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.

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