This Week’s Visual Art, Feb 7-12: Gallery Openings, News, Reviews, and More

Kettle Art Gallery Moving

As you may have read elsewhere this week, Frank Campagna’s Kettle Art is picking up its roots and moving to another neighborhood after a series of programs that will mark the closing of the Deep Ellum space. The idea of Campagna’s gallery in a neighborhood other than Deep Ellum feels a little like learning that Martin Scorcese just up and moved to Denver. I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Recently, Kettle Art was mentioned in the Art Places report that cited a composite Dallas neighborhood called Deep-Arts-DistrExpo-Main Street as one of the nation’s best spots of creative activity. Let’s hope Campagna helps keep the city’s score stable by at least relocating within that centrally-located neighbor-hub. In the meantime, here’s the rundown of what’s planned for the last few months.


Dallas Art Fair at Outsider Art Fair

The Outsider Art Fair took place in New York last weekend, and it was rather enthusiastically reviewed by a number of critics, including Jerry Saltz, who used the opportunity to scold the institutions for confining “outsiders” to the outside. I’m not going to get into that squabble, but I did want to note that the Dallas Art Fair’s Chris Byrne was among the exhibitors at the fair. If you are looking for some insight on just what aspect of Byrne’s aesthetic taste gives the Dallas Art Fair what he likes to call its “twang,” take a look at th fantastic forensic mock-ups by Frank Bender, a self-taught sculptor whom Byrne showed in New York.


Oliver Francis Wants an Intern

Via OFG:

“Imagine regular open hours at OFG>>> what a wonderful world that would B.”

If you’re interested, contact [email protected]


Art Featuring Missing Girl Finds Girl’s Family

Here’s a moving story that comes out of a recent exhibition at 500x. Artists Chancellor Page and Bryan Scott recently opened a show featuring a series of portraits adopted from the images of a girl who disappeared in 1974. The picture of one of the girls was featured on the gallery press release. Somehow that information wound up making its way to the parents of the missing girl, who decided to go to the opening:

Rusty, his wife Terri and daughter Shannon drove from Ft. Worth through the blinding rainstorm to attend the 500x opening reception in Dallas. A second serendipitous moment occurred when Rusty introduced himself as the brother of the missing girl in the image. Close to tears, the family and artists hugged. The Trlica family was touched that Rachel’s memory was being kept alive.

Page and Scott’s series is about the forgotten, questioning how we choose to remember, how we achieve closure with both personal and collective loss and how we reconcile ourselves with trauma thus continuing to live our lives.

Rusty Trlica maintains a website and keeps his sister’s memory alive. He and the artists will keep in close contact. Art does have the ability to build community, generate awareness and foster healing.



“paintings are objects… and possibly people” by Arthur Pena, at RE GalleryFebruary 8 : 6-10 p.m. 1717 Gould Street, Dallas, Tx 75215

Arthur Pena’s latest body of work, which will be on view in a solo show at RE Gallery, marks a subtle departure from the last time we saw his pieces en masse in DFW at Oliver Francis Gallery. The leather and bleached-cloth scraps, crudely stitched together and wrapped around the stretcher bars, have evolved into a series that employs a broader spectrum of materials, while still corralling studio bric-a-brac into canvas-bound concoctions. Canvas is used in Pena’s work not so much as a base or surface, but rather as a construction material. He imprints canvas texture on plaster that is poured between stretcher bars, or  tears off strips of canvas from stretcher bars and reapplies them, along with the staples, so that the metal staples stick up off the edge of frame, creating a jagged edge that looks like something out of Hellraiser. In other pieces, canvas is entirely absent, as with one comprised of wooden edging that forms a frame that circles in on itself — or another, in which a shop towel is pinned at the corners to rectangular stretcher bars, hanging over the vacant “painting” space like a veil.

