Saturday, December 10, 2011

Austin American-Statesman :: From Uncertain to Blue, Gael Stack

From Uncertain to Blue
by Keith Carter
Buy It Now
Gael Stack
by Gael Stack
Buy It Now

From Lady Gaga to the Louvre, a roundup of holiday books

They're big. They're full of photos. And they can make wonderful doorstops.

They're this year's holiday books, which range from geography, art and politics to portraits of pop-culture icons.

The American-Statesman features staff has selected some of the best volumes to help guide people who have book lovers on their gift lists.

"From Uncertain to Blue," by Keith Carter ($55, University of Texas Press)

Keith Carter made a photographic splash when he first published "From Uncertain to Blue" in 1988. This year, the University of Texas Press has published a re-envisioned book that includes the photos as well as a new essay by Carter, who describes how he and his wife Patricia visited 100 small Texas towns in 1986 and 1987 and documented their travels on film. In the latest book, Carter includes some of his original contact sheets, showing how he selected the singular photo for each town in the first edition.

— Charles Ealy

"Gael Stack," by Gael Stack (University of Texas Press, $60)

Layered with cryptic calligraphic symbols, fragmentary texts and half-hidden images, the richly imaginative paintings of Gael Stack read simultaneously as elegant palimpsests and frenetic narratives.

The latest addition to the Dunkerley Contemporary Art Series, "Gael Stack" is the first retrospective monograph on this respected artist's career and makes welcome addition to the scholarship on Texas contemporary art.

Some 143 images luminously chart Stack's four decades of paintings. Her canvases offer an intriguing visual exploration of memory and of how the past infiltrates the present. Exhibited widely, Stack, who for long time lead the art department at the University of Houston, rightly gets the catalogue raisonné that she deserves, and essays by noted critics Raphael Rubinstein and Alison de Lima Greene astutely examine Stack's work in the larger context of contemporary art.

— Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

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