Sunday, October 12, 2008

New restaurant painting

I've been working on a series of (for lack of a better term) restaurant paintings: people in restaurants, sitting around the table. I finished another yesterday and thought I'd post it. This is Dorothy and Ed at Caro's.

Acrylic on rag paper, approximately 22 x 30 inches.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Arts Goggle

I'm ashamed to say, despite living in the Mid-South neighborhood (Fairmount, to be exact), I've not fully immersed myself in the twice-yearly Arts Goggle. Oh, I always manage to hit one or two places, but that's about it.

I hereby pledge to more fully support this noble and egalitarian endeavor.

Part of the problem is that Arts Goggle always coincides with Gallery Night weekend and I don't usually have the energy to do both. This year's Gallery Night I only managed to hit 3 places out of the 3 or so dozen that had activities. Next Spring, I plan to take off half a day on that Friday so as to have the time to get into the swing of things. Some habits are good things.

One interesting outcome of this year's Gallery Night was that I tentatively agreed to do an exhibition for next Fall's Goggle. This means some serious time spent in the studio. Of course a lot can happen between then and now, but at the very least, this will encourage me to spend (more) time in the studio.

More to come as I start the process of putting together a body of new work.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fall Gallery Night 2008

Dorothy and I hit Arts Google and Gallery Night this weekend and as usual I had a great time catching up with old friends, though the evening tends to remind me that my art career is currently in remission.


Bill Campbell's gallery continues to the most consistently classy place in town - we started our journey from there on Saturday. Crowded as all get out as always (Bill's place is always hopping). Robert McAn's Identity Theory is the current downstairs show. McAn's pieces are made of shredded bits of his personal life: old mail, bills, and the like. Despite the obvious commentary on the push and pull of privacy issues and the proliferation of our personal information in the information age, the pieces have an intriguingly physical aspect to them: they are interesting and attractive objects.

The Fort Worth Community Art Center may well be the best thing to happen to the Fort Worth art scene. It is a street bazaar: there are always at least half a dozen exhibitions going on at once. You may hate one and find the one in the next room absolutely captivating. My personal faves: Ann Ekstrom's tight hyper-real compositions (to call them 'still-lifes' doesn't do them justice), Nancy Lamb's glossy post-photographic depictions of people enjoying night life, and Ron Tomlinson's always astonishingly virtuoso paintings of (there's no other way to say this) random shit.

Artspace111, just east of downtown, has turned into one of the best spaces for contemporary art in Fort Worth. The industrial vibe suits it, and now that it is a commercial venture (rather than an artist's coop), they've cleaned up some of the rough edges. The sculpture garden and outside patio is a small bit of perfection in this downtown spot. Featured artist Ed Blackburn's current work continues and extends his neo-pop approach with an overtly political subtext.

Final thought: Arts Google, a Southside arts event, gets bigger every year. I only managed to get to 2 places Friday, but next year I'm going commit to fully explore this new phenomena.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Impressionists show at the Kimbell

Managed to squeeze into the member preview of the new Impressionists show at the Kimbell Art Museum. It's good show--a darned good show. I dare say it will be crowded as sin for the next couple of months, since hey--who doesn't love the Impressionists?

This show is a small chunk of the Chicago Art Institute's collection, come to visit us in Fort Worth whilst the Art Institute does a little remodeling. Better to get it out in the public eye than put it in cold storage. That being said, this isn't the second string, although some of the best known works stayed home. Still, with a collection like the Art Institute, there is an awful lot to choose from. In addition to the usual superstars like Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh and Gauguin, there are a healthy assortment of some their peers and influences.

The centerpiece of the show for me was Paris Street: Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte. Like several other pieces in the show, the composition shows the influence of the budding art of photography: while retaining some deliberately formal elements (e.g. the lamp post visually splitting the scene neatly in half), there is a certain casualness in the placement of figures and the point of view that is photographic.

This new sense of photographic "found" composition is in evidence in a number of other works: specifically the paintings and drawings of Degas, which are incredibly modern. Compare this to Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles, which despite its brilliant color, is fairly conservative compositionally.

I enjoyed seeing the Frédéric Bazille and the Pizzarros. I have a terrible confession: Renoir bores me to death. Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando is one of the few painting by Renoir I enjoy. The rest: mushy eye-candy.

There is much else to see, and I suspect the galleries will be crowded -- not the best way to view art. Seeing it in the middle of a week (after things have calmed down) is probably your best bet.

I lived in Chicago for a number of years. Seeing this was like a family reunion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Art in the Metroplex Call for Entries

Got a flier in the mail for the 26th Art in the Metroplex Competition the other day.

Entry deadline is Monday, June 30, 2008. The exhibition itself is September 6 - October 2, 2008.

Details are available at the TCU Art Department website:

The juror is Eleanor Heartney, a contributing editor to Art in America and Artpress, and an art writer for assorted other national publications.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring Gallery Night, 2008

We are almost upon the Spring Edition of Gallery Night 2008 here in Ft. Worth and since I haven't written to the Ralph Art blog in forever, it seemed like a good time to mention a couple of my favorite art venues.

William Campbell Contemporary Gallery
Bill must have started the gallery when he was still in diapers, since it has been a staple of the Ft. Worth art community since I was in school. A great space, well-located, run by a couple of folks with fabulous taste. What more could a person ask? I always see countless friends, who always ask the embarrassing question: "are you painting these days?" Julie Lazarus will have paintings, mixed media and blown glass works in the downstairs space; gallery artists will have work upstairs.

Once an artist-run gallery in a fairly raw industrial space just northeast of downtown, Artspace111 is now a commercial gallery, showing (as best I can tell) the same stable of artists that exhibited in its previous incarnation. While still possessed of a slight hint of post-industrial funk, the space has been cleaned up, slicked up, and (best of all) air-conditioned. The current show includes pieces by Michael Bane, Alice Bateman, Linda Blackburn, Ed Blackburn, Dan Blagg, Dennis Blagg, Ann Ekstrom, John Frost, John Hartley, Etty Horowitz, Nancy Lamb, Leslie Lanzotti, Jim Malone, Sue McCans, Jo-Ann Mulroy, J.C. Pace, Chris Powell and Eric Stevens.

Fort Worth Contemporary Arts Gallery a new (opened in February) space run by the TCU Art Department in a strip center at 2900 W. Berry St., just south of the TCU campus. I managed to make it to the inaugural show where a carnival atmosphere reigned. Looks like it could be an interesting addition to the art mix.

See you in Gallery Land!