A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#36 <previous/ next> Artletter index September 1, 1996

Seep at Lawndale	10/5

Mark Monroe's  Cascade   is an update on the romantic 19th century nature fountain. Old
appliances form a looming crag of white enameled steel which contrasts nicely with the
choreographed fluidity of the pseudo-natural waterfall. The faux park Monroe has created as a
setting for this piece seems unnecessary and distracting.  The most striking point of Kenneth
King's best piece,To walk not away ,  is how powerfully interesting cats are, and how long
viewers will wait to see one, even for a second or two. A video monitor in a niche, shows the
inside of a similar niche, empty. Very Zen. About every twelve minutes,  a cat is placed in the
niche, which it promptly jumps out of. That's all the action there is, but somehow it's worth
waiting for. King's other pieces, not involving cats, are not nearly as interesting.  Isabel
Farnsworth's untitled works Irrigation  and Oblong Instrument  are interconnected. Evoking dirty
medical apparatus, Irrigation  endlessly pumps water through a huge crusty ear like a dentist's
spit sink. In Oblong Instrument  a lumpy, cast aluminum organ is on life support; a network of
plastic tubes circulates vital fluids in and out. -B.D.

Perry House at Inman Gallery	10/12

Jungles of curls, strips and loops in paint and cut paper form giant painting-sized collages. Each
has a complex layered space;  tattered strips of torn paper mimic the accumulation of posters on
old billboards,  stiff stylized scrawls mimic graffiti. House's works are are self-contained;
offering an escape  into an interior world in which the interplay of paper vs. paint, torn vs. cut
edges  are ends in themselves, but thereby risk irrelevance to the world at large. #10 is rescued
by the speckled gray table form, which begs identification. #11 is bold and intricate, like a
playing card. The two red pieces, simpler and flatter, are less interesting.-B.D.

Donna Kleszcz at the First Unitarian Church, Fannin st.	?

Carefully painted starscapes, like backgrounds for sci-fi space battles. Although at first look
these five paintings seem like straightlaced transcriptions of telescopic photographs they are not
truly documentary. The emphasis on diaphanous gas clouds and their display in the sanctuary of a
church suggest a spiritual reading as mystical voids. See the enigmatic (and very expensive)
half-page ad in this month's Art in America for an example of Kleszcz's work.-B.D.

J.Hill at Purse Bldg. Studios	9/10

J. Hill's works reminds one that the ideals and imagery of the Pop art era are still alive and
functioning well within the age of Post-modernism. Common discards of everyday life such as
saltines, baby pacifiers, Q-tips, and a box of chocolates are cast in bronze and thus assigned a
status not normally held by such objects.  Rain, a large wall installation consisting of 23 bronze
baby pacifiers, stands out because it keeps a simplicity and form that are reminiscent ofJasper
Johns' light bulbs lightly mixed with a little of Andy Warhol-type satire. The imagery and
craftsmanship of the work are a wonderful mix of Pop and Post-modernism right up until too
much of the latter ingredient is added. Pacifier, a baby pacifier with a syringe attached to it,
leaves simplicity and wit behind and becomes complicated and loaded with angst. The strength of
this show is in its wonderful balance between art of the past and the present and only teeters
slightly when the present is added too liberally.- Troy Woods

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