Friday, January 01, 2016

LINE AND SPACE



pigment on paper, 33 x 31 inches

ModernDallas.net repost of my article.

When visiting the dark halls of the Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University, I have often been struck by how relatively humble the space is compared to the rest of the university. Don't get me wrong, it is nice to even have an art museum at all on a campus, but for some reason, when I visit Baylor, I somehow expect something a bit more grandiose. After all their new stadium is pretty impressive, but even the Dallas Cowboys had the forethought to include a little art to class up the joint.

Southern Methodist University has a huge art museum know as the Meadows Museum. So you would expect Baylor to have something comparable to SMU. However the space is small, the walls are carpeted, and the museum is dark with sparce lighting. This lighting attempts an illusion of drama, but I tend to feel a bit in the dark when looking at the art. Despite the space, I must say, the museum staff manages to bring in some interesting shows. One of their current shows is titled Line and Space and features Doris Schläpfer and Erin Wiersma.

I was instantly attracted to the line drawings of Erin Wiersma. Much of her drawings are layered and are dense with gestured markings. Comparisons to those old AbEx artists out of New York LeWitt. I watched a great video on youtube of artisans recreating their densely scribbled compositions on walls and I instantly thought how familiar those drawings felt to Wiersma’s work. I was also reminded of the crazy obsessive lined work of Il Lee. I saw a show of his at the Crow Center in Dallas and he also displayed all his pens he used up in that show. Bic pen was getting rich off of his work. Wiersma differs from Sol LeWitt and Il Lee in that she attempts to contain her pieces within the rectangle on less than a heroic scale. Thus, she creates a more concentrated mediation on the line.

Doris Schläpfer use of negative space seem to vibrate like an old Furturist painting. Her figures imply movement as lines overlap lines. Researching her personal website, I also ran cross more of her drawings not in the show, but those drawings also reflect a movement through her sketchy lined drawing. Of course the pictures online do not do her work justice at all, because of the delicate line a photograph cannot come close to experiencing the work.

If you are on your way to Austin or you just want to visit Waco, the Martin Museum of Art is just off I35 and you can hop off, take a quick peek and pop back on the road. The show is up until September 20th. And while you are in Waco, check out the Noel Kalmus & Jenna Foster show at the Waco Art Center going on until September 12th. It was kind of a curve ball show and I am still trying to rap my head around what I saw.

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