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!!


  1. I have the R.C Gorman of rendering lady in wrap blue blanket instructions on acrylic material was in spectra galleries shermanway north Hollywood signed by R.C. Gorman 1977. 505-319-1181

    1. On the R.C. Gorman do you happen to remember seeing the letters mg- followed by a number...probably a two digit number like, written on the paper backing? Or if not, any idea what this would signify?