Capsule Reviews

Barber/Kincaid/Pomara Scott Barber, Ted Kincaid and John Pomara are three artists who've harnessed technology to the betterment of their work. Using the computer to mediate and transform photography, they make colorful flat images that make you rethink painting and its surfaces in the present. Using cancerous cells as subject matter, Barber's smoothed-over, spumy surfaces of overlapping colors make aesthetic form out of scientific representation. Kincaid's light and breezy fantasy cloud- and sky-scapes, such as "Front 63" and "Seascape 10," are photographs of reality transformed. And the zooming lines of Pomara's hot black "Circuit City" show an architecture melting into other urban dimensions. This is world-class work right here in Dallas. Through November 27 at Barry Whistler Gallery, 2909-B Canton St., 214-939-0242. (Charissa N. Terranova)

Ellen George Out of Doors Based in Washington state, Ellen George is a sculptor making work that seems at once deep-sea and extraterrestrial in nature. While the work comes to us from the Pacific Northwest, it would seem to have arrived from farther away, evidence of a tiny alien invasion. Tucked away in the walk-in closet-scaled Project Room at Conduit Gallery is George's cute but powerful phalanx of pastel-colored other-worldly visitors that look like they come from galaxies yet unknown. George makes small biomorphic creatures from polymer clay, a malleable and translucent vinyl-based sculptural material. Some, like "Meadow Study No. 22" and "Corsage," are hung cantilevered by thin strands of metal from the wall. Their squiggly-jiggly animate form casts similarly squiggly-jiggly animate shadows on the wall. Mounted on tiny translucent resin consoles are squat little faceless creatures. The "Thin Air" series are bulbous with asymmetrical arms twirling akimbo. "Oracle" offers a display of shell-like forms. And "Quartet" makes for a harmony in diminutive blue and peach form. George's tiny pieces bring to mind the forms of industrial design, in particular the animated but useful objects of Philippe Stark, Alessi design and Michael Graves. Instead of investing the objects with function, though, George charges them with the sheer delight of beautiful whimsy. Through November 27 in the Project Room at Conduit Gallery, 1626 Hi Line Drive, 214-939-0064. (C.T.)

Lance Letscher Nostalgia is a double-edged sword in art. In summoning memories past through assorted found and thrown-away objects, the artist runs the risk of either making art that is syrupy-sweet and hackneyed or, when successful, delightful to experience and thought provoking. Lance Letscher does the latter. He makes large- and small-scale collages out of cast-off paper--book covers, wrapping paper and pages from instruction manuals and personal daily calendars. He carefully cuts and shapes the printed detritus into various shapes--long strips, ellipses, leaf-like forms, circles, etc. Placed on masonite in specific repetitive patterns of color and texture, the collages make for so many careful exercises in formalism. Yet, the specific qualities of the shards and scraps--wrapping paper with '50s-era drawings of children making art, an old cover of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, a recent grocery list, a ledger from 1921--ground such formalism in time past. Letscher's "Bucket of Honey" juxtaposes strips of color, rectangular bits and pieces of old packaging and sundry handwritten lists. In "Pink Motel," Letscher molds the pieces into small ellipses and places them atop a record of titles and numbers from the summer of 1921. Letscher gets kudos for making nostalgia work well for him--a rare occurrence in art. Through November 27 at Conduit Gallery, 1626 Hi Line Drive, 214-939-0064. (C.T.)

3-D That this exhibition of three-dimensional objects by Caribbean, Latin American and North American artists might make you feel as though you're strolling through your grandmother's attic in no way obviates the thoughtfulness and provocation of much of the work. In keeping with old musty attics is the prevalence of patina--both its physical presence and mental suggestion in the form of nostalgia. Even if the pieces are not old, many of them are meant to convey a sense of moth-eaten lost objects found once again. The array of romantic dust-collecting objects provides the proper mise-en-scène for the more vibrant pieces--work that jumps right into your face and head. Best-of-show goes to the clean, white plastic light boxes of the Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrié. Born in Port-au-Prince and trained at the Ecole Nationale Superièure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Duval-Carrié mixes Voodoo and the State, imbedding old prints of the slave trade and African soldiers in thick white acrylic light boxes adjacent to bobbles, bangles and toy animals. Duval-Carrié fuses the timeless mysticism of Voodoo with the hygiene of a plastic modern present. Through November 24 at Pan American Art Gallery, 3303 Lee Parkway, Suite 100, 214-522-3303. (C.T.)

Well, Red It might stretch your mind a bit, but imagine a one-night exhibition of motley art stuff--paintings, stretched fabric, video, photographs and installation--inside the space of a 1980s painting by Anselm Kiefer. Think Kiefer's "Stone Hall Series" from 1983, those enormous dark, foreboding and ruddy paintings of the brick interiors of Nazi funeral vaults. Extrude his two dimensions into three and you'll have the setting of the Casket Factory just south of downtown on Lamar Street. Artfully integrate several pieces of contemporary art and you'll have Well, Red, a showing of work by several talented young Dallas-based artists, most of whom are affiliated with the University of Texas at Dallas art department. Organized by the art collective Oh6, the show is progressive and smart. It makes the culture of Dallas look not just healthy but even cutting-edge. Opening night was host to a live DJ serving up tunes to pixies young and old. Key to the show is the dank and looming space of the old factory and the innovative uses the artists have made of it. Kirsten Macy installed several educational info cards from the late 1970s--Tutorettes--on a once-functional ladder. Climbing up into the cavernous shelter overhead, the cards draw attention to the scale of the space and its long-ago industrial use. Adjacent to the ladder, Bogus Danielle has made keen use of what looks to be an old furnace or boiler room. Now empty, the room is host to Danielle's "Casket Room Installation," a bride with her torso lopped off standing on a floor covered in post-festivities rice and myriad wedding invites. Piped in is the importunate male voice of a needy and jilted lover. Across the room and hung on wire strung between old factory accoutrements are Shelby Cunningham's "Storm Grid" and "Rain Grid Three," two sets of digitally shot photographs showing dark tree tops and gray skies. Cunningham's work hinges on the play between the natural and manmade, as sitting beneath the photos are a manhole cover and fake plant. Located across the vast exhibition hall and installed outside in the open space of a now-prettified patio is the installation of Hang Dang, "Shut Up and Paint." Made from a combination of insulation foam and found objects, red organ-cum-sea creature forms hang from a skeleton of rafters. On the floor is a furniture-scale angular red blob made from the same materials. While painting doesn't work as well on the walls of this old, sweaty once-firelit space as the more experimental works, the paintings on view are strong enough to hold their own. In terms of color, 1980s pop culture seems to be all the rage. The palette of both John Ryan Moore's "Only a Kiss" and Kirsten Macy's "Analog 1-11" is wholly in keeping with Madonna and Cyndi Lauper's fluorescent socks, bracelets and lacy armbands circa 1983. Macy unites De Stijl lines and video graphics perverting pure painting with moving-image high jinks. Moore's large blue rectangular and vertical plane makes innovative use of painting's combined two and three dimensions, with paint splashes dripping upward along the surface and reddish-pink power lines receding back into space. While painting has trouble on the almost craggy walls, photography is stellar. The blue panels of Kevin Todora's twice-shot photographs, "Untitled (5 airplanes)," pop and bristle forth from its background supports. (C.T.)

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