Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Embracing THE Change to Arts and Culture DFW

When Dallas' branch of THE Magazine closed it's doors the people that made it happen locally decided to continue without the involvement of the Santa Fe head office. Last week the first issue debuted under the new Arts and Culture DFW masthead. The web site is still under construction, but a list of locations where the magazine is available can be found at the link below. Magazines like this one keep an art scene vital and accountable. Please support the Dallas art scene.

Also, don't miss my review of the Susan Rothenberg exhibition at The Ft. Worth Modern in the November issue.

Arts and Culture DFW
Art & Seek post about the Arts & Culture DFW launch

Monday, September 14, 2009

DADA Fall Art Walk Roundup

DADA Panel Discussion

The day started for me with the panel discussion Art and Economics 101: Pricing and Protection of Art in Today’s Economy. I was pleased to be among mostly artists in the audience so that the conversation was skewed in my direction. Below are a few of the highlights from that discussion with images and observations from some of the galleries Saturday night.

One of the first topics of discussion was the importance of insurance. Charles Lipscomb of Lipscomb Insurance Group noted that 80% of the damage that happens to artwork takes place in transit so that is the most important time to purchase insurance.

Some galleries have artists sign contracts such as Craighead Green where others like Valley House Gallery have a gentleman's agreement. It was recommended that artists who are presented with a contract take it to a contract lawyer to have it looked over before signing. Additionally, in both cases it was suggested that if someone was considering joining a gallery that they contact artists currently represented before making a final decision.

DADA acts as an oversight committee making sure that member galleries act in ethical ways in dealing with artists, collectors, et al. If an artist were to have a problem with a member gallery they could contact someone on the board and get help.

Art Walk Roundup-

Conduit Gallery: Steven Miller
's Fukurama, Jill Foley's The Mountain, Dan McPharlin in the Project Room and Matthew Whitenack's installation

Dan McPharlin's miniature analog synths and works on paper were on display in the project room. McPharlin recently created artwork for a Prefuse 73 album cover. The work has a retro-futuristic feel.

Dan McPharlin

Jill Foley's installation The Mountain is a reworking of her MFA thesis review show at SMU. She earned her graduate degree this past spring. In the three weeks leading up to the opening she worked to make her installation into something grander than she had had the opportunity for in her thesis show. In the large space at Conduit the space that she has created is part cave, part lodge. The construction is hot glued cardboard with a coat of amber shellac. There is a homemade quality to the installation which combines a child's fantasy and Kurt Schwitters' Merzbau.

Jill Foley installation shots
The Mountain

Also in the show Steven Miller
's Fukurama
Matthew Whitenack's installation of a miniature gallery with video and personal artifacts becomes like a nesting gallery within the larger gallery space.

Craighead Green Gallery
Ursula O'Farrell, Arturo Mallmann, Shawn Smith

Shawn Smith's sculptures take the idea of moving something from the digital to the analog world. It looks as if the forms have been pixelated. Smith said that He doesn't use a computer to make sketches for the works, but does draw out designs with pencil and paper. There were also works on paper in show.

Paintings by Ursuls O'Farrell and Arturo Mallmann also on exhibit.

Shawn Smith
Quiet Breath and Ewe

Pan American Gallery opened Howard Sherman's
Bloodthirsty Animal on Two Legs. The paintings had an eighties feel with their oil, acrylic and marker gestures. The majority of the paintings were in the 50" x 60" range with a monolithic painting that must have been about six times larger. At that scale the layering and brushwork have an almost overwhelming impact.

Howard Sherman Soft Target

Marty Walker Gallery hosted Sarah Williams'
Night Vision in the new smaller gallery space. The paintings were well painted night scenes that had a small town feel. When I first saw her work online I expected them to be large paintings, but they are actually quite modest in scale. She has a slightly loose approach that lends itself well to the imagery, making it feel hazy and romanticized.

