A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#17 <previous/ next> Artletter index November 15, 1995

Noah Edmundson at Brasil	?

Mismatched found frames hold doodle-y crowds of tiny heads and skulls.
Individualized faces, each a specific friend or passerby intermingle with
ghosts and skulls, on one page are all the men with different beards, on
another women with different hairdos, as if these were pages from a
sketchbook. Unpretentious, they contrast life's charming foibles with 
lurking shadows of death. The steel works are too arty, losing the warmth
and  personality of the drawings.-B.D.

Susan Davidoff at Sally Sprout	11/11

Graphic plant silhouettes: well drawn, crisp and fascinating. Forms and
gestures which invite a journey through their details like Chinese
landscape painting. But Davidoff fills the rest of her pages with murky
scratches and smudges to create a vague "artistic" atmosphere, ruining
perfectly good drawings of plants by forcing them into arty postures and a 
melodramatic false heroism.-B.D.

Texas Myths and Realities at the MFAH 	12/31

Texas myths center on landscapes of two types: swampy bayou and arid
plains. Rackstraw Downes' P.H. Robinson Generating Station : Eight Ibis
Feeding with an Egret  is the best of this genre, the canvas itself stretched
sideways to encompass the vast damp wasteland that is modern Texas'
iconic portrait. Dwarfed by both the land and the power station are eight
ibis, an egret and three tiny cars. Nature in Texas is tainted by man: a huge
prairie with a junked shed or a rusted car, a muddy shore with a wrecked
boat. It's the junk that makes it Texas rather than Wyoming or even Kansas.
Not since Julian Onderdonk's Sunlight and Shadow  of 1910 has it been
possible to see the Texas landscape with the romantic appreciation for
nature which is still lavished today on many western locales. Strikingly
absent from the show is work in which Texans look at themselves, save for
a few  photographs like Russell Lee's St. Augustine, Texas. Wretched
pseudo-altars abound (Michael Tracy, Karin Broker, Roy Fridge), but the
most convincing is the boxy shrine that the museum itself has built for the
Meade Brothers' photograph of Sam Houston, patron deity of this his
namesake town. (the photograph was taken in New York: like many Texas
artists, he is revered here for making it big elsewhere).- B.D.

Address letters to: Bill Davenport, 801 Tulane St., Houston TX 77007

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