These trompe-l’oeils – the canvas imprinting, the wooden vortex, the shop towel diorama – do not suggest the facsimile so much as call attention to the thing itself as constructed object. Thus Pena blends painting and sculpture in an intriguing way, maintaining the integrity of the experience of the autonomous object hung on the wall while each work finds its composition rooted in composite construction – a point driven home, if you’ll pardon the pun, by all the exposed nails, screws, and staples.

In addition to their positioning on the wall, scale is also key to the work’s success. I wonder if these pieces would possess the same kind of richness of personality if they were wall-sized. Pena says he scales his pieces to familiar objects – the width of his shoulders, a doubling of sextupling of the dimensions of a VHS cassette – information you don’t necessarily need to bring to the work because the effect of size is innate to the paintings. And yet, when in one of his “Attempts,” as Pena titles all of his paintings, unspooled video cassette tape is stuffed behind a wall of clear tape, some of those VHS-era pop references rush to the surface. Maybe Frankenstein is the wrong character; I began to think of Chunk, that incarcerated, chocolate-fiending and deeply empathetic misfit in Goonies. “Baby Ruth!”


SUSAN/ELIZABETH at Goss-Michael Foundation – February 8 6-9 p.m.1405 Turtle Creek Blvd. Dallas ,TX 75207

The opening of the first ever New Practices exhibition at Goss-Michael coincides this week with the launch party for the second edition of Semigloss, the Sally Glass-driven artist magazine. The exhibition includes a collection of female artists (based in New York, Puerto Rico, and Dallas), whose work, the exhibition materials suggest, explores “the feminine and feminine relationships.” That curatorial interest stems from one of the curatorial partners in the exhibition, (wo)manitorial, an online art space whose (wo)manifesto explains that they are feminists who identify with feminism after they identify with their femininity.

It’s a bit of a tongue-twister, but as a curatorial project, it makes an interesting counterpoint to the Jefferey Grove-curated exhibition, Difference?, that is up for one more month at the Dallas Museum of Art. Putting aside the awkward question mark title, Grove’s exhibit, in essence just a rehanging of works from the collection by great female artists, operates under a straight-forward, though open-ended conceit: is art by women necessarily feminine, is there an artistic voice that expresses itself as feminine without necessarily being engaged in femininity, or is there gender neutrality with regards to the character of certain artistic practices?

Phenomenon at the Dallas ContemporaryFebruary 9: 9 p.m. – midnight 161 Glass St. Dallas, TX 75207.

The Dallas Contemporary’s annual Phenomenon fundraiser takes place Saturday, and if you’ve been sitting on the opportunity to check out the new installations over there, then you’re in luck: Saturday’s event sounds like the perfect setting for DZINE’s “excessive and exuberant Kustom Kulture.” Alongside the work, the event will feature music by legendary house DJ Derrick Carter and a visit by Lowrider Car Clubs of Dallas.

And speaking of recent goings on at the Contemporary, the latest exhibition of Texas-based video artists, Los Americanos, has expanded outside of the museum’s Design District and into Victory Plaza, where the outdoor jumbo screens will display some of the works. Click here for more information on that, and here for times when you can see the art at Victory.


Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective at the Nasher Sculpture Center Feb 9-May 12  2001 Flora St. Dallas, TX 75201.

We’ll be writing about Price’s show, which opens this week on the second leg of its three-leg, LA-Dallas-NY tour, but there are a couple of things to point out. Jerome Weeks has a nice take on the show over on Art & Seek, which includes a conversation with Dave Hickey, who wrote a catalog essay for the Price show. Hickey and Price used to surf near each other growing up in California, though they only discovered that coincidence later in life.

There is, of course, a disheartening element to this show, and that’s the very tangible impact Museum Tower is having on the Nasher’s exhibition. That the museum has been forced to cover its roof in order to protect Price’s sculptures from the Museum Tower glare is travesty enough, but the real depressing aspect is the impression that the implications of the condo development – that a skyscraper has robbed a museum of its defining and most elevating attribute, its light – is a point entirely lost on those who make up one side of the debate on what to do about the Nasher. As the Dallas Morning News reported earlier in the week, in all likelihood this is headed towards litigation.


