I knew about some of these artists, but I learned a bit more from Jameskalm talks about them a bit while he tours around NYC in 2008.
An art movement in Europe that reacted against AbEx Art. Check out the wiki page, link.
Mary Heilmann might be a little to simple for my taste, but she is what is so influential to purely deskilled movement of today. Rough and edgy for rough and edgy sake. But if you look over her body of work, she is doing much more than those that are following her. Cartoon like shapes and colors mock minimalism and abstract art directly rather than indirectly, such as Pop did. Here is her work at 303.
Curtis Graff is an artists and architect out of Marshall Texas. Here is an interesting article on what he is doing in Marshall, link. Here is an article on his Longview Museum of Art show, link. I meet him once, interesting person trying all kinds of things.
Edward Burra was a British artist that created surrealistic/expressionistic art the moved from a Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec type artists that observed scenes of celebration to a moment when he changed do to his observation of war. Above is a great documentary of an artist you have never heard of, well maybe.
I am reminded of the American Regionalism of the same time period. Only, Burra was far more surreal and symbolic.
Over a year ago, in October of 2015, one of the best galleries in Houston closed its doors. McMurtrey Gallery had a great deal of beautiful shows with their stable artists. In the aftermath of such an important gallery closing, artists have to find new venues to represent them. A positive is that new galleries are popping up around the city, the negative is that most new galleries don’t have the cache as a gallery that was open for 35 years. So, if you still want to see what McMurtrey Gallery once showed, where can you go?
I began to think about this aftermath when I saw that Sarah Williams was showing with Moody Gallery. I was not surprised to see Williams get representation, because her work speaks to so many. Her paintings are of rural homes and buildings that seem momentarily abandoned. Moody also picked up Jean Carruthers Wetta and Dornith Doherty. I also found that Laura Rathe Fine Art now represents Sydney Yeager. One advance to this move is that Yeager now has a presence in both Houston and Dallas. Catherine Colangelo’s work takes the aesthetic language of wrapping paper, wallpaper, and geometric shapes of textiles. She has found a home at Cindy Lisica Gallery. The wild world of Jules Buck Jones can be found at David Shelton Gallery.
Art galleries are not the only possibility for artist to have a presence in Houston. Ted Larsen Harriet is working with Alexander Art Advisory. In the future, I am sure you will see art by former McMurtrey Gallery artists in art centers, university galleries, and community college galleries. Unfortunately, not everyone has been pickup by a gallery or art consultant yet. Jason Webb showed in the McMurtrey micro space. Murielle White has been too busy with a mural project and a solo show the coming January at Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas to start seeking a Houston venue this year. However, her work is so good that I can imagine someone wanting to work with her soon. Rusty Scruby has gallery representation in Dallas, Miami, Santa Fe, and LA, so he might be a bit too busy right now to make a run at Houston again, but Houston galleries would be smart to reach out to him.
On a sadder note, less than a year after the gallery closed, McMurtrey Gallery artist Jed Foronda died at the age of 30. Foronda’s work was an excavation of color and shapes that look like earth sediments. Some works had elements of the real, but were abstracted in his waves of paint. A retrospective of his work would be a fitting tribute. I hope I get to see more of Foronda’s art in another show one day.
I reached out to several other artists on the McMurtrey Gallery list to see what each artist was up to and where they went, but I didn’t receive responses in time for this article. I hope for my own reasons I get in contact with some of them, because I want another opportunity to see their work.
I was taking my students to Kilgore College to an art symposium and he was a showing his work at the art gallery at the college along with another artist. He was also one of the judges for the scholarship awarded to students that entered portfolio for review. We were Facebook friends for some time, but now I got to meet him. He seemed down to earth and very passionate about experiencing with art. Here is his website.
Check out this link, it is the site that helps you report a Thomas Kinkade is fake. Doesn't that go without saying, I thought they were all fakes. I guess they couldn't put together a museum for him because they couldn't figure out which were fakes and which he touched up. In 2012, (link) there was a report that it might happen, but I would guess the money has been blown by now.
