Michael Odom

  • James Gilbert

    A pointed critique of the current regime of safety-consciousness, “Warnings & Instructions,” James Gilbert’s recent exhibition, took as its starting point a cartoonlike replica of a plane crash: an almost life-size fuselage, severed into three sections, and two lifeboats, all arrayed across the expansive floor of Dallas Contemporary’s new space. Made from safety-orange plywood armatures covered by a patchwork of plastic in various shades of pink, these structures had the plump proportions and candy colors of toys. To further emphasize the disturbing blitheness, Gilbert embellished the lifeboats

  • William Lamson

    John Cage—quoting Sri Lankan philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy—famously advocated for art as the “imitation of nature in her manner of operation.” In much the same spirit, Brooklyn-based William Lamson harnesses the wind and the waves for his recent work. From simple materials, such as empty bottles, twine, and wood, he cobbles together spindly kinetic contraptions that enlist those natural forces to generate pencil or black-pen drawings.

    For example, Lamson taped a marker to a water bottle attached to the string of a kite. He then ran the string through a rough wooden tripod, so that when the wind

  • Jackie Tileston

    Jackie Tileston layers images expressed in a pluralized vocabulary. In a single painting, she will typically combine photographic transfers, atmospheric fields of rubbed-on dry pigment, painted details appropriated from classical Chinese landscapes, and boldly incongruous slabs of color. Her recent show in Dallas, “Phenomorama,” comprised seven mixed-media paintings on linen and five works on paper that reflect her varied background (the artist was born in the Philippines, raised in a number of countries in Asia and Europe, and now lives in Philadelphia). But her wide-ranging pictorial vocabulary

  • Michael Tole

    Michael Tole’s recent show in Dallas, “Some Queer Noisy Pendulum,” was well timed, opening just a few days after the announcement that he had won the fifty-thousand-dollar Hunting Prize for painting. Tole’s work celebrates everyday visual pleasures; his most recent paintings are based on snapshots of ersatz Fabergé eggs on sale at a gift shop in the Dallas Galleria. An earlier series did the same for gewgaws he photographed in a Cracker Barrel restaurant–cum–gift shop, and he is currently at work on paintings depicting fragmented views from a wax museum.

    Tole’s imagery, clearly derived from

  • Joseph Havel

    Joseph Havel’s recent sculpture seamlessly melds compositional strategies indebted to post-Minimalism with metaphorically resonant objects. In his recent ten-year retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the combination of style and subject was almost perfect, its effect both elegant in its capitalization on the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–designed galleries and more than a little sorrowful in its take on gender-role conformity.

    The overwhelming majority of objects shown here make use of either fabric or fabric cast in bronze. Bruised, 2004, for example, consists of a Carl Andre–like grid

  • Scott Barber

    Painter Scott Barber, who died last year of complications following a bone marrow transplant, was recently the subject of two concurrent shows in Dallas. McKinney Avenue Contemporary (known locally as the MAC) presented a survey of works spanning the last decade of his life, while across town, Barry Whistler Gallery exhibited a suite of twenty-six acrylics on paper made between 2003 and 2005.

    At the MAC, it was possible to trace Barber’s development through his experimentation with materials to his realization of a refined, idiosyncratic visual language. Works from the 1990s such as Numb Trust

  • David Reed

    To call “Leave Yourself Behind,” David Reed’s recent show in Wichita, Kansas, a survey of his paintings from the past four decades would be inaccurate. With only fifteen works, it was too selective to be considered a comprehensive examination of the painter’s career. The exhibition was also installed in nonchronological order, thus happily avoiding any resemblance to the kind of teleological museum display that attempts to plot, say, Mondrian’s passage from trees to grids in six simple steps. Rather, the installation juxtaposed, to startling effect, Reed’s abstracted gestural landscapes from

  • Gary Panter

    Gary Panter is probably best known as the chief production designer for the cult ’80s TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse. But to a different group of fans, he’s a major artist of the punk second generation of underground comics. His weird, free-associative graphic narratives have been published in books and magazines ranging from the influential comics journal RAW to Riddim, a Japanese reggae fanzine in which the artist’s captions go untranslated (why bother, since they make little sense anyway?).

    Panter’s recent show at Dunn and Brown Contemporary included acrylic paintings on canvas, works on paper,

  • Helen Altman

    Helen Altman’s recent show “My Best Eggs” included fifteen “torch” drawings of animals ranging from pandas and lions to sad-sack dogs and mules. Her technique, developed several years ago, involves scorching marks into water-soaked paper with a propane torch, like toasting the sugar crust of a crème brûlée. It is an unforgiving way to work: The drawings must be finished quickly, before the paper dries and ignites. Erasures and touch-ups are impossible. Yet Altman manages to produce lush chiaroscuro renderings this way. The warm ochers and deep burnt siennas of the toasted paper play off the

  • Jeff Elrod

    JEFF ELROD'S STARKLY GRAPHIC PAINTINGS stem from preliminary drawings he executes on a computer, using a mouse as his pencil to produce scores of rapidly drafted variations on improvised themes. As he draws, he periodically prints iterations in the evolving series that strike him as worthwhile before continuing to add and delete visual data onscreen. From this stockpile of interrelated digital prints, he eventually selects one or two to reproduce, on an enlarged scale, in acrylic on canvas.

