I started out this weekend driving out to Sharpstown to Alta Arts. I have a lot to say about this relatively new art organization. Their new structure, pictured below, is amazing. And Sharpstown, just outside the Loop, needs some art. The question is, is Alta Arts the organization to facilitate this? It can’t be denied that they have put their money where their mouth is. Their galley is the whitest white-cube in town.
The current exhibit, abstract painters by David Hacker is only the second in this new space.
Alta Arts Director of Programming, Alexander Squier, told me that Hacker’s work is purely abstract, but I kept seeing landscape elements. That space between landscape and abstraction made me think of Richard Deibenkorn or, closer to home, Bas Poulos.
Over at Front Gallery, which recently celebrated its 10th annivesary (I was there for its first show, Kim Dingle). Their current show feature work by Erika Whitney. The painting above is called Intentions. This painting reminded me of word paintings by Dana Frankfort and Christopher Wool. Closer to Frankfort than Wool. Legibility is not the function of these painted words.
But only a couple of them feature painted words. This one is called Wacky Garden.
This is You’re Getting Warmer.
Over at Bill Arning Exhibitions, I looked at a big group show. Led Zep by Austin artist Alyssa Kazew made me laugh.
As you can see from this detail, she lays down the black paint wet on a red underpainting, then scrapes away the darker paint. The effect has an uncanny feeling of memory for me. Like Proust and his madeleine, this gives me strong high school nostalgia. Of desks that have had rock and roll bands and logos carved into them—Led Zep, Skynnard, Blue Oyster Cult, etc. I am transported back to Memorial High School in the late 70s looking at this painting.
Another sparkly painting is Tigra Mariposa (“Tigra” doesn’t translate into English, but is similar to “Tigre” meaning tiger. A Mariposa is a butterfly.) When I saw it, I instantly recalled Gabriel García Márquez’s descriptions of Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
I thought of Macondo because every square centimeter of Tigra Mariposa is teeming with life.