The smaller size of the gallery wouldn't be important if you didn't know what you were missing. Seeing the space was another reminder of the effects of the economics of the gallery scene. It is good to see a gallery go smaller and weather the economic storm than close it's doors. I wish Marty Walker and all of Dallas' galleries good luck.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

DADA Fall Art Walk

Dallas Art Dealers Association's annual fall art walk takes place this Saturday. As previously mentioned there will be two panel discussions, one focused on artist's careers and the second on pricing artwork. There are some 33 galleries/art spaces involved in the art walk this year. A list of those I'm most looking forward to below.

Not strictly DADA Saturday fall art walk highlights:
Steven Miller, Jill Foley and Dan McPharlin at Conduit Gallery 530-830
Night Vision, paintings by Sarah Williams at Marty Walker Gallery
As If Our Lives Depended On It, group show at HCG Gallery
Marc Quinn at Goss-Michaels Foundation
Shawn Smith at Craighead Green Gallery 5-8
Blueprint at The MAC 11-9

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shuttering the Art Lab

After a year in operation CADD (Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas) Art Lab is closing it's doors. Director Anne Lawrence has worked with CADD gallery owners to bring exhibitions that showcase the some great contemporary art from some of the most exciting galleries in Dallas. Programing at the Art Lab has included a host of exhibits and Art Socials, where two artists sit down and discuss each others artwork and take questions form the audience in an informal exchange.

Funding has been cited as the culprit for the close, but it was a good run. The gallery may have had odds stacked against it, as the location and timing surely played a part in it's fate. Galleries are closing so often that one can't help but be concerned for the seemingly immovable local institutions like The MAC, the DMA and contemporary galleries that give strength to the local art scene. The hope is that they will all weather the storm and get creative which is really at the heart of all art making, and I believe that now is the time for Dallas to prove itself. Thanks to Anne Lawrence and the CADD group, and good luck with the forthcoming projects in the works.

CADD Art Lab
will close with the current exhibition Launch on September 3. There is an Artist talk scheduled for September 3rd, tomorrow night at 7 pm with Julie Barnofsky, Angel Cabrales, Gabriel Dawe, Tim Harding, and Kyle Kondas.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekend Wish List

September 12 is the date for next round of openings to coincide with DADA's (Dallas Art Dealers Association) annual fall gallery walk. DADA is hosting a couple of panel discussions again this year, "Career Choices 101: Being Smart about Your Career as an Artist", 10:30 a.m. to Noon with speakers Benito Huerta, Vicki Meek, and Pamela Nelson, and "Art and Economics 101: Pricing and Protection of Art in Today’s Economy", 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m with Bob Banks, Steve Green, Charles Lipscomb, and Cheryl Vogel. The panels will be held at the South Dallas Cultural Center located at 3400 S. Fitzhugh at Robert B. Cullum. Tickets are $15 a piece and can be purchased through a link on their web site. The galleries associated with DADA will be open on September 12th from 2-8 PM.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekend Wish List

By way of a reminder, Gail Sachson will be giving a gallery talk about 15 works of art at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary's Annual Member Show. The show's theme this year is the number fifteen which commemorates the number of years that The MAC has been in operation. It should be fun to hear the talk next Wednesday night at 6:30 PM.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

With Honors

Launch at CADD Art Lab through September 3

The works in this show were hand selected by Anne Lawrence and the CADD (Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas) board from MFA candidates and recent graduates. A cross-section of different mediums, styles and concepts abound. The level of the work was high overall, but there were a handful of artists of particular interest.

Clearly inspired by Donald Judd’s wall-mounted boxes, the minimalist Nate Glaspie builds on that inspiration with his sculpture “Overton Plaza”. A mirror and perorated metal plate sit on a shelf of layered corrugated cardboard. The group of
wall-mounted boxes reflects light in stripes of circles back onto the wall in curiously alternating circles and ovals. The reflected light is where the payoff really came with this series.

Kelly Flynn’s photograph “War 1” pits a firework made to look like a
military tank against a firework made to look like a chicken. There is humor and sadness in the chicken that never crossed the road. The image is one of four photos in a cluster of firework related images.

The following artists are included in the exhibition, Adrian Aguirre, Julie Barnofski, Angel Cabrales, Todd Camplin, Gabriel Dawe, Kelly Flynn, Nate Glaspie, Timothy Harding, Elizabeth Higgins, Mona Kasra, Kyle Kondas, Jung Eun Lee, Tom Leininger, Mike Mazurek, and Sarah Williams.

