Gerald Peters Displays Works by Houston Artist by Patricia Mora

There’s a fine, timeless aesthetic lying in wait on Dragon Street. The real thing. Gerald Peters Gallery has performed dependably as a crucible for heating up the arts scene in Dallas, and they’ve delivered still another show worthy of world-class viewing.

Their latest offering, the work of Houston-based artist Terrell James, resists the cult of nomenclature. Her art is a deft synthesis of abstract and organic aesthetics, by turns textural and warm then highly charged with vibrant color and motion.

Visit her current exhibit and you’ll immediately understand why James’ work is deemed formidable enough to grace the walls of some of the nation’s finest museums: the Menil Collection in Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Dallas Museum of Art; The Free International University World Art Collection in Amsterdam. And more. Many more.

James notes her work is borne of “memory of place” and there’s discernible play between the “back and forth” of past and present.

“Paired, 2008,” is a diptych that coalesces in different guises, offering a continuously changing array of shapes reminiscent of interiors or urban streetscapes. Just when one view becomes predominant, it’s supplanted by yet another vantage point that’s equally engaging. If that sounds unlikely, witness it yourself. Watch it and, more importantly, feel it. These arresting pieces play joyfully with time, letting it reel out like a kite string snapped into a framed-yet-fluid atmosphere in which we happily romp.

James’ paintings are as profound and deep as one might wish. “Notes from a French Café, 2008,” is a beautifully articulated piece that creates a place one visits again and again. It’s poured out for us, then perishes and reassembles. Like the world itself, it’s lucent and unfettered.
“Second Shift” offers a more strident foray into the frenetic world of urban life. Clearly delineated lines carve away dross and haul us into an altered universe of cleanly conveyed motion. It’s a “second shift” in consciousness as much as a nod to the nature of factory workers set free after a day of confinement while others simultaneously punch the proverbial clock.

One could talk about similarities to the palettes of Cezanne and Matisse, but that’s of little interest compared to the sheer adventure and pleasure of looking at James’ work. Unlike some current trends, there’s no enigmatic trail to excavate, no circuitous verbiage to offer perceived validation. Her paintings need no accompanying treatise. They simply abide, settled but infused with still-spilling creation that twines out of time.

Nothing short of a privilege has been conferred upon us by the presence of this show, this stellar display of a huge and precious talent.