Tuesday, December 02, 2014

JULIETA AGUINACO


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

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

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

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

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

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

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

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

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

JOHN POMARA



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


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

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

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

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

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

ModernDallas.net  for more images.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mary Stone Lamb


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


ALICIA HENRY



Re-post the ModernDallas.net of my article

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

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

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

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

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Andrea Myers


Installation View

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.


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

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

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

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

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

For more images ModernDallas.net

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GABRIEL DAWE + VINCENT FALSETTA + SARAH BALL

Gabriel Dawe Training Thread (Spenser)

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

What comes up must come down.

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

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

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

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

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

For more image ModernDallas.net

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

JULON PINKSTON + ERICA STEPHENS

Julon Pinkston - Candy Forest

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

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

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

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

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

Erica Stephens has an interesting Blog about art.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Monday, November 17, 2014

JAMES GEURTS

Installation View


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

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

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

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

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

For more image ModernDallas.net

Friday, November 14, 2014

GEOF KERN


Untitled (model flying from  the bedroom window), 1995

Moderndallas.net re-post of my article

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

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

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

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

For more image Moderndallas.net

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

GARY SWEENEY


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

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

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

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

For more images ModernDallas.net

Monday, November 10, 2014

TEXAS ART IN A DAY

Zeppelin Bend, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

What an incredible cross Texas adventure I had this weekend. I started in east Texas and drove down to Houston. My goal was to pick up an artist’s work and visit the Texas Contemporary Art Fair. I arrived in Houston early and apparently all the art venues and galleries don’t open until 11 on Saturday except for the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, which was open at 10 in the morning. I spent a good 40 minutes looking at work that was trying too hard to be non-commercial, which seems to be CAMH’s specialty to a fault. However, Nathaniel Donnett’s installation in black was the most engrossing experience I have had at the museum. I felt swallowed up by the experience.

Texas Contemporary Art Fair right before they opened. I was taken back by the short line to get in this year. I guess all the other gallery openings, and coming off the long weekend, pulled people away from the fair. I had planned to spend several hours, but it became abundantly clear this would a pretty stale fair. To my surprise, there wasn’t a great deal of exciting work. Dallas’ three galleries: Cris Worley Fine Arts, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, and The Public Trust had some of the better booths and were a highlight of the trip. Houston galleries and non-profits were over represented at the fair. I started to wonder if this was more like the College Arts Association convention rather than an art fair. Don’t get me wrong, I like to visit all the booths and get to know the local scene more intimately, but I thought an art fair was supposed to bring in galleries from around the world with a light mix of Houston. This fair didn’t accomplish its goal to raise the relevance of Houston’s art market.

So, leaving the city behind, I traveled up to Dallas to view the gallery openings. When I arrived, I unloaded art by Julon Pinkston at RO2 gallery. Then I proceeded to visit Holly Johnson Gallery for Tommy Fitzpatrick’s painting show. Instead of images of steel beams, I was faced with bright, colorful licorice forms. Fitzpatrick kept the feel and ideas of building material, while creating a very playful and imaginative take on his usual subject matter. I admire the hard-edge painting style Fitzpatrick employs as well as his twisting and turning objects depicted in his paintings.

Completely drenched from the sudden downpour, I visited a few other galleries before heading home. All in all, the excitement and energy of the Dallas art scene breathed new life after my experience in Houston. Even with the rain, Dallas art galleries were not a washout.

For more images ModernDallas.net

Saturday, November 08, 2014

JAMES M RIZZI





Installation View

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.


James M Rizzi’s installation looks to be an enormous graffiti tag mark. Circuit 12 Contemporary’s newly remodeled space allows for a kind of white cubed version of a panoramic view. Owner and curator Dustin Orlando explained that he wanted a space where you could step back and take-in all the works. Rizzi’s work fits the space perfectly, considering Orlando’s curatorial vision. Only one thing about the marks in the show, Rizzi did not spray the walls, but rather brushed and rolled the paint on. But why does his install feel like graffiti?

For a little history we have to look back to 1949 when Bonnie and Edward Seymour invented the artists known as the Impressionist possible; the spray can has changed much of our visual landscape in all the artistic fields. The 1970’s saw an explosion of more complex design by graffiti artists and by the 1980’s some of these artists moved into the galleries. Spray can paintings have moved into major collections and even museums have acquired these works. Some artists even reference the spray can effects and simulate the style without even using the actual can to paint their subject matter. Now Rizzi does use the can in some of his work, but the marks made in this show are simulated spray can action marks. Rizzi has increased the scale of his marks in similar fashion to Oldenburg or Koons, yet these are Rizzi’s own marks he is referencing. The room feels like Rizzi hired a giant who took a massive spray can and tagged the whole gallery.

Cornered off in a cluster are smaller pieces that reflect the wall design. The strokes and drips simulate graffiti tag marks. Some of the Abstract Expressionists may have discovered an appreciation of the drip, but graffiti artists celebrate the flow of paint pulled by gravity. Rizzi too celebrates this natural movement of paint. It is in a controlled, almost Roy Lichtenstein approach, but I believe without Lichtenstein’s ironic Pop critique of abstract art. There is also a gorgeous round painting that perfectly reflects the motion of the painted lines.

James M Rizzi, not to be confused with James Rizzi the Pop artist that passed some years ago, also has a more colorful side to his work. Personally I prefer his black and white series for the simplicity of the simulated mark. His colorful works use similar strokes and motions, but in a few works he begins to layer in shading techniques and under painting that are a bit distracting. I respond more positively to just the black line pieces with solid colors. Those works step far enough away from typical graffiti style. Rizzi’s work that references graffiti, but also references a connection to the avant garde is the strongest because he ties together both traditions without allowing one tradition to become louder than the other. Of course, this is completely irrelevant to the work currently up at Circuit 12 Contemporary, because none of his color paintings are in the show.

Circuit 12 Contemporary will show Brooklyn, New York born artist James M Rizzi until the end of the month on August 30th. On September 6th, Casey Gray will be showing spray can work that plays on in the traditional painting genres of landscape, still life and portraiture. I am interested to see how Gray conceals and reveals the spray can’s effects as a tool.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Friday, November 07, 2014

THE FALL SEASON IS UPON US


David Fokos, Jetty, Oak Bluffs, Massachsetts, 2001 Fuji crystal archival C-­‐print, various sizes

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.

Finally, the art season is gearing up again. The beginning of September will have two consecutive weeks of multiple gallery openings. This first weekend will have an array of shows I am looking forward to visiting which include Cris Worley, Conduit, Galleri Urbane, Holly Johnson, R02, Photo Don't Bend Gallery aka PDBG, and William Campbell Contemporary in Fort Worth to name a few.

Normally I am not so excited to see the opening season of shows. However, this has been a particularly dry summer season for shows in Dallas, so I was hoping the new season would sweep in some fresh works. What is fresh is photography. A mini photofest emerged with PDBG showing Geof Kern photos, Cris Worley Fine Arts featuring photographer David Fokos, and Galleri Urbane showing photos by Brett Weston. Geof Kern’s photos play in the language created by the modern and contemporary artists. Weston at Galleri Urbane looks completely different from any other show I have seen there. I’m still a bit skeptical that I will enjoy the show, because so many photographers have taken the Weston style and slapped it on mass produced commercial items. David Fokos at Cris Worley, on the other hand, reminds me a little bit of Sarah Williams’ night paintings. Quiet, desolate, dark, sometimes minimal quality is very attractive. However, it does seem that Fokos’ photos are trying a little too hard to be iconic. Then again, when I visit the shows, I might completely change my viewpoint.

Another unusual show is Brooks Oliver’s two day ceramic show at R02’s Magnolia Gallery. Call me crazy, but I love it when a gallery brings in a ceramic show for a few days. I remember a great show in Philadephia I happened upon, years ago. The gallery let a potter come in and take over the place for a few days and then it was back to paintings and sculptures. Waco’s Croft Gallery did it as well.

Out of all the shows coming out this fall season, I think Claire Colette’s show in the main gallery at Conduit, and Holly Johnson Gallery’s presentation of Tommy Fitzpatrick will resonate with me the most. Colette’s simple graphite lines haunt me. I feel vulnerable, mortal just looking at examples of her work, so I have high expectations for seeing them in person. I also can’t image Fitzpatrick disappointing me. I have seen a great deal of his work, and I look forward to the further development of his ideas.

Some galleries are continuing their shows from summer. Talley Dunn Gallery is showing the collection of Sonny Burt and Bob Butler. Cohn Drennan Contemporary has a print show that works well in the new gallery space. The non-commerical space of Haggerty Art Gallery at the University of Dallas will open this Friday with an interesting pairing of Vesna Jovanovic and Jayne Lawrence, but most galleries will open on September 6th, Saturday night. Hope to see you then.

For more images ModernDallas.net

Thursday, September 04, 2014

About my collection

As an artist I have collected art, now and then, so I began to think about collection. What does my collection say about me? Who’s art is in my collection? I remember looking through local critic and photographer J. R. Compton’s page of his art collection, I think it says a lot about his personal tastes and his personality. So I thought I would bare my soul and give you a glimpse of my own collection of art.

Being an artist, I sometime manage to convince other artists to trade with me. My first trade for an art piece was with C. David Jones. He is an artist out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. My friend had had him as a painting instructor at Western Kentucky University, where I too got my undergraduate degree. Later, when I ran a gallery in Dallas for a short while, I gave C. David Jones a show and he traded me one of my early signature paintings for large narrative piece, which depicts the old opera house of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The piece uses a lot of earth tones and the scene implies a love triangle.

While at the University of North Texas, Michael Tole, who shows with Conduit, traded me two prints he made during his printmaking class for one of my digital mono-prints. These two prints are of Fabergé eggs, yet stripped of much of the colors. Jenny Leigh Jones graduated a year before me and traded me her very personal painting of a tea set and reclining lawn chair for a drawing. My four year old girl insisted on displaying it in her room. UNT alumni, Lori Giesler just gave me a few pieces. One of her paintings hang in my bedroom next to Sarah Williams’ painting of a dark rural downtown street, which I traded Williams for a large drawing. Giesler’s image looks like a movie still image with a faded depiction of Rich Uncle Pennybags from Monopoly Game run across the canvas. Another alumi, Mariko Frost’s painting is located over my bed. The moment I saw the piece in her studio, I fell in love with the rich mix of oils. The painting has an exaggerated one point perspective in a subway tunnel. Two figures are in an embrace on the far right side. A ghost image of a speeding train streaks by the figures.
 
I spent a few years in Waco and I meet a several artists, but only Iris Lee traded me a piece. I know it must have been extremely hard for Lee to trade me her drawing of a jaguar, but my son needed the powerful animal to nurture his imagination and also to give him strength. I too feel awe inspiring by its presence every time I enter my son’s room. But I know what you must be thinking, “it must be nice to get a collection of art with just trading art, but I have to pay for mine.” Well, back before I had children and before I spent a lot on grad school, I had some money to buy art. On a trip to Santa Fe, my wife and I bought a Peter Voshefski ink and gesso on panel. The drawing was made in 2005 and titled “a map of the forest.” It was my first purchase of an art piece by an artist I never meet, I knew little about him, but I had to have the work and I was willing to pay for it.   

A few other artists in my collection include: paintings by Brenda McKinney, Elizabeth Owens, and Joe N. Gamblin; prints by Vivan Spraberry and Sandra Lords; a photo by Sebastien Boncy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

CORE SAMPLES


Cat Rigdon - Genghis Khan - Multi-media 16 x 18 inches


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

Last week I wrote about galleries taking risks and one of those risks I mentioned was a gallery risking a show on an untested curator. Well, Adrian Zuniga of Galleri Urbane may not be completely untested, because he has jointly worked on several shows at the gallery during his two year tenure. However, this was his first solo curated exhibition for the gallery and I think he tapped into the aesthetic mission of the gallery quite nicely.

Adrian Zuniga’s concept was to stage and jury Texas artists through an email submission process which lasted three weeks. The gallery advertised several places to capture a broad range of artists. They received about 90 submissions, and from that Zuniga created a short list of 25. From that point, he started curating a show of artists that would fit well together in the two front gallery spaces. This process helped him reach 11 artists he wanted to show. The artists also delivered more than was exhibited in the show, so Zuniga was able to curate each individual artists work with care and consideration. Zuniga pointed out to me that some artists in the show could convey their ideas in a single work, while other artists required two or more pieces to help the viewer fully develop an appreciation for the works. Although Zuniga was sole curator, he still had to make the argument to everyone else at the gallery and the public at large that these were worthy selections.

So who was in the show? Cat Rigdon for one, and she came off as clever, and fun. She had pieces that played with consumerism packaging, crafty stitching, sometimes messages that read like twitter feeds, and a bunch of other random mess that made every one of her pieces charming. Zuniga was wise to pick several pieces of hers for the show. I might not have been so charmed if Rigdon only had had one piece. Josephine Durkin’s collages were in the same room as Rigdon, and I felt the work complimented each other. Durkin’s work has flowing lines that seem made from random images and textures, but contained by the paper and the frame. Isabella Bur’s large paper works with small labels also reflected consumerism, but more inline with the throw away culture. It took me a while to enter these pieces by Bur, but the more I reflect upon the work, the more I am engaged with her use of all that blank space and two tiny used up objects. These works are almost museums in and of themselves to the objects on display.

Zuniga’s curation took a different direction the second gallery, which had a little more focus on street art sensibility. More spray can or expressionist mark making populated the space. Jay Giroux’s Christopher Wool type paintings used spray cans and text. Bryan Ryden created a messy dark piece with a kind of street painted cloud shape. I connected to this dark and brooding piece with a small, optimistic yellow cloud. Eli Walker also used the can and thick paint to create a web like image. Dylan Jones was odd person out in the room, but fit the overall Galleri Urbane aesthetics quite nicely. I feel Jones might be playing a bit with Donald Judd’s boxes by slapping a shipping sticker on his work. This simulated sticker is in the tradition of Pop art. Jones makes the label absurdly large, the way Koons would make a huge balloon animal. I’m sure Judd would be rolling in his grave.

Kelly Kroener, Samantha McCurdy, and Liz Rodda offered low to the ground sculptures, which I admit I didn’t give as much time as they probably deserved. Owen Drysdale also had a piece that I didn’t give my full attention. But I will keep them on my list of who to watch and maybe they will capture my attention at the next show. It is so hard to shine in a group show and I think Adrian Zuniga gave a valiant effort in giving each artist the space they needed to draw us into their work. This Saturday, August 9th // 5-7pm is a closing reception with the show ending on August 15th.

ModernDallas.net for more images.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CONDUIT GALLERY @30


Vincent Falsetta, Untitled, 1980, oil on canvas, 70x65"

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article 

A few things happen over the course of the summer months with commercial galleries. Galleries close for vacation, galleries try some untested curator or artist, or a gallery will launch a group show of their stable artists. If a gallery is going for the easy road of showing a stable group show, how can the they take a fresh approach? The answer is simple, visit Conduit Gallery and you will find a creative approach that takes even the seemingly easy road approach and makes it complex and interesting. Nancy Whitenack’s and Danette Dufilho’s concept for celebrating 30 years of Conduit Gallery was to seek out an old piece and a new piece from their stable artists. Then display these works together to create, in some cases, jarring comparisons.

Because Conduit has so many artists, they split up their Longitude/Latitude show into two parts. The first part just came down this week and they are launching the second half this weekend. In the first show, a few artists stood out as interesting comparisons between their old work and new work. One glaring difference between old and new were Michael Tole’s two paintings. His 2005 painting is an atmospheric calm blue landscape, where as, his 2012 painting is an orgy of flesh and blurred camera effects. Only the theme of photo reference realism remained between his paintings. This upcoming show will have Robert Jessups’ 1998 cartoon style painting, Schrodinger's Mouse II next to his 2014 March Moves painting which is incredibly abstract but no less whimsical and narrative based. Justin Quinn’s 2003 musing on Moby Dick with the letter E pulled out and reworked like a conceptual puzzle is completely different from Quinn’s abstract 2013 Mystery Plane drawing. Both works are drawings, but the more recent work feels like some of the conceptual structure has given way to a more emotionally charged abstraction.

Though some artists had radical shifts, others you could tell made slow and steady developments in their work. In Conduit Gallery’s first show, Ted Larsen’s 2003 assemblage painting Batten may look radically different from the 2014 piece Bird Dog, but spend some time and you will see the similarities. The paint on the wood and the pure aesthetic look of both pieces feel like he keeps an incredible continuity of thought and vision, and this runs through Larsen’s work. Vincent Falsetta’s 1980 painting and 2014 painting both Untitled, had a similar rhythm and complexity only the 2014 piece felt more amplified and refined. In the upcoming show, Jules Bucks Jones 2010 drawing matches the 2014 drawing in style and mark making. Only color distinguishes the two works. I guess 4 years isn’t really much of a time comparison, on the other hand I have known artists that change style like they change clothes. Buck Jones, like Falsetta and Larsen are taking their time to develop the work rather than plunging into wild, unfocused experimentation.

Conduit Gallery’s 30 year celebration will end August 30th. 30 years is an incredible run for a gallery, since most barely last a year or two. Nancy Whitenack and Danette Dufilho have taken a normally boring, throw together gallery stable group show, and put a nice spin that reintroduces you to their artists. I look forward to their 60th year celebration in 2044. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ART ON HENDERSON


Amy Scofield - Treevolution is a trio of 21-foot trees made of recycled municipal water pipe and PVC. The branches
are arranged in a helix and festooned with bright orange construction fencing.

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.

A visual treat of several sculptures line North Henderson Avenue, just north of downtown Dallas and right off of 75. Artist Scott Trent had a vision to partner artists and businesses in a joint venture to show quality art in a public space. Trent directed and partnered with Mark and Roger Andres of Andres Properties to kick off the Henderson Art Project for the first two years, after which the project was rebranded as Art on Henderson with publisher Jeff Levine of modmedia as director of the project and now sponsored by CIM Group of Los Angeles, Open Realty Advisors of Dallas, Phoenix Property, Consillient and JBL Partners who see a value in showing artists work in a public space.

Amy Scofield received first place for her absurdly fun sculptures, Treevolution. Scofield’s light blue recycled city water pipes and obnoxious orange safety fencing clash with each other, but also with the environment. Like Christo and Jeanne-Claude pink islands or umbrellas, Scofield’s work stands out and demands to be noticed. I see these trees as first making you snicker a bit, but then you start to pick up on some of the environmental issues Scofield is clearly trying to convey. Recycling material into art being just part of the message. Think about the future where tree like objects will be built to capture CO2. If environmental issues are not addressed through reduction of CO2, objects like Schofield will start appearing everywhere to meet this need.

Nic Noblique was selected for third place in the juried competition, out of seven finalists. All the finalists received funds to install the work and prize money was given out to the top three artists. Noblique’s work looks inspired by an old tree trunk or a melting musical instrument. This rusted metal sculpture twists and towers 12 feet high. John Camara’s sculpture Zeta took second place. Camara’s slick design gave the piece an arrow dynamic quality reminiscent of a fast moving sports car. Even his exterior paint on the object gave the sculpture that fluid motion of cutting through the air at high speed.

The finalists also included Laura Abrams, Pascale Pryor, Scott Shubin, and Erika Huddleston. These four were great candidates, as juror for this prize, I found it hard to vote for one over the others. Art on Henderson has really livened up North Henderson Avenue. The project has continued for five years now, and I hope to continue to be a part of this ambitious effort to show great art from Texas artists to the Dallas public.

