October 25th, 2011
Moody Gallery: Gael Stack’s “Forty-One Songs”
Houston has so many good artists it’s hard to choose just one. Moody Gallery is exhibiting “Forty-One Songs” drawings by Houston’s own Gael Stack, artist and UH Professor. I have read some excerpts that depict her work being about memories. This might be true, but I read more of a theme of sincere forgiveness. It’s apparent that Ms. Stack is reflecting on motherhood, her life, and especially her art than just memories.
Song number 9: A baby touching his mother but there is no hand — The image done in graphite is gray and has a feeling of distance from the mother. A dead cat is to the side of the woman with an oversize red maroon hat smiling at the viewer. And in the bottom left corner there is a hand holding a lotus flower.
Song number 13: The Jim Drawings, shows an elderly man with wrinkles standing or walking looking very exhausted. By the side of him there is a large drawing of a purple bird that seems to be standing and toward the man’s lower torso there is an image of a young woman that looks like she’s engaged in some type of activity which isn’t clear. Above the old man you can read the words “ARE GOING SANE.” Ms. Stack is known for incorporating a short hand message system into her work. This piece might be about how everyone loses time.
Song number 14: A lady that is looking to the left of the picture — Her gaze goes past the edge of the paper. There is a pink stitch or stitches that are on her neck and her hair. Some kind of acrobat is in the center and a pink shell is behind her surrounded by graphite scribbles. These drawings are very powerful and a complete 360 degree turnaround from her oversize cobalt blue paintings. She has created a new style that is very pleasing and exotic.
Song number 15: Out of all the songs this is my favorite. The image is of a beautiful woman looking directly into the viewers eyes. With her hands held high, the left clinching the right, she reminds me of the Greek aesthetic of beauty. Or maybe the way Matisse drew his women in black. The lady is intertwined with another female clinching her ears or neck. Maybe the two are connected at different times and at different ages. As a former student of Ms. Stack I have always appreciated her art. It’s very detailed oriented and adds warmth to the idea of narrative. I see her work as visual poetry. She creates her own sounds, words, and phrases. No wonder she refers to her work as songs.
Submitted by Jesse Kantu