Visual Art

An Ode to the Oddity of Webb Gallery

The Webb Gallery is what the FOE must have been years ago -- this amazing, secret spot that you're not really sure if you should share or if you should continue to hog it all to yourself because it's perfect in all its little-known glory.

It's an incredible space to begin with, nestled inside the Waxahachie town square, and when they have a show, well -- it's a show. There's always a band and a local sponsor -- a tamale, ice cream or brew company, or some other slice of wonderful that you meet for the first time.

Julie and Bruce Lee Webb are always in plain sight, greeting everyone in such a warm way you wonder how two people can be so talented with such impeccable taste and still make you feel as if it's you they're happy to see. They scour the country for breathtaking oddities from a highback bottlecap throne to a Masonic anything, and it's all on display in this well-curated hodgepodge of a space. You can spend hours circling the gallery and discover something new on each pass.

The artists they highlight at each show are ones I've never heard of, but I'm captivated by them nonetheless. The common thread throughout the gallery is humor and whimsy. There is a small smile tucked behind every piece.

Last night's show, thankfully, proved to be more of the same, but was unlike anything I'd seen. We'll start with Bale Creek Allen and Allison Walton and then move onto the main event: Peep Show.

Allen's pieces and installations ran the gamut from a simple square of cloth with a smeared lipstick kiss to a massive bed covered in a sheet that at one time was likely a dropcloth topped off with two glowing pink neon signs -- one on each pillow - inviting you to "get" "lost."

Easily my favorite piece of the evening were simple neon words tacked to an axe handle. Other works I understood less -- a deconstructed remote control, a shadow box filled with wound jute-y rope -- but another patron was no doubt drawn to those as I was to the neon. (I'm a sucker for neon.)

Now: the Peep Show. It's amazing to me how composition can evoke such emotion. If I tell you I saw a series of topless and full-frontal photographs, you might assume they're at once lewd and offensive with a distinct fuck-me vibe, but these were anything but. One image was of two dancers clearly sitting backstage topless reading magazines. Another featured the most magnificent big blonde hair on a topless women posing in a barn. The Wild West theme ran throughout the series, and there it was again, that slight sense of playfulness captured and framed in glossy black and white. Every photo was taken by an amateur photographer, and maybe that's the part that impressed me the most. Clearly they were more talented than they knew.

The Webb Gallery, 209 W. Franklin St., Waxahachie, is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Both exhibits will be on display through October 20.

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Allison Perkins