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Left:  “Crazy IV,” 2009, collage on paper, 50 x 38 inches
Right: “Crazy III,” 2010, collage on paper, 50 x 38 inches
moderndallas.net
contributing art writer June Mattingly’s
Special “Eye” to Watch

In my second article on galleries in Dallas’ Arts and Design District, a minuscule
version of Chelsea, I’m featuring the artists Susie Phillips and Gabriel Dawe at
Conduit on HiLine Drive and Stewart Cohen at PDNB (Photographs Do Not Bend)
on Dragon Street.
Susie Phillips (in the main gallery)
“I am drawn to sewing. I like needles and colored threads, small work and tiny
stitches…lap work. Some call it piece work. I call it peace work. Recently I
spent some time looking at quilts and especially crazy quilts. I admired the
controlled randomness of the construction and the fact that they were
usually made of remnants…Pieces of memory making memories.”

Phillips’ has worked in watercolor and acrylic in the past; these “ambitious”
new paper collaged quilts made of recyclables off her studio floor are
reminiscent in subject matter and overall pattern in the rendition of her
signature formal “still lifes.” Comparable to actual quilts and these paintings,
perspective isn’t an element, consequently there’s neither background nor
foreground. Over the entire picture’s surface, extremely detailed, carefully
manipulated, coordinated areas of abstracted imagery such as a figurative
shadow, leaves or vase of flowers, come to life surrounded by the repetition
of a solid palette of black and white designs accented with bright toned
pretty colors in decorative patterns– a joy to enjoy!

Susie and I have known each other since she showed in the early 80s at the
cooperative DW Gallery down the street from my gallery on McKinney Avenue.
Since 1995, she’s produced seven one-persons at Conduit, the last one last
week titled “Crazy Work” up till May 1.This extraordinarily prolific, innovative
artist received her B.F.A. from S.M.U. in 1992. Her other Texas gallery affiliation
is Parchman Stremmel in San Antonio. Dallas corporations owning her work
include American and Delta Airlines, Fulbright and Jaworski, Neiman Marcus,
Belo, Methodist Medical, S.M.U. and the Barrett Collection.
Gabriel Dawe (in the Project Room)
Left: “Plexus II,” 2010, thread, wood & nails, site specific installation, 14 x 14 x 11 feet
Right: detail of above // photographs courtesy, Conduit Gallery
Dawe grew up in Mexico City which must have influenced his interest in textiles
and embroidery. In this encompassing and mesmerizing installation – photographs
don’t do it justice - Dawe creates a total environment with something as basic as
different shades of colors of sewing thread. What all those threads stand for isn’t
important really – it’s just a beautiful experience to be surrounded by them.
And one is in total awe (to rhyme with Dawe) of the craftsmanship to actually
make it all come into being. It was a treat for me to converse with the artist a
t the opening.

Dawe is in the graduate program at the University of Texas at Dallas where he
is a candidate for an MFA in Arts and Technology.   
PDNB, the brainchild of
Burt and Missy Finger,
showing exclusively all
types of photo-based
art, in operation since 1995,
has an across the board
stable from  the 20th
century to today, from
relatively undiscovered
to those of international
status. This recognized
couple has a wonderful
reputation for the high
quality of the art they
show, the presentation
of it, and their supportive,
continuing clientele.  
Stewart Cohen
Left: Campbell Bosworth, “The Sawdust Poet,” 2009, 49 x 36 inches
Right: Ed Ruscha, “Artist,” 2003, 32 x 24 inches
photographs courtesy of Stewart Cohen
On the art side, Cohen’s newly launched monograph titled “Identity:
A Photographic Mediation from the Inside Out,” was greeted by quite
a crowd at its reception at Photographs Do Not Bend. His 50 photographs
of important personalities include: T. Boone Pickens, Kinky Friedman, Jane
Goodall (a friend of mine a while back), B.B. King, Dominick Dunne, Spalding
Gray, and Prince Albert of Monaco. Out of the images, one I picked was
Ed Ruscha, a favorite Pop/Conceptual artist of mine, a creator of among
other art forms of photographic books with a graphic sensibility who like
Cohen adds verbiage. In Cohen’s case, accompanying each photograph
in the subject’s own hand is their response to his question, “what makes
you unique as an individual?” Bosworth responded “Every day I wake up
and make something with my hands,” and Ruscha responded “I’m another
bump in the stream of traffic.”

These personal remarks, in what Cohen calls his ‘bio-pic’ project, takes his book
out of the portrait category. “Through visual storytelling I get to explore and meet
people I’d never know. Curiosity and wonder are the creative engines that
drive me…My thing is people. I do not know where it came from but I love
meeting and interacting with all sorts of people and putting them
into photographs.”

“The art of photography is different than any other form of art as it starts based
in reality. There is quite a technical aspect as well. The technical needs to be
understood so that the camera becomes just a tool, a tool that helps inherit
what you are trying to say. The technical shouldn’t even be an issue. I only
shoot my camera in the manual mode as that way I know and understand
what it is doing… The quest for me is more emotional, how do I get the
camera to interpret the nuances I see?”

This Dallasite art/commercial photographer plays both roles successfully, an
attribute admired by an enormous circle of cohorts. In his business, Cohen’s
won over 60 top industry awards and clients run from American Airlines,
AT@T, Bank of America, Chili’s and Coca Cola, and that’s just up to the C’s.
(All of the quotes come directly from the artist.)
Burt and Missy Finger,
photo courtesy Susan Kae Grant
Also, regularly read  regularmain.com, June Mattingly's personal blog on art.   
Conduit, is run by founder Nancy Whitenack about who DMagazine wrote
“Conduit is cool, collected proof
that Texas produces more than
athletes and presidents” and
Danette Dufiho who since 2008
directs the Project Room
screening more edgy,
experimental art than in the
two main galleries.Whitenack is
always around to back her Texas
and New York artistically
endowed talents. “My job is to
help people to know the artists,
why they do the work they do...
people are fearful about what
language they use.
Any dialogue is good.”
l to r:Danette Dufiho and Nancy Whitenack
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