Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Art of Returning to Work

Alex Schaefer, Chase Wilshire, acrylic on canvas, plein air, 28" x 22", 2011
seen at Charlie James Gallery at the 2012 Dallas Art Fair

My last post was on March 11, 2012, the day before I started my new job.  I've now had a couple of months to traverse the "new job" learning curve and to acclimate to the 3rd shift hours - 11:30p to 8:00a, Sunday through Thursday.  I am still finding my way through to manage to make it to art openings on Saturday nights or at least visit art galleries after they open at 11:00a on Tuesdays through Saturdays.  But yes, I have seen quite a few art shows, as well as taken many pictures, since I started the job - I just haven't been in a frame of mind to blog about it.  Hopefully, I will break the writer's block soon and find my voice again.  This is a start. 
While I was off work for a year and a half I spent a great deal of time on the pc and, of course, on the internet.  It was the way I was accustomed to working when I had a job.  It was also necessary to search for jobs, submit resumes, and network with former coworkers, friends, and potential new employers.  I also read a great deal of news, and the Occupy Wall Street movement caught my attention when they burst onto the scene. The stories about plein air painter, Alex Schaefer, especially interested me. He stands across the street from Chase retail branches in cities across the U.S. and paints them, but then he adds his own imagined image of fire as if the buildings are engulfed in flames. His paintings are in protest of the damage the "too big to fail" banks have ravaged on the U.S. economy since the recession began in 2008. He focuses on Chase Bank, and he has been arrested on several occasions as he stands and paints on the sidewalk.  Interestingly, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank has been back in the news since before last weekend due to a recent $2 billion derivatives trading loss. I applaud the OWS movement for exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.  It has been a disappointment, though, to see that the movement is actually not well organized and most participants have no idea what they are actually protesting.
I don't miss the stress of the job I had at J.P. Morgan.  I can imagine that the team I once managed has been quite busy these past few months researching and readjusting the invoices directly and remotely associated with those ill faded derivatives trades.  My new job is with another major U.S. banking firm that is in competition with the retail business of Chase Bank. However, I now am able to exercise a bit more creativity in my daily job tasks as an individual contributor on the graveyard shift.  This is also a strict eight hour a day job. So I should have more time to pursue my interests in art and this blog. Though, unfortunately,  I won't have the income to pursue continued purchasing of art, at least in the short term future.  I am realigning my career and investment goals so that I am aiming to return to a higher paying job in the mid-range term.  After attending to several financial obligations, I did use a small percentage of recently liquidated investments to do my part to stimulate the local art economy:

Ryder Richards, Spread Pattern, 2010, gold leaf, graphite, gunpowder on paper, 10" x 7"

 Terry Hays, Yellow Box with Miro Head - Woman in Front of the Sun, 7.75" x 4.5" x 3.75", mixed media, 2012

I grew attached to both of each of these works by artists Ryder Richards and Terry Hays while I interned at Ro2 Art.  These will remind me of the moments of time that I did actually enjoy during my time of unemployment.  I am hoping to intern at Ro2 Art again in the near future.  They consistently have had exciting art events and they receive much well deserved local media press. Both of these artists are just as energetic as the gallery itself, and I am excited to have these small representations of each of their overall oeuvres.

 Helen Altman, Shell Wren, wire and beehive shells, 4" x 6" x 5.5", 2012

 Forrest Middelton, Lidded Vessel, high fire reduction, wheel thrown and altered,11" x 6.5" x 6.5"

The Dallas Art Fair and the Dallas Pottery Invitational both occurred the same weekend, April 13 -15.  Rusty and I have wanted one of Helen Altman's bird sculptures for many years.  I saw this one at the Tally Dunn Gallery at the fair and knew that this time I had to have it. They told me that Altman only makes these little bird sculptures when she obtains an object that she finds special and worthy to be saved in this manner. I had the opportunity to listen while Forrest Middelton explained his Volumetric Image Transfer process to a group of admiring women at the invitational. This is the first piece of Middelton's that I have acquired.  I fell in love with his work while helping Ro2 Art curate the Defined Form/Refind Function exhibition. I also added additional ceramic works by Amy Halko and Brenda Lichman to my growing collection of each of their works, and it was great to visit with each of them at the invitational. 