In 1983 Trevor Whitney – young, handsome and charming – comes to New York City with big dreams of opening a gallery specializing in historical American art. Despite a lot of money, a fabulous eye and vast knowledge of American art, Trevor has no way to break into this exclusive world of high end art trading. But serendipity is on his side, and Trevor is introduced to the one person who can help him – Charles Brightman, whose inside knowledge of all the players soon propels Trevor’s gallery into the public eye. Aided by his beautiful assistant Claire MacKenzie, the gallery grows and prospers beyond Trevor’s dreams. Just when it seems as if the gallery will last forever and Trevor and Claire will realize how much they care for each other, a series of misunderstandings leaves the gallery vulnerable. A seductive con artist plans to use his lust for her to stage the biggest coup of her career. Can the gallery survive, and will true love find Trevor and Claire after all?
Here is their tag line about the hosts.
Rachel Rushing and Ryan Rushing, an artist and a designer living in Dallas talk about art. Sometimes logical, sometimes irreverent, always honest. We look at art because we love it. We think it’s worth talking about, and sometimes we crack each other up in the process.
Visit Art Funk podcast link.
Sound Thinking is a podcast collaboration between Sunset Art Studios and the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. In this episode Stephanie Adelina shares her process and how being challenged through art classes at Booker T. Washing School for the Visual and Performing Arts prepared her for the being a tattoo artist.
This January, I will post an image of an artist's work and a link to a page. I don't know if I will have time to comment on each one, but it would be nice to just get to know these artists. I was inspired by the blog A/Art. I thought I would also post some absurdly clickbait titles to go with it, just because 2017 might be the year of clickbait and fake news might be less influence after the lessons of the election.
We will start with the artist Tomma Abts and here is a link.
This painting is the frame by frame shot of someone saying repeat of text. The work is on a white canvas, then the words "repeat of text" is made through cutting the text and repeating it down the composition. Finally the faces are painted onto the surface. This piece was done in 2007 and unfortunately has been lost in several moves. Maybe painted over or given away, I am not sure, but I have been thinking about dipping back into old ideas, to make my work fresh again, so maybe this would be a path. Hmmm.
Early in exhibiting my art in Texas, I was showing at a space in Lewisville, Texas. Well, the place went under and the guy ran off with a bunch of things, including some of my paintings. Here is a picture of one of those missing works. I thought for sure I had no record of the piece, but I guess I had a blurry image. If anyone happens to see it, I would love to know where it is now. I hope someone is enjoying it, other than the person that took it that is. Link to my website if you want to see more of my work.
Because of Modernism, this idea of suppressing the past or rejecting the past art is still a little in vogue, you get art that is devoid of meaning or substance. However, some artists dive deep in the past and bring those ideas to the present. These artists are making richer and more meaningful work. Simon Shawn Andrews is one of those artists that is pulling from the past while making work that says something about today. You might say his work is similar to Barque mannerist artists that exaggerated the figure, only in the style of today, Shawn Andrews is using abstraction as his mode of expressing his figures. His process is mono-printing and very satisfying to watch. Lucky he has a Youtube channel where he has posted as few process videos. Here is an example of one of his process videos.
His images are compelling and I am impressed how a bit of mixing and swirling of ink can make such complex narrative work. He mentions that his influences are people like Titian and DeKooning which makes sense, because his images are a mash up of the past masters with AbEx playful brush strokes. I think Shawn Andrews, by drawing from the past in such a loving way, has created more original work than someone that rejects the past or deskilled their art practices. His website is quite impressive and here is the link to his Youtube Channel.
Lynette Haggard is an abstract artist that live around the Boston area. She creates abstract art from boxes and also on canvas. Haggard's paintings make several painterly moved while confined in geometric shapes. She is loose with her brush strokes, but also tight to form and shapes. The work reminds me a bit of Moses Hoskins art (link). Here is the link to Lynette Haggard's site.
