Monday, July 25, 2011

Kirk Hopper Fine Art: SEX/TWIST

David Van Ness "Caribou Conflict" 2010

The image above is my favorite work in this exhibition.  Van Ness' choice of color reminds me of my favorite Matchbox toy car, Rolls Royce, from my childhood.  I still have it stored in an official Matchbox collection carrying case. PaperCity also chose Van Ness' image for their print and on-line July arts update.  My image above was taken the night of the opening reception.  The pictures below were taken a week later when I went back to take a better look at the show.

The new director, Liliana Bloch, came out and spoke to me in the gallery and conveyed her ideas regarding her inaugural KHFA curatorial effort.  Sex/Twist is a conceptual exhibition exploring the repercussions of living in an era still defined by Victorian mores.  I can understand this as nudes in art seem so much more 'naked' to me when I see them presented (though rarely) in Dallas as opposed to when I view similar art in any other less prudish city.  This work has the viewer examine ideas of repression, secrecy, hypocrisy, dogma and control.  Heady stuff for a hot Dallas afternoon.
Van Ness' sculpture seen above depicts the male deer's endless struggle for dominance of the females, sometimes leading to the death of the loser.  Allegoric to our own human struggle for dominance.

Bill Haveron

Haveron's graphite drawings are derived from personal events and symbolism that has captivated him.  In the bottom drawing we witness police having their way with a young women while men of the cloth stand by and either watch or wait their turn.

Daniela Comani

Comani presents two sets of works in this exhibition.  In the images above, we see her explore the supposed marital bliss of the heterosexual marriage.  The couple look oddly alike, as long term couples often do.  Accompanying these works were FAQ's questions regarding this project written on the wall in pencil such as: "Is he really your husband", "Is he your brother", "Are you twins", and "You look so similar.  Have you been together for a long time"  Comani's other project is presented in the pics below.  These display reversed sex roles that follow the history of western literature:

Daniela Comani

Bryan Florentin takes the uncomfortable concept one step further by breaking gallery taboo and actually inviting the viewers to touch his art.  He presents six small installations, three sets on two opposing walls in the gallery.  Each of the sets consist of either three or four individual framed prints 'stacked' on each other as they lean on the wall.  The viewer must pull each frame forward to view the pieces hidden behind.

Bryan Florentin "Archive E"

I moved to the other side of the gallery to capture these images of one of the other three installations. Notice the scuff marks on the wall above the third framed print.  I couldn't avoid the reflection in the glass:

Bryan Florentin

I know my own prudishness was at work while I viewed these.  I mean, it's one thing to enjoy more graphic jpegs in the privacy of ones own home for personal enjoyment, but it's another all together to view censored and edited prints presented in a gallery setting.  And it was 100+ degrees Fahrenheit outside.  I went home to take a cold shower to wash away the sweat and conceptual repression.  Obviously, Bloch's curated exhibition had the intended effect on me.

Jane Chafin's Offramp Gallery Blog - MFA: Is it Necessary? --- The Debate

This is an informative and timely article.  I saw Paul Klein share this article from Huffington Post about an hour ago on facebook.  It is timely because Rusty and I just had lunch with Quin Mathews and we were discussing the sometimes tedious nature (at least to me) of academic conceptual art.  Jane's words would have been perfect for our conversation, "We're teaching artists to TALK about art. Anything is art as long as you can justify it using the codified language of academia. As my friend Ted says, there's no good art, no bad art, just an endless dialog about art." I also agree with her earlier statement, "It's supposed to be VISUAL art, after all."

Personally, I want to 'get' the art on my own without having to read a novel about the concept the artist was trying to achieve first.  I appreciate the text museums provide to give viewers a sense of the time period in which a work was made and how the contemporaneous events of the artist's life influenced the work.  For example, when I view William Kentridge's work I can immediately see that many works address apartheid.  Accompanying text helps me to round out that understanding by learning that he had several lawyers in his family that took on civil rights cases against apartheid.  But that information and overarching concept is not necessary for me to appreciate the beauty of his drawings of typewriters or other desk objects, or short films that seem to take us into space through constellations of his own imagination.

