 63.25" repost of my article.

This is the last weekend for Joey Brock’s show at Craighead Green Gallery. He is showing along side two other solo shows at the gallery; Heather Gorham and Jay Maggio. But I kept coming back to Brock’s show, which surprised me because graffiti inspired work rarely grabs me. Brock, however, manages to capture the tradition of abstraction, while obfuscating just pure garish tagging techniques in this series.

When I first encountered these pieces, I thought immediately about Christopher Wool’s abstract series. Both Brock and Wool use the graffiti can spray look, but reflect on abstract tradition of the New York School of the 1950’s. Brock in contrast uses bright colors in his work, yet muted by his use of mylar. Brock also uses the transparent nature of mylar in order to create layers. He paints on the mylar then uses a photograph of a tagged wall or object on the bottom layer. The mylar is cloudy white, so all his work is muted and this defuses his colors into a cloud like mist. Once again, I think back to Wool, because of his use of black, white, greys, and silver. Wool also creates a muted composition, yet more flat. Brock’s color seems to amp up his painting and give a feeling of lightness and positivity.

Joey Brock brings a bit of a conceptual element to his show. Neon letters proclaiming “Quiet the Noise” reflects my feelings when looking at his images through his mylar. He also flattens his images in a few pieces by scanning his work and printing out large mesh banner prints displayed with his shredded original painting. This reproduction of the original now stands as the new original. The process to get to the banner has been included in the same way an artist might include the brushes and leftover paint from a painting for display. This was visually interesting although, I don’t think completely necessary. I enjoyed seeing the shredded painting, but I could imagine having been told the story of how Brock destroyed the work to make the larger banner prints without the evidence on display. I think the pieces would have grabbed my attention none the less. Then again, I don’t see the destroyed canvas as a crutch either. Processes included in these art pieces are revealing about his thoughts on what makes a finished art piece, which isn’t necessarily a painting or a photo on traditional materials.

I noticed Brock also had a few collage paper and mylar pieces. These reflected in color and some style of the paintings. The works also used layering with a different approach than the paintings. I am wondering if these are possible experiments for another show, because the direction for these works seems to be moving away from the rest of the works. All in all the direction of this new work is an exciting step forward. Brock is rooted in abstraction and informed by the street, but now transformed by his use of material and process. He has moved beyond straight painting.

Saddly, November 14th is your last moment to see Just Below the Surface, new works by Joey Brock. Heather Gorham and Jay Maggio are also closing this weekend. Yet, I am sure they would pull one or two out of storage if you ask. They are very friendly and I always enjoy my visit to Craighead Green Gallery.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

REBECCA CARTER repost of my article.

When visiting all the galleries a few weekends back, I came across Rebecca Carter installing her work just before the opening that night. A few strings were still being pulled and other strings were out of place, but Carter is use to this, you see, her work is made of thread. Call it a dynamic material, but is seems some of the best fiber artists mix it up with installation and individual sculptural pieces with emphasis on conceptual practices and content. Although fibers are not her exclusive materials, this show highlights some of her further developments in her thread work.

Carter’s threads capture your attention with color and words, the mess of lines hanging in almost random directions with only gravity as a common denominator is why you keep looking. Something about all those lines of thread balling up to form letters which are very readable and quite entertaining to engage. Carter’s text jumps right out and demands you to read it. Much of the works’ words reflect a visual or auditory experience. The piece that proclaims the word Plop is almost audible in my head. I was reminded of a piece the Fort Worth Modern has of Ed Ruscha which is a painting using words that imply noise. His painting, Noise, Pencil, Broken Pencil, Cheap Western depicts a pencil breaking among other things. The sound seems to come through both Ruscha’s paintings and Carter’s fiber pieces.

Color is another powerful tool Carter uses in this show. I talked to her while she was taking a break from installing. We discussed the extremely bright colors she was using and how the extreme brightness of her colored threads are often associated with neon colors are an illusion. These colors go beyond our spectrum of vision, yet our eyes interpret the colors as visibly intense colors. Language is also an illusion of factual meaning. Words are an estimation of agreed upon meanings. Even though a word might mean something as defined in a dictionary, the way people might express these same words is much more fluid and less based on pure definition.