So this is the best shot I have of this painting. I was pretty dark to begin with, but here was what I was experimenting with in around 2004-05. I was trying to incorporate text and the signature, but I was still heavy on old painting styles. I was using my own signature to repeat and then place within a composition. I was influences at the time by my experience at Western Kentucky University painting program. I have sense worked my way out of it, but maybe I can dip right in if I discard the loose, messiness and create a clean complex image that has meaningful marks and not just random decorative squares that complement the text rather than supporting the text in a meaningful way.
This second example came after my 2005 piece. In 2006-07, I used my signature again, but this time I used large letters of my name in text in order to create the image. Unfortunately, it was a bit clunky. I need to redo the text and clean up the lines. I still have this one in storage, so I guess I could go back to it if I wanted. Someone owns the top painting, so no going back I guess. Personally, I might try a brand new one in light of all I have learned.
Bazza Albateni is a Kuwait artist that plays with geometrics in the context of recognizable objects related to the real world. Only the objects, people, or animals tend to be implied like an illustrator or cubist might create. The minimal economy of shape, color, and line make for some interesting paintings. Check out her blog at this link.
Exhibition: Kapwani Kiwanga: The sum and its parts
Location: Logan Center Gallery, 915 E 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
Dates: January 20–March 12, 2017
Opening Reception and Artist
Talk: Friday, January 20, 2017, 6pm
Hours: Tue–Sat, 9am–9pm; Sun, 11am–9pm
Check out this show if your in Chicago, here is a link.
Some might claim that art has no purpose or say that art has no real value, but these
are delusional ideas. In moments of emotional turmoil, art can speak to an individual
in an immeasurable way. People desire to view or possess this experience, which
gives the images power. Art can be just entertaining, but great art also informs,
nudges people towards ideas or big questions, and helps heal or transcend this
world’s problems if only for a moment. Before election day, I took a trip to see
several art galleries.
I needed to get out and look at some art. I knew this act would help shed some
of the anxiety I was feeling. So, I encourage you to see some shows before they
close this weekend.
I encourage you to see James Buss’ show at Holly Johnson Gallery. When I saw Buss’ work at Site
131, I was intrigued with the pieces he had on the floor, but I think I was much more impressed
with the objects Buss had on the gallery walls at Holly’s. I think the small pieces just felt more
involved with small details. This process of abstract work says a lot about how abstract painting
isn’t limited to paint. But rather Buss has hybridized painting and sculpture in interesting ways
that you should take the time to inspect, then get lost in the shapes and lines that formed
naturally. Next door is Paul Manes at Cris Worley Fine Arts, whose paintings are also abstract,
but more systematic, honeycomb like, and are traditional paintings on canvas. These are
nice size works that speak to simple line and complex shapes. Down the street is a tasty
painting show at Circuit 12. Casey Gary and Clark Goolsby pair up to bring you a real
treat for your eyes. I saw Gary’s work at Circuit 12’s old space with his tropical themed
paintings and it was just too pastel for me. This time around, the work feels better organized
in the paintings and the new pallet of colors seems to work better with the images.
However, I am still amazing these are made with spray cans, because they don’t come
off as graffiti in much of the works. Goolsby’s work was more abstract with a hint of collage.
Sometimes the paint was layered on thick and other times it was paper on canvas, but at
all times things seemed to shift and move when you looked up close. I got really excited
inspecting each inch of a few of his paintings.
Galleri Urbane has established artist Donald Martiny and emerging artist Loring Taoka. I think this
pairing was quite inspired on their part. I found Martiny’s abstract simulated brush strokes blown
up to large scale a real contrast to the slick and clean shapes of Taoka’s works. Martiny muddied
up the brush strokes in some pieces this time, making the work feel more like an AbEx artist brush
stroke. I looked at Taoka’s work and I was made calm and I felt invited to speculate the process
and meaning of the pieces.
