LA critic to judge local art exhibition

A Los Angeles art critic is the talk of the town for 22 regional artists.

David Pagel writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times and is the juror for the 27th annual Art in the Metroplex exhibition held Sept. 1 through Oct. 1 in the J.M. Moudy Art Gallery.

Mark Thistlethwaite, an art history professor, said he believes the university’s credibility and the opportunity to see what’s going on within the region are what attract nationally acclaimed jurors to the exhibition.

“Any critic wants to be aware of what’s going on in different parts of the country and see how it’s similar and how it’s different from LAor New York,” Thistlethwaite said.

Thistlethwaite said he likes to observe the way the juror, who typically is not from the area, looks at the art with fresh eyes.

The Art in the Metroplex exhibition was established to fill a void of looking at contemporary art in the region, Thistlethwaite said. The Templeton Art Center approached the university to co-sponsor the project 27 years ago, and it continues to be an admired exhibition in the art community today, Thistlethwaite said.

Different work is displayed every year because the exhibition offers a variety of mixed media, Thistlethwaite said.

“It changes from year to year, and that’s part of the excitement of the show, to see what’s going on in the area,” he said.

According to the Office of Communications Web site, work by 14 Tarrant County artists, six Dallas County artists and two artists from Denton County were selected for the juried exhibition.

Typically the majority of artists who participate in the exhibition are from the surrounding region, Thistlethwaite said. He said students have won in the past, noting that he loves when students are included in the exhibition.

Pagel selected a photograph by artist J R Compton titled “Bull with Cattle Egrets” to be in this year’s exhibition. This is Compton’s eighth year to have his work displayed in the exhibition.

Compton wrote in an e-mail that he likes that the Art in the Metroplex Exhibition is an intimate show allowing artists to have time to talk with each other.

“I don’t enter very many competitive exhibitions,” Compton wrote. “I like this one, because it’s comfortable. It feels like a mini-homecoming each time I return.”

Thistlethwaite said hosting the exhibition on campus is a huge benefit because it is good publicity for the art history department and the university. He said it raises the university’s profile and keeps the university’s name in the forefront of the visual and fine arts community.

The exhibition opening reception is a popular and well-publicized event, Thistlethwaite said.

“This is a great opportunity for artists and viewers to see what’s going on,” he said.

The exhibition’s opening also provides the public the chance to purchase the artwork if they’re interested, Thistlethwaite said.

Art in the Metroplex exhibition

When: 2 – 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: J.M. Moudy Art Gallery

Art critic David Pagel will speak at 3 p.m.

More details about the exhibition can be found at