As you may recall, I went to Houston last month and did a quick run through of some galleries. I did some planning for this trip. I made a map so I wouldn’t get lost. And I took my camera so’s I could get you some Sites Beyond Sight.
Lawndale Art Center
This was the first stop. Of the five exhibitions, I saw four. Outside there was a sculpture Carl Suddath, which I had believed to be a permanent structure and didn’t pay much attention to it. Inside, I didn’t even know there was a “Project Space”, so I missed Lily Hanson: Differentia. I took photos of what I did see.
- In the Mezzanine Gallery, Elaine Bradford’s Locked Horns and Shed Antlers was fun but familiar. I could be wrong, but none of the work was new to me. -GOOD
- In the O’ Quinn Gallery, Little Known Facts was curated by Michael Guidry. As visual stimulation, it wasn’t exciting. But as portraits or biographies of the artists, it was an excellent display of the artists’ characteristics or influencing interests. -NOT BAD
- Lawndale Has Many Friends by Brian Piana occupied the Cavner Gallery. It looked nice but I just couldn’t figure out the color palette. I resigned to it just being a random abstract collection of painted squares. Then I find out its relation to MySpace. Ahhh! I like it. -NOT BAD
End of the year Holiday show with a bunch of artists hanging on the walls. Most of the work was new to my eyes, so I was enjoyin’ it. NOT BAD
Jackie Gendel and Valerie Hegarty were an interesting pair. I was digging the Picasso/ Matisse throwback style of Gendel. Its probably the flesh tones, but there was something soft ’bout them, keeping me at ease. Hegarty was senselessly destructive by comparison. Pieces were so physical that they may have been sculptures? -NOT BAD
Michael Jones McKean had me really searching. Ever since seeing Rachel Harrison, I’ve seen her work and work like hers wondering, “what are they achieving?” Not particulary interested in the textures and shapes presented, I was more attracted to the negative spaces. Still not sure why, but I liked what I saw. Angela Fraleigh on the other hand, I am familiar with and understand what attracts me to her work. This was a slightly more mature round of works since her WTW show almost two years ago. For the most part, the rules stand; abstract pours vs. natural renderings, paintings are most balanced when human skin is minimized, the eyes are piercing. The works matured, or I should say Fraleigh pushed the work in terms of where the balance lay. The pours were beefed up and held their own a little better this time around. but that would come later is a good example of the pours remaining relevant in the pictorial battle. Another aspect to this empowerment are the black paintings. The pours aren’t as liquid, they still flow, but here they have more body. They feel just as alive as the human flesh. I think that’s what makes this smaller piece so climactic. -GREAT
yeah, I know my photos are just bad repros of what’s already on the gallery’s site : [
There’s some crazy digital works here! First you gets cadavers all dressed up and floating in a heavenly glow in Defile. Creepy. Then you get 14 babyfaced girls in a cylindrical red room. Seven of them are doing time for murder. My guess is #6 (the one with a headband) and #7 (the one to the right/ her left). Creepy. The piece that enthralled me was Last Riot. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but on rudimentary 3D backgrounds was a large battle. The narrative bits without any figures were forgettable and I ignored them. The good parts featured youngsters ranging from 5 to 15 years old, girls and boys alike wielding weapons and attacking each other. Some were captive and without getting graphic, were suffering beatings and torturing. Its difficult to pinpoint the starting point, but the figures look as if they could be digital photos animated by cutting and nudging them or they could be true 3D models with very detailed texture maps applied. I mention that because of the way they were animated. The movements didn’t flow and yet were not choppy. They seemed to morph from one pose into the next. Creepy but magical. The backgrounds and the animation evoke Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty -type video games. This might be a condemnation of violent video games corrupting our youth, but I don’t think so. This is more a revelation of how war affects citizens. My experience with Balkan refugees showed the boys to be aggressive in very macho and alpha-dog interests. This idea was supported by a Guatemalan man recounting his impressions of boys from his hometown after the war. Instead of being the problem, video games are more of an analogy and safer expression of aggressions and lessons learned of “might makes right”. -GREAT
- I appreciated the face time with Ryman, but in the end the three pieces didn’t do anything for me. -BAD
- Nauman on the other hand put a lot of young artists into context for me. By the time I entered the third room, I was convinced that I like Nauman. Why haven’t I seen more of his work? I was diggin’ it. Looking back now, I wonder if the show was made up of completed works or a collection of studies? I enjoy taking a look at someone’s studio, it allows for better connections through ideas. It had the trinity of elements I identified earlier. Is that why I liked the show so much? -GREAT
- I remember listening to a lecture by Mary Heilmann and nodding along to her explanations. Walking through the gallery I was shaking my head. I felt no connection to the abstractions or the colors. And it was a lot of work hanging. -BAD
- Downstairs was different. A lot of different work, including the aforementioned Rachel Harrison. I was already running down the clock, so I didn’t check out the lauded video. Stream of consciousness? Yeah, Danica Phelps handled that description on her own with her scroll drawing. I enjoyed the show, but wasn’t excited by it. -NOT BAD
What a whirlwind tour! I didn’t even tell you ’bout the Rothko chapel and the Twombly Gallery.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.