Regina Jose Galindo’s video titled Marabunta was riveting. When so many video art pieces only
keep my attention for a short time, and I feel I pretty much get the texture and idea behind the
work, Galindo’s had me sit through the whole thing. Several men taking a car completely apart
while she was in the vehicle was truly an amazing experience to watch. But you can only watch
it at Liliana Bloch Gallery this weekend. Which also features works by local photographer Tim Best.
If you still can’t get enough politics, you might swing over to RO2 Gallery which closes its show of
Angel Cabrales. To paint his work with a broad brush, he is critical of the abuse of power and
the military industrial complex. Not your typical protest artist, Cabrales is criticizing the military’s
industrial complex, yet embracing their aesthetics. Thus his aims are not always obvious to the
So, go ease you mind, cleanse your spirit, and go see some art. It will be good for you and you
won't get to see these shows again. This is the last weekend for all of them.
DFW has seen a steady growth of art related activity that has caught the attention of national art
press with the Dallas Art Fair, Art Week, important museum shows, and the rise of more commercial
and nonprofit gallery spaces. The Metroplex might not be heating up as hot and fast as Miami,
but steady growth has made the area a rival art scene to Houston. Eclipsing Houston in some
aspects, but still having some work to do in other ways.
Getting noticed by local officials is one way to know you have arrived. All this year one hand
of the City of Dallas didn’t know what the other hand was doing. So, the City of Dallas Office
of Cultural Affairs would approve and help fund a show, while the fire marshal would shut it
down. Things like this have happened to Houston and many other cities that have an art
market beginning to gain prominence. The growing pains can be hard for galleries, alternative
spaces, studio tours, and art events. Unfortunately these problems can be expected for a
while. The community has to rally together and help each other jump through the bureaucratic
hoops before a launch of a project or gallery space. Keeping the conversation open and
helping artists and gallery owners navigate the pitfalls of not having all the paperwork will
help to weather this particular storm. Just remember this is a sign of growth and innovation,
so resistance is to be expected.
The Metroplex has a great deal of MFA programs feeding the cultural production. UNT, SMU, UTA,
UDallas, TCU, UTD, and Texas A&M at Commerce have students getting their first group shows
and solo shows in DFW venues. Even the community colleges have a robust exhibition tradition
that has gotten the attention of the press now and then. However, what the area needs is an
alternative art school option for students to explore art production without the hefty price tag.
Something like the Black Mountain School would be nice. Residency programs also attract
talent to Texas. UTD and the Fairmont Hotel provide an artist-in-residency program which
brings in artists to the DFW area. Just southeast of Dallas is the residency, 100W, in Corsicana
where artists can easily access the city to participate in cultural events. Our museums have
similar residency programs for artists, but nothing as of yet rivals the prestige of the MFAH Core
Program in Houston.
The Dallas Museum of Art has consistently curated or hosted impactful shows that bring national
and international attention to the city. The Nasher, Meadows, Fort Worth Modern, Amon Carter,
and the Kimbell bring different flavors to the visual arts patrons from the local scene, but have
also created some visual art tourists that are attracted to the cities for the arts. The Dallas
Contemporary brought in some of the best and worst shows which have shaken up the
town. Controversy in an age of reality TV and celebrity obsession has worked for them and
people keep coming back for more.
Commercial spaces have grown in number as well as moved and clustered around the Design
District in Dallas. Fort Worth spaces are emerging too, providing a new aesthetic. Like the Fort
Works Gallery, which had Dan Lam’s trippy drippy sculptures in August. The galleries also work
together on shows and projects through the CADD, DADA, and FWADA. These organizations of
galleries help each other in local promotion of their artists and bring a sense of community to
what would otherwise be just a business.
So the DFW has a lot going for it in the arts, but clearly things have not risen to the level of LA
or New York. Being an art capital might be an insurmountable a goal, but is still worth the
effort. DFW, however, is moving towards a regional power in the arts as long as we don’t
get in our own way.
