A R T L E T T E R
The Timely Magazine of Art
|#12||<!>previous/ next>!> Artletter index||September 1, 1995|
Letters: Helen Altman at Hiram Butler ends 9/15 Your review of Helen Altman's show (see AL 11) completely stymied me. How you extrapolate what you did from a frozen turkey in a refrigerator is COMPLETELY beyond me. To me the piece stank of half-baked graduate school ideas. The very fact that you were able to pull as many of the "big" metaphors out of it as you did (life, death, rebirth, and regeneration) testifies more to your imagination than hers. Altman is trying to move into unexplored territiory which is most certainly laudable. Her refrigerator and seed trees were markedly flimsy when compared to her over-produced snowman and egg quilt (not to ignore those awful smoke drawings). In those cases she knows what she's trying to accomplish- having done similar things before, and probably realizes herself that they come out dead. I'm glad to see the refrigerator and seed trees as new directions for Altman, but as finished pieces in themselves, they deserve none of the praise you've heaped on them.- David Aylsworth El Salvador 1980-present at Lawndale 10/14 Fabulous woodcarvings by Don Napoleon Alberto mix naive crudity, classical figure sculpture, and fantasy. In one, a huge (for a wood carving) dinosaur/dragon crushes the scales of justice and the international agreement on human rights with clawed human feet. His spines are bullets, his teeth are real teeth. His pose is awkward and hideous as his neck is severed by a the machete of popular revolt. So strightforward that you've gotta believe it. Estela Solis' naive-style tourist painting Entrega De Armas (the handing over of arms) depicts a crowd of tiny people with tiny machine guns in a cute, vividly colored utopian village, over which hovers a white dove of peace, and nearby the white helicopter of the United Nations.-B.D. Poussin at the MFAH 11/12 These seething masses of embroiled humanity need only dialog balloons and $!*%$%#$!!!'s to slide seamlessly into the contemporary art-comix. Stories of heroism, conflict, romance and passion require a complex graphic language of gestures, spotlights and shadows to convey their drama, whenever they are told, whether it's the Romans vs. the Sabines or the X-Men vs. Galactus. Their obvious artificiality is a strength rather than a weakness, for these are fantasies, requiring a suspension of disbelief.-B.D. Address letters to: Bill Davenport, 801 Tulane St., Houston TX 77007 Mail subscriptions $25/year. Look for Artletter 13 on September 15. Artletter now available at Brasil Cafe!