“Notes on the Movement” and “Black Artists & The WPA” curated by Anthony Hopkins at the South Dallas Cultural CenterFebruary 9- March 2 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. Dallas, TX 75210.

UPDATE: The “Notes on the Movement” exhibition has been pushed back to Feb. 21 and “Black Artists & the WPA” has been canceled. Really too bad.

Two exhibitions at the South Dallas Cultural Center this month attach themselves to specific moments in history. The first, “Notes on the Movement,” is an examination of the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, which will include a variety of artist installations as well as a series of events that aim to assess the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom.

The second exhibition, “Black Artists & The WPA,” takes as its touchstone a moment a few decades earlier, during the Great Depression, and gathers together the work of artists, muralists and painters, who were commissioned by the Works Projects Administration in the 1930s. Together, the two shows present an interesting diptych, directly relating the struggle for equal liberty through Civil Rights with the opportunity to find readily available and humane labor.


All-Time Lotion at The Reading RoomFebruary 9: 6-9 p.m. 3715 Parry Avenue, Dallas, TX 75226.

Danielle Avram Morgan, who just left as manager of The Power Station, and photographer Kevin Todora, guest curate the small Expo Park space with the work of Atlanta-based performance artist and photographer Maury Gortemiller. Gortemiller is interested in the “Janus-faced” aspects of photography – Janus referring to the double-faced Roman god, the namesake of “January,” and a figure who presides over ideas of transitions and transformations, beginnings and ends, past and future. In this context, Gortemiller’s work utilizes the documentary quality of photography – the capturing of the image of the thing as it appears before the lens – and the creative, theatrical elements of performance to produce images that beguile and transfix. On February 23, Gortemiller will give a talk and performance that focuses on his Competitive Apnea project, which documents his pursuit of the fringe-sport of holding one’s breath underwater for long periods of time.


Altered States: An art-party fundraiser by The Art Foundation at The Old Tornado Bus repair station – February 9: 8-11 p.m., 3016 Gulden Lane, Dallas, TX 75212.

As we mentioned last week, The Art Foundation is hosting an event to raise money for a project that will take place at some point in West Dallas. Robert Andrade is the commissioned artist, or rather, the almost-commissioned. Think of this as a 2008-style Kickstarter campaign, that is, a micro-fundraiser in which you actually have to put on pants and show up. I understand there may be some antics involved, in addition to the music by a couple of FrontRow contributors and others, to keep you amused after you fork over your ten bucks.


This week’s lecture:

Gary Simmons at Tuesdays at the Modern at the Modern Art Museum of Fort WorthFeb 12: 7 p.m. 3200 Darnell St. Fort Worth, TX 76107.

The Tuesday at the Modern lecture series returns this coming week with a talk by Gary Simmons. If you haven’t yet read Cassandra Emswiler’s review of Simmons’ Focus show at the Modern, do so here.

Other openings:

“Systems and Solutions” by Bernardo Cantu, Chance Dunlap, Linda Dee Guy, Terry Hays, and Kathy Robinson-Hays, at ‘Visit Addison!‘ – February 7: 6-8 p.m. 5100 Belt Line Road, Suite 400, Dallas, Tx 75254.

Synesthesia “UИ1ØИ_ØF_ŦĦΞ_SΞИSΞS” at WAAS Gallery – February 7: 7-11:30 p.m. 2722 Logan St. Dallas, TX 75215.

“The Journey To Izmir With New Hope” by Robb Conover, at Cafe Izmir – February 7: 7-9 p.m. 3711 Greenville Ave., Dallas, Tx 75206.

