Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gun & Knife Show @ Centraltrak, Apr 30 - Jun 4, 2011

Before the 2012 art season kicks into high gear starting this coming weekend, I want to spend a bit of time recalling some of the art exhibits and venues that left an impression on me.  This post reviews
Gun & Knife Show at Centraltrak co-curated by Heyd Fontenot and Julie Webb.

I stopped by Centraltrak on May 6 while the temps in Dallas were still in the low to mid 80°F.  Gun and knife shows are a constant in Dallas, and over most all of Texas. In fact, there were several billboards within blocks of the gallery that advertised different gun and knife shows at several locations around the DFW area during that time period.  But this was an art show and quite different from the other shows, I suspect, though I've never been to the kind that actually sell weaponry.

This exhibition featured works by 40 artists, some local and others from various U.S. cities.  The artists included were:
  Leon Alesi, Sterling Allen, Nick Barbee, Tony Barsotti, Chicks Bill, Camp Bosworth, William S. Burroughs, Louie Cordero, Chris Crites, Jack Daws, Leah DeVun, Margaret Evangeline, Al Farrow, Faith Gay, William Gaynor, Charles Hancock, Bootsy Holler, Donna Huanca, Bruce LaBruce, Jeffrey Lee, Lance Letscher, Dotty Love, Marne Lucas, Margaret Meehan, Katrina Moorhead, Tim Roda, Royal Robertson, Alexandre Rosa, Tom Sale, Joshua Saunders, Brian Scott, Roger Shimomura, Taro-kun, Karlo "Kaloy" Olavides, Dan Phillips, Robert The, Terri Thomas, Bruce Lee Webb, Barnaby Whitfield
Heyd Fontenot had recently become one of the artists in residence at the University of Texas, Dallas Centraltrak and soon became the director of the gallery after this exhibition. Co-curator, Julie Webb, is director and owner of the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, TX.

These two works by San Fransico/Bay Area artist Al Farrow were probably my favorite two of the whole lot.  The idea of "turning swords into plowshares" is captured in reality as Farrow turns guns and bullets into cathedrals and candelabras. 

Overall, the forty artists employed as many media to create objects and images that ranged from humor to violence.  Some created weapons, while others created works that reflected the results of violent acts.  Lance Letscher presented an actual AK-47 that he covered in a collage of stickers or stamps.  Margaret Meehan created a gun shaped object with butterfly wings out of ceramic and graphite. Brian Scott displayed his apes with guns paintings, but I also saw a dildo gun object that I think was his creation also.  Many different works that shared a common theme of some type of weaponry fetish as art.

Some works were on pedestals as in a usual white walled gallery.  But other objects and works on paper were in acrylic cases, while others that hung on the wall were placed within painted frames that gave me the feeling of vertical showcases.  Overall, the show had the feel of a trunk show or trade fair as I image real gun and knife shows are displayed.  But these works of art went much deeper in meaning than their more violent counterparts.  I was a bit surprised that a group show with this many artists actually worked, the theme carried through and I was both attracted and repelled simultaneously.

This one installation commanded its own corner wall to display the visceral effects of silver objects pummeled with bullets.

I received guns for Christmas for many years as a kid.  I let my dad lock them in his gun safe after I unwrapped them.  Hopefully some of them will have great value someday when I carry them into an Antiques Roadshow appraisal.  Meanwhile, this Gun & Knife Show is as close to the real thing as I care to go.  But I am still thinking about this one.

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