Conspiracy Theory

Something foul is afoot. Not foul, exactly, but sinister. Well, more phenomenal than sinister. Phenomenal with a slightly sinister undertone. Your friends at the top Dallas art galleries are conspiring to get you out and about this weekend. The big dogs--Dunn and Brown, The Contemporary, Gerald Peters, Conduit, Craighead-Green--are holding nice opening receptions Friday and Saturday to open exhibits of some major work by sung and unsung talent. All within the same weekend. It's worthy of the semi-annual Gallery Walk, but January 14 and January 15 aren't on the Dallas Art Dealers Association calendar. It's deserving of the season opener for the visual arts in Dallas, but that's always held in September. Something's going on. The galleries around here are too competitive to cooperate just for your benefit, aren't they? Maybe not. What they're doing for you this weekend is beyond self-serving. It's a belated holiday gift, and, regardless of their motives, you need to get out and enjoy it.

Start at Dunn and Brown Contemporary, 5020 Tracy St., for a dramatic eyeful of Larry Scholder's show called Reconfigured Prints. His "Stray," a black-and-white polymer relief, may read "DNA double helix" to you and engender a mesmerized state. Move along, there are people behind you. Scholder's show-mate is Gary Panter, whose paintings reveal the soul of an animator, a little kid who never grew up and a refined aesthete with a college education. Panter's group of new paintings is rife with symbols and, we think, riddles. Panter will speak at the gallery on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both artists will be honored with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.

Conduit Gallery opens If You Were Here, a group show of major paintings, some of which are by artists new around here. Works by Jennifer Coates, Gerald C. DePrie, Michael Eade, Michael Goodlett, David Humphrey, Charley Kinney, Gilbert Perin, Lawrence Tarpey and Daniel Wiener all have some otherworldly quality, some have a tragic-comic sensibility and others are just awash with color. Conduit's project room features etching-like art from Marci Branagan. Conduit, 1626 C Hi-Line Drive, holds its opening party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Save time for in-your-face paintings at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, which opens Painting Attack with a free party Friday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 2801 Swiss Ave. (See See/Be Seen, page 29.)

The Gaze is an apt title for a show of Dallas granddaddy of talent Bill Komodore. Notice the illusionist aspects of these big oil-on-linen paintings. You'll gaze so long you begin to see things that aren't there, or may be there. In "Telestrion," figures or shapes are there--one even has a shadow to belie its three dimensions--but what, exactly, is it? Find out and meet Komodore at the opening reception, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Gerald Peters Gallery, 2913 Fairmount St.

Around the corner at Craighead-Green Gallery, 2404 Cedar Springs Road, meet and view (same date, same time) with artists Mauricio Cuartas and Michelle O'Michael. Curator/gallery director Kenneth Craighead has a knack for complementary pairings, and the works of one photographer and one sculptor blend together dramatically. Cuartas experiments with photography in which he purposely does not control every aspect of the process or image. O'Michael shows small- and large-scale steel and other industrial media in her first exhibit at the gallery.

It's bound to be a stellar new year for you, as long as you see the signs, note any unusual cosmic alignment and mosey, don't run, around the Dallas art houses this weekend.

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Annabelle Massey Helber