Monday, August 18, 2014

NATHAN GREEN


Bacterio Resist (YTG/ Drop Shadow) 48"x60", 2014

ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.

If you are like me, when you visit shows, you like to pick up a card. I have folders full of cards from past shows. Now and then I flip through them, make lists of artists, and I look some up on the internet that still interest me. In my recent browse through my collection, I came across the artist Nathan Green a few times. I noticed him, because I had just seen his work up at Barry Whistler Gallery during their One Night Stand show and at the Goss Michael Foundation.

I admit, it has taken me a while to come around to Nathan Green’s aesthetics. Last year, when I saw the show Fresh Tracks at UD Haggerty Gallery, I wrote, “... Nathan Green is kind of a conundrum. I am not quite sure what to make of his painting work. Green’s objects seem like clunky and awkward experiments, without some kind of refinement or resolution.” I was still skeptical when I saw Green’s curation of Failing Flat at CentralTrak. I was about halfway done with a less than flattering write-up on the show, when I found my heart wasn’t in it. Something was holding me back. I think my conundrum with Green was that I wasn’t completely seeing his big picture, and part of me knew it. A few cards of Circuit 12 Contemporary helped me to put Green in context. Circuit 12 Contemporary is one of the more unique galleries in Dallas, because they offer a Chicago aesthetic sensibility spiced with Miami energy. When I saw Green’s work during their Regional Quarterly Vol.1 CROSS TALK show, reflecting on the card and some past pictures I was reviewing, I now see it was a good fit for him. Green never attended the Chicago Art Institute, but I see a real kinship to some artists coming out of that school.

Because Green is experimenting in such a playful way, I was caught off guard and a little baffled by his intentions. I think he has tapped into this world where boundaries are blurred between forms. Painting and sculptures have continued to merge into a hybrid form and Green has been extremely nimble at navigating this trend. Because Green is exploring this hybrid world, pieces can feel raw, unfinished like his painting Droplets at the UT show. The work can feel damaged like Warm Skies SW at Barry Whistler Gallery. Green has even constructed and then destroyed an art piece as performance. Green has a series of Bacterio paintings and the Light-frame 410B painting at Goss Michael that captured my attention. I can relate to these organic shapes that feel like bodies twisting and intertwining in the Bacterio paintings. The objects colored bright green in wood frames make the hybrid object Light-frame 410B an enigma that doesn’t feel too highbrow to unravel. In the end, Nathan Green has taken me on a journey of self discovery regarding my own boundaries of aesthetics. Although I am just beginning to appreciate his work, I am confidently hopeful I will further enjoy watching Green develop as an artist.

images courtesy: barrywhistlergallery.com + nathangreenart.com

Friday, August 15, 2014

JOSHUA KING


Rooster, 2012
Acrylic, Wood, Flocking, Poly Resin

ModernDallas.net re-post of article 

Many artists stay in their studios, producing a bit of art and showing a little here or there. Other artists are wild self-promoters with little regard for what they take from others. There are the Sunday painters, the friend promoters, the international stars, and various other categories in between. But there is a distinctive breed of artists that seek a wider audience through focused engagement. This breed creates an inclusive atmosphere or an event in order to promote a greater local art scene, while maintaining a good studio discipline. Artist Joshua King fits this last category.

I first encountered Joshua King’s work in Austin during the city’s East Studio Tour. I was struck blindsided by his objects. They looked like he had pink powdercoated found objects. When I asked King about it, he called the process flocking. King’s sculptures were some of the most memorable pieces in that show, and this was two years ago. I remember that I first was repulsed and attracted to the surface of his pieces. I’d never seen a sculpture that attracted me to touch it while also giving me a feeling of great pause on whether this would cause possible injury to my skin. Turns out, if touched, the microfibers would damage the work or at least as King says, unbalance the work. King is not repeating a kind of Duchamp readymade, nor is he another Post-Modern Neo-Dada, but he is invoking Duchamp’s ideas with a modern twist. Like the piece he had at the SMU-TED event, he brought in old hand powered water pumps and painted them a very alarming bright red color. TED events gather people to discuss solutions to problems in society. King’s work brings attention to the impending fresh water crisis in order to further the discussion and spur people to think about possible solutions. Imagine, 52 billion gallons of wastewater is processed by Dallas alone. Each of his hand pumps represented a billion gallons.

