Art Lies, Volume 2, May-June 1994

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artl i e s REPORTS

If we for a moment consider all our activities as aspects of
communication, then shooting bullets at each other is
undoubtedly a low form of communication. Spending a lifetime
reading deconstructionist thought is not a prerequisite for
decoding violence into an anomaly. We innately edit pain out
of our lives, and we often desperately author love in, even
under frail pretexts. We want to be mislead.
The beauty of certain art exhibits is that they take us outside
speculation to provide a direct confrontation with factors we
may want to recognize but do not know how. In "A Few Texas
Photographers," curators Kathleen James and Kevin Mercier
have assembled a show that poses the question of what it
) means to be creative and yet maintain humanist principles in
the face of our society's absurd brutality and false
possessiveness.
Richard Hinson's bleeding black and white photographs
narrate with conviction. Depicting 24 neighborhood sites
where violent crimes have occurred, along with brief
descriptions of each horror, his images pinpoint the
inescapable situation of victimization. Are we safe here in the
gallery, while enjoying the exhibit? What determines our
feeling, at any point, that we are not in danger? How can one
connect random violence to the traditional idea of innocence?
Across the room, William Shackelford (semi-)focuses on a
different problem. His fuzzy, nondescript images of curios
from diverse artists' studios, accompanied by an audio score,
serve as a dialectical subterfuge, sabotaging the traditional
value system of a society enamoured with luxury items, power
hierarchies, and commodity worship.
The works of Claire Chauvin, Mishu Vu, and Amber Eagle
further highlight the tenuous and precarious conditions we
encounter as we explore life and examine one another.
Chauvin's impeccable boxes and Vu's technically accomplished
triptychs takes us into the human body, each echoing, in its
own way, how we misuse or bodies and others', physically and
C a I I e d a r e ideologically. Eagle's delicately
rendered Duracell images, on the
other hand, are aesthetic vehicles that nonetheless express
the frail beauty of love. Thus they provide a counterpoint to
the rest of the show, which revolves around the inherently
didactic possibilities of art. *

by Donald
The Art League of Houston,
March 4-26, 1994

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JP

Chandler, Wade & Schwab, Eric Jonah. Art Lies, Volume 2, May-June 1994. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228035/. Accessed March 1, 2015.