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WORTH A 1000 WORDS
Ricky Armendariz + Ken Little + Gary Sweeney
at Red Arrow Contemporary through July 28
by Todd Camplin

Once there was a gallery known as Road Agent in Dallas. Every time I would walk in,
I either hated or loved the work on display. There was a kind of Barque quality to her
aesthetics that left little room for feeling indifferent. Though gone (something to do with
trendy shoes I’m told), Red Arrow Contemporary seems to have picked up the torch
and is running with this often ‘over the top’ aesthetics. Not that this is a bad thing,
because the gallery is willing to take risks along with their artists. The current show titled
“Worth 1,000 Words” is just a spectacle of a show which features artists Ricky Armendariz,
Ken Little, and Gary Sweeney.   
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I found myself at one of Gary Sweeney’s talks about his work several years back and I was struck
by his total commitment to conceptual art ideals. I instantly fell in love with the work, because
I felt a kindred spirit. Here is an artist dealing with language and the passage of time observed
in an individual’s handwriting. Like his O’Keefe piece, her handwriting got progressively illegible
as she got older. These captured moments reveal stages of our own lives. His sign language
pieces slow the reader down like Christopher Wool’s text paintings and gets you to read slowly
simple messages. You experience aesthetically the words and letters rather than quickly
reading the information.
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Todd Camplin
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At first, I hated Ken Gary’s work and possibly I hold a grudge for this type of art you might see in
the movie “Untitled.” His animal sculptures seemed familiar, like the work by artist Brian Jungen,
which I like. Maybe his moose with leather and shoes seem a little campy and lack a sense of
elegance, but personally a moose head on a wall is tacky anyway, so Gary is embracing the
kitsch. Just like his money pieces, you can’t get more cliche and kitsch than making objects
out of money, but the fact he is embracing the ‘obvious’ makes me wonder if there is so much
he is saying in these pieces. Maybe pointing out the absurd is enough.
Ken Gary - Untitled 1

Ricky Armendariz has a political charge to his work, but I was fascinated with his technique,
in particular his burn drawings. The artboard has multiple shades of burnt brown lines that
make for a richly drawn figure. I love the variation of the color brown left in each mark.
Red Arrow Contemporary will have all three of these artists up until the 28th of July.
Ricky Armendariz
Gary Sweeney
Ken Gary - Untitled 1