My very dear friend, James Watral, retired from teaching this month.  James earned his masters at Tulane in New Orleans and his bachelor at Cleveland Institute of Art.  He taught for many years in DFW area universities before I met him thirteen years ago.  However, he had been a full time studio potter for several years when I met him.  He went back to teaching ten years ago, and has now retired prior to his 69th birthday.  He made an interesting statement a couple of weeks ago as we were out running errands together.  James said that galleries started to pay more attention to him when he stopped teaching because they recognized that he was then dedicated to making art.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

'Next' Juried Exhibit Galleri Urbane

Galleri Urbane hosted their first annual juried exhibition that opened July 9th.  The participants are:
Sara Frantz, Shawn Hall,
Claire Houghton, Keirston Jacobs
Best of Show- Forrest Solis
Alison Jardine, Johan Manschot
Ricardo Paniagua
Souvankham Thammavongsa
Marion Wesson

Here are a few images I captured of the works:

 Ricardo Paniagua, as featured on my blog a few weeks ago
one of his new sculptures is also in this exhibit; however my photo does it no justice.

 this is my favorite new discovery from this show

Best of Show- Forrest Solis

Lucian Freud - December 8, 1922 - July 20, 2011

Lucian Freud passed away late Wednesday night, July 20, 2011, after a brief illness.  He was 88.

I never tire of sitting and reading his paintings.  He once told his biographer, Lawrence Gowing, 
“For me the paint is the person.”

His 2001 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II met with mixed reviews from the critics and public alike.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sheila Cunningham and Adela Andea

This is one of my favorite images that I have captured this year.

Cunningham is currently conducting a Fuji Transfer Collage workshop at Ghost Ranch through July 10.
From Sheila's facebook event page:
"Join Sheila Cunningham in the creative environment of Ghost Ranch to create beautiful, one-of-a kind photography based artworks in the splendor of northern New Mexico while exploring Transfer and Emulsion Lift techniques using Fuji Film, which is replacing Polaroid film.
Details: for information on workshop description, fees, housing and meals
Register today: Ghost Ranch or call the Registrar’s Office at 505.685.4333, ext. 4152 or ext. 4155. Toll Free: (877) 804-4678"
Adela is currently in two summer group exhibitions.  Opening tonight, July 8, in Houston at Anya Tish Gallery in a group show titled "Platform 2011".  And opening next Friday, July 15, in Dallas at The Museum of Geometric and MADI Art in a group show titled "Derivatives: Origins in Geometry" juried by Vincent Falsetta.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Carolina Sardi Studio Visit

I love to visit artists studios.  They are all a bit different especially depending on the media the artist employs.  But there is also a similarity between most studios.  New works in progress on walls or on tables.  Older completed works stored in bins, or in crates, or leaning up against walls.  New completed works hanging on walls or standing in space in mock gallery settings.  Organized chaos.
Rusty and I went with Janda Wetherington, director of PanAmerican ArtProjects, to visit Carolina Sardi in her Miami studio.
Rusty, Carolina, Janda

Sardi was born and raised in Argentina.  She earned her MFA in Sculpture at National University of La Plata, where she also studied Architecture with the artist Enio Iommi.  She has been living and working in Miami since 1995.  I first encountered her work at PanAmerican ArtProjects when they had a gallery in Dallas.  I have seen Sardi's work at art fairs around the world with several galleries.

Sardi is quite expressive as she speaks about her ideas and process.  Her studio is in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami in a building originally owned by Bernice Steinbaum.  The space looked to be about 4000 sq ft with a 15 ft ceiling.  Large. And well adapted for the work of a metal sculptor.

