Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dallas Art Fair

Dallas Art Fair: my way of taking notes on what I saw.

Monday, April 07, 2014

2005 and 06 art by Todd Camplin

Here are some pieces I did that helped me get into grad school. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

The New Post-literate: A Gallery Of Asemic Writing

I joined a group on Facebook called "The New Post-literate: A Gallery Of Asemic Writing." Turns out that they have a blog too. Also there is a book "An Anthology of Asemic Handwriting" on Amazon. My work fits in this category of Asemic Writing art. Although, I tend to make work that has a look of Glitch art. My designs allow some degraded to the image. Though I am still focused on taking text/words and creating abstract images from that information. Of course, Post-literate art has its roots in Modernism. Take John Cage's work. He incorporated text like things in some of his work. Early Modernist invented the collage where newspapers text were use to add as just part of the composition. Cy Twombly paintings are a perfect example of this aesthetic processes. His black and white series looks like writing, but has no real meaningful readability. Here is the Wiki article. Pinterest also has a nice collections. One could even look back to centuries of Arabic script on walls as decoration. Some of these scripted words are so stylized, they become unreadable.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Coined as a term describing the movement as stuck in the past, Stuckism became this groups battle cry. However, these artists were just Neo Expressionist like the art movements in other parts of the world.The only difference was that they were reacting against Conceptualism. They also famously protest against the Turner Prize. Their founders do look backwards, but clearly not to the best parts of Modernism. Or if they look back, they have not managed to leap forward with anything relevantly interesting. Billy Childish and Charles Thomson founded this group along with other artists like Philip Absolon who paints figurative work, but really not much in further the developing Expressionism. What work I can find online of Sheila Clark's work, I see mostly Edward Munch influence. Frances Castle looks more like an illustrator. Eamon Everall is painting cubism. Ella Guru paints in a Modernist style that focus on the ugly and grotesque. Wolf Howard and Sanchia Lewis paints recreations of what they think are child-like paintings. Bill Lewis sometimes paints tamer, less interesting versions of Chagall. At least Joe Machine's work is incredibly creepy and challenging for the group, though still stuck in the past.  Sexton Ming must have other talents than the visual arts. Charles Williams' work has changed from his Stuckism days. The group continues on internationally, although some of the originals are either loosely affiliated or haves dropped all together. This group is a clear contrast to the YBAs in the late 1990's, but I can't say I found much of their works engaging enough to see there point of view.  If much of the work was made in the 1930's, or even the 1980's, but these Johnny come
lately artists only have their protests against the Turner Prize as their claim to fame. There work doesn't hold a relevant candle to what other artists were doing in the UK.

Back in 2008 I have a very different take on the group. Here is a link.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Annabel Daou, Wheel of Fortune #4, 2013, ink & repair tape on paper, 27x21" re-post of my article

Conduit Gallery once again packs in some thought provoking artists at their space. Annabel Daou, Marcely McNeil, and Maja Ruznic each have a very distinctive voice in their work. It was kind of jarring, yet exciting to walk from one room to the next. My first visit was opening night where you could feel the energy of the crowd with the work, but I can assure you that energy has not drained after the event.

Annabel Daou’s text art is the first work you encounter. She has filled the room with written poems in framed works on paper. She also has several rhythmic chants framed and part of a wall installation. The installation crisscrosses and meanders around with little letters of handwritten red text. Daou has scribed out, “I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, I am without a kingdom,” but unfortunately for me, my dyslexia was kicking in and I read “I resign,” which of course confused me. Luckily I had a friend with me, and he asked what she meant by, “I shall reign?” With that question, I was instantly able to elate to her idea. I felt her feelings of anticipation of the future, her feeling of being in the moment, then that moment of reflection, and finally that moment of loss. Thank goodness for friends to help me clarify things with a good question.

Marcelyn McNeil’s playful abstractions grace the walls of the second gallery. I had encountered McNeil’s work down in Houston a while back and at Conduit before, but this show in particular struck me and I believe this is a strong development of her previous work. The exploration of mass and line feels like a kind to portrait rather than the traditional landscape abstraction approach. Her paintings contain hard-edge style, but within and without those lines are loose and playful strokes. McNeil even blasts a few canvases with spray paint, yet she avoids the trappings of making her work about the graffiti language. Instead, her application of spray paint aids her abstraction and composition in a more formal painting language.

At the opening, I listened in to Maja Ruznic talk about her process, and I started to see how her drips and splotches started to become figures. Her work was in the small project gallery space where Ruznic displayed her very funky watercolors. I admit, I was a little turned off by them at first. These are very brutish works, but as she described how she teased out the face and then body parts from each paint mark, I began to see the charm and challenge behind such work.

Annabel Daou’s show titled Measure, Marcely McNeil’s show titled Reshuffle, and Maja Ruznic’s show titled Like Little Miracles They Shimmered will be up through March 29th at the Conduit Gallery. for more images

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Charles Long with Eluvium, Brady Foster, Seth Hawkins, Emery Martin, Michael Mascha, Carrie Paterson, Karen
Reitzel, and Solid Concepts, Memory Print Boutique (detail), 2014. Mixed media. Dimensions variable. Installation
view, CATALIN, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin. Courtesy the artists and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.
Photograph by Ben Aqua. re-post of my article

It has been so long since I have been to the Austin Contemporary that I couldn’t help but be excited when I walked in the downtown Jones Center. My membership card has been this amazing winters ice scraping tool for the windows of my truck for many a morning. I don’t know why my Contemporary card worked better than my various other cards I tried. For the card’s ice removal abilities alone, it was worth donating an artwork to get it. And by coincidental magic, I walk into the space for the first time using this ice shaving membership card to Charles Long’s ice exhibition.

Like I said, I wanted to be excited. While downstairs, I wanted to look close at his 3D printed icebergs, but ropes cordon off all the works. I understand the opening didn’t have this impediment to inspect the work. I looked at the installation, and I felt a little like I was really in a science and technology museum, which I guess was part of the point. Each work was interesting, but lacked a feeling of variety. Long’s image on the wall was pretty and seemed to reference a nautical map. However, it felt more like decoration for a themed room, rather than something with content. I understand there were smell experiments as well, but that was cordon off as well, so really Long’s interactive art just became artifacts of the opening rather than something aesthetic and informative.

