A R T L E T T E R
The Timely Magazine of Art
|#20||<!>previous/ next>!> Artletter index||January 2, 1996|
Get your ARTLETTER Anthology 1995! Catch up on what you missed or archive for posterity. Issues 1-19 for $1.47 or 5 postage stamps. 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. Address letters to: Bill Davenport, 801 Tulane St., Houston TX 77007 Mail subscriptions $15/year. Look for Artletter 21 on January 15.