“University Of Dallas 2013 Regional Juried Ceramic Competition” at the University of Dallas Haggerty GalleryFebruary 8 : 6:30-8:30 p.m. 1845 East Northgate Drive, Irving, Tx 75062.

“Diamonds and Stillet”O”s” by Omar Angel Perez and Martha Wilkinson, at Ilume GallerieFebruary 8-9: 7-10 p.m. 4123 Cedar Springs, Suite 107, Dallas, Tx 75219.

“Divine Designs Art Exhibit” by Ann DeRulle, at the Marshall-McPhail GalleryFebruary 9: 1-5 p.m. 11450 Sprowles Street, Dallas, Tx 75229.

“The Piazza Valentina Marketplace” by Sharon Shero & Bob Quaglia, at 960 Dragon StreetFebruary 9 : 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. 960 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Artist Talks at 1415 Slocum” by Trey Egan and David McGlothlin, at Cris Worley Fine Arts and Alan Simmons Fine ArtFebruary 9: 3-5 p.m. 1415 Slocum Street, Suite 104 & 105, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Frederick Hart (1943 – 1999)” by Madeline Kisting, author of Frederick Hart’s books, and Lindy Hart, the author’s wife, at the Southwest GalleryFebruary 9 : 1-5 p.m. 4500 Sigma Road, Dallas, Tx 75244.

“LOVE” by Angela DeAnda, A. Kaye, KeLaine Kvale, Joe Field, Ernie Benton, Jenny Keller, Betsy Daves Bass, Angel Rogers, Karen Thompson, Sandra Brinker, VET, Diana Chase, Celine Raphael-Leygues, John Carpenter, Carmen Lax-Ray, Walter Ray, Allison Wooten, Grace Keller Scotch, Jan Partin, Andie Comini, Cynthia Daniel, Fancy Tanner, Hamutal Michaeli, Julie Mortillaro, Julie Pitman, Randy Ross, and Marilee Vergati-Haynes, at the TVAA Downtown GalleryFebruary 10 : 2-4 p.m. Plaza of the Americas, Suite G207, 700 N Pearl, Dallas, Tx 75201.


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  • John

    Arthur Pena’s work tries too hard to be abject or outsider. Like many of Oliver Francis artists and RE Gallery artists, the work is all concept with zero visual splendor. It’s filled with excuses as to how it’s made, rather than having the interest exist in the skill or beauty of the pieces. It’s academic b.s. for a select crowd that is impressed by crude construction and an opposition to what makes art wonderful. These kind of artists get a free pass by critics but those that are not blurred by the academic noises, thankfully see more clearly. Arthur Pena, please stop trying so hard to make ugly trash art and redeem yourself with some attempts that don’t feel trite. I’m bored and I think I saw some of your pieces by the dumpster the other day, oh wait that was scraps from the roofing replacement next door.

  • Michael Morris

    John, that’s a pretty lame assesment. “Beauty” is fine, but it’s not the only tool an artist can employ. “What makes art wonderful” can grow out of different areas than a well finished appearance. I think you’re missing out if you don’t allow yourself time to have a different relationship with a work that asks a little more of its audience. It’s really easy to call something bullshit or elitist. How about meeting a work on its own terms?



  • kasper the ghost

    I don’t agree with “those that are not blurred by academic noises, thankfully see more clearly.” It’s a bit too optimistic.

  • Dabadazz

    I think John is exactly correct. I’m so tired of the concept of the painting being what the piece is really about. No one mentions that Pena’s work is just plain ugly and resembles sanitation with the underwhelming hash tag of crude construction. The saddest thing is that Pena gets a review when someone displaying actual artistic skill and beauty is overlooked for the sake of polarizing b.s. I’m sure Pena has skill with all of his degrees etc. but he seems to want to reject those talents and just put some burnt crap on the wall so that you will think he’s brilliant. I believe this cross section of art is highly overexposed by critics and if they had any real courage it should be blasted. How do critics not feel the least bit silly commenting on a cheap frame and a bleached sheet with a string hanging down. I’m not saying it’s terrible but it’s not worthy of any notable attention. I want everyone to be able to do their art, but lets not act like all outsider art is important, because it’s clearly not.