I can not leave out the important inclusion of installation pieces to the show. So far I have been focusing on the sculptural pieces that hug on the walls of the gallery like relief sculpture. But Carter also had two installation pieces that moved out and began invading the rest of the room. This was not a full blown installation that filled the gallery space, but mini installs that still had a good presence in the gallery. These works were buildings, made of thread, with lines attached to a wall, ceiling, and draping on the floor. I got the feeling these structures were floating. I was so taken by Carter’s hanging houses that I came back for the opening to see how she had finished putting the work up. The sags and snags were fixed. The house did indeed have whiskers as the title of the show had indicated.

Rebecca Carter’s exhibition titled A Thread House Has Whiskers runs through December 23 at Holly Johnson Gallery. My art showing at the same gallery as another artist that deals with text is a real treat. Carter makes some pretty fun and playful letters out of thread along with some interesting objects.

Saturday, January 09, 2016


2014, porcelaine and music wire, 57 by 24 by 7 in repost of my article.

Du Chau’s exhibition has been extended into the second week of November at Liliana Bloch Gallery. An epic installation such as Chau deserves more time on the walls and floor. I thought I was getting the last glimpse this weekend, but I think I will have to visit one more time in November to experience these engrossing art pieces.

Du Chau uses two main materials, ceramic and wire. Both pulled from the ground and traditionally reshaped into functional objects. Chau uses these materials to tell a personal story about his childhood and journey through life.I didn’t initially see a history, instead I was attracted by his formal elements of repetition and a beautiful unity to each work. I felt like touching each piece, but I resisted the urge. Something about ceramic just invites you to feel its surface. The wires on each piece encouraged you to fan the art in order to see the ceramic parts wave back and forth. I enjoyed how the shadows played off the walls.

A story started to become apparent when I ran across a group of hands. Then I noticed the row of blocks with red flower shapes which appeared to be books, the the very large work with long ceramic fingers dripping down looked like a tree, and one of the works looked like little men strung like beads. Chau hints at history, but I can see how our own narrative can creep into the work. The tree like piece references a weeping willow and I was instantly taken back to my aunt’s apple farm in Michigan. She had next to her greenhouse when my brother and I use to explore and play hide and seek. If an artwork can pull a memory from your own past while still retaining its’ intent, then I would have to say the art piece was fairly successful. What makes Chau’s willow reach an even higher level of success is that it also transcends story and you can enjoy the piece as just a purely abstract form. I found myself breathing deeply and clearing my mind before another piece would invoke another memory. A strange cycle of rest and memory overcame me at the show.

Sublime is a term batted around when describing art like Du Chau. It is easy to see this work elevating your senses to a more spiritual plane of existence. Or at least to a higher degree than just surface information. I felt moved by the works and I thought Chau’s art spoke to me on several levels. This is the kind of show you have to experience to get the feelings I can’t seem to fully express in words.

Du Chau teaches at Brookhaven College where apparently quite a few talented ceramic artists are teaching. Lisa Ehrich, who is currently showing at Mod Gallery, is the department chair at the college. Like Chau, Susan Feller Mollet adjuncts and creates some fun whimsical art pieces. I have to poke my nose around the college again to see these artists working with their students.

Matt Wolcott

"Bland Ballad"
Oil on canvas 

On February 5th through March 19th, the Hudson Gallery located at 5645 N. Main St. Sylvania, Ohio will be having an Opening reception on Feb. 5th. Get to know him through this article out of Toledo: link. His paintings are nicely layered where the brush strokes reveal conceal his efforts to create a random, contradictorily organized composition. Here is a link to the gallery showing his work. He also shows in Columbus, Ohio at the Marcia Evans Gallery and here is a link to them. Good luck on your show Matt.

Friday, January 08, 2016

The weekend ahead 2015

Ted Larsen, Jungle Gym, 2015, salvage steel, Marine-grade plywood, silicone, Vulcanized rubber,
hardware, 18x23x10".  Conduit Gallery. repost of my article.