I may post my recollections of the Dallas Art Fair and the Dallas Pottery Invitational.  I am about to go out for the day and explore this years' Oak Cliff Visual Speed Bump Art Studio Tour. Also coming up very soon, Rusty has a solo show at McMurtrey Gallery in Houston on June 2, and a two person show at Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe on June 15.  So I will have these and many other artists and art events that I hope to blog about soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Defined Form / Refined Function: Selections from The Rosenfield Collection

I am honored that Susan Roth Romans of Ro2 Art asked me to assist her in curating this exhibition.  Ro2 Art recently started a contract with "Visit Addison" to curate exhibitions for their gallery space within the center.  Several months ago, Louise Rosenfield approached the center requesting to bring her Dallas Pottery Invitational in April.  The Invitational has been exhibiting at Southside on Lamar in the Cedars neighborhood of Dallas for the past four years.  However, Louise lives in the northern suburb of Addison and thought that a change of venue would be good for the fifth iteration of the event, as this would introduce these fine functional ceramic works to a broader demographic.  Louise also proposed to have a gallery show during the month of March of works created by each of the eleven ceramic artists that will be featured in the Invitational. She wanted the works for the March show to be curated from her own collection, The Rosenfield Collection. The director of the Addison Visitors Center directed Louise to Ro2 Art to handle the curation as well as arrange the design and production of the pedestals and acrylic boxes that would be needed to exhibit the works.

The Rosenfield Collection contains hundreds of works of functional ceramics.  The Collection has been in the process of cataloging each piece, adding them to the website, and carefully packing each piece for storage and subsequent retrieval.   Susan and I each poured over the works on the website.  There are over 250 works by these eleven artists alone in the collection!  We each made our top picks and then came together to discuss each other's choices in an effort to narrow down the field to one or two pieces by each artist.  We readily agreed on several pieces by a few of the artists, but we deliberated long and hard over the bulk of the pieces.  This was no small task!

You may already be aware that I neither have an art degree or make art.  However, I have been collecting art for fourteen years, and I have a special passion for functional as well as sculptural ceramics and glass.  I have works by six of these eleven artists in my own collection. I very much appreciate this quote from Keith Kreeger's web page: "I make pottery because I think the objects we use on a daily basis are as important as what they hold." Keith Kreeger is also in The Rosenfield Collection, but his works are not in this exhibition this year. I have ceramic works by nine other artists that are also in The Rosenfield Collection, and there are about 10 more in the collection that have been on my list of "must haves" for the future.  When Susan realized my passion for this media and these artists, she asked me to assist her choosing works for this exhibition.  I also assisted Susan and Jordan Roth, her son and co-owner, as the pedestals and acrylic covers were delivered to the center and we then arranged the works around the gallery.

seven of the artists' works arranged at one end of the gallery

Here are the works we chose as seen in through the acrylic:

 Amy Halko, Soy Set, wheel thrown, mid-range oxidation

Andrew Martin, Cup & Saucer and three Plates and one small Bowl, slipcast, low-fire oxidation

Brenda Lichman, Bowl and Cup, wheel thrown and altered, high-fire soda

Brian Hopkins, Serving Platter, hand built, high-fire porcelain

Daphne Hatcher, Plate, wheel thrown, high-fire wood

Forrest Lesch-Middleton, Pitcher and two Plates, Pitcher is wheel thrown and altered, Plates are hand built, all are high-fire reduction

Gary Hatcher, Bread Bowl and Vase, wheel thrown, high-fire wood

Jerilyn Virden, Double Walled Bowl, hand built, high-fire reduction

Lisa Orr, Lamp and Salt & Pepper Cellar, hand built, low-fire oxidation

Louise Rosenfield, Tea Set, hand built tray, wheel thrown cups & saucers, wheel thrown and altered tea pot, mid-range oxidation

Sam Chung, Pitcher, hand built, mid-range oxidation

I have thoroughly enjoyed this latest experience.  If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area this month or next, make it a point to stop in at the Addison Visitors Center and check out this exhibition, and definitely find something to take home for your own collection during the Dallas Pottery Invitational.  Apirl 13 - 15, the same weekend as the Dallas Art Fair!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reflections on February

William Betts, Pines, Sun Valley, 2011
(reflection of David Schulze and me far right two figures)

Wow, I didn't have one post throughout the month of February, but my blog still had an average of 37 pageviews per day.  There were 74 pageviews yesterday, February 29, alone.  So thank you for your continued readership.