  • kasper the ghost

    Cry me a river. Artistic skill and beauty are over-rated.

  • Freddi5

    Artistic skill and beauty is overrated? This might be the dumbest comment possible concerning visual arts. These are the traits that separate the top artists from those who have sneaked into the party somehow through the side door. The defense of crappy art that I always love is when the crappy artists just say “well you don’t get it, it’s too deep for you.” We get it, we just think it’s an expedient vehicle to get attention rather than something that will be respected in the long term.

  • Eli Walker

    Why all the hate on Pena? Criticizing him like this only gives him more attention- attention gives him more interest within our community. Further, we should be celebrating Pena as a local artist, born in Dallas and working here. Many of the artists that are being scrutinized here (including myself) are from DFW and feel a sincere responsibility to connect with the city we were raised in and love.
    As for Pena’s paintings- because they are paintings- are far from the realm of “outsider.” I’m not quite sure what “visual splendor” is or “what makes art wonderful.” Those are subjective qualities that have no merit outside of your own taste. But calling it “trash art” and “dumpster” are descriptive and objective- good job, more of that.
    However, I disagree. There is nothing outside of the materials found in a painter’s studio that make up these works: painting rags, staples, tape, quarter-rounds and 45 degree stretcher bars. If you prefer image making by way of illusion to space and representation, this just isn’t a show for you. If you are familiar with the construction, or simply “how one makes a painting”, this should have been a worthwhile show for you. A lot of this noise is coming from people that are too quick to impose their preference instead of objectively examining what is going on.

  • Michael Morris

    I don’t think there’s any lack in Dallas of what you guys are calling “skillful”, “beautiful”, or whatever. Why not accept that there are other ways to engage with a work of art than those ways that are most comfortable to you? This work is meant to be challenging, to move you to a different way of looking that includes associations with materials and other relationships. The artist’s vocabulary shouldn’t be limited to beauty.

  • cbrown

    Hello friends,

    It is (wo)manorial, not womanitorial.

    Thanks ya!


  • Ricardo Paniagua

    John. I have not read everything yet here, but I have to first of all say that I can be classified as an RE Artist, but I have a ninth grade highschool education and that is it.

  • Ricardo Paniagua

    John, I have to say that I might be an “RE Artist” but just wanted to say that I have a ninth grade highschool education and that is it.

  • Ricardo Paniagua

    John, I have a ninth grade high school education and just had a solo show at RE Gallery. I still get bullshit from people that don’t automatically see me as a safe bet.

  • Ricardo Paniagua

    John, I have a ninth grade high school education and just had a solo show at RE Gallery. I still get bullshit from people that don’t automatically see me as a safe bet.

  • artdude

    I don’t think John was talking bad about those without degrees, he was saying the opposite. He was saying that the takeover of conceptual art in academia has clouded the art scenes vision as to what is good art. I think he is saying the work is just to simple and easy, I believe he is saying that Pena has the talent, but he is just making contrived work in the hopes that he will seem as a genius by critics. It’s a worthy point John makes, but he just didn’t word it correctly.

  • kasper the ghost

    There is stupidity in the idea that what makes a “top artist” is beauty and skill. Art is ever evolving and can’t be pigeon-holed. You pseudo-stuckists cry all the time about the art that gets critical praise because it doesn’t fit into you hackneyed standards.

    Regardless there is beauty in Pena’s work.

  • Ricardo Paniagua

    Well, all that is not my concern. I was just wanting to exempt myself from being categorized as an art school grad because Im not and I strongly believe against art school. sorry if anyone disagrees. not trying to debate or anything, but again just wanted to clear up Johns assessment of all artist that have shown at RE are this or that.