This is a great weekend for late night adventures. Aurora lights up the city Friday night and I doubt I will get much sleep. Yet I still plan to get an early start on the galleries opening on Saturday. Lots of great openings and I don’t plan to narrow them down to just a few.

Conduit Gallery just had a great show come down and I am looking forward to this Saturday’s offering. I have made it no secret that I am a big fan of Ted Larsen’s work. I make an effort to see most of his shows in the DFW area, but I have been known to seek his work out across the state. Lance Letscher’s cut outs are always enjoyable, but I am really excited to see what Lily Hanson has going on in the Project Room. I can’t tell from the press images, but my interest has been peeked.

Cris Worley Fine Arts has the beautifully intricate drawings by Robert Lansder. To my joy, another artist obsessed with fine line and details. I think there might be a real art movement evolving with this breed of detail oriented work. Drawing has come to the forefront as a finished work, rather than a sketch for a more ambitious painting or sculpture. Artists’ drawings are taking on an ambition that precludes any need for further development. Lansder’s drawings contain these qualities with the added benefit of being compelling as abstract images.

Circuit 12 Contemporary has group artists concept show inspired by an art piece by Cy Twombly titled Jupiter Island. Robert Andrade, Debra Barrera, William Binnie, Kayla Lewis, Soo Shin, Bryan Volta, Jenyu Wang, and Hyounsang Yoo. I like the concept of seeing sculture as an island. Often times in a gallery space, sculptural objects seem to float out in the middle of the floor, taking space, and even feel other worldly. I look forward to interacting with these abstract objects. I have a feeling the walls will not be neglected either.

Holly Johnson Gallery has what could be a pretty wild show of Rebecca Cater’s art pieces. I also want to see the Joey Brock abstract and slightly graffiti inspired paintings at Craighead-Green. I just know online pictures and card don’t do the work justice. A reproduction can only grab your attention, but visiting the pieces will bring a whole other level to any art experience. Galleri Urbane’s collage shows of David Willburn and Andrea Marie Breiling should make for some interesting conversations.

All the galleries mentioned above are open all day Saturday, but their opening receptions are from 6 to 8PM. Finally, if I can drag myself out again, then I would find myself at Terrain Dallas to see another odd creation by Rachel Fischer in the front yard of this fascinating art location. Lookup 1122 Elmdale Pl in Dallas, TX 75224 and visit them Sunday from 1 to 3PM. Fischer is definitely one to watch.

Thursday, January 07, 2016


Francisco Moreno: SLATE: Worn Panel No. 4, 2015, 48 x 36 inches, Mixed media on 
custom panel. Photo by Kevin Todora.  Courtesy the Artist and Erin Cluley Gallery. repost of my article.

About a week out from Erin Cluley Gallery’s opening of the Francisco Moreno show: Slates, a friend and I visited the gallery and the show was already up. By now, there is only a week more for the show, but this was one occasion where I didn’t want to make a knee jerk written reaction. I needed to think about the implications of a show like Francisco Moreno and Erin Cluley put together.

First, I noticed his statement. Moreno created panels that explain the size and shape of his concept. This is the beginning of the limitations he creates for himself. Moreno clearly understands the power of limitations while critiquing the necessity of style to maintain limits. Moreno’s idea of limiting size and shape was key to holding the show together. Each work was 48X36 with curved corners. Because Moreno limited his size, the show came together with all the work fitting, yet the styles were all over the place. I think Moreno was really producing an anti-style show. Having a personal style as an artist is like an authorship, branding, or way artists distinguish themselves for other artists. Henri Matisse may have changed styles over the years of his art production, but he was not able to explore several styles at once and place them in one show. Moreno, with hindsight of history was able to combine old styles, update others, and play around with yet more to make a show that isn’t about the progression of style as the Modernist pursued, but rather this was a showcase of style in conflict. Each idea attempting to speak louder than the piece next to it. If I didn’t know any better, this could have been a group show of all the artists in Moreno’s head. Similar to Shea Hembrey’s 100 artist biennial concept, Moreno is breaking down that myth that style has to emerge in a linear fashion, that style has to be an artist’s signature, and that style has this kind of mystique coveted by the art world.

What does each exploration of style mean to Moreno? I think it has to do with different aspect of his knowledge and personality. Moreno has examples of Op inspired work along with portraying Kanye West that play to his Popular culture connections. His painterly AbEx style works look splashed and dashed, but far from careless. I was drawn to the minimalist hard-edge work and found the unicorns humorous for being so over the top irreverent. The show itself was completely shuffled, so you had to look around for the works within each series. I think Moreno’s interests are varied and his knowledge of art history has depth which is laid bare on the wall of the gallery.

Erin Cluley Gallery has been gaining much deserved attention for some provocative offerings. I am excited to see her program grow and expand while exposing gallery visitors and collectors to her vision. Francisco Moreno will be showing until October 17th.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016


Diedrick Brackens - Untitled 2015 hand woven fabric; cotton dyed with tea and 

commerical dyes, and nylon yarns 88"x82" repost of my article.

Myth can be a powerful delivery system for truth, ask Diedrick Brackens. His textiles now at Conduit Gallery were inspired by a story about quilts. During the our nation’s pre-civil war era, slaves and underground railroad participators would embed messages in their quilts, blankets, and other textiles to help escaped slaves navigate their way north. Though this story sounds plausible, Bracken couldn’t find a scrap of evidence to back up this story he had heard. Yet the story inspired his own code making in his art. I think it is hard to pin down an oral tradition society that was trying to keep their activities secret from their oppressors. Clearly messages were passed in songs and other activities. Slave made textiles, most were not literate, but yet aware of symbolic language. Unfortunately, gathering first account evidence is impossible now, so it is up to the artists, novelists, and poets to make sense of this myth and even play with creating new meanings.

Codes and messages in textiles have had a long and rich history. Ships have used flags to communicate with other ships. Clothes have indicated social status or some kind of membership to a nation or family. Bracken embeds stories of love and tension is his weaving. Personal messages, rather than overarching goals are Bracken’s aim in each work. Bright and muted colors clash and seem to point out the obvious in that there is a message, but it is not readable. I suppose I could try translate Bracken’s work into binary code and then try extrapolate words. After all, weavers originated a binary system, but I doubt that I would come up with a one to one translation. I guess I need to look at the work and just feel the information flow into my senses.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Robert Barsamian has a strong show of paintings in the front room. When I saw Barsamian’s last show, I was completely taken in by his imagery. This show continued his exploration into symbolic collage style which normally is a big turn off for me, but with Barsamian the political and social content just seems to work. It packages his painting well, because I am drawn in for a closer look. My Facebook has been recently blowing up over big game hunting, and on NPR I frequently hear about wars in Africa. Barsamian speaks to these two subjects by combining photographic references and patterns and then punching me with his combined images. Not an ugly punch, but rather the kind that jolts me a little out of my complacency.

As sometime happens, I was a little baffled by the project room. Anthony Sonnenberg was certainly entertaining talking about the work. I will have to come back and give it a second look. Conduit Gallery’s three shows end October 10th.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


installation view repost of my article.

Circuit 12 Contemporary’s current show of Simon Bilodeau is black & white, and read all over with meaning. You might think that Bilodeau is interested in binary comparisons with his limited palette, but I see a very complex art show that plays with theatrics and narrative.

The giant girder with mirrored covered objects demands your immediate attention as you walk in the door. So, I have to walk around and inspect this site-specific installation. These shiny objects among the simulated decayed girders reminded of my trip to Turkey, visiting the Ottoman palaces. As the empire declined, the Sultans continued to overspend in order to keep up appearances that the empire was wealthy. This only hastened the end of the House of Osman. One could draw a similar parallel to the decline to infrastructure in the United States while political spending has reached impressive numbers. Over and over again, empires fall because the resources are squandered in the wrong places. Yet, the museums are filled with the riches of these past civilizations that overspent their sustainability. Bilodeau’s work brought into focus history and possible future outcomes.

Embedded in the far back wall is a mirror sculpture with grey painted rectangles as frames. This work helped to draw me away from the center piece. It is pretty common to see a mirror piece at art fairs or contemporary spaces these days, but Bilodeau’s doesn’t seem to use the mirror as reflecting one’s image, but rather as an object that shimmers. With effort, I can see myself, but I get the feeling the work isn’t about me putting myself into the work like so many other artists seem to be implying. Rather, the mirror reflects light that gives the appearance of something valuable, yet now commonplace. On some of the walls are paintings with quiet geometric designs or purely abstract shapes. One series is a study of a rock painted multiple times. I can’t help but think about coal in these works. Not because my father was a coal miner, but I am sure that was a factor, but rather Bilodeau’s black rock could be one of the reasons for the wasteland set in the middle of the room. Coal, along with other fossil fuels are anything but clean. Because of fossil fuel consumption, some climate models paint a very apocalyptic view of the future if we don’t make some fuel consumption changes soon. I don’t know if Bilodeau really had this aspect in mind, but because this issue is in zeitgeist, I can see how this angle could apply.

One element Bilodeau constantly brings to each show, is his past work. That is, his past work that didn’t find homes during his shows are burned, then nicely repacked as ashes and stored in shadow box frames. He labels the work as a record for each past show. Many Modernist declared that the past should be burned and we should start fresh and new, but few had the guts to do this to their own work. And I can’t think of a more fitting thing to do, for an artist that celebrates dystopia. Circuit 12 Contemporary and Simon Bilodeau will end the show on October 12th.

Monday, January 04, 2016


Post Dogmatist Painting #788
Acrylic and collage on wood
40 1/2 x 40 in. repost of my article.

This past weekend I finally met Cecil Touchon at William Campbell Contemporary Art in Fort Worth. I was hoping he would be at his opening titled Beyond Words. About 10 years ago I stumbled across a book titled Massurrealism: A Dossier in a Dallas used bookstore. That is when I first became acquainted with Touchon’s work. Ever since then, I have run across several of his shows without the pleasure of meeting him. I wanted to hear about his process and some of the ideas behind his work, and he was happy to talk.

When someone dreams, it generally becomes hard if not impossible to read words. Many times, words are either static images like an iconic EXIT sign or a jumbled mess that you mind cannot decipher. If you look at Touchon’s paintings as if you were in a state of dreaming, then the cut of words and numbers make sense, because this is a similar expression of the dream experience. However, Touchon is not just playing with the realm of the unconscious, but also in the realm of philosophical investigation. When I wrote about Touchon in the past, I mentioned that I saw qualities of deconstructing text that are even more extreme than Jacques Derrida. I also see Touchon taking William S. Burroughs’ cut-up technique of writing much further by leaving text unreadable. All you are left with are the forms, shapes, curves, and negative spaces of the chopped of letters or numbers. Meaning has been left behind and reformed into pure image. Let’s not forget that these are found words that are broken into parts. Touchon is rooted in Dada anti-aesthetics which has now become the established aesthetic. Recycled words have become new forms as Hannah Hoch had repurposed ad images in magazines.

When it comes to his processes, Touchon starts by cutting out words and arranges them into a composition. He then takes his ideas to board by cutting paper and layering this ripped material on the surface. He plots out his work, paints the shapes, sands the surface, and finally draws on the painting to add some depth and shape to his subject. Some of the process sound like a family affair where his wife and daughter also help to produce part of his paintings. I enjoyed hearing he included his family in the production process. It made these works all the more engaging.

In previous shows, I have only seen his paintings, yet I had seen some of his process pieces in photographs. William Campbell Contemporary Art gallery gave me a treat by including his cut-out collages in the show. I think this gave some context to his paintings and I can also hear the collages speaking to the paintings. These collages were complete works in their own right. If you are going to Fort Worth before October 10th, see this show.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The fall art scene

Jessica Drenk - Galleri Urbane repost of my article.

In order visit all the best openings in the metroplex, you might want get an early start. I can't even give you a top 5 in DFW alone because so many galleries put their best on for the unofficial fall season. Seven of the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas (CADD) member galleries are opening. New member, Mary Tomás Gallery will be opening with works by (Kandinsky/early Mondrian style) artist Johannes Boekhoudt. R02 Gallery will be ending the Chaos show this weekend too, which is worth a second look. With all that work, you are bound to have missed a gem..

Tom Orr at Barry Whistler is a must see. His optical play with material continues to capture my attention and admiration. Simon Bilodeau would pair well in a show with Orr and his show is across town at Circuit 12 Contemporary. I reviewed a show by Robert Baramian at Conduit a year or so back and I was surprisingly taken by his highly symbolic work. Baramian uses the look of the collaged image in his painting to reengage images for new meanings. Based on his last show, I have high hopes for this one. Galleri Urbane Dallas and Holly Johnson Gallery will host mesmerizing detailed artists. Jessica Drenk takes ordinary objects, multiplies them, and then makes something beautiful and new. Matthew Cusick is cutting up maps, newspapers, etc. to make complex images of people and landscapes. I look forward to seeing these artists’ work up close and personal.

DADA galleries are also making a splash this weekend. ModArtists Gallery will be celebrating their one year anniversary this weekend as a new member of DADA. They will be launching a Group Show with works from their collective of artists including works by Steve Uriegas, Lisa Ehrich, Michael Lyon, and Nan Phillips. UTD’s CentralTrak will have a performance of words, sounds and ideas, and this has got me intrigued. I will have to swing by at 2PM to see what these CalArts people are doing. I will be honest, I am not enticed to visit Samuel Lynne Gallery that often, but every now and then they at least make me curious. I might have to see their show with Bernie Taupin. I guess I am a sucker for artists that use words in some of their work.

I went to Fort Worth to see more work. Especially for the Cecil Touchon show at William Campbell Contemporary Art. Once again, another artist that uses words, but broken and deconstructed to a point where the beauty of the curves and lines of individual letters can truly be appreciated. I don’t know what ArtSpace 111 has in store, but a show titled pARTy has to have something good and not just for the drinks and party favors. If I can find a parking space not outrageously expensive, I might even visit the Fort Worth Community Art Center to see their drawing show. Honestly, where are you supposed to park for free or even cheap near that place? By the way, all these spaces belong to their own gallery organization called the Fort Worth Art Dealers Association which has their fall gallery night this weekend on the 12th.

Sure you will be tired from seeing so much art, but trust me, it will be worth it. A weekend of binging on galleries is a perfect way to start a monthly habit, because once you catch the gallery hopping bug, you won’t want to give it up.

Saturday, January 02, 2016


Pulsar Lucidity, Fight Until I'm Broken, 2015,
oil on canvas, 52 x 70 inches repost of my article.

I think in no other time have we come across abstract art in such a state of crisis. You see increasing prevalence of abstract images being knocked off by overseas factories, recognized professional artists making bland paintings that look to be made by any other artist that deskilled her/himself, and finally there is a glut of decorative abstracts.

Much of the really good abstract art being made in painting plays a little with being irreverent to the past traditions, while still being concerned with looking at art and seeing how it is made. Deconstructing the steps of producing an image is part of building an artist’s skillset. When an artist doesn’t look at anyone else’s’ work, rarely if ever will you get creative output that speaks to the times. Deskilling to the point of no skill leads to an artist’s work looking like everyone else. On the opposite end of being irreverent are the artists that pay homage to the Modernist. I’m talking about abstract artists that are rooted in the traditions of intuitive automatic composition. Over the summer, I saw a show of Trey Egan’s which exemplifies this rooted breed of artists.

This is the last weekend of Trey Egan’s show at Cris Worley Fine Arts. I am sure Egan would agree with me that creating and containing a great abstract work is incredibly difficult; mentally and physically. My guess is it took its toll on Rothko and Pollock. The tortured artist myth has given their works a kind of je ne se qua. Although I don’t see Egan as tortured, running over with emotion, but rather a stable chancellor of feeling through his work. Music with a beat expressed in paint on canvas seems to be Egan’s aim. I see a rise and fall of painted elements in this body of work. Some very quiet moments occur with minimal amount of paint while others start to build up and almost form structures. Jackson Pollock can be seen as a dancer recording his moves in paint. Egan, however, could be seen as transcribing music into a language of abstract painting. I wrote about his last solo show at Cris Worley Fine Arts that the movement guided you around the canvas. This body of work does much the same, yet I felt these images slowed you down so you can enter the work a little easier.