Upstairs was a video on huge screens, which I watched a little. I am kind of sold on the idea that man is affecting the climate and I can imagine most people that visit a Contemporary art space are in the same camp. Long is preaching to the choir, so I feel his art is having less impact just by showing in a safe place. Maybe Long should consider this work displayed near the next CPAC conference. I did love the room floor littered with stretched material around a structure that made his objects look like icebergs floating.

I came away from Long’s show disappointed. To steal the phrase of a local artist in Austin, “I was underwhelmed.” I felt like this show should have been epic and impactful. You would think Long would want a kind of call to action compulsion after you see the show. I however, was left cold. Charles Long will have his installation up through April 20th. for more images

Monday, March 31, 2014

My current show in Shreveport LA

Centenary College Magale Library gallery: Todd Camplin's Recent Works
Reception this Sunday at the Library around 2 PM


“Time Square” 90x78” acrylic on canvas re-post of my article

I have resisted writing about Theo Wujcik work, up at Galleri Urbane, because I had such a visceral rejection of his paintings when I walked in the door. I thought to myself, here is yet another re-fried Pop artist. However, there is nothing re-hashed, but rather Wujcik has rubbed shoulder to shoulder with the best of them for many years. My first reaction, began to crumble under the weight of information I learn about his body of work and my continued observation of his work

I also started to understand his work as satirical in nature. These paintings are not an artist's sad hero worshiping musings. And much like a grenade joke, it took time to detonate his intentions to me. At the time, I wanted to leave immediately, but something compelled me to stick around and figure out what I was missing. I talked to others that instantly liked the works, but I had seen so many artists attempt to just repeat images of big names like Warhol and Rosenquist, that I wanted to be cautious not to fall for an artist saying nothing new. Clearly, Wujcik is breaking down the hero status of these Pop artists by creating portraits of them or just their type of artwork. What is funny is that Wujcik uses all the tricks to pretend to glorify his victims, while still remaining quite respectful of their accomplishments.

The large scale of his canvas mirrors a kind of heroic era style of painting. Altoon and Rosenquist look a bit comical without their shirts. Koon’s face reminds me of Alex Katz’s washed out, dead skin portrait paintings. It would seem, each painting is a kind of over the top play on each artists’ art. Wujcik attempts to return us to the idea that Art is not such a serious matter and the way we value our top tier artists is really somewhat arbitrary. The title of the show “Blue Chip,” is poking fun at an art industry term that distinguishes one group of artists over another.

It is true that Wujcik’s pedigree is impressive. His work is in several important museum collections and he has shown with several historically significant artists, but none of that matters if the work doesn’t accomplish conveying a strong idea, which I think he has done masterfully. Though he applies some subterfuge, deconstructing the power structures is really his game. By picking on individual artists, Wujcik is planting visual bombs to help bring down the entire art value system. With such ambition, I am sure Wujcik realizes the tragic futility of attempting to topple such a massive system as the art world. But gestures like the Wujcik’s show at Galleri Urbane could be the spark that helps shake things up. “Blue Chip,” will be up through April 1st. for more images

Sunday, March 30, 2014


James Zwadlo, Pedestrian Series, (detail) 24x96, oil on canvas re-post of my article

Because I often come into the Dallas Design District from the south, I find myself entering Dragon Street from the Continental Avenue side. Therefore, I almost inevitably visit Craighead Green Gallery first. Although top on my list, I can’t imagine ever skipping it. Their current show of James Zwadlo made the visit all the more rewarding.

I was instantly drawn in by Zwadlo’s sea of people crossing the street. These paintings are from the perspective of his office window, so you see the tops of people’s heads. All the works reminded me of the ant farm I had as a child. I would watch for hours as ants moved dirt and stored food while navigating around other ants. Zwadlo’s people all have personal destinations in mind and they have to navigate around other people with different goals. One painting had a dog walker which was breaking up the natural motion of people crossing the street. Another had a group of bikers moving around each other. In a few works, Zwadlo breaks his pattern up by painting on two or several canvases to tell the same story of people crossing the street. One would expect a kind of pause to the action between works, but for me I felt more tension between each painting.

The patterns of Zwadlo’s figures are eye catching, and on closer inspection, the details of his individuals are just as fascinating. One could imagine a story for each person he paints. You might see an individual make a subtle glance toward another, and you instantly connect it to your own experience glancing at a stranger. Another figure had a balding head and I caught myself checking my own head for hair. Zwadlo uses a slightly loose, painterly brush stroke to further obscure the identity of the individuals. His style, along with his perspective, obscures the identity of his subjects. This makes it easy to put yourself into Zwadlo’s paintings.

Craighead Green did a great service to Zwadlo’s paintings by clustering them in their center gallery space. Zwadlo’s crowds of people took on much more intensity. Two other shows are up at the gallery, Jerry Cabrera’s paintings seem like portraits of lightsabers. Of course, that is just the geek in me. There is also the abstract musings of Peter Burega. All shows run through March 29th. for more images

Saturday, March 29, 2014

At Houston art galleries this weekend

This was part of the photofest biennal


 Les Miserables Post-Conceptual Art - Photo by Kevin Todora  re-post of my article

This weekend I saw one of the smartest curated shows I have seen, and at the Dallas Contemporary no less. Les Misérables Post-Conceptual Art, was extremely strong in concept, in critical discourse, and in execution.

I found the quotes by philosophers mixed in with art pieces to be refreshing, because the curator helps the viewer add some context to the objects in the show. I know for me, my grad school years came flooding back, because I read several books by these Post-Structuralist philosophers quoted in the show. A real dialog between artists’ work occurred here and the show left me wishing a few art historians had written some in-depth pieces on the show. Some highlights include Cerith Wyn Evans’ neon words, Peter Halley’s colorful minimal painting, and digital decay works by John Pomara. I was also excited to see works by Sarah Morris, Michael Corris, Sylvie Fleury, Troy Brauntuch, Liam Gillick, Sherrie Levine, Michael Craig-Martin, and Ugo Rondinone.

