Last Saturday, now that it’s already getting dark here in Dallas by 6pm, it was time at last to figure out how to make a self-contained lighting system for the gallery. One portable power device (designed to jump start your car) and two 12.5 watt LED lights later, plus some wood, screws, spray paint, and work light fixtures, I had my solution! Henceforth the gallery will be a bright jewel lighting up those nights that I hit the road to show some artwork. It was a chilly evening and more sparsely attended than spring and autumn gallery nights in the Design District. Standing out there in the cold and peaceful darkness under the new lights, I felt a particular surge of good feeling that I usually get only when I’m out in our front yard in December, enjoying the quiet glow of our Christmas lights at home. After Dragon Street I drove to the Fair Park area to Ash Studios, where Fred Villenueva had invited me to a Bring Your Own Art party he was hosting. It was a fun time. I enjoyed the rare chance to bring my work with me, by way of illustrating quite directly what I do when getting acquainted with people at the party. When asked what I did, the questioner and I walked around the gate and there it was, the thing I do.
I took the truck gallery down to Oak Cliff last Saturday and enjoyed a beautiful day. Some friends showed up mid-afternoon and we decided to drive the exhibition of my large canvas Bump around the Bishop Arts District, in search of food, drink, and, eventually, pie. Up until Saturday I had not driven while displaying artwork, but the coziness of the Oak Cliff community and the security of having a friend in the bed of the truck keeping an eye on things were enough to get the gallery past that milestone. Currently I am designing a new wall that will be easier to assemble and strike and that will also give me options for displaying artwork while driving. Always, Jim Public’s Truck is about fun and accessibility. So the mission continues…
Now that I am preparing for the next Jim Public’s Truck exhibition, it is time to post images of the nine paintings that make up the series I showed last month. The paintings that comprise A Dry Heat are plexiglass panels that I put in watertight vessels full of acrylic paint and water. Before submerging each panel in paint and leaving it in Las Vegas for two years to evaporate fully, I did some mark-making in the white, gessoed underlayer, so each painting has words, pictures, or impressions beneath the color and design left behind by nature’s patient hand.
It was a beautiful time, the first evening of autumn, I think. The gallery was parked near plenty of car traffic and very little foot traffic, so, as lots of motorists gave Jim Public’s Truck a quick drive by and, I hope, registered that the gallery exists, I was able to have long and casual chats with those few people who walked all the way down to Payne Street. We gallerists prefer a bustling exhibition, but I savored the evening’s serenity.
Jim Public’s Truck has been invited to participate in tomorrow’s Dallas Art Dealers Association Gallery Walk. I will be parked at 960 Dragon Street from 2 till 8 pm on Saturday, September 22, with A Dry Heat, the ongoing exhibition of paintings made by evaporation in the Mojave desert. I’m looking forward to a beautiful day and I hope to see you there.
August 29, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JIM PUBLIC’S TRUCK PRESENTS A DRY HEAT The portable gallery exhibits new paintings rendered by evaporation Opening reception: Saturday, September 8, 3–8pm, parked somewhere on Dragon Street, Dallas, TX, quite possibly on the 1001 block between Payne and Howell DALLAS, TX – Jim Public’s Truck, Dallas’s portable gallery of contemporary art, is proud to present an exhibition of new work by the eponymous artist, Jim Public. His new series, A Dry Heat, comprises nine paintings that Public began in 2010 when he lived in Las Vegas. The artist built a watertight vitrine with nine slots in which he suspended plexiglass panels and poured acrylic washes, submerging each panel in a different color of watery paint. Over the following two years the dry, Mojave air evaporated the moisture from the vitrine, leaving behind nine completed paintings, each a record in pigment of the inexorable natural processes that rendered it. “These paintings come out of my effort to make pictures and objects without exerting a lot of control along the way,” says Public. “I am skeptical of exercising too much power during the art-making process like some kind of aesthetic tyrant. The world is bigger and lovelier when you relax.” The paintings of A Dry Heat embody a collaboration between the artist and the arid climate of southern Nevada, and, two years having elapsed during their making, they also represent a time capsule for the artist. “When I first took out the paintings to look at them I saw the phrases and designs that I had made in the substrates before adding the paint washes. I remember thinking in 2010 that these marks would be like artifacts from the past, but I did not consider that the artist doing the excavating in 2012 would be a changed person, one who might no longer love these phrases and designs. In other words, for me, looking closely at these paintings is kind of like looking at an old yearbook: we can change how we feel about the past, but we cannot change the past itself.” The nine paintings—direct products of physical law acting over time—will debut at a reception for the artist on Dragon Street in the Dallas Design District on Saturday, September 8, 3–8pm. Jim Public’s Truck is a contemporary art gallery committed to presenting artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways.
Thank you to everyone who stopped to look, ask questions, and say encouraging things during the gallery’s first event this past Saturday. The debut of Jim Public’s Truck was a lot of fun for me, a great experience. I am proud of the gallery and excited to experiment with its possibilities. I love when art is serious yet informal, straightforward but not simple, fun without being obsequious. These are the qualities I’m after when I make stuff and do stuff. I look forward to the next event!
July 23, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW MOBILE ART GALLERY DEBUTS IN DALLAS Jim Public’s Truck will present exhibitions from the bed of a pickup truck Opening reception: Saturday, July 28, 5–9pm, somewhere on Dragon St. DALLAS, TX – A new contemporary art venue, Jim Public’s Truck, will open on Dragon Street at 5pm on Saturday, July 28, in conjunction with Design District Gallery Day. The exhibition space consists of a white, modular 8’ x 7’ wall and a blue 2001 Chevy Silverado. The proprietor is Dallas-based artist James Hough, who works under the name Jim Public, and who has designed the gallery to fit comfortably within a parking space, making the operation both compact and flexible. “Any place where I can legally park can now be the site of an art exhibition,” says Mr. Public. “Like most galleries and museums, Jim Public’s Truck follows the convention of using white walls and pedestals for displaying fine art, it just does so on the back of a motor vehicle. I am not reinventing the wheel, just putting a gallery on it.” Building a truck-mounted, artist-run gallery space is part of Public’s broader effort to conduct a grassroots art career, one in which he can cultivate a closer relationship with his audience. “I admire how comedians and musicians can tour and gig if they’re willing to put in the work. They create an experience and build an audience all while practicing their craft. And there are bands like the Flaming Lips who strive to connect with their fans in unpredictable and intimate ways, like creating music using fans’ car stereos or cell phones, taking their art out of the studio and off the stage. They are writing their own rulebook—sometimes tearing out the pages—as they go. This is what an artist does, and this is what I am doing with my gallery.” Jim Public’s Truck will debut with the exhibition Jormungand Releases His Tail, featuring Public’s painting by the same name. Public’s recent work is rooted in the pictorial tradition of second-generation abstract expressionists such as Joan Mitchell whose paintings straddle the border between gesture and chaos. Using abrasives to cut through built-up layers of acrylic, Public adds and removes paint over weeks and sometimes months until the painting reaches a point of what he calls, quoting Richard Diebenkorn, “rightness.” Jim Public’s Truck is a contemporary art gallery committed to presenting artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways.