Thursday, December 01, 2016


Realism is a funny thing these days. Most anyone can appreciate an artist that has the rendering chops to produce something photorealistic. However, even though an artist can reach a technical height of making a lifelike image, it doesn’t necessarily mean the work is any good. Technique and skill in realism are just not enough for contemporary art. There have to be strong conceptual ideas that play with past approaches. If an artist just repeats the past without giving the work a new voice, then that voice has little relevance. Realism has a long tradition which artists can mine for ideas or basically copy the past tropes. However, reorganizing the past is David Crismon’s game, and that is his angle on the past works.

Now I am not trashing realism, there are plenty of artists that play in this genre who speak the language of what is going on now. I am railing against people that think nothing after the Impressionists is worth mentioning. Crismon doesn’t fall into the trap of making pure copies of the paintings of past masters, but rather he uses the old images and updates them with the contemporary approach of collage with a hint of cubist style. Crismon’s work reminds me of the photographic series that David Hockney made using several photos compiled together to make a complete image. These images of Crismon could not have existed without the benefit of the whole of art history; all the way to the present.

Breaking an image apart into sections and repeating areas is very much a modern technique, while his rendering reflects something out the the Renaissance, Rococo, Baroque, and through to 19th century painting. Technology also informs Crismon’s work. The way we experience art online, in chunks of information, sometimes half scrolling to see a particular image on a web page. Degrade of a digital file can leave an image partly loaded. The original paintings Crismon draws from have been copied through print media, digital images, and even in paint. His paintings copy these past images and then reflect our broken experiences with them. But does Crismon’s approach to revisiting the past help breathe new life into art historical paintings?

Crismon’s paintings capture your attention and make you pause to examine them more closely. An art historian might get a kick out of seeing works that they have studied. A general audience might need a little context to the work, but I think most museum goers and art collectors would understand that Crismon is resurrecting these works. If you don’t have much knowledge about art history, Crismon does give you clues to find out for yourself through his titles. For example, the work titled Nicolaes Pickenoy 36 is a reference to the painter Nicolaes Pickenoy from the Late 15 to mid 16 hundreds. Many will recognize the ruff around the neck of the man in the painting. It is an old style of clothing only found as contemporary clothes at the Church of Denmark. So, with the extra clues Crismon leaves the viewer, someone can at least look up his titles and get further acquainted with his subjects. And after all, getting people to educate themselves about the past would help to breathe life back into the old work and also connect that work to the present.

David Crismon will have his Dislocated History paintings on display through November 15th at Craighead Green Gallery on Dragon Street in the Dallas Design District.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Another Soliloquy show has rolled out of the Public Trust Gallery and it took me a while to really have the work sink in for its significance in style and content. I admit, the moment I walked in, I was skeptical of the work. I was somewhat familiar with Ryan McGinness, but I had not experienced a piece up close. This is a monumental piece that gives you a broad view of the artist’s themes and ideas that he is exploring in just one painting.

My scepticism slowly melted away as I looked at each part of the painting and then sat down and took it in as a whole. I think my original misgivings stemmed from the fact that I thought I was going to see an art piece that was purely clever and derivative, but that’s not what was presented under close observation. Much of McGinnes’ work centers around logos, icons, and emoji style images. His images reflect a society that is replacing words with symbols to express their emotions and thoughts. McGinnes is tapping into the cell phone culture and the contemporary visual culture like a Pop artist in the 1960’s, where artists looked around and saw advertising everywhere. McGinnes appears to not only use these images that are out in the world, but he is also inventing symbols.

His figures look to be taken from Matisse cutouts, but upon closer inspection, I see these iconic images as more inspired by Matisse than directly taken. I was also thinking of Julian Opie’s figures as well. Both Opie and McGinness have observed the trend of images replacing words. Of course, the figures are just a small element of a larger image. In this work, you will find all kinds of simple shapes and simulated patterns. When put together, the painting looks like an artist’s studio. Work appears to be in progress, other artworks are depicted on the wall, and related objects you might find in a studio are on display. Other products are implied in the painting, like skateboards and t-shirts with McGinness’ designs. Branding artists, and placing images on products have become a trend that might seem distasteful to some, but consider what museums gift shops do with the work of dead artists. McGinness, like many of his contemporaries is just preempting a museum’s branding to help make a living as an artist. In a world where it gets less and less possible to rely on making art as an only source of income, selling product alongside original art has become a strategic tool.

Because there is only one piece on display, you might be thinking, “How is The Public Trust able to do this as a commercial gallery?” The economics of a gallery space is part publicity and part making work available. Luckily, for this show an inexpensive print is available, so you could come away with a McGinness piece even if it isn’t the original painting. Also, having McGinness show at The Public Trust will hopefully generate interest in the other artists Brain represents. Can you believe this is the gallery’s 5th Soliloquy show? This weekend on the 22nd will be the last time you can see this painting, so go out and sit with a painting for a while.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Two very different shows are coming down this weekend at Barry Whistler Gallery. The paintings of Otis Jones and the photographs of Allison V. Smith. Jones is known for his rough edged shaped canvas, his minimal use of colors and shapes, and for his work’s purely charming mystique. In a past show Allison V. Smith displayed enchanting photos of Maine that so encapsulated the place that my wife, who grow up there and knew nothing about the show, asked if the pictures were of her home state. She had not been to any of the places Smith photographed, but the images gave off an aura of Maine.

Allison V. Smith tackles Big Spring, Marfa, Albany, and Levelland, Texas as subject matter in her current show. With this body of work, she has once again captured places that seem to give off the feeling that these images could not be from anywhere else, but the southwest. To capture the essence of a place is amazing, however, the most important thing that struck me was how amazing the compositions were constructed. An inch or two to the left or right and any one of these images would have failed, but everything was spot on. A perfect balance of asymmetrical and symmetrical compositions. Poles, plants, and the horizon line always seem to be in the perfect position for the view to feel that the image was built rather than just there in the environment. Painters, stage designers, and interior designers should really study Smith’s handle on composition, because it reaches a level of near perfection.

Otis Jones in not interested in perfection in the strict sense of the word, but he too is strong with composition. Particularly his strength in symmetrical work. Sure it is simple symmetry, but if it is a little off, I bet you would notice. I think that his subtle layers of paint and his choice of simple color palette is beautiful and sublime. One can go on and on about how interesting the exposed wood structure and raw display of the staples holding the canvas make Jones’ pieces so very attractive. In fact, I see Jones has synthesized the Minimalists with the Post -Minimalists. The Minimalists were pushing the boundaries of what could be aesthetic and not be plain. The Post-Minimalist were about material and exposing the underpinning of a structure. Jones’ painting does both minimal exploration of paint and shapes while exposing the ugly truth of how something is made. Ideal mixed with truth, sounds like a classical view of beauty to me.

Otis Jones’ paintings and Allison V. Smith’s photographs will be up until October 15th at Barry Whistler Gallery. And I know that Barry Whistler has been in his new space in the design district, off Dragon Street, but I haven’t had a chance to really express my excitement about the expansive space he has now. I know he had pushed the limits of his location in Deep Ellum, but now he has an over abundance of space. I think there are opportunities for some ambitious shows and I look forward to the creative exhibitions. I hope a project room of sorts evolves out of an area or two. Hope to see you at his openings this season.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Asarmentosa is the word I used to make this drawing. 50 by 38 inch drawing on a paper. A drawing made in 2007-08.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

2007 Drawing

Ink on paper drawing, 2006 - 07 drawing.  This is a piece of art that helped me get into grad school at UNT. I made it between UTD MA and my UNT MFA. It was a moment of clarity that helped me get into some reality complex drawings.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Text Drawing Diptych

Diptych of a drawing on two sheets of paper. This is a type of landscape that uses words and stretched lines from the edge of the text.  Made in around 2008 - 09, this drawing is in two frames. The papers are 50 by 38 each, making the work 50 by 76 drawing in total size.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Shishimaru Igarashi

This is an update on an artist that went to the same grad school, UNT, around the same time I was there.  Shishimaru Igarashi aka Clyde was making these characters interact with people. They were kind of like little spirt animals. His work derives from some street aesthetics, graphic elements, and (east and western influences). I know I just used the ridiculous terms (east and west), but it is short hand here. Maybe I will have to write about that a little later, because clearly those terms are a gross generalization that homogenizes a whole host of cultures and traditions into two categories. But I digress, Clyde has gotten a little more dark in his content. I know his move to NYC right after grad school was less than a positive experience. I am excited he has bounced back and is producing some new work.

Here is his website site.
Here is my preview article on him.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Matthew Wolcott open studio

Matthew Wolcott is having a Black Friday open studio day. 

 Studio hours Friday 11/25 12-5pm 
 private message him at (740) 334-0178 or email at to arrange a viewing.

2020 Leonard ave unit #400 
Columbus OH, 43219

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Anti Drip

A drawing I am constructing takes on several issues pertaining to the "drip." For what ever reason, I have started to be very critical of the drip to the point I feel the need to satirize it in a drawing. I am not talking about Jackson Pollack's on the floor drips, but rather those easy drips caused by gravity. Paintings like from the street artist Zevs or Craig "KR" Costello. Here is some links for Zevs and Costello. Famous Dex has also come out with a few songs on dripping. Drippy means something flashy, swag, or with style. Young Thug and Future used the word "drippin" to also describe these ideas. Zevs and Costello add drips which seem to help further a building's or logo's swag. Street art that is suppose to not make something less desirable, but more. Although with gravity, it is a fast and easy add on to an otherwise already desirable thing. Thus I am questioning this drip thing, but seeing if I can simulate the drip through drawing a slow and steady simulation that takes hours if not days to complete. Similar to the way Roy Lichtenstein simulated the Abstract Expressionist work in his own graphic/illustrative style.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Alika Herreshoff

Alika Herreshoff has caught my attention too. His paintings capture something playful and minimal. I need to continue to look at his work as I build something with my own new body of work. This might be a giant failure on my part, but I have all the elements in my head, all I have to do is start to experiment again with paint and really make it happen. I wrote about a group show he was in at, here is the link. Here is his Artsy site and a blog has some images.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Xylor Jane

Xylor Jane is another artist I am looking at for help and getting my creative juices flowing when starting my painting series. I love Jane's systems and I want to think upon these ideas. I see these images also applying to my current body of work of drawings. Here is a link of her work at Canada Gallery, Artsy page link, and Artnet link.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Carrie Moyer

I must start painting, so I have dug out some old paintings and also started making a list of artists I want to study and think about before I get started. One artist I am looking at is Carrie Moyer. I was amazing by her work. Here are some links of her work. Canada Gallery link, here is a video interview link, and here personal website link.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Robert Beau Bowlin

Robert Beau Bowlin is an artist that lives in Marshall Texas. He lived on both coasts for sometime and is now retired and making art. I have talked to him over the years I live here, but I have never snagged a studio visit. I need to press him on it and see more work by him. Right now I have a limited knowledge of what he makes. The above is an example from his Facebook page.

Painterly Movements

This was my first animation I made in college at Western Kentucky University. The animation is a painting where I keep pouring paint and scrapping off and the paint. I also go into a long stream of consciousness which is longer than the animation. This was a student work at Western Kentucky University in the 1990's. I used music that I give credit at the end of the short film. I won an award for the best Animation at WKU for that year's school film festival.


Animator: Todd Camplin
Voice Talent: Todd Camplin
Visual and Audio Editor: Tony Noel

Special Thanks to Professor of Animation : Dr. Ed Counts

BUY Q animation

So back as an undergraduate at Western Kentucky University, I made this video about Q. I give all these pitches on why to but Q and then also some pitches why not to buy X and A. This was my second animation I made in college. This one has several mistakes, like the Q being written backwards all through the video. I guess I could get some high tech equipment and change it, but my dyslexia would cease to be the star of the show.

Animator: Todd Camplin
Voice Talent: Todd Camplin
Assistant: Joe Gamblin
Original Score: Brandon Stapp
Visual and Audio Editor: Tony Noel

Monday, November 14, 2016

Joe Mraz

Joe Mraz was part of last years regional artists show at the Longview Fine Arts Museum. He also leads the informal get together of watercolorists and artists group in Longview. Longview artists don't run a club, but rather more casual setting of artists talking, critiquing, and generally having a good time. I rarely am able to visit the group, but when I do, it is often really fun. I get some good feedback and Mraz is very generous. Longview is a larger town than Marshall, but the visual artists in and round Marshall have several things going for them. The have the formal group of the Marshall Art League, but also an informal group that meets Fridays. Mraz and his artists friends are making a noble effort and I like what they offer. I have encouraged many artist that live closer to Marshall to visit this group and vise versa. I hope we can build somethings with the two communities talking to each other. 

Joe has a blog here, and a Facebook page here

Monday, November 07, 2016

Chicago Imagists

Hairy Who? The Chicago Imagists from Pentimenti Productions on Vimeo.

Hairy Who? The Chicago Imagist seem to be a topic on Bad at Sports podcast now and then, well at least some of the early episodes. I knew about them a bit, because of They Might Be Gaints early albums has art work that has a similar aesthetic to Jim Nutt's work. Only Mark Marek, which worked on TMBG's video Istanbul (not Constantinople), was not directly connected to the Chicago Imagist as a student. Marek came out in the late 1980's making work, while the Chicago Imagist were from the 1960's.  That kind of work really isn't something I find myself normally interested in, other than maybe a comic book style. However, I want to learn more for some reason, maybe this documentary will sway me.

Suellen Rocca
Art Green
Jim Nutt
Karl Wirsum
Gladys Nilsson

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Bobby Wotnot

Last post, Bobby Wotnot left me a comment. Thank you for dropping by Bobby. He is an artist form St Ives Corwall. His work uses small marks to make abstract works. Playful and informal Formalist art that reminds me a bit of Austrian Aboriginal art and a bit Kandinsky circles paintings, mixed in with some experiments with basic lines or dots. I hope he doesn't mind but I have an image of his recent post, check out this link to Bobby Wotnot's blog. Also his Google Plus page link is here. Wish you the best of success Bobby Wotnot.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Katrin Bremermann at Joe Gallery

Katrin Bremermann has a show opening at Joe Gallery in Philadelphia right now, Friday the 4th of November. Simple shapes and colors make this formalist work a joy to view. I like the compositions of the paintings. Check out the gallery website and the artist website.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Roberta Harris open studio

Above is an interview of Houston artist Roberta Harris for the Women's Museum.

I love visiting artist's studio and I just got a notification for an open studio for Roberta Harris. As all artists seem to have to do is move from one space to another, Harris has move into a new space. I wasn't familiar with much of her work, but I am looking over her site to see what kind of work she does and you can too. Some objects and paintings strike me more than others, but she has been busy since the 1970's. Take a look for yourself if your in Houston Saturday October 29th, 3 PM to 8 PM, 1717 Haver St. 77008

Monday, October 24, 2016

Vincent Hawkins

Vincent Hawkins is an artist I watch. I have been looking at updates of his work from his blog. Here is the link. Abstract expressionist type work that feels like emotional exploration of mark making.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Top Art Blogs According to Google

Powered by BlogMetrics is a site the ranks and evaluates different blogs across the web. Of course, I was interested in art blogs I could follow, but it turns out this blog ranked in one of their lists. Top Art blogs by Google PR; I was ranked 63, their Art Blogs: The ultimate rank; 70, and their Top Art blogs by the number of pages indexed by Google: I was ranked 21.

But lets get past that self-congratulatory silliness that those numbers might suggest, if they suggest anything at all. I am interested in finding good things to read for myself, and to hopefully discover some links you might want to visit as well.

#1 on the ultimate list is Doodlers Anonymous. A glut of images of drawings that generally all about illustration and the state of illustration in our current age of informal play and several extremely skillful artists.

#4 is Art Observed. This is a blog about art exhibitions. I have booked marked this one and I will be frequenting it often.

#6 is Glasstire. This is my mainstay for Texas Art.

#8 is Making A Mark. I am still feeling this site out, but it has potential to be a regular visit.

#9 is a more newsy site called Culture Grrl.

#10 is Art Fixx, looks interesting, but might not keep my interest. I will have to think about this one. One site not even ranked, but should be more popular than my site is The Great God Pan is Dead blog. It is my source for great articles about Houston Art scene.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presents The Art of American Dance

Press release:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces the opening of the exhibition, The Art of American Dance, on view October 22, 2016, through January 16, 2017. Tickets are $10 for adults; free for ages 18 and under and museum members. Thanks to exhibition sponsors, admission is also free every Thursday evening from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Art of American Dance is the first major traveling exhibition to explore American art related to the many forms of dance. The exhibition examines dance-inspired paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs from the 1830s to the recent past—from dance in Native American cultures to ballroom dancing, the Jitterbug, swing, modern dance, burlesque, classical ballet, and more. It features some 90 artworks by iconic artists such as John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase, Nick Cave, and Faith Ringgold. 

“We are honored to be the final stop on The Art of American Dance exhibition tour,” said Crystal Bridges Executive Director, Rod Bigelow. “As we approach the museum’s fifth anniversary, it’s important to find new ways to connect visitors to art and everyday life—this exhibition does that with dance-inspired works that provide insights into cultural, social, and political moments in our nation’s history.”

The exhibition was organized by Detroit Institute of Arts, where it was on view March through June, 2016 it then was on view at The Denver Art Museum from July through October, 2016. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the exhibition’s final venue. 

"My hope is to elevate dance in the museum setting and share the rich history of dancers and artists to explain how they inspired one another,” said Jane Dini, former associate curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and curator of the exhibition.

At Crystal Bridges, the exhibition is divided into two main sections. The first section features depictions of everyday people engaged in social dances. As artists explore community dance, issues of class, race, tradition, belief, sexuality, and gender are revealed. The second half of the exhibition focuses on professional dancers on stage. As dance became more recognized as performance art, visual artists, dancers, choreographers, designers, and musicians collaborated to create interdisciplinary performances. Three works from Crystal Bridges’ collection are included in the exhibition: John Singer Sargent’s Capri Girl on a Rooftop, Marisol’s Martha Graham, and Nick Cave’s Soundsuit.

The Art of American Dance invites viewers to investigate the ever-shifting and expanding relationship between American artists and dance,” says Crystal Bridges’ Assistant Curator Alejo Benedetti. “This exhibition reveals colorful and important moments in America’s history through the unfolding partnership between art and dance.”

The artworks follow the theme of dance through diverse segments of American history and society;  among them are Native American traditional dance paintings from the turn of the 20th century featuring international dance celebrities; works by Harlem Renaissance artists who challenged negative stereotypes and sought to create and sustain a vibrant cultural identity; and modern objects such as costumes or photographs that demonstrate the influence visual artists, dancers and choreographers had on one another.

Alongside works in the gallery, the exhibition brings programs and interactives that help connect the viewer to the rich history of dance and art through contemporary dancers, choreographers, and historians. For example, seven videos throughout the exhibition feature dancers discussing and demonstrating American dance traditions such as the Osage Nation dances, performed by Director of Student Engagement, Inclusion and Multicultural Programs at Oklahoma City University, Russ Tallchief. The video helps reveals the important role dance plays in religious ritual and affirms the significance of these customs today.

 “In addition to the outstanding works of art, it was important to have the voice and expertise of dancers within the exhibition itself. They help illustrate how dance as an artistic form impacts fine arts, especially painting and sculpture,” Dini adds. 

Ken O Toole

Ken O Toole is an artist I meet years ago when I was running the Local Color Gallery at South Side on Lamar building in Dallas, years ago. I am on his emailing list and I have been keeping up to date with his work. This is a video from back in 2012 of an installation show. Here is his site with several links to videos of his work. I have seen a few shows here and there of his work and he has been developing over the year, experimenting with all kinds of media and material. His work will be includes in the FWPA's catalog. Here is the press release for the catalog release party art FWPA.

This Sunday, Fort Worth Public Arts celebrates their 15th anniversary. This celebration will take place at the Fort Worth Convention Center, Water Garden Plaza, located at 1201 Houston Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102. The celebration will occur from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, and is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.This celebration will also serve as the release party for the FWPA's catalog, which includes over 50 of the artworks created for and installed throughout Fort Worth. Check out this link for more information.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mike O'Brien size color Mayhem, Method and Medium size


Today, October 21st Mike O'Brien will be showing his mix media/hybrid form works at Flatbed Press in Austin, Texas. He uses elements of sculpture, painting, and photography on paper and canvas to create abstract overlapping forms. He grew up on the Texas/Louisiana border bayous, went to the University of Houston to study fine arts. In the past, he has made these crazy big bronze sculptures. The show runs through December 31. Check out the site for more details.

Todd Camplin reviews

A few old articles about my work.

Art Hash website: Language Reconstructions in 2010 show link.
Visual Art Source website: Contain Me in 2015 show link.

Centenary College: Recent Works by Todd Camplin link.
Devin Borden Gallery: On Line group show link.
Guild Live: Language Reconstructions in 2010 show link.
Art Group DFW: Language Reconstructions in 2010 show link.

Glasstire: 5 from 1: Todd Camplin link.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Plague

Ink and acrylic on claybord titled The Plague 8 by 10 finished in 2016.

Good Enough?

Detail of a piece titled Celebration: I'm Good Enough, I'm Strong Enough, and . . . My goal is to be done by some time in November.

Trey Speegle Paint the Vote

A representative of Trey Speegle has sent me a coloring sheet for people to do, because, why not. Plus it promotes the get-out-the-vote initiative, so I thought I would post it here. Speegle is an American, NYC artist that uses paint-by-number painting style to make his work. For some, this would be nostalgic work, but the collective memory loss of this generation of millennials likely haven't seen anything like this work.  Andy Warhol played with this idea in his work, but Speegle has not only played with the idea, but committed himself to the style with a lot more wink and a nod than maybe even Warhol did, which is saying something.  If your into products and brands, his shop will have you decked out into all kinds of swag. Plus, at the bottom are a few videos that might give you a bigger picture of the personal involved in this art.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

CARRIE MARILL at Conduit Gallery through october 14 by Todd Camplin

My Little Rainbow 2016, medium density fiber board, plaster and acrylic paint repost.

Back in May, Rachel Hellman at Galleri Urbane had a spectacular show of shaped, minimalist paintings that used a kind of relief sculpture style, but yet was still a painting. Happening at the same time was the Frank Stella show at the Fort Worth Modern with his hybrids of paintings/sculptures on display. I guess this kind of work is in the zeitgeist, because Conduit Gallery is now featuring Carrie Marill which also plays in this realm of relief painting, but with some noticeable differences that made me pause, think about the work, and then write.

I remember Carrie Marill’s work from a show at the Conduit years ago. This show came with a magnifying glass in order to see the detail, but I remember that my son had said he was looking for clues. This body of work isn’t the whimsical gouache painting, rather the structures give these paintings a little weight. In this body of work, there are three sub categories. One group uses thin lines to accentuate the shape of cut fiberboard, another group looks constructed into stacked thick lines of color, finally the last two paintings use optical illusion create an effect.

The first group of paintings includes works that are filled with one color and then painted with very thin lines of paint that follow along the contours of the shaped object. I enjoyed the craft of the lines and the minimal space she created. The second grouping is made up of constructed stack pieces showing highlighted color and shape. Like the rainbow colored piece titled My Little Rainbow, they seem to exude the feeling of brightness and cheerfulness. B&W is a diptych painting of sharp lines in white and blue. The moment I encountered this work, I immediately thought about works at the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, here in Dallas. In particular, I was thinking about Roger Bensasson or maybe Luis Guevara Moreno’s purely geometric pieces, but there are a great deal more at the Museum that relate to Marill’s current show. The last group does play with your visual senses a bit. Nothing like Bridget Riley, but I don’t think that was Marill’s aim with these pieces. The goal was not to master an Op illusion, but rather play with the formalist elements of line and shape. The high contrast of black and white push a painter to move in the Op mode of thinking when creating a work. Even a piece like Riley-Sol invokes Riley in the title, but also the visual style of Sol Lewitt. Both artists had different goals, yet were similar sometimes in the results of their play with geometry. Marill attempts to synthesize them in this piece.

Carrie Marill is showing with Sandra Ono, and Marcelyn McNeil. I have written about Ono and McNeil before, but their current shows are well worth your visit. You don’t want to miss McNeil’s cut outs. You only have until October 14th to see all three of their shows at Conduit Gallery.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

MATTHEW BOURBON - IF at Kirk Hopper Fine Art by Todd Camplin

Different Versions of You, 2016.

39 x 29 inches. Acrylic on Canvas repost.

This weekend is the last time you can see the Matthew Bourbon show up at Kirk Hopper Gallery, and it would be a shame to miss it. Despite the fact that he was one of my professors at UNT, and that I have reviewed a few of his shows in the past; I say to you that he creates good paintings which are worth writing about, so you will have to forgive me for writing about him more than once or twice. After all I write weekly and sometimes for multiple cities, so occasionally I might talk about a few artists more than once.

If you like Painting with a capital P, then Bourbon is someone you should get to know better. He uses a variety of applications to create diverse marks with paint. Thick and thin, graphic and loose, all painted on the same canvas. Bourbon doesn’t stress over whether narrative and figurative art is in fashion, because his paintings hug the line between figurative and abstract painting. You can’t easily derive a clear story, but only get a feel for what is going on, so you start to get lost in the shapes and you become aware of the paint that made the picture.

I mentioned before that Bourbon isn’t affected by what is fashionable in art. Don’t get me wrong, he is very plugged into the art world around him.  He does write about art, so I know he must see a lot of work. If you follow art fairs and curators, you can see that subjects, styles, and artists fall in and out of fashion. I have seen several artists change style and approach as often as the wind changes direction. In contrast, Bourbon has been on a consistent painting style that changes not with fashion, but rather with each painting he produces. You can see him incorporating new things, like a different type of composition, a subtle shift in subjects, or a new brush stroke. These things appear in a few paintings as he tries out different moves, some carry over to the next show, others disappear, and other elements are refined. You can see him learning from each body of work. No radical shift, but rather a more fluid and evolving development in his painting career.

I also mentioned narrative or storytelling earlier in the article. Often times you hear people say that abstract art is whatever you want to see. Much of 20th century Modernist movement was moving toward pure, non objective art. An art where the viewer has to do more work looking at a painting to get something out of it. Bourbon, however is making the effort to help create boundaries and guidelines for the viewer that implies narrative. Thus, we bring things to his painting, but we are not completely lost for probable meaning like we might be in a totally formalist abstract work.

His show titled “If” closes October 1st at Kirk Hopper Gallery. Matthew Bourbon is a prolific painter and one to watch. You still have time so go see a good painting show.

Monday, October 17, 2016

MARILYN JOLLY SINCERELY AWKWARD at Circuit 12 Contemporary by Todd Camplin repost.

Dada was a short lived art movement in the early 20th century with earth shattering influence on contemporary art. At the time of this movement, artists were questioning the definition of art and they began expanding what constituted as fine art. Some even attempted to negate art by presenting anti-art works that broke conventions of established critical norms. Mid to late century, Neo Dada, Fluxus, Conceptual and other art critical movements were created to explore that question of “what is art?” I reflect on Dadaism, because Marilyn Jolly’s work at Circuit 12 Contemporary seemed to be playing with similar themes, only with a twist.

I was fortunate to have a friend with me this month to see all the openings in Dallas. We had visited one gallery before we dropped by Circuit 12 Contemporary. We looked at a group of paintings that had rough treatment that made the work look earthy. Some objects were also attached to the canvas. I commented that much of this work was more decorative because each move felt forced, and for the sole reason that maybe the particular feature on the painting was popular. But when we saw Marilyn Jolly’s show, we could tell that although the rough unfinished feature was there, items were not randomly added to the paintings or sculptures, but rather were essential parts of the art work. Also the work varied a great deal so you got the sense she was interested in experimenting with form, rather than repeating what was popular.

But what about that twist I was writing about in the first paragraph, you might ask? Well, I see Jolly’s work as having the feel and style of Dada, but she is not asking the same question. That question has already been opened up and discussed, so Jolly’s work is in little danger of being questioned as art by at least academia and gallery hoppers like myself. Rather, Jolly is interested what the taoist might describe as the uncarved block. It is the moment where things are left unfinished. This is not a bad thing, but rather part of why her objects are so attractive. There is mystery and the allure of what could be or what will be, which is captured in these finished objects and paintings. I see that Jolly has embraced the experimental, unfinished enterprise that so defined the look of Dadaist. Jolly also has the benefit of history, for she has likely drawn influence from “outside art” or sometimes called Brut Art. After all, the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie isn’t far from Dallas.

Marilyn Jolly will be showing a ton of her work in a show titled Sincerely Akward at Circuit 12 Contemporary until October 12th. You can also find her teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington. I may have to find my way over there and talk to her about her teaching philosophy. I wonder how her art production influences her teaching methods.

Friday, October 14, 2016

GAIL PETER BORDEN at Galleri Urbane by Todd Camplin repost.

How does an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern California School of Architecture have any free time at all to make art is truly a puzzle to me, but apparently proof can be found at Galleri Urbane with Gail Peter Borden’s solo show which takes over both main gallery spaces. I mean, when does this guy sleep, because this is a lot of work. It is not like he is calling this stuff in to fabricators to produce his work. He is producing all this art himself. He is also publishing books about architecture. But despite all his side projects as Associate Dean and author, some pretty good art was made.

This show was like visiting a group show of artists, only all the art came from Borden. True there were themes that flowed through all the work, but also a nice variety that made you pause a little more at each piece. I even moved back and forth from the two galleries to compare the work. Being that I am a pen and ink person, Borden’s ink drawings instantly attracted me. These drawings look to be made for gel pens. I remember them having a bit of shine to them. I have seen similar drawings to these before by other artists, but the drawings seem to help support the rest of the show. I respect an artist that takes drawing seriously and wants to include it in a show of sculptures and paintings.

Some of the sculptures were in part paintings. Like the box structures that had elements that reminded me of Donald Judd. The raw wood was interrupted by moments of painted surfaces. I was reminds of the geometric shapes of Borden’s paintings. Simple colors with hints of dimensionality is his mode of operation,usually. But, Borden’s sculptures on the ground broke with his normal convention with works that looked like painted cut trees. I am assuming really came from trees, but I could be wrong. On the pedestals were abstract forms made from geometric shapes, but reminded me of creatures crawling.

His series of paintings are familiar territory if you ever have seen a show of his in the past. Glossy, simple shapes to indicate space, but the difference come with several paintings using the same color pallet. Thus more grouping of the paintings occur. Look at the colors and tell me he is not plugged into the current color trends found in fashion this year.

Lastly, the wall sculptures must be mentioned. After all, they reflect the paintings and other work, but instead of dealing with positive space, he move into negative space. Of course, his drawing do the same, but his sculptures deal with space in more obvious ways, though line and shadow. I enjoyed walking close to the wall and looking at all the pieces at once, jumbled together visually. The work is so simple and elegant. Borden isn’t just exploring and playing with minimalist ideas, but advanced those ideas through his lens of architecture. Galleri Urbane will be showing Gail Peter Borden’s work through October 8th.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Pancho Luna, Invisible Literature, acrylic and collage, 16” x 48” x 10”
Craighead-Green Gallery repost.

Art events are opening all over town. Several community colleges and universities had openings Thursday and Friday. The commercial spaces celebrate the beginning of the fall art season with a plethora of openings. With so many shows, what are the must see exhibitions?

First on my list is Gail Peter Borden at Galleri Urbane. I have enjoyed his minimalist, high gloss paintings, but now he is presenting some sculptures and I want to see how this works relate to his paintings. Next door is the Public Trust and Liliana Bloch Gallery. I am a big fan of glitch art and Kathy Lovas will be showing sculptures and photos that play with data loss at Liliana Bloch. The Public Trust offers you one piece by Ryan McGinness, because hopefully one piece will make you pause and really look at the art. It seems that every time The Public Trust does a soliloquy show I am captured by the piece. I may not come away liking the it, but I always come away respecting the art. I don’t always feel I can take an artwork all in, because I am on to the next piece, but The Public Trust creates that moment and I look forward to experiencing it each time he has this style exhibition.

Erin Cluley Gallery has the city of Dallas’ art photographer Kevin Todora. I say that he is the city’s art photographer because I know so many artists, art galleries, and art organizations he has shot photos for that the art community at large should be thankful we have someone so talented. His art photography has always reminded me of paintings and I am excited to see this new body of work. I am also happy to see Erin Cluley Gallery has been included in the CADD group of galleries. Carneal Simmons Contemporary Art has also joined CADD and I look forward to their shows this season. This summer, Lindsey Dunnagan was amazing and this Saturday they open with Gregory Miller wall sculptures that look more like natural rock formations.

I can’t remember, Damian Ortega or Paul Veroude, first deconstructed an object like a car in a way that one can examine all the parts, but John Peralta also takes a crack at this type of sculpture at the gallery space CINQ. I have been watching their program evolve and grow over at CINQ and I see some potential for some interesting shows in the future.

Cydonia takes a different road than most galleries for a September opening with an offering of a group show. Usually summer is when you find a good group show and technically it is still officially summer, so I guess I will have to stop by to see Cydonia’s show of landscape themed works by artists Julieta Aguinaco, Oscar Berglund, Michael Dumontier, Anouk Mercier, Sybren Renema.

I will also be stopping by Holly Johnson Gallery, Cris Worley Fine Arts, Conduit, Barry Whistler Gallery, PDBG, 500X, and a few more I am sure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

JIM STOKER at Valley House Gallery by Todd Camplin

Sumac During Fall, 2015

oil on linen repost.

It has been too long since I have managed to get up to Valley House Gallery, just north of I35. I don’t know why, because just about every show has something that gets me thinking. Even though the summer heat was beating down, I still had to walk their sculpture garden. But I wasn’t really there for the garden. What attracted me were the paintings by Jim Stoker.

If you have read much by me, you know that landscape art isn’t a typical subject I tackle, mostly because the traditional styles tend to lack inventiveness and innovation. I can appreciate a great landscape by the masters, because in context, they were doing something emotionally interesting and intellectually stimulating for the time the artworks were made. It seems few today can capture that same expression without feeling nostalgic or derivative. I believe Jim Stoker manages to create landscape paintings, while keeping the work fresh and lively.

Part of his success is process. Stoker starts off spreading confetti paper over a primed canvas. When I first learned that he used cut paper, I of course thought of Matisse, but that momentary thought left me when I also learned he dropped paints over the canvas, let the surface dry, and finally removed the paper. This left speckles of white areas. When anyone drips paint, Jackson Pollock always comes to my mind, but Stoker seems to spread out his paint systematically making an even distribution. Instead of fractal dance gestures, Stoker’s work looks more akin to a Pointillist. Just like a Seurat painting, the eye does the blending of colors, rather than the paint. However, Stoker isn’t like Seurat, because he isn’t using a single small brush to dot up his painting. What is great about Stoker is that you might be reminded of these masters, but he avoids a direct comparison. Now that the background is complete, he paints a loose grouping of plants and/or rocks. Look at Guadalupe River: Clammy Weed Wildflowers Gone to Seed, this work distributes rocks, small green plants, and three red bushes in seemingly perfect harmony. Many of these paintings have just the right amount of balance and pattern to unify the piece into a harmonious symphony of color and shape.

Stoker and his wife are passionate about hiking and seeing nature. It is clear to me, through his paintings, that he is not a casual observer in nature, but rather someone that wants to capture the essence of his experience of nature. Nature is not clean, clear, and static, but rather messy, speckled, and filled with movement. Stoker gives us exaggerated colors, wild color contrasts, and copious amounts of pattern to make the paintings feel a little unreal. Yet, Stoker makes the unreal feel essential and I can image that maybe if you calculate someone’s emotions in that moment in nature you might get something similar to these paintings.

This is the last weekend for Jim Stoker, so go see this show of amazing paintings. You will be wowed by his process and happy to see an artist make landscape and nature painting in particular, relevant.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

ADELA ANDEA at Cris Worley Fine Art by Todd Camplin

Poudretteite, 2016, Plexiglas, LED
60 x 32 x 32 repost

The 1980’s birthed the picture generation, in the 1990’s identity art was reaching its zenith, 2000 to now is seeing the rise of the New Baroque. Ranging from an artist directly referencing the Baroque period like Kehinde Wiley to a more subtle approach like Chris Natrop with his paper cutouts, now showing at Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco. Somewhere in between is Adela Andea and her mirror reflective shapes and LED lit sculptures.

Currently, Adela Andea has a solo show at Cris Worley Fine Art. Andea’s work of the past 8 or 9 years might have been described as digital psychedelic or maybe rave art. Things were glowing, moving, and wires are running all over the place. In fact, the piece titled Jessant-de-lys still embodies this aesthetic. However, the rest of the show has moved into the realm of New Baroque. She says her trip to the Palace in Versailles, France help shape this body of work, and I can see the influence quite clearly, especially in the piece titled Hall of Fragmented Mirrors. The reflective surfaces have the look of something expensive and extravagant, but the little triangle pieces are so thin and delicate that you fear getting close, so as not to break them.

Another New Baroque artist is Jeff Koons. I remember reading several articles about his show at Versailles. His over the top, extravagant art at the palace came with mixed reviews, but I thought his work fit completely with the surrounding aesthetics. Koons’ work is about kitsch and the French Monarch’s attempt to build a paradise away from Paris and the people’s problem. This was also an exercise of kitsch that ultimately ended in tragedy. Another New Baroque artist is Joana Vasconcelos. She showed her garish art objects that illustrate the absurdity of luxury. Some New Baroque are critical of excess and others embrace luxury, I think Andea’s work is more ambivalent on the topic. Her work invokes the ideas of splendor without embracing over the top expression.

Though that might not be the case for her piece titled Poudretteite. The title of the sculpture is named after an extremely rare, pink mineral. Of course, the piece is pink and though abstract, still seems to reference a body or dress. I see a clearer picture that Andea is using this sense of opulence as something to tap into and explore. It feels positive and playful. I just can’t decide if she is also pushing the boundaries between fine and decorative art or blazing a trail for abstract art. Either way, she has made me think about her show for weeks.

Adela Andea will be up till September 3rd at Cris Worley Fine Art. You might also see another example of this New Baroque art at the Dallas Contemporary. Paola Pivi’s feather bears are extremely Baroque.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Holly Johnson Gallery -  IT'S OFFICIAL: Texas State Artists 2015 & 2016

Dornith Doherty, Dario Robleto, Margo Sawyer, and Vincent Valdez repost.

Summer is where group shows rule the day. Often times you will see a mixture of artists in the gallery’s stable. Instead of browsing their website, you can see some of this work live. One example is Erin Cluley Gallery’s show. When I visited this week I found that she had the majority of her artists hanging in the gallery. Some galleries have a slightly more focused group show, like Barry Whistler Gallery’s works on paper show. The theme of course is paper. Though I enjoyed this show a great deal, I would bet their exhibition of photos of dogs by William Wegman would be a huge draw. Holly Johnson Gallery has taken a bit different take on the group show. She has a show that features artists with significant accomplishments over the past few years.

Last summer, Dornith Doherty was appointed an official 2-D state artist of Texas, and in 2012 she was a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow. I have seen her show across the state and she is scheduled to have a show at an important art museum in Texas soon. Doherty shows with three other artists with some impressive resumes in their own right. Dario Robleto, Margo Sawyer, and Vincent Valdez were also selected recently as official artists of Texas. Those that live in Houston should know Sawyer’s work. Her outdoor sculpture, Synchronicity of Color Red/Blue, has been the talk of the town since it was installed. I enjoyed her piece Synchronicity of Color in the show. Simple rectangles and pleasant colors make for minimalist fun.

Conduit Gallery’s group show is a student show of a few BFA and MFA students and graduates. Curation by Stephen Lapthisophon of his students and former students is how the show was developed. I thought there was a great deal of experimenting and playing with the idea of drawing and mark making. Also there were some traditional approaches to drawing that I found satisfying. Cor Fahringer’s burnt tree limb piece was powerful. It reminded me of charcoal sticks, because some of the burnt material created lines from the install process. I was also impressed with Mason Bryant’s pile of information from an audio file. I enjoyed this physical representation of digital information.

Two diverse group shows that hit you with a glut of work are RO2’s Chaos show and Craighead Green Gallery’s New Texas Talent show. Both bring some fresh work to the masses and enough to write about for their own articles. Both shows end at the beginning of September.

Holly Johnson Gallery and Barry Whistler Gallery close this weekend on the 13th of August. Conduit closes their show, Paper Weight on August 20th. Erin Cluley Gallery closes their summer show on August 27th. I know I have mentioned them before, but it is worth mentioning again that Mary Tomás Gallery will also have their stable of artists up for the summer.

Saturday, October 08, 2016


Caleb Shafer

Earth Delete Install repost

The University of Texas at Dallas, in Richardson, has an Master of Fine Arts degree in Arts and Technology. It is an unusual MFA in that this degree focuses on the interplay between arts and technology rather than traditional studio programs. Born out of the Arts and Humanities program, the ATEC classes have recently left the nest to become a new department. So, what kind of artists are being produced in this program? Some students are pursuing 3D computer animation, game design, and data visualization, to name a few. However, a few are creating visual art that appears in art galleries, art centers, and museums. I have highlighted a few here that are making some interesting work.

Video art has a short history, and like painting, the styles and subjects are diverse. They range from realistic depictions of people and places to pure abstractions. Sarah Rachel Larson in her series BackStage/OnStage, takes moments in time that are not particularly significant and creates videos. These videos are slices of life, like drinking from a cup, watching a screen, or tieing your shoe. Jessie Porter is also a video artist. Porter is interested in short bursts of movement. She is influenced by the 1980’s underground film artists in New York known as the Cinema of Transgression. However, the short clips, stark black and white, and dramatic movement strike me as more early 1900’s film test. Some of Porter’s earlier films are more kitschy and darker in content, like Hermann Nitsch and the Orgien Mysterien Theater dark.

Caleb Shafer is a video artist that often incorporates well thought out installation to bring a bit more than just a screen or projection. Shafer creates abstract art out of found film that has some negative or kitsch content. He is taking it a bit further than Richard Prince by stripping away the ad information present an image. Shafer uses analog and digital methods to remove all the violent or sexual content to uncover the abstract and beautiful elements left behind.

Cynthia Ann Miro works in video, but her still images first captured my attention. Miro likes to misuse apps and programs to pull out distorted images. For example, she uses an old version of Instagram where she purposely uploads images in the wrong shape so the she gets a distortion, or what she calls a digital slur. Because she uses the found grids on all these media platforms, I couldn’t help but see the influence of Piet Mondrian’s later work.

Liz Trosper makes colorful photo-collages that use paper and wires that seem to reflect the now, the way a Cezanne still life painting captured late 19th century. Only instead of fruit, Trosper is depicting garbage. Her musing on our throwaway society isn’t apocalyptic, but rather pleasing to the eye. Her series of 100 drawings is like simplistic wireframes. She attempts to draw the essence of shapes found outside CentralTrak.

At the last minute, Heather Charlet was suggested for a mention, so I contacted her and she sent over a few videos. Girl Bathroom Shenanigans with Overlay engaged me a great deal because of all the bathroom wall writings competing with the girls’ conversation. I had to watch it over again just to try to catch everything. Much of her work uses internal dialogue that is uncensored and thus feels authentic.

Caleb Shafer will have his MFA thesis show at CentralTrak on August 20th. Cynthia Ann Miro has an upcoming show at RO2’s Magnolia Gallery on August 25th.