Really, all the current shows at the Dallas Contemporary had merit. Though JR’s photos were on the scale and scope of a spectacle, I felt a real sense of charm that resonated with me. These photos were great human moments, like an old photo booth, but made public. JR’s scale and display of his photos all over the floor, walls, and on string made the portraits even more enjoyable to view. I think the fact that the photos were being taken throughout the show and not just at the opening made JR’s show less like an event with leftover artifacts, but rather an on going impactful experience.

I wasn’t excited with the design show at first, but I was attracted to visit the space a few more times and I began to enjoy the objects on display. It helped to have someone like Megan Adams Brooks showing her designs. Her row of draping fabrics brought the room to life. Paula Crown’s show just completely blew me away with those images and videos. Crown literally explores the inside of her head with MRI scans to make a kind of medically aided portrait. Crown’s images are accompanied by a pulsating minimalist score created by Ben Rubin and Todd Reynolds.

As I was leaving the Dallas Contemporary, I proclaimed out loud that it was the best show I have seen for this institution since it had moved to the Design District. Even though I had written off the space a year or two before, I still had hope. Well, these shows were worth the wait, but everything ends March 9th. I am shocked I am writing this, but I truly look forward to what the Dallas Contemporary has coming up next. for more images

Friday, March 28, 2014


Alan Engisch - "skycentered777"  2013,   digital inkjet print  - 35 3/4 x 26" re-post of my article

Digital art hasn't fully come of age as an art form, but this kind of work is getting broader acceptance faster than photography. Several years ago I found myself on the west coast. I walked into lacda (Los Angeles Center for Digital Art) and I was incredibly inspired by the digital art they were exhibiting. Locally, when And Or Gallery was around, they had a strong focus on the digital. Now and then, UTD's Central Track has had some technology and digital shows, but leave it to the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art to have a really focused show about digital art.

As a dabbler in the digital art realm myself, I often find that a really good piece never comes out quick and easy. A good amount of planning and thinking goes into each work. The curator and artist Alan Engisch put together some thoughtful artists and work of his own. Engisch’s digital print, along with Paul Abbott, looked digital sourced. All the hallmarks of pixelation or extreme repetition were there. I couldn’t quite pick out the exact process Abbott was using, but I felt the touch of “filters” somewhere. James Allumbaugh uses primitive software of MS Paint and his images are as simple as the tool, yet I am reminded of Russian Constructivist paintings. And his colors are garish and playful, much like many of the MADI artists I have encountered. Vlatko Ceric also reminds me of early Modern artists. His straightforward blocks arranged like a checkerboard is very Victor Vasarely, without the Op. Tim Bolt is referencing the Modern period with his stacked patterns that seem to create a visual vibration.

Henry Biber and Elle Schuster print their images on aluminum. I always thought this material gives a kind of digital flat screen feel. Biber works minimal while Schuster maximizes the surface with fractal images. I think I could write pages on the complex images of Schuster’s work. I know there is a computer program involved, but her choices as an artist make or break an image. I have seen John Holt Smith’s work on aluminum as well. His choice of c-print is a common print type for color photography. There has been some debate on if digital prints are really an evolution of photography. I think the line is a little blurry, but after all, we live in the era of “hybrid form.” Rich Morgan’s c-prints are photo manipulation at an extreme level. He is working in photography and yet he has transformed his image into something completely new.

Lane Banks uses computers the same way past artists treated drawing, as sketches for the final work. So, you find his paintings on display instead of digital prints. Sevan Melikyan also paints his digital creations, but once again, photography source material is part of the process in this very minimal/pixelated painting.

I enjoy digital art and work inspired by the digital, so I was glad to see that Museum of Geometric and MADI Art was open to such a show. I look forward to future shows of digital art at the Museum, because Dallas needs dialog about this type of art production. The more places open their doors to exhibit it, the more digital art will reach wider acceptance. Visit the work by Vlatko Ceric, Elle Schuster, James Allumbaugh, Paul Abbott, Tim Bolt, Lane Banks, Henry Biber, Rich Morgan, John Holt Smith, and Sevan Melikyan, and Alan Engisch. for more images

Thursday, March 27, 2014


 Ron Radwanski - Contempo Iridescent eclipse 48in x48in re-post of my article

I was recently offered an opportunity to help judge an online exhibition of art. It got me thinking about our changing digital world, where online exhibitions have become a new phenomenon. I value seeing art live, but you can get a great deal of visual information just by looking at the available images online. Fortunately for me, I don't have to go far on the internet to see an interesting grouping of artists. I am talking about the Mod Artists curated by Jeff Levine.

I showed with Ron Radwanski, Elle Schuster, Dar Dowling, and Joshua King down in Austin, during a Mod Artist event. Radwanski brought an acrylic on canvas to create a hard edge painting experience. Schuster’s fractal creations were akin to some of my digital work. I found myself lost in her engrossing images. Dowling’s figure rolled out before you as a delicately sensual piece of work.

King seems to be the most Post Modern artist Levine shows and I hated his work almost instantly, but grew to love it as I spent time with it. It was worth getting to know his work. I also enjoyed visiting his online presence and learning a bit more about the work. In another time and place, I have also seen Donn Parr’s work in person. To see his airplane inspired objects/paintings was a real treat, and I felt Parr’s shapes were ready to fly off the walls. There is not a hint of irony, but an honest love for flight and the machines that provide this amazing feat.

Other Mod Artists I have only experienced online. Levine has gathered several artists with a similar approach to abstract art. Alison Jardine, Sonali Khatti, Marilyn Biles, Esther Ritz, Kiki Curry Winters, Carol Ordemann, Jan Ayers Friedman, Deanna Kienast, and Tamara White all have abstraction as their main approach. I feel an earthy theme ran through many of the paintings and a real connection to the developments of High Modernist period. Carmen Menza and Ross Van Hunt are two artists that might translate better if you experienced the work live. But the information of thick paint comes across loud and clear. Jan Ayers Friedman, Erika Jaeggli draw from the natural world, but Ayers Friedman pushes into the abstraction, where Jaeggli uses more playful illustrations of shapes.

Trevor Kobrin is the only photographer Levine shows. I was impressed by the skill and variety of the photos. Michael Broussard and Nic Noblique generally deal in metal, but Noblique apparently also creates paintings, which I was unaware of until I looked at his website. Broussard really defies an artistic category. I have a hard time labeling his work, other than it looks Modern.

