In the Works

 There is a new movement in the works, that mixes fine art and high-end furniture in a way that may seem sac religious to some gallery owners.  It is a new, modern concept that is considered very cutting edge, and it is being introduced on both coasts.  It is intentionally meant to blur the lines between fine art and designed objects; to create an elegant interplay between the two.  It bends the rulebook and frustrates art dealers because it is a genuine effort to step away from the concept of the ‘white cube’.

Gallery interior, paintings by Dara Mark

Brian O’Doherty wrote “Inside the White Cube” as a series of essays that appeared in Art Forum in 1976.  They purported the transformation of the gallery to a clean void, thus enhancing the exhibition and salability of the work.  And galleries everywhere changed their look.  Perhaps it was justified at the time, since the industrial lofts of NYC in the 70’s and 80’s could be a bit rough.  But no longer. 

Now the concept of the white cube is looked down upon as too empty and too antiseptic; due in part to the fact that too much bad art has been presented as quality work just based on its pristine surroundings. 

Regardless, the world is rocking back toward the more human elements of the early Beaux Arts salons.  Well, not quite – the current mix is elegant, sleek and very timely.  The idea is to create a museum aesthetic that is classic, one of a kind quality.  So at SMINK we are treating the gallery like a view finder, a place to evidence the art against well-designed furnishings, by the world’s leading designers. 

Here, the subtle poetry of the creative process is evident in both the fine art and the design objects/furniture.  Each creator, whether painter or architect, designer or sculptor, has pondered an idea, had an epiphany, worked and reworked the concept to perfection.  Here they are together.


An Artist

Art, good art, awakens the soul and refreshes the mind. 

If you are alone in the room with one good piece — what will it be?  What rejuvenates you each time you see it?  What is purposeful to you; a broad expanse of Monet’s water lilies?  An Ansel Adams vista?  A Van Gogh starry night? 

For many of us the presence of a good landscape photograph – a sweeping view of earth and sky – helps to bring our inner world into focus.  We find balance in looking upon nature, whether we have actually stood in that spot ourselves or not.  It settles our soul to look into a captured view and realize the perfection. 

In the late nineties Smink began to show the work of Texas photographer, Gary Faye.  We have shown Antelope Canyon work, Muir Woods, Glacier National Park, The Grand Canyon and more recently, a series of Big Bend studies in color, unlike any that have been seen before.  Gary uses a Hasselblad, so the clarity is even better than the naked eye.  His work, early or recent, is always a lesson in captured light.  As a body of work these photos represent the faces of our sweet land, which Gary has sought out and waited over, to catch the changing expression.   They are portraits of a country that calls gently to us.


Inwood 2009

Sometime in the mid-eighties we had the idea that high-design furnishings should come out from behind the ‘closed doors’ of the local design center and should be made available to the public.  We reasoned that just as the public desires to buy a well-designed automobile, they would seek out a well-designed sofa and chairs.  Calvin Klein had taught a new generation the basics of branding and quality.  They were a generation more mobile than the preceding ones, and better educated than ever-before.  This generation would want home furnishings that were more representative of their ideals. 

So in 1988 we incorporated and in the early fall of 1989 we opened our doors.  The first store was 3600 sq.ft. brimming with promise.  We learned a whole new language of sales, and public interaction.  We threw our professional degrees under the desk and learned the jargon of retail and trade sales.  We were located in a prime location on a main street cutting thru Highland Park, and yet people would open the front door and call in, ”Can we shop here?”  We worked a making the store look welcoming and not too “museumy”.  The first years were rewarding, invigorating and a true test in endurance as we educated our public to design, and built the level of sales we needed.  Looking back we always tell the story as if we were Indiana Jones in front of the rock. 

In 1999 we moved our business to a larger retail space in Inwood Village on the other side of the Park Cities from the first location.  We built out 8000 sq. ft. plus in a back courtyard at of the classic landmark shopping center originally built in the 50’s.  We worked hard and watched our baby grow. 

By 2009 the world markets were slipping, America’s buying power was on hold and we ended our high rent lease at Inwood.  All of our growth plans were curtailed and instead of building out a new lease, we moved to a handsome gallery space deep in the Dallas Design District.  The district had swung its doors open in years previous, and the public was beginning to discover their immense buying power in the trade warehouses.  Our new location provided more square footage, loading docks, warehouse space and private offices (that we had never had before), all designed by Dallas architect, Thomas Krahenbuhl. The neighborhood was Soho in the 70’s; full of enthusiastic, hardworking entrepreneurs who made business in Dallas and the Southwest.

Work in Progress

Nothing has a beginning or an end; it is all a work in progress.  We manifest an idea at some point and we show it to others, but the spark of the idea came from somewhere else and we have ruminated over it before we shaped it.  Sometimes we sketch it, change it and roll it around for a long time.  So it is. 

We are self-taught, semi-educated, and if we are very blessed, we have guidance.  That quick flash of a concept, that whisper of two words..“try this”.  It comes from home when we are very young, and then as we age it goes with us.  It starts with our parents, our roots, our DNA.  And then the consciousness carries the pattern structure forward. 

But maybe it’s a bit more than just good upbringing – maybe its real guidance, maybe it’s divine. Maybe we have great accompaniment that advises, teaches, and actually shapes our work.  What do you say about that?  Thank you, thank you.   

our roots