Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. She is Vice-Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Public Art Committee.
Bring lots of quarters to the Dallas Art Fair. No, not for the art – that will cost you a whole lot more. The quarters are for the parking meters. You’ll be running back and forth to feed the meter frequently – that’s how good the show is. At 10 minutes a quarter, it’s a 12 quarter show.
When I previewed the Fair at the F.I.G. building (Akard & Ross) Thursday morning, several galleries were yet to put up labels or prices, which made it even more fun to contemplate a purchase or determine a painting’s worth. Too often we let the price tag influence our reaction to a work.
As paintings were still being hung, flowers arranged and crates stored, the positive energy of gallerists and caterers working under a deadline was contagious. The sold-out grand opening Gala, which benefits Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, was just a few hours away.
Having only three quarters, I rushed from space to space. (There are 55 galleries represented from all over the U.S., London and Canada – almost twice as many as last year.) Luckily, the Fair’s Co-Founder, Chris Byrne – playing host and gofer – offered me a stack of change and I was able to slow my pace.
The first piece of art that seduced me to take a closer look was a ceramic, over-exuberant, over-embellished, over-sized, candy-colored vase by sculptor Joan Bankemper at New York’s Nancy Hoffman Gallery. La Dolce Vita is layered with mold-made, hand-made and collected clay objects, such as butterflies, grapes, bumble bees, figurines and dainty dessert plates. All plastered together, the vase and its objects refer to a formal garden, but the inconsistencies of the embellishments entice you to come hither and smile while examining and enjoying the creative clutter.
Across the aisle, I was enticed by another floral work. (It’s not a female thing. Just good art). Pace Prints, also from New York, is exhibiting the work of printmaker Jane Hammond, whose Botanical Collage #14 deserves close examination. Hammond and Bankemper are not so dissimilar. Each seems to enjoy the layering process. The more the better – but they know when enough is enough. Hammond has combined layers and layers of relief printing, collage and hand-painting on top of prepared paper to create what appears to be a most pleasing, easy to read, lyrical work. Yet it is also a highly labored over, unique print. The contradiction of what appears simple and the intricacies of the difficult process, make the work appealing.
The Dallas Art Fair has brought us the New York art scene . You bring lots of quarters!