It's not that I didn't have anything to write about, quite the contrary.  I attended over 20 art events from the last few days of January through the end of February. However, I also had more job interviews and follow up electronic forms to fill out during the month of February than I had through the whole year of 2011.  Also, February 16 marked the 20th anniversary of my first partner's, Dennis, passing.  I had been planning a single blog post as a tribute to his memory, but that along with my preparations for job interviews and follow ups caused me a bit of writer's block.  So I present here some reflections of February so that I can free my mind and spirit to move onward and refocus on posting meaningful art related topics.

Amazing isn't enough to describe some of the art events I attended or participated in during the month, while it is also a gross overstatement for a few.  One of the more truly amazing exhibits that we did view one last time before it closed on February 12th was the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA. This exhibit is now traveling to San Francisco where it will open at the de Young Fine Arts Museum on March 24.  I urge all of my west coast readers to see this fabulous exhibit.

the table set in Rusty's studio

Cris Worley cooking in our kitchen

On January 28, Rusty and I opened his studio/our home for an event hosted by CADD, the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas. Billed as a "Mystery Dinner", CADD hosted the event to raise funds for their scholarship and educational programs.  There were six different venues around the city in artists' studios, collectors' homes and gallery owners' homes.  Participants purchased tickets and then found out the day before where they were to show up for cocktails and dinner.  After dinner, all of the guests and hosts were to drive to the McKinney Avenue Contemporary for dessert and dancing and to share stories from each of their respective dinner adventures. It was great fun and I look forward to the next Mystery Dinner so that I may attend as a guest. (Though I admit it was a fantastic incentive to clean the studio/home!) Here is a link to the article Lucia Simek wrote on Glasstire about the event and her experience in our studio.

left to right, Ben Terry, White Denim, graphite, acrylic and latex, on wood panel, 2011
Val Curry, bloom, mixed media, 2012

detail of bloom and Ro2 Art UPTOWN in the background

I enjoyed my intern job at Ro2 Art during February while I also continued to search for a full time job that will pay a salary and provide health benefits. I've gained retail experience, as well as making a few sales, which I hope will help me find a job in retail banking after over 30 years of treasury services and securities services banking operations.  But more than just the retail experience, I've written press releases, assisted in exhibition installations and deinstalls, and throughout February I've assisted the gallery owners as they curated and installed a ceramics exhibition out of a private collection.  I have pieces by five of the eleven functional ceramic artists whose works were curated into the exhibition, and one of those is pictured front and center in my table setting photo above. This has all been very valuable hands-on experience that provides me further knowledge of the inner workings of the business of art, and I am very grateful to Jordan Roth and Susan Roth Romans for affording me this opportunity.
Ro2 Art
Mother-and-son partners Susan Roth Romans and Jordan Roth operate Ro2 Art, a full-service gallery and consultancy with spaces in the Uptown and Downtown areas of Dallas, working with a diverse group of contemporary artists, most with ties to the North Texas Region.  At present, Ro2 focuses on the exhibition and sale of work in all visual media, through a fine art gallery space in the West Village of Uptown Dallas, in addition to a progressive, intimate gallery in the historic Kirby Building in Downtown Dallas, and now introducing a new space just steps away named Ro2 Art Downtown COLLECTION at 1408 Elm St. at Akard. Ro2 Art is a member of the Dallas Art Dealers Association, The Uptown Association, and was named “Best Art Gallery” by The Dallas Observer.

David Schulze, Valentine's Day Card, 2012, acrylic on paper

I hope to write about a few of the 20 something art openings and artist talks I attended in the next few days and weeks. For now, I will wrap up with my homage to Dennis and his way of introducing me to art.

Dennis Acrea, lidded vessel, clay coil pot with celadon glaze, 1977
(lidded vessels in background by Amy Halko, Sally Campbell, James Watral)

Dennis and I became best friends when my family moved to Sachse, TX when I was in the sixth grade.  We were best friends through high school, and then we moved in together on July 20, 1978, a month before my family relocated to the Houston area.  We lived together for fourteen years starting off as "roommates" and after buying three homes together we realized we were actually life partners.  We enjoyed going to the symphony, ballet, theater, and musical theater.  But Dennis loved the visual arts as well, though try as he might, he was never able to entice me to join him.  I just didn't "get it" when it came to visual art.

 Dennis Acrea, Seagull, oil on canvas, 1975 - 1977(?)