Of additional interest, the Art Lab is hosting two events, a panel discussion and an art talk. There are often two “Art Socials” during the run of an exhibit in the space, which consists of a couple of artists discussing their work and that of the other artist that they are paired with. There have been lively discussions, including among others Tracy Hicks and David H. Gibson (my uncle and employer). It is an educational and often fun way to get another perspective on the show. Details from the website to follow.

Graduate Student Panel Discussion, Thurs., Aug. 13, 7 p.m. Featuring Victoria DeCuir, Nate Glaspie, Mona Kasra, Tom Leininger, John Pomara, and Anne Lawrence
Artists’ Talk, Thurs., Sept. 3, 7 p.m. Featuring artists in the exhibition on the closing day of the show.

Nate Glaspie "Overton Plaza"

Kelly Flynn "War 1"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Locks of Love

New Texas Talent at Craighead Green Gallery

Dr. Charissa N. Terranova curated this year’s New Texas Talent exhibition at Craighead Green Gallery. The distinction between a juried and curated show should be noted. A juried show would likely pull the best of the work that was submitted, whereas a curated show might seek to convey a concept set forth by the curator. In the press release for the show Terranova says, “…this work is in no way metaphysical” and, “…the works in this exhibition collectively make a statement on materiality and materialism”. The full press release can be found on the Craighead Green Gallery website.

There were some elegant works in the show this year that deserve the spotlight. Luis Nieto Dickens’ "City Development Project", a yellow on black woodcut of an aerial city view was a standout. It was direct and restrained. Another work that demonstrated beauty through simplicity was the Jeff Whatley’s sculpture entitled, "The Healer". The work was a vertical slab and a fragment of concrete lashed together and based with steel. It was a compelling example of minimalist sculpture. Finally, the Plexiglas box that contained cascading blond hair by artist Gabe Hochmuth was beautiful and unnerving simultaneously. In Hochmuth’s piece, "Tracy", it is assumed that the work is indebted in more than name alone, but that a piece Tracy’s is in the piece.

There were many fun, colorful and light works in addition to the pieces mentioned here. Actually, whimsy was the broader focus of the show. Having heard a gallery talk at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Terranova expressed an affinity for mundane everyday objects and spaces. This show reiterates her mission from a broader perspective.

Full disclosure: I entered and was rejected from this show. Every effort to steer the topic toward works that I feel truly deserve recognition were made, hopefully in an honest and unprejudiced manner.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weekend Wish List

The McKinney Avenue Contemporary celebrates it's fifteenth year anniversary with a member's show inspired by the number fifteen. The MAC asked members to submit work that incorporated the number fifteen in the work by any means the artist might choose. There is a lot of work in the show this year, and it is always well attended. Also of note, Gail Sachson will be giving an art talk about the membership show on Wednesday, August 12 from 6:30-7:30 PM. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the Dallas art community and beyond.

The opening is this Saturday from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at The MAC.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Symbolism and Turducken

Heyd Fontenot artist talk at Conduit Gallery, Saturday, July 11, 2009

After a brief introduction by Nancy Whitenack, owner of Conduit Gallery, Heyd Fontenot (pronounced hide font-in-o) began taking questions from the audience. The artist’s easy-going attitude kept the conversation light, even when discussing serious subjects. His muttonchops and blue southwestern shirt with white embroidery was an appropriate compliment to his casual delivery. Many aspects of the artist’s life and art were revealed in the dialogue, beginning with his childhood on a farm in Louisiana.

Heyd Fonenot talked about his early rural lifestyle, part of which meant taking care of livestock. Early on Fontenot developed an affinity for the farm animals, especially goats. His bond with goats remains intact today, though in Austin he is far from the rural setting of his youth. The artist pointed to the tarnished reputation of the goat that he had once bonded with, citing the transformation of the god Pan in the pagan world into a demon in the Christian world as an example of how perceptions shift in time. Fontenot discussed the shift as symbolized in his exhibition with a shoulder mounted silver leafed gazelle, transformed with a beard made from a flokoti (Greek rug) into a goat.

