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THE YEAR IN REVIEW [2016]
by Todd Camplin

I know it is early, but I think this would be a good time to review the year in visual art.
Many people might think this year wasn’t all that great overall, but locally our art
scenes of the Metroplex had some exciting shows. This encompasses both commercial
and museum art spaces.
Jackson Pollock’s teacher Thomas Hart Benton had a focus show at the Amon Carter.
An impressive show of theatrical paintings. I wasn’t a fan before I saw the show, but
I had to admire him when I left. He was in the business of creating a mythical United
States with all the ugliness that goes along with the glory. Jackson Pollack’s show
at the Dallas Museum of Art was a real eye opener.

This exhibition covered a few years of his lesser known black paintings. Pollock was also a
myth maker, but his came from making work about paint and what a painter could do.
Both men may have had totally different styles and approaches, but their goal to make
paintings that were larger than life was achieved.

Can you also believe that the Fort Worth Modern had a retrospective of Frank Stella’s work?
That is right, the monumental show made me want to run right back into the studio and
make a response piece or two. From the early paintings that were shaped, minimal
canvases to the massive maximalist sculptures and paintings of the later work; one
visit was not enough for me.
This year’s Dallas Art Fair was the best yet. All the art related activities, events, and other shows
during the art fair week help Dallas move a bit closer to an event week like Art Basel Miami,
if only just a little. Some artist solo shows stick in my mind, like Jim Stoker’s landscapes at
Valley House Gallery. I gained a new appreciation for contemporary landscape. I have
been following Bonny Leibowitz for some time and I was excited that after her show at
Lillian Bloch Gallery, her current work went up to New York City for another show.
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Jackson Pollock, Number 15, 1951
Enamel on canvas, Overall: 56 x 66 in.
Museum Ludwig, Cologne © 2015 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society
(ARS), New York
Bonny Leibowitz - Monument Pile, 2016 at Liliana Bloch Gallery
vinyl, vintage and contemporary textiles, photography of textiles,
pigment on mulberry paper, acrylic and stitching. 78"x65"
Mathew Zefeldt was one of the best solo painting shows this year at a commercial gallery.
Similar to the way That 70’s Show taped into nostalgia without being just plain nostalgic,
Zefeldt taps into the 1990’s digital images, but he reorganizes and makes new images in
the style of 16 bit that makes the work seem fresh, yet from an earlier time. Circuit 12
Contemporary had a way of creating great solo shows like Zefeldt and also some
amazing group shows. Last week I mentioned Circuit 12 Contemporary’s group show
titled Hot and Wet and a show titled Cult of Color in relation to Adam Palmer’s work,
but I must also express that these two shows were the best this year in the category
of group shows. The gallery I am associated with also had a pretty amazing painting
show by a group of artists. The exhibition was titled Manmade and was held at Holly
Johnson Gallery. Manmade highlighted seven artists that range in style and speaks
to what is exciting in abstract painting today.
Mathew Zefeldt - Installation View at Circuit 12
Jim Stoker - Sumac During Fall, 2015 at Valley House Gallery
oil on linen
Warren Isensee at Holly Johnson Gallery
So, as you can see, there are a lot of positive things to reflect upon in 2016. Let’s hope the arts will flourish
even more next year.