Saturday, February 08, 2014


Julie Rendon - "No Such Thing"  
24" x 20" x 2"  repost of my article at Craighead Green Gallery through August 31 2013

From year to year, the New Texas Talent show swings wildly in aesthetics according to who is juring the show. This gives the NTT a spark and charm, but this year the jury was done by everyone at the gallery. As a result you got a Craighead Green vision, which is undeniably less surprising and consequently less charming. Every now and then, a gallery needs to shake things up and make a bold statement. Often NTT was their moment to surprise people. After all, it is summer, a relatively safe time to show work that doesn’t necessarily fit your own aesthetic and vision. So I was a little disappointed even before I walked into the space.

My fears were pretty much confirmed from the homogeneous exhibition. There was plenty of work that just fit every other exhibit they have at the gallery. Like that of Krista Harris, who creates abstract paintings that consist of a perfect balance in every expressive mark of paint. A Craighead Green artist if I ever saw one. I felt like this could have a been a preview piece for a later solo show in one of their gallery spaces. Which is fine, but I always got the feeling that NTT was suppose to stretch our aesthetic mussels a bit and sturr up a little more conversation.

I understand when you have a big show like NTT, you have to delicately balance your presentation. that this little 18 by 22 inch work was further diminished by the surrounding works and appeared pushed in the corner. Hung a bit high, but in a good spot, was a work by Suzanne Kelly Clark. A true technician of her craft when it comes to simulating the look and feel of the natural world, she draws you into a painting that is not too hard edge and not too muddy with soft edges. When so many artists are pursuing kitsch or a conceptualist agenda with weak products, it is refreshing to see a return to the window concept of a painting.

At one painting I could have screamed, Please Don’t put this Portlandia coffee house art in the show. Like the campy illustration painting of Clint Mordecai, cleverly titled Itonic Snapshot and Joann Burke Masestas’ drawing which was more in the high school realm of concept and execution. Several other of this type of work littered the show.

With a show so large, yet lacking diversity, a few phenomenal art pieces graced the walls. A very charming Julie Rendon painting stole the show with realistic rendering of the figure along with repetitive thick yellow paint marks laying on the surface. Of course, some of my favorites artists were there, like Jenny Jones and Rachel Fischer. I thought Fischer managed to explore territory outside her comfort zone and the payoff was one of the most interesting drawings in the whole show. In fact I saw that work dropped off before the NTT was installed, and it gave me a little hope the show would have had a bit more edge than it did.

I love the people over at Craighead Green, but I hope they will return to an outside juror next year for the New Texas Talent XXI show. Craighead Green will be taking down this weekend, August 31, so feel free to visit then disagree with me. for more images

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