Like any gallery, I know the Mod Artists gallery has had artists come and go. I am not completely clear on Jeff Levine’s reasons for picking artists to be part of his Mod Artists. But I can see some interesting ideas and themes that run through many of the artists he has chosen. Levine is attempting to pick artists that stay true to Modernism and those sensibilities. But I also see some expansion of his tastes in a few key artists, which is always a good sign for things come. for more images

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BERNARDO CANTU 500x solo show

James Almost re-post of my article.

When I got an invite to see Bernardo Cantu’s show at 500x Gallery, I couldn’t possibly pass it up. I think Cantu is one of the great innovators in painting/sculpture. When Central Trak put on Failing Flat, Sculptural Tendencies in Painting last year, I was extremely disappointed Cantu wasn’t in the show. His works are a far greater success than anyone in that show. No one pushes and pulls between painting and sculpture like Cantu.

We both went to the University of North Texas together for our MFAs, so I have been following his work during his critical growth period during school and his subsequent developments. True, I was in the same program, but I can think of several graduates and undergraduate artists at that time that I did not look favorably toward their work. So loyalty is not clouding my judgement. I think that partly I enjoy his work because nothing else out there is like it. I look at a work by Cantu and I am excited to see how it was constructed. He often allows some clues to his production methods. His material is sometimes irreverent to traditions. Like his use of velvet and painting, you can’t get much lower on the riticual that material gets when it comes to its relation to painting, yet Cantu employees it masterfully. This show in particular had some installation elements of spray paint trailing across the wall and onto a helmet and table.

I also enjoy diving deep into Cantu’s sense of self. Cantu mines the 1980’s and the possible future to invent something new. His Meso-American Grill painting digs even further back to the iconography of the Aztec culture. All his pieces have some element of his Tex-Mex heritage or identity. There is a beautiful tension when these cultures collide and merge. Is it Mexican or is it American? Well the answer is no to both and yes to both at the same time. In the end, he shows a true hybrid form. The inseparable idea is made up of too many parts to make clear distinctions. Much the same way I see Cantu tackling painting and sculpture. Is it a painting or a sculpture? Once again, the answer is both or maybe somewhere in between.

Bernardo Cantu’s show, Menudotron Surf Report from Lamborghini Beach dTX is one of the many reasons to visit 500X. I saw several works in the TWU graduate group show I would like to go look at again. Plus, Diane Durant’s lightbox photographs of one lady in a red coat, standing in different locations was oddly compelling. A few other treats too, but you will have to go to see them. All the above shows run through February 15th. for more images.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Claybord Text Art Piece

Here is a new Claybord text art piece that is 30 by 30 inches. It is a pen and ink piece that I was thinking of titled "Random Text in Black and Blue."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Between Oak and Mulberry

Tudor Mitroi re-post of my article

Once again, Vincent Falsetta curates a fascinating group of artists. Of course, he had a deep pool of artists to pick from, because this was an University of North Texas alumni show. Norwood Flynn Gallery hosted these 8 artists; Tudor Mitroi, Jessica McCambly, John Oliver Lewis, Lori Giesler, Rachel Fisher, Hanna Kim, Julie Trinh, and Max Morris. Each contribute unique voices worth your attention.

I had the pleasure of visiting Rachel Fisher’s studio on the UNT campus a few months ago and I was excited to see her progress in her MFA program. Her undergraduate paintings were fleshy figures with strong narrative structures. Now her stories are less clear, mysterious, and a little shocking. I feel her complexity is reaching new heights with each work. I traveled the MFA program with Lori Giesler, and while there her falling figures were strange but with a straightforward realistic approach. This new work feels more youthful, chaotic, and exciting. I think Giesler has found a good, fresh angle for her subject matter.

When I was in Houston I encountered Tudor Mitroi’s shaped paintings that made reference to maps and borders and I am always excited to see more of his work. Jessica McCambly is another artists I have seen. When I was down in Austin, there was a great show about patterns at greyDuck, and McCambly’s work was organic and oddly natural. Like crystals growing, McCambly’s art feels like natural processes taking over her surfaces. Not to mention, she also frequently showed at 500x gallery when she was an active member.

I was unfamiliar with the other four artists, so I would like to thank Falsetta for introducing me to them. John Oliver Lewis’ gloopy, globby looking ceramics are playful in shape and color. At first glance, Hanna Kim’s painting is classic AbEx, but on closer inspection, the thick crafted, painted shapes are worlds apart from those artists from last mid-century. When I see Maxwell Morris’s paintings, I am reminded a bit of paper marbling. Strong repetition in marks with elements that appear to randomly permeate Morris’s paintings. Julie Trinh’s frayed paper over other strips of paper mounted on board would be incredibly festive, if the colors were not so bleak. But her colors are what make these works so punchy, and the feeling of decay and weather worn look also gives her image weight.

Norwood Flynn Gallery’s presentation of “Between Oak and Mulberry,” will run through March 1st. And ask any UNT art graduate about the title’s meaning and many will have their own story to tell. for more articles

Sunday, March 23, 2014

From Valley View to Valley House

Michael O'Keefe at Valley House Gallery re-post of my article

I like to keep my eyes open for clustering of artists in a common area. I enjoy going on open studio tours, like the White Rock Lake tour. And for a while I kept hearing about the Valley View Mall encouraging artists and galleries to open up in abandoned stores. So I thought I would finally take the plunge this weekend and see this colony of artists.

As I ventured into gallery walk night, I was struck by a garish sign for Gallery at Midtown & Artist Studios. Maybe it was the font or the very busy background, but it was truly a sign of things to come. After walking into every gallery and studio, I was completely underwhelmed by so many places filled with one boring cliche painting after another. Most of the spaces were packed full of amateur art with salon style hangings. Decorative abstracts were a dominant theme in many of the galleries. I guess the somewhat keystone gallery had one or two artists I thought were effective in projecting a unique voice, style, and technique; however, because these works were surrounded by train-wrecks I just couldn’t pay enough attention to hone in on the particular artist, medium, or even size. I found it too distracting an environment to appreciate better art pieces.

