Sunday, April 20, 2014

Drawn In | Drawn Out at The Grace Museum

title wall featuring Rusty Scruby's artwork
Yesterday was the closing for "Drawn in | Drawn Out" at The Grace Museum in Abilene, TX.
This exhibition featured the works of

The museum's statement for the exhibition noted,
"Drawn In / Drawn Out is one exhibition in two locations – The Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas and The Old Jail Art Center in Albany, Texas – presenting art by contemporary artists who challenge traditional concepts of drawing. Drawing, released from a preparatory role since the 1960s, affords a myriad of options for contemporary artists to reinvigorate image-making and representation. Over the last decade drawing has become recognized as a stand-alone medium and like other art media in this age of cultural and technological flux and innovation, the definition of drawing has expanded to include 3-D and conceptual forms.  Drawn In / Drawn Out explores new drawing strategies that include site-specific installations, wall drawings, multilayered compositions and atypical approaches to the art of drawing."

We stopped in Albany first to view the works at The Old Jail Art Center, and then made our way to Abilene for the opening reception at The Grace. A bus shuttled people between the two opening receptions, so we were able to see some of the artists from the show in Albany later in the evening.

Here are some of the sights from Drawn In | Drawn Out at The Grace:

Rusty Scruby, "Branches", 2013, enamel on poplar wood construction

Rusty Scruby, "Rip Van Winkle #4", 2013, charcoal on paper construction
Rusty Scruby, "Hexagonal Gridwork Study", 2001, paper construction
Rusty giving his artist talk
Vernon Fisher
Vernon Fisher
Vernon Fisher giving his artist talk
Adela Andea
Adela Andea giving her artist talk
Linnea Glatt
detail of Linnea Glatt
Timothy Harding
Timothy Harding giving his artist talk
Hollis Hammonds
detail of Hollis Hammonds

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Welcome Back to You and Me

I should probably say "welcome back" just to myself. It has been almost two years since I last posted. However, I have continually viewed, bought, and documented art and artists during this time. I know some of you have continued to check in on my blog because I've received several comments on posts. Also, I recently heard that at least three artists that I have featured on this blog have received new gallery attention due to information those galleries found on my blog about those three artists. I need to hook back up to an analytic provider to find out what the current traffic is for this blog.

I'm going to be honest here and reveal why I've been absent. I don't have an arts degree, and I got paranoid about using some of the International Art English that I have become accustomed to by interacting with the art community. Not having a solid art history background, sometimes I felt out of my league describing my reactions to art and art events.There is more to it, of course. I started this blog while I was unemployed. The termination of my last position severely dealt me a mid-life crisis situation that I thought I had prepared for. I don't think there really is a way to prepare. Me starting this blog was a way to try to stay relevant and maintain my pc and critical thinking skills.It worked for a while, but that paranoia just kept eating at me. Then when after a year-and-a-half I found employment in a job far beneath my previous position and pay scale and with hours that competed with art viewing, I felt defeated and depressed. I stopped writing because I didn't feel worthy to offer my opinion.

Funny that. Depression is a monster riding around on shoulders continually whispering in the ear, "you're not good enough, and you'll never be." It takes work, lots of work, to shove that monster off your shoulders. But I like to work. So I keep at it. I did see lots of art these past two years, and talked about art with lots of people, and I posted lots of pics to my fb page, I just didn't offer up too much opinion in writing. A number of people have continued to ask me if I have been blogging, so while I've answered "no", their asking has been encouraging. So thank you all for that. And even though that new job was equivalent to where my career was twenty five years ago, I took the opportunity to re-examine that job position. So that now that I have returned to a management position, I have a fresh perspective from my team's point of view. I keep rotating out small pieces of art on my cubicle desk at work, too.It reminds me that my corporate job is not the total sum of who I am.

So with all that said, it is time for me to hit the streets and go see some art!

Just see what I post next.....

Thanks, y'all !!!!

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!!