Guest blogger Brad Ford Smith is a Dallas artist and arts conservationist.
View of the Houston Fine Art Fair, impressive from the air, engaging on the ground. Sometimes sprawl can be a good thing.
Battling traffic on I-45 for four hours to get to the art fair is not the ideal way to prepare oneself to see a ton of artwork for the very first time. So it was with a touch of white line fever that I wondered into the HFAF. The first five or six gallery booths were pretty much a mental blur, but then I found myself standing in front of the first discovery of the day.
Forrest Moses at Lew Allen Galleries. He translates the New Mexico landscape into a sophisticated network of lines, textures and colors. His paintings and mono prints were just what the doctor ordered.
With a name like the Houston Fine Art Fair, it’s no surprise that a large portion of the galleries were fine art dealers.That translates into lots of paintings from the 1950s and ’60s; Robert Motherwells, Hans Hoffmans and Milton Averys, academic wise men who forever changed the course of art in America. This lead to my first re-discovery of the day, the large paint-splattered canvases of Norman Bluhm at the Vincent Vallarino Fine Art.
The art fair also had a heavy Latin American presence, with galleries like Sammer Gallery displaying wonderful MADI constructed paintings and works on paper. Love this shaped canvas painting by Carmelo Arden Quin
The Douglas Dawson Gallery filled its booth with large and small historic objects like this fuzzy tarantula bowl form Tonosi, Panama, AD 300-500.
And for drama, the Peter Fetterman Gallery has Sebastiao Salgado. Each photo tells an unbelievable but true story.
Okay, obviously I could ramble on. So let me tie this up by saying there are now hundreds of art fairs occurring across the US. This has changed the way most galleries find and sell to collectors, which in return has changed the format of art fairs. Yes, HFAF was all about sellable artwork, but for the price of admission it was also a great art exhibit, worth seeing twice.