Slant Gallery had a mildly interesting show of Frida Kahlo inspired work. Rita Barnard’s Small Gallery had a quirky Cowboy and Indian show. I ended up spending more time there, if partly to avoid going back out and seeing more noise on the walls. It is possible, in time, the mall will bring in more talent that will raise the level of art. However, doom and uncertainty looms for this artists colony as there are plans for redevelopment of the mall.

I had to cleanse after the mall and what better place than an opening at Valley House Gallery. I was not disappointed by the drawings and sculptures of Michael O’Keefe. His small figure drawings reminded me of Giacomo Balla’s Futurist paintings of moving bodies. The sculptures were in a Modernist style, smooth heads. O’Keefe’s large drawings look looser than the small drawings. He appears to have taken a free form approach that allows the figure to emerge from his process of drawing. I felt the work was elegant, with a thoughtful and skillful look to the Modern past. O’Keefe’s show will be up through February 15th.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


 Vance Wingate
Fleshy Gems #14 2012
graphite, acrylic and oil on mdf board
Member 1989-91 re-post of my article

500X celebrates their 35 years with a clean and concise curation of thirty past member artists. Over the years, past member celebrations and juried shows tended to be cram packed with art. Though this style of exhibiting art has its charm, I found this offering by 500X a very refreshing change.

The title of the show, Creative Differences, suggests that the works were quite distinct from one another, but I did see a few works tapping into similar sensibilities. Tom Orr and Paul Booker comes to mind. Paul Booker instantly captured my attention as you walk into the space. Classic Booker installation, but as always, beautiful and mesmerizing as the little pinned mylar climbs up the wall like a vine. I have always seen these pieces as a collection of drawings that happen to grow into an installation. Orr also creates an installation sculpture, but Orr’s work plays tricks on your eyes as you walk past the piece. Both artists play with transparency and layering to create engaging visual effects.

Booker, Orr, and Vance Wingate all employ minimal style in their work. Wingate had five 12 inch square paintings, each appropriately titled Fleshy Gems and a number. These paintings appear to be on the edge of still lifes and abstraction. The rock like objects in the composition take on a fleshy quality. I like the grouping in this show, but I can image each work would stand alone as a lone gem. Matthew Clark also offered a more standard minimal approach at first glance, but his lines go off script and the shapes don’t quite follow your standard geometric shapes.

Another riff from this style of clean ordered artwork was Diane Sikes and her boxed up chaos. The packages were fun little mixes of minimal and organic. Speeding Ticket by Simeen Farhet was also organic in nature, but her cool color palette and sharp carved lines made the work feel related to Booker’s installation. Farhet showed a small piece, displayed in a tough spot to show work in the gallery. Yet, it was the first object I was enticed to get a closer look.

Several artists in the show took on the minimalist approach, but in direct contrast, there were plenty of maximalist as well. Charlotte Smith filled her canvas with ever increasing growth of circles. Once you find yourself looking very close at each detail of her work, you have to tear yourself away in order not to get lost in the image. Greg Metz also piled on the objects to create sculpture on a surfboard and outrigging. Though the piece looks unbalanced and awkward, Metz is full on tongue-in-cheek with his composition while still sliding a bit of social commentary.

So many more worth mentioning, but you will just have to go see the show to find your favorite. This is the last weekend to see the artists I mentioned and Frances Bagley, Iris Bechtol, Christine Bisetto, Jim Burton, Michel Demanche, Celia Eberle, Thomas Feulmer, Randall Garrett, Susan kae Grant, Scott Hilton, Mary Iron Eyes, Dottie Love, Natalie Macellaio, Robert McAn, Nic Nicosia, Kerry Pacillio, Lesli Robertson, Tom Sale, Charlotte Smith, Don Taylor, John Taylor, Tiffany Wolf, and Anthony Wright. for more images.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Art Gallery Run

John Adelman Exchange, 2012, gel ink on paper,
54 x 42" - Holly Johnson Gallery re-post of my article

If you ever get a chance to visit art galleries with a six year old, I would suggest you give it a try. I took my son out to go gallery hopping last weekend, and I got some interesting insight. A few key things are important to keep in mind when taking a small child. Constantly remind the child to not touch anything, listen to everything he or she says, and be sure to allow the child to interact with anyone along the way.

Because CADD is doing their 13 days of art campaign, I thought I would hit as many of their galleries as possible. We started with 500x and their celebration of past members. My son raced to the stairs, turned the corner, and was stopped in his tracks by a piece from Greg Metz. He thought the sculpture was a Dr Seuss machine. He walked around and around, fascinated by each detail.

I was wanting to spend more time looking at works by Simeen Farhat and Tom Orr, but my son was on his way downstairs. We then visited Barry Whistler Gallery where I was able to point out that the photographs by Allison V. Smith were taken in Maine, where mommy was raised. He wasn’t as excited as I’d hoped, but he spent a little more time looking at the photos.

We found ourselves on Dragon Street and at Craighead Green Gallery. My son really enjoyed Shawn Smith’s animal sculptures. He wanted to touch every piece of Smith’s. “We could buy that one,” he would often say. For me, the Octopus was so impressive, that it completely overshadowed the rest of his works. But for my son, he looked at each piece with equal amount of wonder and awe.

When we visited Cohn Drennan Contemporary, my son proceeded to rename every Bonny Leibowitz sculpture. His names like, Loop a loop, Jup a Jup, Cocoon, and Dome of Doom replaced Leibowitz’s titles Assisted Living, The Tempest, Safety Concerns, and Love Muffin’s Unofficial Monument . At Conduit, my son asked to visit the back room. A kid after my own heart. Once we got permission, he pointed out all the art he wanted. We also played with a magnifying glass, looking for clues to crimes in Carrie Marill’s whimsical gouache on paper paintings. After a short visit to Holly Johnson and Cris Worley Fine Arts, because my son was about done by then, we celebrated with some pizza before we headed home. The little interactions with the art and people were priceless. I am excited to see how he will continue to grow in his perception of art. for more pictures

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Last Years Weather Report

Trey Egan re-post of my article

Another year is coming to a close, so it is a good time to reflect on some events and shows this year that are worth remembering. The year started out strong at Re Gallery's exhibition of Ricardo Paniagua. This outspoken artist manages to stir a little controversy in social media while surprising others with his range of work. True he occasionally borrows ideas, but other times I see him taking a great deal of risks. I was glad to see his show at Big Medium - Canopy during the Austin Studio Tour weekends. It was the first time I really had a chance to see a variety of his hard edge paintings and sculptures in one place.