Gluttony was pointed to as another aspect of rural Louisiana life, particularly when it came to food. The marvels of the Turducken were discussed at length. For the uninitiated, a Turducken is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. I have been told that it originates from royal renaissance cuisine. Today it has a more down-home quality. As Fontenot remarked, “If anything is against nature, it has to be stuffing animals one inside another until you can’t fit anymore.”

Ribbons and plaques mounted on the walls with stars, feather plumes, and mounted animal heads point to a commemoration of rituals past. The artist discussed his devotion to the Roman Catholic Church growing up. Eventually he broke from the church at the age of 22 because of the conflict he felt between Catholicism and his sexual persuasion. The importance of symbolism in the religious relics of his formative years resurfaces in his current work. Portraits on wood panels are assembled as though they are altarpieces and point to the artist’s religious conflict through use of pagan symbols.

There is a lot of figurative work in the show, both painted and drawn. The figures are contra-mannerist with child-like proportions; yet, they maintain the feel of an adult body. Working with friends as models, Fontenot takes photos that he uses later for the finished work. The artist said that the abstracted figures were born of an opposition to portraits of a more academic appearance.

Fontenot began outlining the high points of his artistic career by talking about an early installation at Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Texas, that was important. That show helped him find gallery representation in Houston. A move to Austin, Texas, in the 1980s was also an important step in the artist’s development. Today, Fontenot exhibits across the country, including Art Palace in his adopted home of Austin and Conduit Gallery in Dallas, Texas. Heyd Fontenot’s current installation at Conduit, titled “Get Your Wood On,” consists of work completed within the last 14 months. “Get Your Wood On” closes Saturday, July 18, 2009.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Wish List

This Thursday the Dallas Museum of Art is hosting an artist talk with Mark Bradford. Featured in the fourth season of Art:21, Bradford creates his work from found posters and found street ephemera in Los Angeles. When complete, his works often look like topographical maps.

Please note that Conduit Gallery's 25th Anniversary celebration is this Saturday from 6-8 PM. Congratulations to Conduit owner and director Nancy Whitenack and assistant director Danette Dufilho on this accomplishment.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weekend Wish List

Conduit Gallery is hosting an artist talk with Heyd Fontenot on Saturday, July 11 at 3 pm. His show at the gallery titled "Get Your Wood On" is heavy with symbolism and allusions. Hopefully some of his references will be illuminated.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Weekend Wish List

Lots of first Thursday shows tonight on Dragon Street and Bishop Arts in Oak Cliff to kick off this independence weekend. The galleries are deep into poppy summer shows at the moment, so get out there and see some of the great work at Conduit, Holly Johnson Gallery and Barry Whistler to name but a few. Also, the Dallas Museum of Art is open until 9 tonight.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sleep to Dream

Polly Lanning Sparrow's Sleeper at Barry Whistler Gallery

Polly Lanning Sparrow's works in
Sleeper are graphically painted panels. Had she hung the works on the wall they would be paintings, but leaning against the wall and sprawled out on the floor they fall into minimalist sculpture territory. There are similarities that can be drawn between these works and those of Ellsworth Kelly or Donald Judd's rhythmic sculptures. They share bright colors, precision and a similar use of space. There is a shared refinement of craft that links these artists.

Painting on panels has rich art historical roots, especially when it comes to religious iconography. Ms. Sparrow's works don't share much visually with icon panel paintings, but like Dan Flavin's spiritual bent using light tube configurations, simplicity lends itself to reverence. The artist's work appears focused on formal concerns, but the title
Sleeper is so evocative when placed in a context with icon painting. If this is sleep, are we on the cusp of an awakening?

Blue Configuration, 2009

Red & Blue (diptych), 2009

Red Configuration #2, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ladies First

Femme Fatale with Virginia Fleck, Sharon Louden, Kim Cadmus Owens, Kim Squaglia, and Sarah Walker at Holly Johnson Gallery

This exhibition is the work of five women, all with their own particular approach and vision for art making. Despite the fact that the show is solely women, it's
first a group of artists that fit nicely in the oeuvre of work shown at Holly Johnson Gallery.

