Incidents on a Page: Dallas-Venice Dreamscapes, 1976-2020

Incidents on a Page: Dallas-Venice Dreamscapes: 1976-2020 is an exhibition of new work in the form of excerpts of selected texts and images by the artist and his colleagues. Because of the national emergency sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, these works are now available to view online at and on this website, below.*

The exhibition links two themes that define my standpoint as an artist and writer in dialogue with the institutions of art: the impact on artists of the global art network, and the future of self-managed, sustainable support structures by and for artists and their public.

These themes are made vivid through a group of projects that reference the Venice Biennale, and analyze the conditions facing artists living and working in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.

This body of work is presented in the form of printed matter; specifically, typographic sample sheets or digital proofs for printing. All these formats refer directly to my long-standing use of typography, graphic design, and commercial printing processes as expressive tools worthy of artistic reinvention.

An interventionist intent coupled with a strident polemical tone reverberates throughout these works. The result is a kaleidoscopic landscape where the values of the most vibrant cultural spaces of the DFW Metroplex jostle against Dallas’ relentless high gloss vision of the city as a global cultural destination. Along with many other voices, I share the hope for change across every aspect of our lives: cultural, social, and political.

*The execution of the online exhibition hosted by the Hawn Gallery is a collaborative effort among Michael Corris; Allison Klion; Assistant Director of Hamon Arts Library, Beverly Mitchell; Stacks Maintenance Manager, Chris Rincon; and Gary M. Torborg, Applications Support in the SMU Office of Information Technology.

To be read after having experienced the work.

I accept the conventional form of the typographic sample sheet as much as artists accept the anatomy of the body.

Using the design of the typographic sample sheet took care of a great deal for me because I didn’t have to design it.

For graphic designers, the typographic sample sheet is a thing the mind already knows. This gives me room to work on other levels.

That’s what I like about typographic sample sheets, that they come that way.

This way of realizing my subject permits me to submit to an impersonal discipline of ruled lines and all the other technical conventions of typography, while still responding to every artistic impulse.

The typographic sample sheet brings together two disparate ways of approaching the making of art — systematic (the form) and improvisational (the content) — and brings them into proximity with a third that is normally antithetical to both; namely, the most literal realism.

The title of this exhibition implies a retrospective view of projects that relate to Venice and to Dallas, independently of one another and eventually in tandem with each other. I prefer the title of this exhibition to be more tentative. That way it can accommodate the possibility of meaning something else as you, the viewer, become familiar with the works and begin to gauge their meaning against your experience.

What if we changed the order of the chronology to “2020 through 1976”? Would that change anything? Rewinding our encounter with Venice and Dallas might foreground a different sort of historical development and evoke a darker state of mind. We wouldn’t be talking only about Venice and Dallas anymore; we’d be communicating how the experience of globalization feels from the standpoint of those who have been called upon from time to time to fill in its cultural blanks.

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