This was a great year for painting. Trey Egan at Cris Worley Fine Art was one of the best solo shows. For me, his work slowly grows on you. The more I looked at the marks, the more pattern and movement I was able to discover. I soon got in tune with his rhythm of painting and I look forward to seeing a new batch soon.

My former professor, Vincent Falsetta, has made significant development in his paintings, and this year I must have seen three shows with his work adding to the dialogue of works in abstraction. Angela Kallus’ caked on paintings in the last show I saw at Marty Walkers was another beginning of the year show stopper. Kallus’ pastry style roses in paint on board is not something I would normally care about, but Kallus makes them so desirable.

Liliana Bloch started her own gallery this year inside the Public Trust space. Her aesthetics don’t always match my own, but she always curates thoughtfully. And I find myself second guessing my assumptions about what Bloch chooses to show. But if you ask me which was the most soulful, minimally beautiful, and mesmerizing, I would have to say Linnea Glatt’s show at Barry Whistler. A pure joy to see. Books, threads, white, shred, Glatt had all the quiet elements that made for a truly memorable show and a memorable ART year for Dallas! for more images

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

UNT ArtSpace

Installation view, UNT ArtSpace Dallas, featuring a painting by Robert Jessup. re-post of my article

UT Dallas, located in Richardson has had a strong, influential presence in the Dallas art scene. First through Southside at Lamar’s downstairs artists quarter and now through CentralTrak. So, I have been hoping for the day that the University of North Texas would make a greater impact on Dallas. Well a good first step has been made through the debut of the UNT Artspace Dallas gallery.

Located on main street, the gallery will feature four of the University’s faculty: Dornith Doherty, Vincent Falsetta, Robert Jessup, and Lesli Robertson. I have seen several shows by Dornith Doherty. She is a regular at Holly Johnson Gallery with her beautiful photos of seeds. Her pictures are hauntingly clinical. I enjoyed the very minimal space surrounding her subjects. You get the feeling these are more like portraits of the seeds rather than something as dead as a still life.

A month or so ago, I was visiting Vincent Falsetta’s studio, where he had a few of his new works on the wall. It became clear to me that his painting practices and his preparatory work to make his paintings have merged. Now, both were informing the other in a very visible way. The large paintings seem to be testing grounds for color and technique as much as his index cards. Process and planning are left bare and exposed for all to see. It seems like a brave move that he is showing so much in the work.

This year I saw Robert Jessup at Conduit Gallery. He is showing his move to abstraction, and what a move it has been. Jessup has been known for his figures and he has dabbled in abstract art before, but it seems that he has taken the action of his figures and distilled them in his paintings. I feel the life energy of movement in every stroke.

Lesli Robertson is a fibers professor at UNT. I took a fibers class at UNT for my masters, but I didn’t have the pleasure of taking it with Robertson. You might ask, what is fibers? Well, it ranges from sculpture, to installation, to weaving, to whatever you could imagine. To me, fibers was a kind of hybrid form class where you had the freedom to pull from all disciplines and create something new. Robertson has a work that attaches to two walls and drapes across the floor. Though not a net, I do still get the feeling it could be a trap by her sculpture.

I am excited about the UNT Artspace Dallas gallery and I hope to see more exciting shows lined up for the space. You know, some have been critical of the grad schools and art school opportunities in Dallas, but I was attracted to the DFW area universities years ago. I know many others have been too. And I even heard about these school while in a little town in Kentucky, so the word has been getting out. Many of our universities have been making moves to help strengthen the art scene. I say we give them words of encouragement, but continue to ask them to do more. click here for additional information about Artspace Gallery. for more images.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


John Hartley, Champion, 2013, oil on canvas, 60 x 60" re-post of my article

Usually when an artist uses nostalgia as a driving force behind their work, I am instantly turned off. John Hartley makes me re-evaluate my inclinations. I was also counseled by Albert Camus' collection of essays, Rebel. Camus claims, "every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being." That makes Hartley the rebel of Artspace 111 in Fort Worth.

Many of the toys John Hartley depicts are really too old for most viewers to have owned as children, but we all recognize that he has reached back into someone’s childhood past. Many of these types of objects have become collector items for young hipsters that enjoy a past they never had. Others archive these objects into toy collects that later end up in museums. Hartley seems to be more interested in the cultural and social messages relayed by these objects. He gives a few clues to his intention by his choices. Hartley lights his subjects like an old portrait painting. Past masters would place their subjects in ambiguously atmospheric space to help achieve total focus on that person’s skin and clothes. Health and wealth were the true subjects in portraits. Though Hartley celebrates the weathered chips and marks on the toys, the true portrait is the heros and villains that have shaped our culture through generations of toys. These toys are symbols of power that children were suppose to model.

One toy that I tried to model as kid is the classic plastic toy soldier like in the work, Battlefield Scrimmage. A massive 30 by 40 inch painting, Hartley renders these toys all pilled up and looking to be just dumped out on the floor. I never made it into the military, but a work like this reminds me of some of my own battles in the livingroom. Here I feel nostalgic. Typical nostalgia is a romantic fondness for the past, stripped of meaningful reflection. Hartley’s dramatic pieces is more like Camus’ understanding of nostalgia. These works appeal to our essence of being which even, accord to Jacques Derrida, expands to the inanimate. Our very identity was helped shaped through our toys as children. Hartley show the complexity of our collective past that run through generations. for more images

Monday, March 17, 2014

BONNY LEIBOWITZ at Cohn Drennan Contemporary

Justice For All? 2013
plaster, tree bark, acrylic, faux fur, hinge, metal and shellac re-post of my article

I love studio visits and not just those studio tour visits, but when you call the artists up and ask them if you can see their new work. Bonny Leibowitz generously invited me to visit her studio on a day I was also visiting a few other artists. She was preparing for her upcoming show at Cohn Drennan Contemporary on November 23rd.

