Put on my walking shoes, set my mindset to "art fair" mode, and started looking at 184 diverse works of art with barely any white wall space in between. "Art fair" mode because I have to be ready to visually edit very quickly if I plan to see it all and make my picks. You know the drill with these summer member shows - pay the dues and you get to play - and who knows who will see your art. So everyone from art hobbyists to gallery artists, art students to art professors - some with PhD's join the fray, and we the viewers get to see a broad sample of art being made and taught in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex.
It is always a little strange to me to give artists a theme to work toward. But it does help to set up a loose non-curated frame work for the participants and viewers alike. So my picks for this blog post are those works that more or less successfully met the theme. "Meltdown" plays well for those mediums that literally melt at some point during the process - glass, ceramics, metallurgy, plastics, and encaustic. But there are also the images and/or concepts that involve some level of psychological meltdown - homages to deceased loved ones as well as to pop icons that suffered meltdowns such as Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison and James Dean. And of course, there are always the works that don't even try to meet the theme. They are artists, after all, marching to their own drummers! WARNING - I've chosen 33 out of 184!
There is no jury. No Best of Show. No winners and no losers. All very democratic really.
But here, anyway, is Hampton's Court pick for Best of Show:
Duke Horn, Mighty Fine Arts, oil paint
a demonic Uncle Sam leading a circus government while the world burns behind him.
There is always a plethora of distracting frames in this exhibit, but I think Horn's frame completes the gaudy psycho meltdown perfectly.
CERAMICS, GLASS, METALLURGY, and ENCAUSTIC
Ryder Richards, Portales: Isolation, goldleaf, gunpowder, graphite on paper
VET, House on Fire, encaustic
Michael Christopher, Melted Miro, plasma etched screen metal
Morton Rachofsky, Untitled, plastic
Julia Ousley, Flying Pig Meltdown, bronze
Kenny Hensley, The Trinity River Meltdown, glazed cast porcelain
Val Curry, Playnado, polyester, wood, toys, computers, acyrlic & resin
Brooks Oliver, Vortex Bowl, porcelain
Jim Brightwell, What Was Sharp and Explicit, glass
Gregory Nelsen, Paranoia, stoneware
Peggy Epner, Ring of Fire, encaustic on panel
Jackie MacLelland, Phd, On the Edge, encaustic
IMAGES AND CONCEPTS OF MELTDOWNS
Cabe Booth, Warhol, acrylic and oil on distressed wood
Hadar Sobol, Myself Inside Myself, thread on vintage linen
Terry Hays, And Then There was an Explosion, acrylic on Sintra
Norman Kary, Broken Dreams, mixed media
Alisa Levy, Losing my Religion, photograph
Chris Bergquist Fulmer, Cowboy Meltdown: Prelude to the Fall, mixed media
Margaret Rattelle, Head, etching spitbite drypoint
Michelle de Metz, Meltdown in Texas, mixed media on wood
Mark McGahan, Meltdown, digital print
Sibylle Bauer, Reflections, photograph
Kathy Robinson-Hays, Receding, ink, acrylic and paper on Duralar
detail of Receding
Anna Palmer, Ooze, digital photography
Joe Ing, Scissors, print
detail of Scissors
BEYOND THE THEME
Jason Reynaga, It's a Little Bit Fuzzy, mixed media
David Dreyer, In To Down, oil on laminated birch plywood
Fannie Brito, Mullenian Ducts, pigments & acrylic on canvas
Sheila Cunningham, Once, assemblage
Michael O'Keefe, Untitled, 2011 (Drill Drawing Series II), graphite on Yupo
Ann S. Adams, Swizzle, pastel
Ann Adams' work at least makes me feel like bathing in her cool pastel waters after all the heat and melting. I understand the a/c went out in the main galleries just a few minutes after the reception opened on August 6. It was an unplanned 'meltdown happening'. Lots of hot bodies in a hot space on a 100F+ night in Dallas. Glad I couldn't find parking, because the a/c had just gone out in my truck the day before also. I had it fixed on the following Monday.
One final meltdown note. On the day I stopped by to see the exhibit and I captured images of about 78 works before I edited down to these 33, I witnessed another 'meltdown happening'. I know the opening night meltdown performance staged by the a/c was unplanned, and I suspect the one I witnessed may have been also. But that's the thing about art happenings, the spontaneity is the art, right? So I see this one sculpture with water all around it on the floor. Looked like a hazard. Then this guy, I presume the artist, came in and started mopping up and replacing the bucket:
Scott Sura, Tree of Strife, mixed media
I went to the MAC the next night for an unrelated poetry reading and book signing. I noticed there was water on the floor around this sculpture again. So perhaps it really is a performance piece. Tree of Strife, indeed!
Stay cool out there my friends!