This is the only decent photo I have that includes the painting Dennis did while in high school.  It now lives at his nephew's house somewhere in east Texas.  If I ever acquire a better photo I will edit it into this post. We stripped decades of paint off of that spool bed and stained the wood, and we covered the wall behind the painting with fabric because we were quite handy and artsy-craftsy back in those days.  Dennis was a commercial printer by trade.  He ran a Ryobi 4 color offset printer working for a commercial envelope and stationary company.  In his spare time, he was able to use the equipment in the shop to create his own prints.  Sadly, I do not have any of his prints because I did not see the intrinsic value in them at the time.  

Dennis also had a love for photography and spent many hours taking photos around the city.  He took the photo above of himself at Old City Park, now known as Dallas Heritage Village, which is just a couple of blocks away from where I live now.  Rusty and I walked over there last week so that Rusty could take pictures for an auction project he is working on for the benefit of the park.

Dennis napping on the loveseat with our cat, Chita, in 1986

R.C. Gorman print with rendering date of 1977

Dennis worked the night shift four days a week for many years.  When he did switch to the day shift, he worked half-days on Fridays.  This gave him the freedom to go to art gallery openings on Friday afternoons and evenings. While he did have a good job that would have afforded him the ability to buy real art, Dennis was quite frugal and chose to purchase prints instead.  I remember that he bought the Gorman print at Adams-Middleton Gallery which is now long gone from Dallas, even the building it was in was torn down and is now a parking lot.  I also remember that the framing for each of the Gorman and the Nagel prints shown above was much more expensive than the prints combined.  My lessons learned these twenty-five years later are: A) buy real art, B) buy art and prints that you really love, not necessarily for investment reason, and C) stay away from trendy 'what's hot now' art.  Both of these framed prints now live behind a sofa in my brother Ray's apartment as he prefers blank white walls lit by the glow of his computer screen.

a lovely view of the Neiman Marcus store at NorthPark Center through the trees from Dennis' grave site  

Someday I think I'll have "& faithful partner" added to the headstone.  My anticipated grave is to my left (the viewers right) in the picture above.  I'm not sure yet if I will use it, or decide to sell it, and choose a cremation instead with a garden burial at my church.  I had told Dennis that I never planned to visit his grave, it just seemed too morbid when I was 31, but I have done so at least once a year since that time, and I pass by all the time on my way to NorthPark Center.  Dennis told me a few days before he lost consciousness that I would find someone great and be happy again. And I have. Thanks Rusty Scruby!  I know that Dennis is looking down and loving Rusty's art and my almost total immersion in an artful way of life.

Now I just need a good job to come along so that I can afford to buy art again!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tony Cragg at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Elbow, 2008, wood

I caught a quick glimpse of the Tony Cragg exhibit while we were at the Nasher Sculpture Center in October for the Nasher's Avant-Garde Society's annual members' party.  I finally had the chance to take a close look at the sculptures on the final day of the exhibition on January 8th.

Outspan, 2008, bronze

Eroded Landscape, 1998, glass

I had been familiar with Cragg's sculptures such as the two above having seen them at the major art fairs over the years.  I had also seen some of his smaller sculptures which were probably easier to transport to and from the art fairs.  It was a delight to see his much larger scale works in this exhibition.  I am only posting a few of my favorites:

Lost in Thought, 2011, wood

This guy was my most favorite. I like the name, but I respond to the form as well. It feels human, in an abstract way, to me.  Like one of the abstract characters in a Carroll Dunham painting but rendered in 3D. The crowd was thin, so I had time to get lost in my own thoughts as I moved around this sculpture.

Runner, 2009, bronze (sculpture + details)

Before I entered this exhibit I had expected that Mental Landscape with its literal partial faces blurring as they stretched around the carved jesomite was going to be my favorite sculpture. Instead, it has been the more subtle faces that seem to appear in the sculptures such as Runner above. I began to appreciate being left to my own devices to see faces or other body parts captured frozen in time in the way that a photograph taken from a moving car does.

Divide, 2005, wood

Most of the sculptures in the exhibit were wood tones or bronze patinas.  There was one chrome work, the yellow of Outspan shown earlier in this post, as well as one blue painted bronze sculpture. So the red stain on Divide was a welcome hue of warmth.  It glowed in the early winter afternoon light from the nearby window.  The Nasher is, of course, superior in its curation and placement of sculpture.