    Elrod's method grants his work an enviable portability: For this recent show in his native Texas, he had

  • Ted Kincaid

    THE PERMUTATIONS OF COLOR and image in Ted Kincaid's photogravures raise, and politely refuse to answer, some heavy questions about modernist seriality and the identity of an individual artwork. I'd be tempted to say that Kincaid's works calculate a post-Warholian logic of pluralized identities and sameness beneath their surfaces, except that it's nearly impossible to think that there is anything behind the ink on the paper: Like shadows, the gravures live only on the surface, which is appropriate given the light-based chemistry of the photo-intaglio process.

    And although photographic and printing

  • Miltos Manetas

    Miltos Manetas began making paintings in 1995, some time after he had become a devotee of computers and mastered image-processing software, so it is no surprise that laptops, Zip drives, data cables, and digital-game components populate his works. But beyond providing subjects for still lifes and props for figure studies, the “coolness” of computer technology, its cut-and-paste power over images, has led the artist to an analogous casualness about the vocabulary of painting that permits him to freely sample styles of rendering and strategies of composition.

    The series “Eight Perfect Paintings”

  • Bill Davenport

    The eighteen small works in Bill Davenport’s latest show ranged from boyish sight gags like Bummer, 1999, an enameled bean can and golf ball arranged to suggest a missed putt, to the inscrutable fluff of Pair of Lint Sculptures, 1998, in which a couple of fat, ill-formed pancakes made from the detritus of a clothes dryer are displayed with absurd care on a neat little white shelf. The tension between slick gallery presentation and deliberate craftlessness was a constant in the show, as was the impression that one had entered a realm of flattened hierarchies where transgression against conventional

  • John Pomara

    As if to underscore the recursive character of John Pomara’s process, the prefix “re-” appeared in the titles of all the paintings in his recent show. Although originally derived from photomicrographs of living cells, the artist’s abstract disks have pursued an independent evolution for several years, attending more to modes of representing than to the vagaries of their source per se. What was biological information has become a gestural mark, embedded both in the fluid sensuality of his medium and in the current history of painterly mark-making conceived as immediate evidence of the artist’s

  • “Ultralounge”

    In his essay for “Ultralounge: The Return of Social Space (with Cocktails),” critic Dave Hickey, who curated this exhibit of eleven young artists based largely in Las Vegas and on the West Coast, dubbed his show a “piece of concrete journalism” that would document a shift in attitude among the participants, away from the exalted realm of museum-sanctioned high culture and toward an aesthetic that affirms the casual social environment of the artists. With the idea that a retro-hip lounge is much more their milieu than the sterile white cube of a museum, Hickey extensively redecorated Diverse-Works’s

  • Nancy Haynes

    Nancy Haynes has characterized her painting as an “emptying out,” a concern with absence and transience that she pits against a post-Minimalist structural logic. A key element in her work has been light, which she doesn’t so much represent (though there are moments when this is largely the case) as enlist in her cause. In some paintings of the past decade she has used phosphorescent paint so that they literally embody luminosity.

    The titles of Haynes’ works recently on view—such as sociology, 1996–97, archaeology, 1997, and musicology, 1996–97—name various human sciences, but each canvas is a

  • Karin Davie

    Karin Davie’s work from earlier in this decade includes stripe paintings that goof on formalist rectilinear geometry with self-consciously feminizing Op-art bumps and bulges. Her series of 1993 “Odalisques” on parallelogram stretchers resemble brushy, pastel Bridget Riley paintings; the trapezoidal “Skirts” works have vertical bands that appear to swell like a pregnant belly. Davie’s body of work doesn’t exactly illustrate Dave Hickey’s essay “Prom Night in Flatland,” but it clearly illuminates some of his ideas about the masculinized discourse of Modernist pictorial space.

    While Davie’s previous

  • Tatsuo Miyajima

    Most of the work in this show, Tatsuo Miyajima’s first solo exhibition in a US museum, consisted of the artist’s signature arrays of LED counting devices installed in unlit galleries. In Double Spiral, 1992, these “gadgets,” as the artist refers to them, are arranged in two helical lines, one green, the other red, wrapped around black columns. One turns left, the other right, as they rise up the column. The devices are set to count from 1 to 99 at various paces; when the sequence reaches 99, the counter goes dark for one beat before the sequence begins again. This periodic darkening of individual

  • Richard Misrach

    Calling the eighteen photographic portfolios sampled in this midcareer retrospective “cantos” allows Richard Misrach to foreground the poetic intent of this enormous project. His aesthetic is deeply affected by political judgments, but it is ultimately concerned with dualisms like nature and culture, wilderness and civilization, situated in a thicket of references to the history of photography as an art form. The pictures in “Canto I: The Terrain,” 1981–84, set out this encounter from the first. A photograph of a canyon vista, for example, includes tourists contemplating the scene, and studies

  • Derek Boshier

    “Derek Boshier: The Texas Years” was an extensive survey of Boshier’s paintings and graphic works produced between 1980, the year of his arrival in Houston from Britain, and 1995. Although he was an early participant in British Pop art, a combination of his political interests and esthetic restlessness led him to give up painting in favor of film and more conceptual work by the end of the ’60s. That he selected the then-current neo-Expressionist style when he took up painting again indicates both a certain distance from his medium and a certain consistency of intention. Like the “fashion victims”