Art Takes Flight at Bath House

Flight patterns of migratory birds: they surge and soar, hover and circle, commune, or glide in solo contemplative regard. I gauge the success of an art show opening by the continuity of motion through the space, like migration. If the show is hung well, appropriately lit, the flow has a palpable dynamic. If the art offers substance and depth, the viewing experience satisfies. The Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake currently presents a multi-layered Winter Art Show in its tri-chambered gallery space, with no detail of creative display off kilter.

Attended by over two hundred art patrons at its opening reception December 6, the Bath House’s Winter Show features in its first gallery the gelatin silver prints of fine art photographer and UT/Dallas professor Marilyn Waligore. Possessing a fiercely fanciful dynamic, The Im/Materiality of the Everyday focuses its lens on transforming discarded everyday objects into aesthetically pleasing art. Lining both sides of the long hallway just beyond Waligore’s exhibit, Dallas Arts Revue’s The Winter Show sparks the imagination of milling viewers with a thought provoking “multi-dimensional mosaic” including seventy paintings, collages, prints, mixed media photography and sculpture. It presents works by forty-one artist members listed with show curator J.R. Compton’s website, http://www.dallasartsrevue.com.  In the far back gallery space, digital artist Jeanne Sturdevant weaves an introspective, surreal magic with Layered Journeys, displaying her brilliantly colored abstract digital paintings on the walls and on scored foam core screens mounted on pedestals. The latter create an ethereal, tactile ambience as they bend and furl like ocean waves.

It’s a feast of colors, shapes, textures, ideas, creative concepts and eclectic whimsy. No discordant jumble, it’s a carefully juxtaposed kaleidoscope thanks to the skillful planning of the Bath House’s Curator and Cultural Programs Coordinator Enrique Fernandez Cervantes. “Every year we receive ninety proposals for gallery shows, and we can only mount fourteen or fifteen,” Cervantes says.” We choose shows that will work well together, either thematically congruent or as contrasting expressions with integrated elements”. An advisory committee of arts professionals and community members juries proposals. “Serving the needs of our community is integral to the Bath House’s mission, so we favor DFW regional artists. Sometimes making the final choice can be a tough decision. Jeanne Sturdevant’s current show came to us in proposal last year, but we didn’t have the right pairing for her work until now.”

Tossing her full mane of silver hair, Marilyn Waligore exudes warm confidence and genuine dedication to her art.  Her show features twenty-five representative works. She began this exploratory voyage in photography with an array of found objects then concentrated on discarded ones. Filtered sepia tones, muted blues and rust hues, delicate silver and pearl filters, unexpectedly elegant fabric backgrounds in contrast with crushed milk jugs or smashed tin cans as foreground objects, help the viewer “see beyond the waste”. A dedicated recycler, Waligore noted the form and texture of the consumer detritus she carted out to her big blue bin and how light transformed it. Photographing the objects in transition from useful item to trash within an aesthetic context reinforces the value of “green” conservation practice for Waligore. A young couple aspiring to collect art for their new M Streets home were smitten with a print entitled “Spotlight”. A formal stage curtain waiting to rise frames the background behind one shiny object lit with a brilliant beam—an enlargement of a crumpled tin can. The setting transforms the can into something akin to the Holy Grail with Waligore’s reverential photographic treatment. The couple kept returning to the work, talking in excited whispers. Learn more about Waligore’s art: http://www.marilynwaligore.com.

Texas Tech graduate Jeanne Sturdevant’s comprehensive career as a studio artist has earned her regional, national, and international recognition. Her digital paintings at this show range from dream-like self-portraits to psychedelic expressionism to diorama with fantasy animals. The works compel the viewer to pause, breathe deep and reflect, much as the Lascaux “primitive” cave paintings might have affected their first modern human viewers. Sophisticated yet uncomplicated, the works possess wild undercurrents along with intriguing integration of traditional photographic techniques with new technology. A member of J. R. Compton’s DallasArtsRevue.com, Sturdevant’s personal page can be found at: http://www.dallasartsrevue.com/members/S/JSturdevant/JSturdevant.shtml.

Compton’s DallasArtsRevue.com’s The Winter Show forms a tunnel of eclectic diversity between Waligore and Sturdevant’s thematically unified shows. D Magazine has called J.R. Compton “Dallas’ best local arts promoter. “ Passionately dedicated to gaining exposure and recognition for local arts and artists, Compton includes both emergent and well-known artists in this show. Sheila Cunningham’s three-dimensional “Shadowblocks” photograph construction and Rebecca Reagan Boatman’s “Hope Triptych” in stoneware and mixed media inspired animated commentary at the opening reception, as did Kenneth D. Shaddock’s disturbing digital photomontage “Alchymical Byrd” and Art Shirer’s welded steel “Moon Shadow”. Fannie Brito’s “Distancia Entre Dos Puntos”, a mesmerizing pigment and acrylic on wood, and companion works–stoneware and oils by the husband and wife team Marty and Richard Ray, drew reception patrons in close to view and back again to re-view as they migrated through the galleries.

The Bath House Cultural Center Winter Art Show is not so vast that one needs hiking boots and GPS to traverse it, yet vast enough to stimulate appreciation for its diverse wealth of creativity. It’s always pleasant to visit the Bath House at White Rock Lake. Indulge yourself in a warm, rich artistic experience as winter’s frosty bluster descends.

The Bath House Cultural Center’s Winter Art Show runs through January 3. For information and holiday closure dates: http://www.bathhousecultural.com

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