The first regional juried exhibition at Artspace 111 opened on June 20. It limits its geographical scope to artists residing in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. Although including neighboring states opens the door to more talent, majority of the participants are local.
Dr. Ron Tyler, former director at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and Andrea Karnes, curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, are invited as jurors for the exhibition.
On the opening reception night, winning pieces have been selected; along wither 70 or so other works. Some are by familiar names, associated with major galleries; other are young and new to the scene. It is an exceptional event to explore the regional talents and meet some of the artists. Many sold tags on the opening night are the evidence of the enthusiasm from the local patrons.
L.A.-born and Texas raised artist Riley Holloway shows two portraits. In Slim, his choice of slightly upward pose showcases a flashing young man. On the other hand, Heyd Fontenot, the current director of UTD CentralTrak, was captured in deep thought in the other painting. Casted under strong light, the sitter looks downward, motionless. Yet Holloway’s use of bravura brushstrokes on his long white beard indicates a sense of movement. Both paintings were sold at the opening.
Vance Wingate’s Black Gems #4 is a collaged graphite drawing with three black geometric shapes on gray paper. All black shapes are flat without shade, but the succinct white lines and curvature appends them with a sculptural solidity. Small as it is (only six inches tall), it implies an enormous scale.
Kelli Vance, from Houston, brings in one of her recent paintings shown in Cris Worley Gallery. The painting may lack a contextual and narrative perspective as shown in “Myth Maker” when viewed alone. It does stand on its own as it is the only one in the series that doesn’t show any facial expression or interior furnishings. Vance marvelously captures human flesh under stockings and the sheen of the white high heels. The pale dots, however, puffing in the air, create a decorative pattern that works against the figurative details. According to Worley, it is a story about cleaning dog vomit during a house party. As glamorous as the hostess may look, that bizarre and embarrassing moment provides an incongruent juxtaposition between modern female identity and traditional domestic activity.
Vera Barnett, who shows at the Valley House gallery, certainly raises the bar of the exhibition. She destructs extraordinary trompe l’oeil fidelity with garish inflatable dolls depicted, providing extra layers of satirical comments.
The gem-like finding comes from drawings by Joanne Cervantes. Her works have the root in Jean Michel Basquiat’s graffiti paintings. Yet she keeps the scribbles simple, almost to a near minimalism neatness. The result is intuitive forms in simple doodling lines, dispersed with a playful rhythm across a striking white background.
As splendid as the first annual goes, it has excluded many genres by limiting to only 2D work. There are works (such as XY by Mick Burson) which are made of wood or plaster, loosely fitting into the sculptural painting category. But including true 3D work and other media would make the show more attractive in future.
The first annual juried exhibition is now on view at ArtSpace 111 (111 Hampton Street, Fort Worth) till August 15, 2014.