I hear a lot of rattling of swords by realist painters complaining about absorb level artists and the steps they are taking to deskill themselves, which I admit is a real problem right now. And don’t get me wrong, I love realist work that accomplishes more than just illustration. But really good abstract art takes a great deal of skill and some of the best artists out there are producing thoughtful and emotionally relevant work that happens to be abstract and I think Trey Egan is one of them.

Friday, January 01, 2016


pigment on paper, 33 x 31 inches repost of my article.

When visiting the dark halls of the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University, I have often been struck by how relatively humble the space is compared to the rest of the university. Don't get me wrong, it is nice to even have an art museum at all on a campus, but for some reason, when I visit Baylor, I somehow expect something a bit more grandiose. After all their new stadium is pretty impressive, but even the Dallas Cowboys had the forethought to include a little art to class up the joint.

Southern Methodist University has a huge art museum know as the Meadows Museum. So you would expect Baylor to have something comparable to SMU. However the space is small, the walls are carpeted, and the museum is dark with sparce lighting. This lighting attempts an illusion of drama, but I tend to feel a bit in the dark when looking at the art. Despite the space, I must say, the museum staff manages to bring in some interesting shows. One of their current shows is titled Line and Space and features Doris Schläpfer and Erin Wiersma.

I was instantly attracted to the line drawings of Erin Wiersma. Much of her drawings are layered and are dense with gestured markings. Comparisons to those old AbEx artists out of New York LeWitt. I watched a great video on youtube of artisans recreating their densely scribbled compositions on walls and I instantly thought how familiar those drawings felt to Wiersma’s work. I was also reminded of the crazy obsessive lined work of Il Lee. I saw a show of his at the Crow Center in Dallas and he also displayed all his pens he used up in that show. Bic pen was getting rich off of his work. Wiersma differs from Sol LeWitt and Il Lee in that she attempts to contain her pieces within the rectangle on less than a heroic scale. Thus, she creates a more concentrated mediation on the line.

Doris Schläpfer use of negative space seem to vibrate like an old Furturist painting. Her figures imply movement as lines overlap lines. Researching her personal website, I also ran cross more of her drawings not in the show, but those drawings also reflect a movement through her sketchy lined drawing. Of course the pictures online do not do her work justice at all, because of the delicate line a photograph cannot come close to experiencing the work.

If you are on your way to Austin or you just want to visit Waco, the Martin Museum of Art is just off I35 and you can hop off, take a quick peek and pop back on the road. The show is up until September 20th. And while you are in Waco, check out the Noel Kalmus & Jenna Foster show at the Waco Art Center going on until September 12th. It was kind of a curve ball show and I am still trying to rap my head around what I saw.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bill Jamison

So, I was browsing my local library in Jefferson Texas when I cam across this book about one of their former resident. Bill Jamison was a sculptor in the modernist style. The book is filled with examples of his work. I see a little bit of Henry Moore, David Smith, Barbara Hepworth, Alberto Giacometti, and probably a few others. Not to say he was derivative, but rather he was working right along the modernist mode of aesthetics. The first one is titled Lonely Nude, second is The Pearl Finder, and third is Whit Owl.
Bill Jamison worked and lived in Aspen and died in 2007.

It would be nice if the city of Jefferson Texas owned a piece by him. A piece by him would look great in their old 1907 Carnegie Library which has been restored and is quite beautiful by the way.
The book has an inscription that it was donated in honor of his mother, a member of the 1881 Club of Jefferson, Texas. The publisher is Taylor Publishing Company of Dallas, Texas. It appears that the company's focus is now on yearbooks for schools.  Photos: credits include: Moses Olmos, Duane Robinson, or Hugh McKay.


Monday, December 28, 2015

My son's art

 "My concept drawing to model," says my 8 year old son.

