Monday, August 31, 2009

My Favorite Bits of Lawndale's 30th Anniversary Show

Robert Boyd

The great James Surls spoke about the founding of Lawndale last week. The show that is up now doesn't try to encapsulate Lawndale's entire 30-year history. It is composed of work by six artists who have all shown at Lawndale within the last five years.

Elaine Bradford, Harry With Worlds on Top, taxidermy elk's head, crocheted yarn, 2009

Elaine Bradford has been a high-profile artist in Houston. (Readers might recall that I bought a photograph of hers earlier this year.) I like the piece above because in it I see strong echoes of Dr. Seuss. I didn't see that in her taxidermy/knitting works before, but now it seems obvious. Bradford is hunting and mounting Seusses.

Elaine Bradford, Little Ram, Tiny World, plastic ram head and crocheted yarn, 2009

Emily Sloan turned the columns in the main space in Lawndale into these giant lamps. (I am assuming these columns were already there--I never really noticed them before.)

Emily Sloan, Boudoir Lamps in Black, Red and Gold, four structural columns with fabric, steel, wood and paint, 2009

I have no idea what she is saying with these "lamps" but they look cool.

Seth Alverson, Woman Bending Over, oil on canvas, 2009

Seth Alversons paintings are admirable but cringe-inducing (at least the ones I'm reproducing here). I don't really want to look at that lovingly-painted cottage cheese, but can't look away. He should hope a museum gets it, because it's hard to imagine a collector hanging this on her wall.

Seth Alverson, Tits in a Window, oil on canvas, 2009

Or this (these?)!

Mark Schatz, A Map Drawn from Memory, Torn to Pieces and Thrown into the Sea, mixed media, 2009.

Little bits of landscape, looking like a cross between Google maps satelite view and a model railroad diorama, with huge iceberg-like chunks of stone beneath them, hung upside down. The inherently creative impulse of model railroaders, plastic model builders, and diorama-makers of all stripes is art-schooled here. I approve. I've loved dioramas since I was a little kid. Here's a closer view:

Mark Schatz, A Map Drawn from Memory detail, Torn to Pieces and Thrown into the Sea, mixed media, 2009.

There are other good pieces in the show by other artists. But these were my favorites. Lawndale may not be the wild, crazy, unafraid-to-fail, anarchic place it was when James Surls started it, but it puts on a good show.

1 comment:

  1. My wife Anne and I are huge fans of Elaine Bradford. Her work always amuses and intrigues us.