The crowd was light on the final day of the show.  I truly hope that many people in the DFW area, as well as visitors, had the opportunity to take in this stunning exhibition.  I know that I am very glad that I did.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

We took a few hours on a recent Sunday and went to the Dallas Museum of Art to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit.  Photography was not allowed, so I've attached a short video from YouTube above.

This is an amazing exhibition of the fashion creations of Gaultier that are truly works of art.   There are outfits worn by Madonna and Grace Jones and super models, as well as costumes from movies such as The Fifth Element. 

There were hundreds of people in line to get in to see the galleries.  Our DMA membership allowed us to go straight in to see the show. Membership does have its priviledges.  We joined hundreds of people already in the galleries, and waited in lines to view some costumes or simply peered over folks' shoulders for others.  I really expected Rusty to want to leave within about ten minutes due to the throngs of people in attendance, but the works are all so good and compelling that we managed to stay for almost two hours.  Rusty says the crowds just melted away as he got caught up in the designs and construction of the Gaultier's works.

We are planning to go back on a weekday soon, before the show ends and while attendance is lower than on a Sunday.  We both highly recommend seeing this exhibit. Some of our friends have already seen it four or more times.  It is on view at the Dallas Museum of Art through February 12th. Then it will travel in March to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, de Young, which is the second and only other U.S. city on the tour.  See this in Dallas or San Francisco, just be sure to see it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vincent Falsetta: Recent Exhibitions

DG 11-5: Obsessive Worlds
oil on canvas, 60" x 60", 2011
image courtesy of Conduit Gallery

I am most familiar with Vincent Falsetta's paintings such as the one above. However, I am thankful that I recently had the opportunity to view a couple of Falsetta's paintings from 1975 at 500X along with several more recent color study works.  Also, another non-commercial gallery in the same Exposition Park neighborhood of Dallas, The Reading Room, exhibited a collection of index cards that Falsetta uses to sketch and catalog his works in progress.

Falsetta received his BFA at Temple University in 1972, and he earned his MFA at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in 1974.  He began teaching at University of North Texas in 1977 and attained the level of Professor in 1992 and continues to this day.  Falsetta is an alumni of the 500X artist collective, and he has been "teacher" of many of my art friends including Jessica McCambly and Charlotte Smith.  Jessica McCambly has included Falsetta in the exhibition she has curated Big and Bright, and Vincent will be giving an artist talk at the exhibit on January 26, 2012.

Sarah Hamilton curated Falsetta into the exhibition she conceived and brought to fruition at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in 2011 titled Obsessive Worlds. In the catalog for the exhibition we read Falsetta telling us about the title of the painting shown above:
"My most recent painting DG 11-5: Obsessive Worlds was conceived and made for the Obsessive Worlds exhibition. I do not normally title paintings beyond my cataloguing system title, but I did ths time because the title of the exhibition was appropriate to the title of the painting."

Falsetta's system of cataloging his works involves the use of index cards, a process he has employed since the 1980s. These were on view at The Reading Room:

These cards give us an intimate view into the mind and process of the artist.  We find notes that tell us the music he listened to at that moment.  We see little sketches and color charts as he works through his process of problem solving.  On card DC 11-1, 2, Jan 2011, we read, "month later 2010  idea abandoned// new plans for naples yellow pt w/ new questions" then there is a list of questions which seem as abstract as one of his paintings.  Another note on the same card states "Martha responded well to the circular form". Martha is his wife.  On card DG 11-5, 1, June-July 2011,Obsessive Worlds, we find this among the various didactic notes, "Dedicated to Martha, Mario, Trisa, Xander & Doug". A dedication to his family.

These works were not for sale, nor should they ever be.  The purpose of The Reading Room is to explore the intersection of written word and visual images.  And for that, I'd say The Index Cards was a great success.

A few blocks over we were presented with yet more of Falsetta's works at 500X.

Sound Wave Series #7, acrylic on paper, 22.75" x 30.25", 1975

detail of Sound Wave Series #7

Color Studies, 2007 - 2011, oil on museum board, various dimensions

These recent exhibitions of Vincent Falsetta's works afforded me deeper insight to the man I know of as "abstract painter".  I'm very pleased to have gained this understanding of the man whom others that I know refer to as "great teacher" and "husband" and who is also known as "dad".