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"The Big Show, 2007"

The curator of "The Big Show" does the job right

The second-place prize of $1,000 went to Aesha Lee for her vertical triptych I Am (parts 1-3) (2007). The three black-and-white paintings each show a different expression on the lower half of a woman's face. There's nothing wrong with how they're executed, but the whole thing just looks like an ambitious freshman painting project. Meanwhile, the third-place prize of $750 went to Matthew Sullivan. His Rug (2007) is a small gouache-and-pencil drawing of patterns of multicolored triangles surrounded by an elaborate homemade wood frame. He also has an ink drawing of a barn. Together, they have this kind of faux-folksy feeling. I don't know how old the prizewinners are, but the work all seems pretty young, like Gonzalez was trying to be encouraging to a bunch of students.

But whatever you think of her choices, good or ill, Gonzalez definitely gets Houston and gets Lawndale. In her letter for the exhibition brochure, she wrote that Lawndale Art Center and "The Big Show" allow for "a real life admixture of the polished, the amateur, the academicized, the autodidact, the ‘internationally exhibited' and the recluse." I'd say that about sums it up.

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