Artspace 111 announces the show Sibling Revelry, featuring new work by Daniel Blagg, Dennis Blagg, Doug Blagg, and Woodrow Blagg. Sibling Revelry opens FWADA Spring Gallery Night, March 29, 2014 from 12-9 p.m. and will run through May 3, 2014. Enjoy beer and wine by Ben E Keith. Artspace 111 is free and open to the public.
In her essay about the four Blagg brothers, San Francisco-based art historian E. Luanne McKinnon writes, “As boys growing up in West Texas, there was no ‘fine’ art except for reproductions of masterpieces such as The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci and The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, which they copied by hand from popular books. Out there in the open sprawl of pure sky and endless land the brothers also made drawings from nature. Less so for Doug, who grew up in an urban environment when the family moved to Dallas in 1959. The impact of one brother’s art upon another, in this order, Woody upon the twins Dennis and Dan, and they upon Doug is irrefutable. Yet their individual, mature talent cannot be qualitatively judged: different styles and subjects, different mediums and techniques. But there is a commonality that encompasses and is shared in their work. We find something of the cinematic and perhaps the literary too that is unknowingly or subconsciously engaged. And in all of the work the essence of time and space is a central thesis.
“In Dan’s paintings (and what by now are archetypal scenes of abandoned parking lots and defunct Fort Worth motels), Railroad Shack, 2013, or Starlite, 2014, the tangible feeling of time left by the patina of surfaces and the residual innocence of an age are elemental components of his virtuosity. We have felt a kindred tenor in the blank streets of Archer City, TX in Peter Bogdonovich’s The Last Picture Show, for example. In Dan’s scenes, as I have described in an earlier essay, we are presented with ‘a familiarity replete with longing. But, what memories does his work conjure?’ And, what lasts? This feeling extends to a statement by Woodrow in 2010, ‘But the image is tenuous. It's the transient nature of life itself. It's there but a few seconds.’
“Having left Fort Worth for the East in the early 1980’s, he has called the historic Eckley Miner’s Village in northeastern Pennsylvania home. Yet the imprint of ranching life in the southwest has beckoned his return during many Spring round-ups at the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie or the Quien Sabe north of Amarillo. His tour-de-force graphite drawings, to site one example, Tight Rope, 2009, depict the ongoing rituals of roping and branding, the camaraderie of working cowboys and the kinship between them and their horses that the culture of the cowboy is. Woody presents each drawing as if it were a stop-action scene, a frame in black and white, say from a John Ford western. The rump of a raucous steer, the flared nostrils, or, the single dark eye of a pony become the frontal focus of the freeze-frame. It is not merely that the West is subject enough; it is that the very culture of the ranches and its men provide him with a model of the human condition—that of solitude bound by the multitudinous mysteries of time.
“Dennis has called the middle stage of the act of painting as ‘no man’s land,’ which for him is a complex place in the evolution of his renowned panoramic landscapes of the western wilds. We read these paintings full on, that is, our vision is absorbed from left to right, as if The Clearing, 2013, like all of his work in horizontal format was a Cinemascope© production. In the deep genre of landscape painting he has identified and defined “place” according to an ethos that magnifies temporality. The nighttime oil on canvas, Dead Wood, 2013, is a picture of the Sublime that equals a moment in Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses: "In that false blue dawn the Pleiades seemed to be rising up into the darkness above the world and dragging all the stars away, the great diamond of Orion and Capella and the signature of Cassiopeia all rising up through the phosphorous dark like a sea-net. He lay a long time listening to the others breathing in their sleep while he contemplated the wildness about him, the wildness within."
“Doug, the youngest of the four, departed Fort Worth for Los Angeles in 1984 where he has lived for the past 30 years. Citing two watercolors, Santa Monica I and II, 2012, the presence of the figures rendered in an open pictorial field, upon the bright whiteness of a veritable infinitude of beach and/or the Pacific Ocean suspends those characters in time. He has not located them with any other identifiable elements that suggest here and not there. In this way, they are universal and they are participants of no-place and no-time, despite the specificity of the titling. In this series he is not aligned with his brother’s predilection for subjects of the West or the nostalgia that they produce in their work, but his work belongs with theirs in its rightful spot in the lineage. What I see as being a shared characteristic is that their distinctiveness is imbued with a highly tangible sense of place and a deep reverence for life that gives cause to their sincere voices.”
Within the two studio spaces and the gardens of the gallery are new work by Artspace111 artists Alice Bateman, Michael Bane, Michelle Brandley, Danville Chadbourne, Matt Clark, Barbara Dybala, Ann Ekstrom, Pat Gabriel, Sarah Green, John Hartley, Kelli Holmes, Cindi Holt, Carol Ivey, Jill Johnson, Nancy Lamb, Leslie Lanzotti, Jim Malone, Jesus Moroles, Jo–Ann Mulroy, J.C. Pace III, Winter Rusiloski, Jo LeMay Rutledge, and Fred Spaulding.
Artspace 111 is dedicated to its vital role in the city of Fort Worth, and to making contemporary art approachable to individuals of all ages. With its sculpture and distinctive architectural character, the gallery offers a striking setting to host corporate and private events, and is also available for tours and other social gatherings. Artspace 111 is located east of Downtown Fort Worth at Hampton Street and Weatherford. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday, 10 – 5 pm and Saturday by appointment. To schedule a private viewing, contact Margery Gossett or Margo Hudson by calling 817.692.3228 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.