Wednesday, May 06, 2015

HOW CAN YOU TAKE THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR ART SCENE?


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article.

I find one good way is checking out other cities close by and compare the work at the galleries and museums. So, I visited Houston to see how Dallas is doing.

Houston, like Dallas, has scattered art galleries with a few concentrations, so driving all day to see a lot of work is a must. I started my gallery search in the Upper Kirby area. Particularly around the Collquitt Inset. Galleries like McMurtrey, Moody, and d.m. allison are clustered together with several other art spaces. Couched inside McMurtrey Gallery is Hello Project Gallery which has a show of glitch inspired art by Michelle Rawlings. Her paintings are something that seems familiar to Dallas gallery goers, but a little more raw, less refined, and less slick. CentralTrak would be a perfect place for Rawlings to show this work. Her collection of pigment prints on silk look like digital image files corrupted and unreadable. Much of her eye catching work played with this motif. Moody Gallery is showing Michael Bise’s awkwardly drawing figures with some enjoyably off putting images. I made a quick pass over the show, then stopped and thought I saw a fully dressed young woman and a nude ambiguously aged teen drinking coffee casually as the woman looks out at the viewer. Bise’s drawing also had the quality of being less polished and more raw than much of the Dallas scene.

McNeil is currently up at Anya Tish Gallery. If that name sounds familiar, then you’ve likely seen her work at Conduit Gallery. This show of her work was a little more bold with her colors and I don’t recall seeing so many of her works on paper in one exhibition. McClain Gallery is featuring the flowing abstract line, egg tempera paintings of Mara Held. As a lover of detail type art, I was not disappointed in this New York City artist’s offering.

Another cluster of galleries are on Main Street, just north of the Lawndale Art Center. The art center is somewhat like the MAC, minus the theater. The cluster includes galleries like the Inman, Art Palace, and Devin Borden Gallery. I come over to these galleries to get charged and sometimes surprised by the art. Inman Gallery had some playfully simple mono screenprints by Brad Tucker. These were bright colored minimalist pieces in the familiar shapes of his sculptures. I was thrilled to see the last day of Raychael Stine’s animal paintings. I have fallen in, then out, then in love with her paintings. She keeps me off balance, I have never been quite sure what to think of her abstract marks with her depictions of dachshunds along with other animals she obsessively paints. This time she has added some collage elements to many of the paintings which punch up the works a bit. I guess we need to have another Road-Agent Gallery or Marty Walker type gallery to show Stine in Dallas again.

Finally I went north to see the ever wild G Gallery, the blue chip Texas Gallery and the up and coming space Avis Frank Gallery. Texas Gallery had a bunch of Jeremy Deprez paintings/sculptures all with the label, Untitled (MMMMMMMMMMM). I must admit they did look delicious, though I resisted biting the works. Dylan Conner’s sculptures at Avis Frank Gallery felt nautically inspired. I was drawn by his gift shop concept. It was a way to sell art, have a little fun with it, yet not be flippant towards other crafts. I think this concept is a good approach and reminds me of when Red Arrow had a store, or Public Trusts’ store. This is a good way keep a budding gallery open and growing.

Dallas might be a very different commercial art scene, but some of the same artists cross over, a few galleries in Houston partner with Dallas galleries, and both scenes draw from local/ international artist talent. I came away feeling that Dallas could add a gallery or two that tried more risky and raw work. But over all, I am optimistic with Dallas’ present programs in the commercial spaces.

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