A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#20 <previous/ next> Artletter index January 2, 1996

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Stephen Mueller at Texas Gallery	1/20

The resigned, pessimistic execution of these paintings negates the sublime
or transcendent imagery. Tired yet still optimistic. Layered, liquid
backgrounds are either a limitless universe or a fancy but tacky cocktail
full of fruity jellybeans or geometric simulations of planets, comets, and
solar systems. Art for nerdy Star Trek fans who are now abstract artists.
The ambivalent confirmation/ denial of the utopian dreams common to both
sci-fi and early modernism (a comparison with Kandinsky is unavoidable)
reveal the underlying techno-utopia to which we still aspire, but only
recently have learned to criticise. Like Magritte's, these paintings are not
at all like their photographs, which capture the  futuristic images but lose
the workaday surface. -B.D.

Stephen Mueller at Teaxas Gallery	1/20

Disappointing. Looks as if he could have made these from a kit. Flat and
Plain. What has made his previous work so interesting was the
multi-layering of saturated color and elliptical forms. In previous work he
had the decency to erase his graphite lines- which would not have been bad
had he made them more stupid and obvious. Instead it seems like he strove
for transcendent utopia but settled for a bland Star Trek wanna be.- Paul
Forsythe and David Aylsworth 

Green Mountain Foundry at the Glassell School	2/18

A peculiar extension of the Texas found object and junk sculpture tradition.
Casting a piece of junk into bronze increases its collectability at the
expense of its original contemporary feel. Linda Ridgway's delicate string
of grape stems is unexpected and escapes the "look Ma, it's bronze!"
syndrome which haunts many works in the show. -B.D.

Mary McCleary at Lynn Goode	1/27

The surface is the only good thing. The vague, biblical imagery is
completely forgettable, but the use of ropes, sticks, glass, beads, plastic
toys et. al. is fascinating. These works are best when viewed from about
12" away. Best in the show is "Peter's Vision" in which the plastic toys
embedded in the sky become the main subject of the piece.-B.D.

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