Dallas' Kim Cadmus Owens is the only local in the show, and the most exciting with paintings that make roadside scenes look as though they have been digitally unraveled. Breaking apart signage into a streak of colors overlapped with something like yellow channel artifacts from Photoshop, the work was at once traditional painting and contemporary with technological flair.

The plastic bags that were the basis for Viginia Fleck's art didn't transcend their origins, but have an intrinsic value in re-use of materials. The mandala is used for it's meditative and healing properties in the east, and the argument could be made that art from one person's promotional products (that would end up in a landfill) has a healing effect on the environment.

The definition of a femme fatale is an attractive and seductive woman, especially one who will ultimately bring disaster to a man who becomes involved with her. Significantly less ominous than that, this is definitely a group of women artists with a plan.

Kim Cadmus Owens

Virginia Fleck

Weekend Wish List

It's time for the summer group shows again. Modeled after the precedent long ago established in New York, Dallas has some potential highlights this Saturday. A constantly rotating group at The Public Trust and Barry Whistler Gallery are catching my eye today.

Cash & Carry: An Ever Rotating Summer Show at The Public Trust

Polly Lanning Sparrow: Sleeper and Leslie Wilkes: Sequel at Barry Whistler Gallery

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Decorative Rituals

Rex Ray New Works, Heyd Fontenot, Get Your Woods On and Alejandro Diaz at Conduit Gallery

Danette Dufilho from Conduit mentioned this Rex Ray show during a conversation back in January, and it has been on the calendar since then. His work is highly decorative, using custom printed papers for collage on panel and canvas. The paintings have a great impact at the larger scale and the coating has just the slightest sheen which compliments the work. Out from the decorative springs images that appear botanical on some occasions, as still-lives and other times like something out the book
Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.

Heyd Fontenot's installation of drawings, sculptural work and assorted ornaments had the feel of a secret society lodge with a twist. The installation appears to be in some part inspired by the work of Matthew Barney. It feels too easy to make the reference, but with pagan symbolism and ritualistic artifacts it's hard to get around it. This is not a bad thing. The works on paper are often unflattering portraits of people wrestling, riding or sitting with their doppelgangers. The fetishistic feel of the work could have easily been off putting, but there was something about the show which was undeniably fun to walk through.

Weekend Wish List

A whirlwind trip through part the new exhibit at The DMA was not enough. After the Willie Doherty artist talk there was time to see his exhibit and film and the adjacent rooms, but not the rest of the show in the barrel vault. The show appears to be focused on new and important contemporary art. Friday is the monthly late night at the museum, so it seems like the perfect time to check it out.

Private Universes at The Dallas Museum of Art

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To Dream in Digital

Ayman Ali Alamoudi Bio-Digital at Centraltrak

Unlike the popular culture approach to the merging of analog and digital where there is so often a human versus machine motif or a forced integration of the two, this installation had a meditative feel. The use of digital artifacts was the connecting thread that linked a series of paintings, digital reproductions on stretched canvas and two projections.

The projections consisted of moving images projected from slowly spinning turntables onto layers of scrim that had been hung in spiral pathways from the ceiling. I had the feeling of anticipation while I walked through the spiral. That feeling was the the most compelling part of the projections for me. The images themselves had a retro look and did interact with the body as they spun, hence the Bio-digital title of the show.

The group of paintings that referenced those same digital artifacts were hung along a corridor and were well crafted graphic works. As self contained pieces they were the most aesthetically pleasing part of the show. In contrast the projections were attempting to achieve something more conceptual, a peaceful merging of analog and digital.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Weekend Wish List

It looks like there may be some good gallery openings this Saturday. I'm happy that I'm on the e-mail list for Conduit and Holly Johnson, because neither was listed on Glasstire, and only Holly Johnson was listed on THE Mag. Rex Ray will be at Conduit, and it's been on the list since January.

