A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#32 <previous/ next> Artletter index July 1, 1996

Short Take at Sally Sprout Gallery	7/6!

Mark Allen's Sweet Grace of Snakes  is a very fashionable painting: retro
70's sherbet colors and adolescent-style doodles openly admit to
faddishness yet there is a core of sincerity which gives it a great staying
power. Drawn with fine-tuned lines (brittle and fleshy) the clownish face
of a child or pimp sits atop a snake/worm body. Awkward yet graceful.-
Paul Forsythe

Retraction: Artletter 32 contained an unsubstantiated rumor about the
Frank Freed show at the MFAH. I was wrong to print it, and I apologize to
both the Museum and the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation.-B.D. 

Frank Freed at the MFAH	9/8

These are likeable paintings. Freed's work has the strengths and
weaknesses of naive art: a lot of uninteresting works occasionally studded
with a piece which  emanates a quirky insight. Lack of technical facility is
offset by painstaking, patient work. Lack of pretension allows Freed's
middlebrow wit to ring true: an older man of the WWII generation, polite,
concerned, intelligent, Freed caricatures people with comradely humor and
gazes with mild paranoia at abstract art, freeways, and modern urban

The Big Show at Lawndale	8/3

A remarkably low level of total crap, and a few pieces which are
interesting, with an odd preponderance of high-school psychedelia. Points
of interest: Mark Allen's hairy-headed pinup bunny, Laura Kellner's
disgusting drain clog hairballs, Erik Kolflat's insanely laborious
large-scale magic marker work, James O'Donnell's delicate
candy-colored hidden picture doodle, Zack Ratliff's goofy paint by number
style desert, Debbie Riddle's fuzzy surveillance/ interrogation photo,
Kristina Spritzer's aggressive double-vagina dominatrix portrait, Sian
Hill's tiny abstract flight comic, Rosalind Lilly's odd seed platter, and
Joe Madden's kid's conception of the lunar cheese industry. Unignorable
and possibly worst of show is Cynthia Morgan Batmanis' circle of
headdresses for a mythical tribe of muffin headed interior decorators.-B.D.

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