and Post Critique
Accessibility is key in any academic discussion, but very few scholars, in Texas or elsewhere, can maintain or articulate the intellectual rigor of a piquant debate while providing an absorbing entry point for the reader. Issue No.47's Guest Editor, Frances Colpitt, performs this twofold task with incomparable finesse. Until very recently, Colpitt was Chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is now Deedie Potter Rose Chair of Art History at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. In her introductory essay, Dumb Painting: The End of Representation, Colpitt considers figuration, representation, re-representation, Minimalism, Formalism, neo-formalism, abstraction, conceptual abstraction and postmodernism but ultimately draws her discussion back to the visceral; she reminds us of the physicality of painting and its potential to, quite simply, seduce.
The ideas recognized and opinions stated in Colpitt's introduction are alternately sustained and challenged in other themed articles, including critic Christopher Miles essay, The Death of Painting and the Writing of Painting's Post-Crisis, Post-Critique Future, and artist James Hayward's highly personal memoir, From There To Here: Remembrances Of A Monochrome Painter. Colpitt also invited Houston-based painter Aaron Parazette to produce this issue's VISUAL SPACE and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Curator Paola Morsiani to conduct this issue's installment of DIALOGUE, an interview with five artists: Angela Fraleigh, Francesca Fuchs, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Robyn O'Neil and Matthew Sontheimer. Parazette's piece, Searchers, is the provocative grouping of works by eight artists who, in his opinion, "share an awareness and understanding of a certain territory currently being traversed" in contemporary painting without losing sight of the medium's rich history. Equally provocative is the conclusion of some of Morsiani's interviewees that, should the medium of painting be somehow removed from the world, they couldand wouldfind equally eloquent modes of expression. This statement, while the possible indication of a generational difference, is complicated when read alongside Parazette's essay, ultimately suggesting that a cyclical debate on paintingits death/rebirth, hybridity/limitationsis far from conclusion.
Also included in this issue are features by peripatetic linguist and writer James Bae, curator Dan Cameron and Dallas-based artist Noah Simblist. Bae's piece is the first installment of MAPPINGS. With MAPPINGS, ARTL!ES seeks to encourage writings and artist projects rooted in a sense of placeworks that express, address and critique the unique arts communities of Texas. While Bae's riff on Marfa is, in my opinion, a little harsh, when paired with idyllic images by Dallas-based photographer Allison V. Smith, a sagacious impression of the area does emerge, one that communicates the subjective complexity of the notion of place itself.
Premeditated Chaos, Cameron's curatorial statement for New American Talent at Arthouse at the Jones Center in Austin, also represents a first for ARTL!ES. By providing space for curatorial statements, we hope to foster the dissemination of debate on crucial curatorial issuesan important facet of our ongoing mission.
By shortening the themed section of each issue, ARTL!ES can now solicit manuscripts unrestricted in focus, allowing for an array of topics and a host of new voices in each and every issue, like Noah Simblist's editorial on agency in artistic production. In our next issue, Mexico City-based artist Thomas Glassford will edit a section on The Border. Additional features will include poet David Brown on the life and work of the late Jim Love and an excerpt from Jerry Saltz' upcoming lecture for ArtLies' annual Critics Lecture Series in Houston. In my opinion, diversifying our format will encourage critical dialogue inand aboutcontemporary art in Texas.