Across a Crowded Room

Across a Crowded Room

September 6 – September 29, 2008

At the heart of every work of art is a universe of little things, and Ann Ekstrom happily makes full use of such tiny components. Ekstrom's signature paintings of objects that could have spilled out of anybody's junk drawer or jewelry box or pants pocket exert the power to entrance while filling us with a sense of entering a place we should not be.

In her most recent works, Ekstrom ratchets up our focus on the miniaturized wonder hidden within small objects. By enlarging on canvas the intricate petal patterns and delicate shadings of the lid of a tiny porcelain scent bottle, an incredible image emerges in Dresden. In another 2008 work, Epernay, a plastic woman's brooch worn in the 1940s comes to life on Ekstrom's canvas as a wondrous Garden of Eden.

In the paintings of Nancy Lamb, perspective takes center stage when treatments of people in pleasurable settings are riotously skewed by her seemingly impossible angles of approach. Abrupt cropping of the edges of the picture plane focuses attention not so much on what her subjects look like but on what they are doing. And what they are doing is oh-so like us.

Nancy Lamb's mission to examine from every angle is again carried out in Dairy Queen and Dominoes, where two old Texans seated in a Dairy Queen swap stories while trying to best each other at a game of dominoes. That they and an orange fly-swatter sitting on the table next to them are seen from the vantage point of the fly remind us of how easily the mundane and the timeless can mix.

Ann Ekstrom (born, 1953) and Nancy Lamb (born, 1956) are Fort Worth natives and lifelong artists. This exhibition marks the first time they have exhibited as a pair. – Scott Barker