King is not asking “what is art?” as Duchamp might have, but rather, what can an ordinary object come to mean in another context. This shift of focus makes King’s work more topical and less philosophically abstract. Much of King’s work reminds me of that Warholian mass production approach, only King thinks like the contemporary consumer. He wants to customize and make the everyday object personal. By doing so, these over customized objects go to the purely absurd level. He makes them no longer functional and consequently King has moved his objects into becoming art.

Along with Shane Pennington and Veletta Forsythe Lill, Joshua King founded the AURORA event in Dallas. The seed of the idea started with Pennington and King wanting to extend the Cedars Open Studio Tour into the night. The event expanded to the Old City Park with nearly 40 artists in new media, sound, and projection. Each year this event has gotten larger in number of attendees and artists participating. The biennial event has attracted artists from around the world. All three artists had a vision to make Dallas an international art city and AURORA was the kind of event to put Dallas on the map.

Gallery in Dallas last year. In 2012, The Goss-Michael Foundation group show along with his solo show at The WAAS Gallery helped to increase his profile. With a BFA from North Texas, he has made great strides with his art. If you are hoping to see his work soon, you will have to wait till November, here in Dallas and New York City. Joshua King is also one of many talented artists from the Mod Artists Group.

ModernDallas.net for more images

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Woody Allen quote

My drawing uses the words of Woody Allen,  "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying." The pictures below are two details and the complete work. 36 by 36 inches ink on paper. Title: achieve immortality 





Thursday, August 07, 2014

Who am I looking at?

What artists am I looking at right now?

Brice Marden, Sarah Applebaum, Sarah Sze, Tara Donovan, Allison Long Hardy, Polly Apfelbaum, Judy Pfaff, and Julie Mehretu.

Because I listened to a pod cast with Allison Long Hardy and her list of artists are my list of artists I want to continue to help inform my work. I knew about many of these artists, but hearing her talk about these artists and then looking them up one after another, I started to see similarities and an exciting trend in the works. The idea of multiplicity with a feeling of ordered chaos came to mind. If feel a kinship to many of these artists and looking at them all at the same time helped me tie in some ideas I have been working on in my own work.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Pod Cast on Visual Arts

I have been searching and searching for a good pod cast on visual art. I have finally found one. Bad at Sports interviews artists and sounds like the have some real fun with it. I was amazed at the depth of interviews and the joy of talking shop along with content over a pod cast setting. I will be listening to Bad at Sports for years to come, I hope.

Over the Couch Art


What art is over your couch? Here is my drawing over my couch. I think the b&w lines go well with the grey couch.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Marriage Proposal

Over 10 years ago, I created a painting as my wedding proposal. I painted the definition of love, a quote from Nietzsche about marriage, and then I used her and my signature. I layered these on my painting and I must say, I used some colors that I might not have chosen if I had painted it today. The definition is a clear reference to Joseph Kosuth. I was using signatures at the time, but several other artists have played in this genre of conceptualism, most notably Gavin Turk. The repeat of text, "will you marry me" was influenced by a show I saw of Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a show of works on paper, he was repeating words or phrases. Sometimes he would mark them out, thus I allowed my words to overlap the other words. One the day I proposed to her, I convinced an art gallery to hang my work. Then I invited her to see a show. I remember asking her what she thought of the painting. I gave her a ring once owned by her grandmother. She said yes, but of course she did. We had already ordered her dress. Plus, she loved me and still does. We have the painting hanging in our bedroom.
 
Acrylic on canvas

(detail #1)

(detail #2)