Realism is a funny thing these days. Most anyone can appreciate an artist that has the rendering
chops to produce something photorealistic. However, even though an artist can reach a technical
height of making a lifelike image, it doesn’t necessarily mean the work is any good. Technique and
skill in realism are just not enough for contemporary art. There have to be strong conceptual ideas
that play with past approaches. If an artist just repeats the past without giving the work a new
voice, then that voice has little relevance. Realism has a long tradition which artists can mine
for ideas or basically copy the past tropes. However, reorganizing the past is David Crismon’s
game, and that is his angle on the past works.
Now I am not trashing realism, there are plenty of artists that play in this genre who speak
the language of what is going on now. I am railing against people that think nothing after
the Impressionists is worth mentioning. Crismon doesn’t fall into the trap of making pure copies
of the paintings of past masters, but rather he uses the old images and updates them with
the contemporary approach of collage with a hint of cubist style. Crismon’s work reminds
me of the photographic series that David Hockney made using several photos compiled
together to make a complete image. These images of Crismon could not have existed
without the benefit of the whole of art history; all the way to the present.
Breaking an image apart into sections and repeating areas is very much a modern technique,
while his rendering reflects something out the the Renaissance, Rococo, Baroque, and through
to 19th century painting. Technology also informs Crismon’s work. The way we experience art
online, in chunks of information, sometimes half scrolling to see a particular image on a web
page. Degrade of a digital file can leave an image partly loaded. The original paintings
Crismon draws from have been copied through print media, digital images, and even in
paint. His paintings copy these past images and then reflect our broken experiences with
them. But does Crismon’s approach to revisiting the past help breathe new life into art
Crismon’s paintings capture your attention and make you pause to examine them more closely.
An art historian might get a kick out of seeing works that they have studied. A general audience
might need a little context to the work, but I think most museum goers and art collectors would
understand that Crismon is resurrecting these works. If you don’t have much knowledge about
art history, Crismon does give you clues to find out for yourself through his titles. For example, the
work titled Nicolaes Pickenoy 36 is a reference to the painter Nicolaes Pickenoy from the Late
15 to mid 16 hundreds. Many will recognize the ruff around the neck of the man in the painting.
It is an old style of clothing only found as contemporary clothes at the Church of Denmark. So,
with the extra clues Crismon leaves the viewer, someone can at least look up his titles and get
further acquainted with his subjects. And after all, getting people to educate themselves
about the past would help to breathe life back into the old work and also connect that
work to the present.
David Crismon will have his Dislocated History paintings on display through November 15th at
Craighead Green Gallery on Dragon Street in the Dallas Design District.
Another Soliloquy show has rolled out of the Public Trust Gallery and it
took me a while to really have the work sink in for its significance in style
and content. I admit, the moment I walked in, I was skeptical of the work.
I was somewhat familiar with Ryan McGinness, but I had not experienced
a piece up close. This is a monumental piece that gives you a broad view
of the artist’s themes and ideas that he is exploring in just one painting.
My scepticism slowly melted away as I looked at each part of the painting and then sat down
and took it in as a whole. I think my original misgivings stemmed from the fact that I thought I
was going to see an art piece that was purely clever and derivative, but that’s not what was
presented under close observation. Much of McGinnes’ work centers around logos, icons, and
emoji style images. His images reflect a society that is replacing words with symbols to express
their emotions and thoughts. McGinnes is tapping into the cell phone culture and the
contemporary visual culture like a Pop artist in the 1960’s, where artists looked around and
saw advertising everywhere. McGinnes appears to not only use these images that are out
in the world, but he is also inventing symbols.
His figures look to be taken from Matisse cutouts, but upon closer inspection, I see these iconic
images as more inspired by Matisse than directly taken. I was also thinking of Julian Opie’s
figures as well. Both Opie and McGinness have observed the trend of images replacing words.