Virginia Fleck, Sharon Louden, Kim Cadmus Owens, Kim Squaglia, Sarah Walker in Femme Fatale at Holly Johnson

Rex Ray, Heyd Fontenot, Project Room: Alejandro Diaz at Conduit Gallery

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Agenda Weekend Wish List

The post that Christina Rees, owner of Road Agent wrote for Glasstire has been turning over and over again in my mind. She charges the top tier Dallas collectors with supporting the art in their own city. At a minimum she is looking for support from those collectors in the form of simply being present at the gallery openings around town. Her words are layered by the awareness that many galleries, including her own are struggling in the face of challenging economic times. Her gallery, Road Agent fills a unique space in the Dallas art community. The gallery shows cool, high-end work from Dallas to London. It can be provocative, and arguably Dallas' premier space for bleeding-edge contemporary art. That said, it doesn't feel too heavenly for earthly good, it's approachable. My desire is to suggest things to fix the problem such as Jen Bekman style online editions for sale, volunteer hours (she has reduced the hours to Saturdays only from 12-5) and help with promotion. Whatever happens I hope that this gallery can find enough support to weather these times to flourish in the future. So the one thing on my list this weekend is to visit Road Agent. I hope that they're open. UPDATE: I went to the gallery around one in the afternoon on Saturday the sixth, and the gallery was closed with the sign below (installation in progress) posted on the door.

Far From the Madding Crowd
at Road Agent

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Agenda's Best in Show for the...

D Art Slam at f.i.g.
May 29 - 31, 2009

Of the 150 artists at the first D Art Slam a handful rose above the throng. Each artist was given a twelve foot wall space to work from Friday to Sunday. There was a definite arts and crafts fair vibe, which was enhanced by the artists standing in front of their work. There were clear winners in my book, and two of the artists that I felt were standouts overlapped with the juror's award for the “New Dallas Nine”. Credit is due to the D Art Slam organizers for providing an opportunity to many
unknown artists as well as to chance to see a lot of work that is being made in Dallas. Below are my picks for best in show.

It was great to find someone that I knew, Sergio Garcia with what I found to be the most exciting space at the Slam. His area was less sales oriented which may have added to the appeal. A giant boom box filled the majority of the space and was ornamented with a bronze dog on a pillow perched on the boom box, a neon sign reading “For Those About to Rock” and only a framed painting of a payphone with a posted price. It was really a street-style installation.

a similar tack was a member of the New Dallas Nine, Shane Pennington whose wall was smartly assembled and fun. Using miniature figures very reminiscent of the snow globes of Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz three clusters of related objects were on view. Miniature figures climbed on the roots of the trees and were in Ball jars like captured insects.

Another member of the new Dallas Nine was Jennifer Jones with her mixed media work on panels. Pairing disparate images of objects on raw MDF there was an edge to the minimal work.

Perhaps the best strategy for actually selling work went to Blake Wright. He had a series of small, clever and affordable editioned works on paper that were hung on the wall in plastic bags with bulldog clips. I took home the one with Dear Uptight Prude written
in ornate filigree.

I left the fair wondering, was it successful enough for the promoters and f.i.g. to host the event again and become an annual event? Did the artists working their spaces for three days sell enough to make it worth their while? If it had been organized in some other way would more exciting artists get involved? There is potential to be realized.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Agenda Weekend Wish List

This is the inaugural year for the D Art Slam which begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday at f.i.g. downtown. I'm hoping that there are some really great artists participating and that they have a good turnout. The incentive for artists is to sell work and be one of nine artists chosen for a feature in D Magazine. I had my concerns about the event and chose not to enter, but I'm curious to see how it turns out this year.

D Art Slam
at f.i.g.
Ayman Ali Alamoudi - Bio-Digital at Central Trak Saturday night

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Remains of the Day

Willie Doherty – Requisite Distance at The Dallas Museum of Art
Artist talk and exhibition
Through August 30

Willie Doherty’s photography and film are both attractive and unsettling. The feeling of his work is like a fairytale where a child is chasing a mysterious creature through a forest and while the audience knows it won’t end well they can’t turn away.