Leibowitz will be paired with artist Winter Rusiloski in a show titled Pleasure Tempest. Leibowitz has shown at this gallery before, but usually her work would populate the walls with encaustic paintings, however she has made a major shift in her work. For now, it appears Leibowitz has become primarily a sculptor.

This shift not only applies to her approach, but her content, style and sensibility. There of course are a few transitional pieces which reflect the past innovations of her paintings. Like the work “The Diva and the Deflated Ego,” in which art historical images have been collaged into a puddle. The rest of the piece then branches away from her past into a riskier investigation. This melting skull like structure seems to project the idea of keeping up appearances against the backdrop of the ravages of time. As I walked around this piece, I noticed a kind of tilt that left it looking a little off balance. In fact, many of these works have a lean that implies the possibility of falling. The theme of physical bodies and the effects of aging carry through all of this work. This stands in contrast with her more elemental and atmospheric paintings from past shows.

Upon reflection of my visit, the California Funk Art movement came to mind. Particularly Ed Kienholz and his critique of contemporary culture. Like Kienholz, Leibowitz peels away the glossy images presented in magazines and television to reveal real experiences of the imperfect body. However, Leibowitz’ more abstract approach adds an element of ambiguity that is sometimes lacking in Kienholz. Closer to home, artist Richie Budd, from the famed Good/Bad Art Collective also came to mind. Like Budd, Leibowitz’ new work attempts to push the boundaries of aesthetics.

One reason I believe Leibowitz was about to make this shift is that she had recently expanded her studio space. It is a simple idea, having space, but look at the creative explosion of the Abstract Expressionists when large spaces where available. The rise of the Young British Artist movement was helped in part by the affordable space. Leibowitz was able to free herself to take more risks. Another factor is that Leibowitz has been breaking the frame of her paintings with greater frequency and boldness. I couldn’t have predicted this body of work, but I wasn’t completely taken by surprise either. I look forward to seeing it installed next weekend. for more images.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


 Anna Bogatin - Installation View re-post of my article

Holly Johnson Gallery has split the body and mind with her offering of John Adelman and Anna Bogatin. Adelman shows his heady deconstruction of words and objects, while Bogatin taps into waves of emotions through her meditative mark making. Though to counter that, Adelman’s methodical counting has a meditative effect, while Bogatin’s painting connects to the conceptual works by Lawrence Weiner of taking a walk and recording an action. And for me, the split is also temporal. Adelman’s current show is one I have seen a few times, but this weekend I anticipate seeing Bogatin’s first solo show at Holly Johnson, though the opening was last weekend. I have seen Bogatin’s work in person at other times when I encountered them at the gallery, which only heightens my expectations.

When talking to Anna Bogatin, I asked her about the influence of Aboriginal art in her work. She feels connected to their spiritual connection to the earth and elements. The idea of the walkabout or right of passage resonates with Bogatin. After all, her method of making work felt more like a journey of discovery. I connect her work to the conceptualist, because her work also records a journey like Weiner’s. However, Bogatin’s journey is not a physical walk in the countryside, but the peaceful meditative state which is recorded in marks not words. She is reflecting the natural world of organic and gentle processes. Bogatin explains that she is looking for the balance of forces in nature through these works.

There is probably no other artist I have written more about than John Adelman, but there is always more to unpack about his work. Personally, I discover more about his work all the time. Talking to him yesterday, I learned that he has ambitions to deconstruct even more ambitious things in the world. This show further deconstructs the dictionary. Word after word is stripped of meaning as they are piled on to one another in a graveyard of letters. Remember, Adelman started his work from white surfaces, yet some of the works are so covered with words you would swear that the paper was blue or black. I also asked Adelman about the reception his work received in Europe over the past few years. It sounded like it had similar reception of confusion, yet a positive attraction to his work. Sounds like a good place to leave the viewer.

Around 2005 or 06, Bogatin moved toward this minimalist image, because too many people saw her early work as having to do with narrative structures. Bogatin was aiming more for a feeling or sensation not clouded by a story. Bogatin’s journey paintings must be attempting to be without beginning or end, but I can’t quite determine this thought without truly experiencing the work, so I hope you will make plans like me to see this show, which will last till March 22. John Adelman’s show finishes out on February 15th. for more images

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Random Links

It is time to start listing contest in order for everyone can have access to some interesting art opportunities.  1. Artprize   2. Fresh Arts   3. A community college

Other things I am interested in is top 10's in art. Here is Lexington, Philadelphia, Santa Fe, and Dallas.

New Houston magazine: Art 713

A bench I want, link.

A critic's view on a museum show.

Bedtime stories.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Zhanna Kadyrova

A visual artist from the Ukraine, Zhanna Kadyrova is breaking shaped up and reorganizing them into crystal like shapes. I am reminded of digital art models in this work. Other sculptures of hers reach into the conceptual realm. I have read that Kadyrova is taken the tradition of Russian mosaics and re-imagining in a contemporary way. Here is an good site to see Kadyrova's art.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ukraine Famous Artists

So, who are the Ukrainian artists past and present that have made an impact. I ran across a few that are interesting. Vladimir Borovikovsky did lots of portraits, but some feel a bit unflatteringly realistic. Kazimir Malevich is a great example of Modernism at its prime. A great website has his work laid out. Am Cassandre iconic posters are also great modern design work. Check out this site of his work. Ivan Marchuk is currently making work that looks like a strange fairy tail story. See this Pinterest site to get an idea of what I mean. The sand artist Kseniya Simonova is kind of a novelty act, but still fun to watch. I am sure there are plenty more I am missing, but these peeked my interest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ukraine Art Scene

Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) Ukraine folk artist

With all the news coming out of the Ukraine, I natural start thinking about what their artists are doing locally. So, I started looking at art galleries to see different artists and what the scene looks like. "TSEKH" gallery in Kiev has a few interesting artists. I particular thought Sergiy Oleksiuk was making some engaging work. Hard to tell online, but I think I would like to see the work up close. Of course, a good national gallery is important to have and theirs looks pretty standard celebration of past artists, like many western countries' national museum tend to show. Kharkov city has a Saatchi outlet, although I am unsure if this is there now or not. I read a brief article written in 2012 about saying goodby to the past, which was about a show at the The Kharkov City Art Gallery. The space is nice, I would love to show there. I can't read a word, but here is another site. I found a contemporary art space in Kiev that looks promising as well. I looked at Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa, but I could not get a clear view without actually visiting the cities. In fact, I find that true for almost every city.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Online art competitions have become all the rage. It is a great, inexpensive way to get your art out there without having to ship your work or pay for framing. One such site has create a beautiful page and they even invited me to co-curate: Unframed. The current show is on drawing, a passion of mine. When all said and done, I like the picks we made. I am impressed with the way the show the work and I think this gallery has the potential to make a real impact on the emerging art scene. Good work from contributors Adrian Aguirr, Zoe Spiliotis, and Jean Wilkey. 