Of course, the figures are just a small element of a larger image. In this work, you will find all
kinds of simple shapes and simulated patterns. When put together, the painting looks like
an artist’s studio. Work appears to be in progress, other artworks are depicted on the wall,
and related objects you might find in a studio are on display. Other products are implied
in the painting, like skateboards and t-shirts with McGinness’ designs. Branding artists, and
placing images on products have become a trend that might seem distasteful to some,
but consider what museums gift shops do with the work of dead artists. McGinness, like
many of his contemporaries is just preempting a museum’s branding to help make a living
as an artist. In a world where it gets less and less possible to rely on making art as an only
source of income, selling product alongside original art has become a strategic tool.
Because there is only one piece on display, you might be thinking, “How is The Public Trust
able to do this as a commercial gallery?” The economics of a gallery space is part publicity
and part making work available. Luckily, for this show an inexpensive print is available, so
you could come away with a McGinness piece even if it isn’t the original painting. Also,
having McGinness show at The Public Trust will hopefully generate interest in the other artists
Brain represents. Can you believe this is the gallery’s 5th Soliloquy show? This weekend on
the 22nd will be the last time you can see this painting, so go out and sit with a painting
for a while.
Two very different shows are coming down this weekend at Barry Whistler Gallery. The paintings
of Otis Jones and the photographs of Allison V. Smith. Jones is known for his rough edged shaped
canvas, his minimal use of colors and shapes, and for his work’s purely charming mystique. In a
past show Allison V. Smith displayed enchanting photos of Maine that so encapsulated the
place that my wife, who grow up there and knew nothing about the show, asked if the pictures
were of her home state. She had not been to any of the places Smith photographed, but the
images gave off an aura of Maine.
Allison V. Smith tackles Big Spring, Marfa, Albany, and Levelland, Texas as subject matter in her
current show. With this body of work, she has once again captured places that seem to give
off the feeling that these images could not be from anywhere else, but the southwest. To
capture the essence of a place is amazing, however, the most important thing that struck
me was how amazing the compositions were constructed. An inch or two to the left or right
and any one of these images would have failed, but everything was spot on. A perfect
balance of asymmetrical and symmetrical compositions. Poles, plants, and the horizon
line always seem to be in the perfect position for the view to feel that the image was
built rather than just there in the environment. Painters, stage designers, and interior
designers should really study Smith’s handle on composition, because it reaches a
level of near perfection.
Otis Jones in not interested in perfection in the strict sense of the word, but he too is strong with
composition. Particularly his strength in symmetrical work. Sure it is simple symmetry, but if it is a
little off, I bet you would notice. I think that his subtle layers of paint and his choice of simple
color palette is beautiful and sublime. One can go on and on about how interesting the
exposed wood structure and raw display of the staples holding the canvas make Jones’
pieces so very attractive. In fact, I see Jones has synthesized the Minimalists with the Post
-Minimalists. The Minimalists were pushing the boundaries of what could be aesthetic and
not be plain. The Post-Minimalist were about material and exposing the underpinning of
a structure. Jones’ painting does both minimal exploration of paint and shapes while
exposing the ugly truth of how something is made. Ideal mixed with truth, sounds like
a classical view of beauty to me.
Otis Jones’ paintings and Allison V. Smith’s photographs will be up until October 15th at Barry
Whistler Gallery. And I know that Barry Whistler has been in his new space in the design district,
off Dragon Street, but I haven’t had a chance to really express my excitement about the
expansive space he has now. I know he had pushed the limits of his location in Deep Ellum,
but now he has an over abundance of space. I think there are opportunities for some
ambitious shows and I look forward to the creative exhibitions. I hope a project room
of sorts evolves out of an area or two. Hope to see you at his openings this season.
Ink on paper drawing, 2006 - 07 drawing. This is a piece of art that helped me get into grad school at UNT. I made it between UTD MA and my UNT MFA. It was a moment of clarity that helped me get into some reality complex drawings.
Diptych of a drawing on two sheets of paper. This is a type of landscape that uses words and stretched lines from the edge of the text. Made in around 2008 - 09, this drawing is in two frames. The papers are 50 by 38 each, making the work 50 by 76 drawing in total size.