Monday, November 30, 2015

New Art Piece

So, I have been thinking about things that have captured my attention over the years and one consistent is They Might Be Giants and another thing is role-playing games. Both have had rise and falls in my interest throughout my life, but both seem to play a roll in my life from time to time. I uses to go to TMBG's concerts a lot in my youth. I even saw them on they day I got married, because my wife surprised me with tickets. I played roll-playing games in high school and college, but not until I was in my 40's that I took it up again with my friends through conference calls. Therefore, what better way to combine my work of abstracting text than to taking each album of TMBG and abstracting all the song titles. Then to help create the composition, I roll various dices to help me with my placement of the shapes I have made from the text. Here is my first piece from this series from TMBG's album Flood. This is a 40 by 30 drawing on claybord.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rodolfo Razo

Rodolfo Razo was a fashion illustrator, painter, and all around nice artist. I had the extreme pleasure meeting him when I lived in Waco. Here is a portrait of me done by Razo. He was able to sketch it out extremely fast and caught the essence of my image. I enjoyed sitting for him and I hope his legacy is remembered.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Open Call show

Lorimoto Gallery is showing a salon show of 300 works for very affordable prices for people that want to get started as collecting, but can't completely afford contemporary art in general. The art works are $300 or less. Opening was Saturday & Sunday 1-6pm through December 20th. The address is 16-23 Hancock Street in Ridgewood, New York, 11385. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Birthday Reflections

WKYU-TV is a PBS channel run out of WKU. This was also where I received an undergraduate degree. After my mother died, I was without much purpose, so my dad rooted me out of the house and I packed up and moved back to Bowling Green where a friend of mine got me a job as an MCO at the station he worked. Well, I spent a year there drawing little pictures on sticky notes and working a little bit at my apartment, but I wasn't motivated to break out any new ideas except for one which was a 60 by 30 inch canvas with a large image of my signature in the middle of the canvas in black and white. I didn't know at the time, but that text piece was the beginning of an new series that has not left me to this day. Later thanks to some of the professors at WKU, I had a show at the university and the next year I had a show at the art center in Bowling Green. If were not for the former station manager Linda G. I would not have been able to do the residency that went with the exhibition at the art center. She and her husband put me up for the week and I could not have been happier with their hospitality. In 2010, the last of the MCO booth was shut down and replaced. I haven't been back since the switch over, but I remember they were attempting to move over to an all computer system when I was about to leave, so I image the machine has once again replaced the worker.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Dennis O'Bryant​

Moon Garden
So, another artist I meet in the Marshall area is Dennis O'Bryant. He has a little home/studio/gallery space of his own which he has artfully crafting sculptures and décor to make his area completely charming. His sculptures seem to make the neighborhood a little more funky and fun. I have had long conversations about the state of the arts in the East Texas area and Marshall in particular. I enjoy his stories about the art scene in Shreveport too. His walls also feature some of his artists friends. I know he is currently showing at the Gingko Leaf Gallery which is an art gallery in downtown Marshall, Texas. As you can see above, he focus is on abstract or a stylized representational style. Check out his personal website link. 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Mary Norvell

When you move to a new area, you want to get to know the artists in your new surroundings right away. So you scope out the local art leagues, art centers, art museums, and art galleries. Thankfully the area I moved to had all the above, which is pretty impressive for the population size. One artist in particular has been very graceful and helpful in getting to know other artists is Mary Norvell. She has a studio space at the Marshall Fine Art Center. Just a town over from Jefferson. However, it looks like Norvell has been to the old cemeteries in  Jefferson, because I see several familiar headstones represented in her work. Although I understand a town called Scottsville also features these angle monuments as well. She works in water color, plus a great deal of other mediums including other paint materials, clay, and several drawing materials. Norvell has got me involved with interesting art related projects and I look forward to working with her on many more. Check out this link to a 2008 show.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

R. C. Davis and Ron Atwood

Ron Atwood

R. C. Davis

A few days ago, I meet two artists that were scoping out the city of Jefferson, TX so they can open an art gallery. Both are skilled in traditional realist work. Most of Ron Atwood's work is animal painting renderings and R.C. Davis is interested in landscapes. I meet them in the street and I invited them to my studio. They were incredibly gracious and I hope their gallery is a great success. Ron Atwood's work can be found at this link. And R.C. Davis has examples of his work here at this link.