It would be difficult to talk about this work without mentioning the history of Willie Doherty’s hometown, Derry in Northern Ireland. The clashes in Northern Ireland were based on a schism between loyalists who aligned themselves with English rule and were often of protestant faith versus separatists who sought independence and were often Catholic. As a child Mr. Doherty bore witness to the fight between the separatists and loyalists known as Bloody Sunday, the effects of which remain influential.

Living a life in harm’s way often gives rise to fantasy as a means of escape. In the movie Pan’s Labyrinth by Spanish director Guillermo del Toro a child is faced with things that are beyond her years, the Spanish civil war and a sadistic stepfather. Her escape comes from visions within the natural world. Although the relationship is beneath the surface a parallel exists between the visions in Pan’s Labyrinth and Willie Doherty’s film Ghost Story.

Within the narrative of Mr. Doherty’s film, supernatural visions referred to as a “daylight wraith” appear. The wraith figure is an apparition whose presence indicates an impending or recent death. The romantic vision of Ireland’s landscape in the fading light of dusk acts as both to lend an unsettling mood and a separation from the dearth of documentary work that has taken place to report on the fighting in Derry.

The texts that Mr. Doherty has put together in Ghost Story reflect the violence and supernatural in poetic vignettes. Irish actor Stephen Rea narrates Ghost Story, and his delivery in combination with the words transform scenes of Irish landscape.

To hear Willie Doherty speak about his work it becomes clear that a sense of honesty is paramount. An honest portrayal of his home and experience is central to his mindset, but the humanity of loss and escape takes the mind to other, sometimes uneasy places.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Agenda Weekend Wish List

I'm going to keep it simple this weekend. Two things are on my list, and I'm cheating a little because the Willie Doherty artist talk at the DMA is tonight. Memorial weekend has some non art related things in store for me and I also hope to get some painting done.

Nick Z -
And A Small Child Shall Lead Them at The Public Trust
Willie Doherty - Requisite Distance at The Dallas Museum of Art

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Immediate Gratification

Patterson at The Goss-Michael Foundation
Closing May 30

From an icon of masculine prowess: the motorcycle to an image of the Spice Girls naked there is no mistaking the sexual charge in the Richard Patterson exhibition. Pulling source material from popular culture Mr. Patterson recontextualizes those images into an artist’s space of painting, collage and sculpture. The classic painter’s technique of bait and switch is utilized in the extreme. The sexually suggestive to purely sexual hook can turn a viewer’s gaze, but Mr. Patterson shifts the attention to an artist’s concerns with formalism once he has you. Aesthetically the show is mixed, from maquette sketches for proposed sculptures to refined oil paintings (pictured here). Once past the fast-love I believe that there is an artist searching for something deeper than a fleeting satisfaction, but I could be wrong.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Easy Tiger

The Tigersprung gallery talk at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary.

A friend of mine says that it’s okay to glance at the past, but that I shouldn’t stare. Looking to the past for cues as to where we’re headed is common. From seeking reassurance in an economic downturn to searching for inspiration for new work the past often feels like a foundation for the future. The German word Tigersprung is used to describe fashion’s leap into the past and into the ever-changing future. Tigersprung, the title of Ulrich Lehmann’s book on the history of fashion was the inspiration for the Dr. Charissa Terranova curated show at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary.

In her Saturday afternoon gallery talk Dr. Terranova pointed to time in the ephemeral nature of fashion, the commodification of art, and blurred lines between the everyday object and high art as the major concepts behind the show. The restless tiger bounding forward does seem an especially applicable metaphor for the fashion industry and has felt increasingly relatable to the plastic arts. Stories of MFA candidates picked up by galleries who are searching for the hot new thing fits lock step with a commodification of art. That also means that artwork sometimes seems to have the lifespan of a pop song rather than a symphony.

Dr. Terranova pointed to Libby Black’s sculptural recreation of couture products as a dual reference with art as a product to be bought and sold, as well as a singular object made by the artist’s hand. The blurring of lines between everyday objects and art objects has a historical basis the Dadist work of Marcel Duchamp, but remains a relevant topic a century later.