Sardi's 2006 artist statement tells us:
"My art it's my way to express my world vision. I try to convey the maximum of information in the most minimal but essential forms .The concept is as important as the image and the space as important as the shapes. What appears as simple at first glance, becomes upon closer registration much more intricate . The interaction with the spectator brings forth multiple personal interpretations.

Material source for my art comes from various places including everyday life and my own personal experiences . Each form is a symbol that can stand alone, signifying one idea. Together, they can grouped and arranged in an installation that will represent a new or more complex idea and will enhance the central theme. Although I work mainly with steel, my pieces have an organic sensibility that reflects my interest in the basic interactions of life.

My latest wall installations are created by a combination of oval or round painted steel pieces arranged over an invisible grit .The egg shapes are placed in an structured but organic composition that creates a visual effect of mathematical repetition in the space . Each element of the whole is different, they keep their individuality and they maintain their particular presence inside the totality . The embryonic forms can be seen as particles or entities of what it will be. The white stark wall become the background or the medium in which this atmospheric landscapes are created . The steel pieces are placed against the wall , but separated from its surface with a distance of one or two inches, creating a floating effect in the space that is enhance by lights and shadows .The color reinforces the concept of each composition , in which eggs , circles or particles are a symbol of infinity and origin and can become anything and everything when changing color , shape and placement in the space; allowing new compositions , subjects and messages."

I see this evident in these sculptures in her studio:

The Miami Art Guide had this to say about Sardi's work presented in the Spring of 2010 at PanAmerican ArtProjects:
"Carolina Sardi’s wall installations are poetic equations that dissect the artist’s world. Titling many of her pieces “Associations” Sardi makes precise use of formal artistic elements that resonate beyond aestheticism. As the artist best explains, “Although I work mainly with steel, my pieces have an organic sensibility that reflects my interest in the basic interactions of life.” Sardi’s latest series titled “Constellations” delicately trace celestial paths. The sophisticated Calder-like sculptures are a departure from her previous series of colorful free-flowing installations. Even though these works are made of single pieces rather than individually installed shapes, they possess the speed, and sleek mobility of shooting stars."

 the yellow sculpture on the right above is part of Sardi's Home Cell series

Here is one of the Constellation pieces
PanAmerican used an image of this piece for their 2010 Happy Holiday card

My favorites are these that are sculpted from stainless steel and have been plated in gold, silver and bronze

 the ones above were in styrofoam preparing to be shipped

the one above was in the gallery in Miami, but I see that it is now sold.  

After an excellent visit, we headed out.

Sardi's work is currently on exhibition through July 23 at Galerie Lelia Mordoch in Paris, France and at Cheryl Hazan Gallery in New York, NY through September 3.

In addition to PanAmerican ArtProjects in Miami, Florida,  Sardi is also represented by Swenson Fine Art in Laguna Beach, California.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

33 Bond Gallery @ SCOPE Miami 2007 "Unscrew and View"

This has always been one of my favorite photos that Rusty has taken at an art fair.  I enjoy the odd relationship created by one of the Kate Clark sculptures staring directly into Rusty's camera while the male gallery director of 33 Bond Gallery is also staring directly at Rusty.  The other two, the other sculpture and the other gallery director, are focused on other things.  It was an odd experience to be roaming around the art fair tent while the galleries are all just setting up their booths in preparation for the next day's grand opening.  On the one hand, I got the most fabulous experience of being able to see much of the art just as it is being un-crated. On the other hand, I felt rather in the way. But it was all necessary preparation for the next day's business.   Now, I love being able to examine these moments in time and research from this source.  Notice the collage on the wall between the two gallerists.  That is a piece by artist Jason Roskey who was born in Ft Worth and earned his art degree at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.  I didn't find a website for him, so the link goes to a recent interview he had with NYArts.  I enjoyed reading Jason's summation of the Dallas art scene.

This Korean born artist is also represented by 33 Bond Gallery.  I've liked all of his sculptures that I have seen over the years.