moderndallas.net
Special “Eye” to Watch
June Mattingly // contributing art writer

“Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea”
a focus on Frank Welch and Douglas Cartmel

“Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea” a beautiful exhibit from the modern period
to today explores landscapes of the coastline and is on view at the Dallas Museum
of Art through August 22 made possible by underwriters and supporters of the Art Ball.
A collaboration between University of Texas at Dallas and the Museum produced an
accompanying sound installation, a multi-layered soundscape. Contemporary
diverse art out of the DMA’s collection is by Lynn Davis, Gerhard Richter, Eric Fischl,
James Casabere, John Pfahl, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Stephen Shore, Jerry Uelsmann
and two important Dallas artists, Frank Welch and Douglas Leon Cartmel
Frank Welch
“Sunbather on the Seine,” negative 1953, print 1988, black and
white photograph.
“Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea” a beautiful exhibit from the modern period to
today explores landscapes of the coastline and is on view at the Dallas Museum of
Art through August 22 made possible by underwriters and supporters of the Art Ball.
A collaboration between University of Texas at Dallas and the Museum produced an
accompanying sound installation, a multi-layered soundscape. Contemporary
diverse art out of the DMA’s collection is by Lynn Davis, Gerhard Richter, Eric Fischl,
James Casabere, John Pfahl, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Stephen Shore, Jerry Uelsmann
and two important Dallas artists, Frank Welch and Douglas Leon Cartmel. Cartmel
will be one of my next week’s blog.   

(I got this poem off of Welch’s label on his piece in the exhibit)   

“Girl lithe and tawny, the sun that forms
the fruits, that plumps the grains, that curls seaweeds
filled your body with joy, and your luminous eyes
and your mouth that has the smile of the water.
A black yearning sun is braided into the strands
of your black mane, when you stretch your arms.
You play with the sun as with a little brook
and it leaves two dark pools in your eyes.”     

- Pablo Neruda (Chilean poet, 1904–1973)  

Frank, a friend of mine, contacted me last week with his new website that features
his photography, good fortune for all of us like when he moved from Midland (he
designed the Museum of the Southwest) to Dallas. Welch is considered one of the
top, if not THE top architect in Texas and one of the most admired in the Southwest.
This award-winning architect’s credentials are superb. To his fame is his portrayal of
architect Philip Johnson and his long legacy in Texas in a book published by the
University of Texas Press in 2000. The well-known and important Texas architect
O’Neil Ford was a friend and the prime mentor of Welch’s. In 2001, The MAC
(McKinney Avenue Contemporary) showed selections from Welch’s photographic
portfolio including recent pictures of New York.  

Welch started his photographic career traveling with a Leica around his neck
making candid black and white photographs in Paris as a Fulbright Scholar in
1953 and later as a visitor in 1978.  His treatment of subject matter, lighting and
composition is reminiscent of “street photographer” Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of
the earliest proponents of photojournalism experiencing a retrospective at the
Museum of Modern Art through 6/28. Welch’s Paris images of urban scenes center
on perfectly placed (not by accident I’m sure) people – city dwellers in a park
plaza, a woman basking in the sun by the Seine, a romantic couple resting on
a bench, sleeping “street” people – telling a myriad of different stories.
Contrasting but subtle backgrounds – part of a building, street traffic, a sunning
deck – complete the striking picture. Suddenly one realizes it’s not just a
photograph they are looking at but a work of true art.   

“Photography is not like a painting, there is a creative fraction of a second when
you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that
life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.
That is the moment the photographer is creative…Once you miss it, it is gone
forever.” Cartier-Bresson, 1957    

“His keen aesthetic and expansive spirit result in images that resonate deeply…
Like architecture, it sooths, it touches you – and leaves you wanting more of it all.”
Douglas Cartmel
"Pacific (Surface)," 2007, oil on titanium, 15 x 18 5/8 inches,
Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art
Coincidentally, Cartmel’s impeccably crafted, time oriented, new monochromatic
white to gray toned paintings at Marty Walker’s, luckily up through June 12, are
correctly titled “Super Nature.”

These captivating, bleak and brooding mediations, painted on titanium block,
picture a mysterious freezing cold, totally desolate shoreline, with a minute
touch of buoyant light on the horizon. One can almost hear the deafening,
uncontrollable crashing waves on the wet assumingly cold, receding beach
sand; the artist’s painting technique is flawless.

“Cartmel’s sleek, refined seascapes share a sensibility with the work of Gerhard
Richter for their detailed, realistic renderings taken from photographs that are
quietly blurred by supple painterly brushstrokes.” (Gallery’s Press Release)

Cartmel, born in 1971 received a Bachelor of Science and Architecture at UTA
in 1996. Reviews of his work appeared in Paper City and D Magazine.
Keep an eye on this emerging artist moving, unlike his waves, quietly on.

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