Monday, March 10, 2014


ArtSlant has mentioned me in a group show. I am mentioned in the Art Guild of Central Texas during their monthly meeting. The Gables Uptown Towers blog mentioned an old show. Culture Map mention me in a recent auction.
Somethings that are going on now: 

1. I have an upcoming show in Shreveport at the Centenary College Louisiana Magale Gallery.

2. I have been picked by the Hunting Prize, among 115 other artists as a finalist.
May 3rd

3. I have a have a two man show with Wells Mason in the works at a gallery to be announced
(Future Date)

4. I also have an upcoming installation show by CUB3 in El Paso, Texas.
Date to be determined

Sunday, March 09, 2014


HOMING INSTINCT - 60x72 inches re-post of my article

When I was young, bold bright colors in art seems to capture my imagination. It must have been my exposure to a Matisse show at the High Museum in Atlanta during my first years as an undergraduate. A few Impressionist shows helped solidify my love of color. Only when exposed to the Picture Generation, Conceptual artists, and several of the Minimalist artists did I reject color in my own work. Plus I was sceptical when other artists used color to convey more than intellectual investigation. Slowly the love of color and its emotional punch, has returned. Visiting Billy Hassell’s show at the Tyler Museum of Art was very good medicine.

When I was deep into my color scepticism, Billy Hassell would have been an assault on my senses. However, this weekend the experience of his show was like a revelation. I have not seen an artist use such bright colors so effectively in a long time. I think much of his graphicly illustrative style contributes to the effectiveness of his pallet. Color to Hassell shows a natural world charged with life energy and movement.

His mixture of animal and wallpaper like background reminded me of Kehinde Wiley’s relationship to his figure and ground. Almost all the work in the show employed a wallpaper effect. By turning the natural objects into simple patterns, you are reminded of how some Pop artists used repetition and pattern to drive home the idea of the mass produced. Only in Hassell’s case, he is shaping the natural world into an ordered, predictable structure. Wiley’s portraits tend to interact with the background and the same can be said about Hassell’s animals.

Hassell’s bird can be perched on a branch, yet the background and bird still somehow flatten out. Some of the painting also used wood cutout silhouette shapes of birds. I instantly wanted to be critical of these works, but my emotions got the best of me, and the image as a whole, just won me over. The painted pattern backgrounds seemed to make his relief parts glow and float. Hassell’s lithographs were very vibrant like his paintings. I was reminded of Japanese prints, especially Brown Pelican I, with those dramatic ocean waves.

Tyler Museum of Art is an art oasis for East Texas. My kids enjoyed drawing in the family area while they patiently waited for me to pull myself away from Hassell’s show. Luckily, the El Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) folk art exhibition also made them very happy that we visited. I am now being flooded with requests from my kids to make masks with skulls.

Billy Hassell will be up until March 23rd, however, the Tyler Museum of Art’s collection of folk art will only be up until January 19th. for more images

Saturday, March 08, 2014


Rymer Gallery - Whitney Wood Bailey - Collective Harmonies 3
Oil And Mixed Media On Canvas 54x54 2013 re-post of my article

I have been staying about an hour north of Nashville for about a week for my artist residency in Kentucky. So, Nashville art scene was calling to me all this time and I had to answer the call. I even watched the television show Nashville to prepare myself. So, today I visited art galleries with my television producer friend. We basically barnstormed the scene, but I still got a decent pulse on what the galleries are showing.

Tinney Contemporary was our first stop where we saw paintings by Jeanie Gooden and Lyle Carbajal. Gooden works resembles a common abstract style that resembles a weathered wall. However, Gooden manages to craft some Cy Twombly marks in some of the work and other pieces she has sown into the surface. Normally I don’t respond to work like Lyle Carbajal, but his collage figures with childlike constructed sensibility drew me closer. I was reminded of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work. Both Carbajal and Basquiat use simple marks to make figures and faces come alive. Carbajal raw old wood frames might have been a bit much.

We walked down to Rymer Gallery, nearby, to see Whitney Wood paintings on canvas and paper. One of the more striking shows of the day, Wood worked on large canvases that mixed washes separated with sharp lines and thick dashes of paint. The composition meandered around to give your eye very little to rest upon. I was able to stop my darting eyes by walking in close and looking at all the little details. The works on paper feel like a portrait of an abstract object, which immediately peaked my interest. Because each piece used negative space around the object, I could spend more time investigating the painted part.

One unique place was the old style Arcade. Not a place for video games, but a two-storey covered indoor walking space.. Downstairs were restaurants and shops, but upstairs was Nashville’s Art at the Arcade. Many were small little commercial gallery spaces, some connected to schools, and others run by independent artists. They were all getting ready for this weekend’s gallery walk. I was reminded a little bit of SouthSide on Lamar’s downstairs, back when they had a great deal of artists’ spaces. With such a mix of spaces in one place, I can’t say I have encountered anything like it before. I just wish more things were open before Saturday.

The Frist Center for Visual Art, Nashville art museum, was advertising a Norman Rockwell, so we skipped it. But it turns out 30 Americans is up right now too. It would have been great to see this group of very talented African American artists. I will have to try to catch it before January 12th. A few other visits around some less interesting spaces and we were out. From what I can tell, it looks to be a small art scene that has emergent properties. I see a lot of potential, but also a lot of sameness, with hints of artists with their own voices. I will have to immerse myself in the scene again soon to take another snapshot of this more than Music City. for more pictures