The Sundance Channel’s show Iconoclasts paired fashion designer Stella McCartney with artist Ed Rusha. At the end of the show Ms. McCartney pitched the idea of using some Rusha paintings as a fabric design for a line of clothing. A designer and an artist at the top of their respective fields coming together for a project seems like the ideal realization of the Tigersprung concept. If that collaboration came to fruition there would likely follow only a brief glance at the past before the next project would surely follow. The definition of fashion is the production and marketing of new styles of goods, with great emphasis on the new.

Charissa Terranova at The MAC

Tigersprung by Ulrich Lehmann

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Agenda for next Thursday, May 21 at 7 PM

From the Dallas Museum of Art website: "Join artist Willie Doherty and Charles Wylie, the DMA’s Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, for a discussion about the video works and photographs featured in the special exhibition Willie Doherty: Requisite Distance."

The Agenda Weekend Wish List

I'm sharing a manageable list of things that I hope to see and do this weekend.
I try to choose the things which look most compelling for myself, and I think you might enjoy them too.

Dr. Charissa Terranova will discuss her curatorial process of Tigersprung: Obscure Couture with a walk-through of the exhibition at
The MAC Saturday at 2 PM.
Architectonic at CADD Art Lab
Featured on Artforum: Richard Patternson at Goss-Michael Foundation

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Focus: Rosson Crow Closing at The Ft. Worth Modern

I was upset that I missed Rosson Crow's lecture at The Modern. That was partially the inspiration for my idea to create a selective 'best of the metroplex' calendar which has (d)evolved into this blog. Taking in the show I found something unexpected. I was able to see her process for the first time that appeared to start with sketching out the scene on the large canvases with thin and loose washes. To my surprise the next layer was comprised of masked areas that gave a hard edge but were left with all the under the tape bleeds. With her painting this otherwise sloppy move seemed to gel with the expressionistic layers that surrounded them. Beyond the process I had my own feelings about the work. I felt opposed to those who talk about the paintings as if they were back drops, despite a picture of Crow standing in front of one in a majorette outfit which apparently helped to reinforce that idea. I see her paintings fitting into an evolution preceded by Anslem Keifer. I first found Crow's work online and found her counterpoint of sorts, Kristen Everberg who also paints empty interiors at about the same time. Working in a very muted palatte there is more control in Everberg's work and yet drips and free brushwork are there too. I can't help but make an association between the two painters. I wish that The Modern would bring Everberg in for a Focus. If that happens I hope I find out about her artist talk before it happens.

Rosson Crow's Focus at The Ft. Worth Modern closes this Sunday.

My Agenda

The Dallas Art Agenda focus will be primarily gallery openings, lectures and art related events in the Dallas and Ft. Worth area that I find especially exciting. It could be my attitude (and not the city) changing, but this feels like a particularly vibrant time for our arts community. Some galleries have or are closing their doors such as And/Or Gallery, Gerald Peters Gallery and Brooke Berman Gallery to name a few. On the other hand there have been Art Socials at CADD Art Lab, Art Motel night at Marty Walker Gallery, gallery talks, art walks and lectures. I hope that the energy in the art community that I feel is resilient in the face of economic downturns and the other adversities that will come along after that. It feels like a perfect time to celebrate what I see as the best the art scene has to offer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tigersprung: Obscure Couture at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary

Tigersprung first caught my attention because of the premise: fashion meets art, the title and curatorial efforts of Charissa Terranova, and the inclusion of the artist Libby Black. Ms. Black's fetishistic devotion to high-end designers returns to earth in her obsessive but folk-like craft. The innocence of the construction is echoed in the Zen title of the work (featured right), Wherever you go, there you are. Also of note, a performance by Amy Revier who's head was swallowed by her pony tail in an Ann Hamilton stroke. She was seated atop a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari bookkeeper pedestal and typed away at what appeared to be stream of consciousness thought. I remember a similar performance in college with two girls typing away dressed as secretaries. They both typed on either end of one long sheet of paper until the typewriters tore the paper in two. I think it was about the role of women in society, but I was and may still be more attracted to the discussion of culture more than politics.

I'm looking forward to hearing Charissa Terranova discuss her thought process while curating the show this Saturday at 2 PM in The MAC Gallery.