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Small Sculpture in Texas ©1993, 2000 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

The Houston Trip

That night, we hit openings.

An early stop was ONWAUGH, on Waugh Street, naturally. Outside, noisily kinetic metal simulations portrayed two guys drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in a bar, setting a raucous tone to the co-op space. Inside, competent flat steel fish and fauna floated. Fascinatingly interactive high-tech pretties visually mixed movable magnet and reactive electronic lines on a video, and shared an electric fascination for a Faraday bulb and unconnected, but glowing neon bow.

Sunday afternoon, after lingering through the Houston Museum of Art, we promenaded with art from Sculpture '86 in nearby Herman Park. An odd-colored Michael Bigger, a junky Willem Verhelst in the pond, a couple of once-fragile, now broken abstracts. At the far end, a fenced-in, multi-colored Starpen by Dallasite Joy Poe formed a star of ten primary color fence sections. Children swarmed to it, immediately climbed and conquered the colorful fence, then evaporated off of it and wandered off. It was beautiful, complex, useful and lush.

Overall, Jana Vander Lee's engaging international sculpture show and tell was excellent-despite much local grousing. Sculpture '86 continued in The Lake on Post Oak. There, Phillip Johnson's Waterwall Park (a.k.a.: Tansco Fountain) rises in a giant semicircle, overlooking a triangle-topped colonnade. From the back, it's a cooling plant, rumbling. "Inside," the opened cylinder creates a public plaza where a turgid, gray, falling water fountain froths and splashes like noisy feathers, soaking cool the open enclosure.

A short walk from Houston's new Waterwall park, in an industrial greenstrip among dark glass office complexes, a field set off from the rest of the Sunday- afternoon- in-the-park bustle was filled with a by-then tattered and wind-torn field of white sheets billowing mysteriously in the winds. Fettered to poles like kites in a gale, I saw in it running fences, wrapped storm clouds and sky. Whitecap by Amarillo sculptor Judy Sutton Kracke spoke volumes about temporality.

Dallas Arts Revue #22,
early 1987 

  

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