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 Mail subscriptions $25/year. Look for Artletter 18 on December 1.