By Derrick White
Well, the heat has arrived. I’m sure you and yours need free, fun activities which will be stimulating to the senses and inside air-conditioned buildings, so check out these venues around town showcasing wonderful visual art.
Gallery Main Street, located in Downtown Tyler at 110 W. Erwin St., kicked off the summer by displaying the Caldwell Arts Academy Exhibit. The exhibition (which closed May 21st) featured 46 artworks by 42 different artists from Caldwell Arts Academy ranging from first through sixth grade. This was a great opportunity for these young artists to have their creations exhibited at a professional level in a real contemporary art space. The pieces were strong and showcased these youthful bright Caldwell Stars.
Gallery Main Street has been celebrating serving our community for the last 10 years with the “110@110” Art Exhibition and Fundraising Art Sale. 110 (10” x 10”) art pieces created by a select group of local artists will be available for affordable purchase at the grand opening on June 8th at 6pm. This runs through July 7th.
While you are Downtown, stop by ArtFix Cultured Studios around the corner at 112 S. Broadway Ave., where among the full walls of a variety of works by 13 gallery artists (including local talents Nyle Reams, Darby Blaise, and Cassie Bartley) you will find weekly workshops, classes, and events, now including a new recording studio booth in an old bank vault.
The Tyler Museum of Art exhibits “Texas Birds: Works by Frank X. Tolbert II” through August 4th containing artwork by the well-known Texas contemporary artist created for his ongoing Texas Bird Project. The exhibition contains drawings, paintings, and prints highlighting a variety of Texas bird species. The artist shows a range of his works and thought processes, from small-scale to large-scale, with colorful blasts, textured surfaces, exaggerated forms, complex compositions, and expressive lines.
Also on view is “Floating Life: Mississippi River Drawings by Liz Ward” through August 25th. This solo show by the artist and art professor at Trinity University in San Antonio spotlights pieces from two bodies of work – “Ghosts of the Old Mississippi” and “Veritas Caput” based on geological maps, river courses and sources, and childhood memories. The Tyler Museum of Art (TMA) is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Regular TMA hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5pm Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays.
On view in the Meadows Gallery at the University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center,located at 3900 University Blvd, Tyler, is the 2019 “Juried Student Exhibition.” The show is on display through August 9th and is free and open to the public Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.
This year’s juror is Kate Borcherding (Sam Houston State University art professor and mixed media artist focusing on psychological narratives with the human figure). Her selections are impressive and engaging. The professional skill level, appeal, and powerful content coming from these emerging Texas contemporary artists is remarkable and speaks volumes about our East Texas art scene. We have powerful artistic voices here.
Some of the excellent eye catchers included in the exhibition are Laminda Miller’s “New Life” (aluminum and epoxy clay), a small and powerful sculpture of a dead mouse hanging on the wall. The piece speaks to the fragility of life and the meekness of the small, and its form casts some incredible shadows.
Jessica Sanders’ “Fold, Cover, Fold” (porcelain, stoneware and wire) is a colorful, quilted tapestry of tiny, individual, geometric ceramic tiles sewn together with copper wire. The result is an intricate colorful blend of patterns where rigid, hard forms become billowy with fabric-like pleats.
Stephanie Nickel has an interesting triptych of old, rustic typewriters (ink and acrylic on paper) entitled “Shift from the ‘Story’ Series.” The images are faded and fleeting, and speak to the seasons of life and passage of time.
Brittany Taylor has a showstopper with her small painting “Stroller” (acrylic on panel). This one draws the viewer in close to examine the exquisite detail. It provides one with the sense of happening upon a hole in the wall of time and space and getting to peek through to another world, similar in appearance but eerily unlike our own.
The exhibit also features strong porcelain works from Willow Lanchester; well-crafted and intimate relief and monoprint works from Maggie Pierce and Kelly Waller; a mixed media video installation (and perhaps the funniest title in the show) from Nora Schreiber, “Am I Turning Myself Into a House Plant;” quality, large-scale paintings by Lilah Shepherd, John Miranda, and Erick Rodriguez; a beautiful charcoal drawing by Lorianne Hubbard; and a bright and colorful organic form watercolor, monoprint, and collage piece by Katherine Finch. I enjoyed Jack Delaney’s (oil on canvas) painting “Paradise Suite,” wherein a couple greet each other with a kiss inside an implied linear perspective interior, oblivious to both the fiery sky outside and the wildcats and other critters clustered around the home. The piece is technically proficient while maintaining a head-scratching woolly juxtaposition leaving one guessing. Leon Campbell has a solid piece in “Tetris Line Pattern,” a linocut on marbled paper creating a disorienting optic effect of layers with geometric line work atop fluid, unforced, subtle colors.
Two of the works visually hitting me the hardest, with a “creepy in a good way” sense of wonder, are “A Bone to Pick” by Joshua Crockett and “Unwanted/Prized” by Katie Dawn Dukes. Crockett’s work is a meticulously sculpted tooth made from 2,399 toothpicks. The tooth is textured, weathered, and brown like it’s been pulled from an old, craggy smoker. Crockett committed to forming this piece the hard way, and all the nuances of surface really paid off.
And then there’s Katie Dukes’ equestrian-esque fetus beast distorted by the clear liquid inside its specimen jar (oven clay, aluminum, glass, and water). This work is beautifully crafted and hauntingly indistinct. It stands in both worlds, of being either some believable fantasy or a freakish reality. Regardless, it is a job well done.
The exhibition also showcases quality pieces from Lidia Alvidrez, Rachel Lynn Anthony, Megan Brewer, Brady Collings, Coy Lothrop, Mike Ohara, Mary Ann Post, Jamin Shepherd, and Jacque Yost.
I wish I had room to discuss them all, but I don’t so you will have to go see the art yourselves. Summer is a great to do and as usual, art is a part of East Texas. So be sure to see as much as you can while you are out seeking any cool air conditioning.
For the Love of Art: Art Events, Classes & Exhibits
Tyler Museum of Art: “Floating Life: Mississippi River”
The Tyler Museum of Art (TMA) is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Regular TMA hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5pm Sunday. The Museum is closed Mondays. For more info call the museum at (903)595-1001, tylermuseum.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TMA Plots New Course with “Floating Life: Mississippi River Drawings by Liz Ward,” Through August 25th
The Tyler Museum of Art explores the mystique of the South as seen through the eyes of a Texas talent with its next major exhibition, “Floating Life: Mississippi River Drawings by Liz Ward.” The show continues through August 25th in the TMA’s North Gallery.
Organized by the TMA and curated by Caleb Bell, “Floating Life” is the first large-scale museum exhibition of Mississippi River works by Ward, a San Antonio artist and professor of art and art history at Trinity University, whose work largely is informed by natural history and the environmental crisis.
The exhibition spotlights pieces from two recent bodies of work: “Ghosts of the Old Mississippi” and “Veritas Caput.” The works from “Ghosts of the Old Mississippi” are based on geological maps of the river’s ancient courses and inspired by the artist’s childhood memories from South Louisiana, where her great-grandfather spent a career as a riverboat captain.
Pieces from “Veritas Caput” focus on the search for the source of the river by various explorers.
Ward’s work has been widely exhibited and is featured in numerous public collections, including the Tyler Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Support for “Floating Life” is provided by Collectors’ Circle-Gold Sponsors Betty and Dick Summers.
Special events in connection with current exhibitions include a free First Friday tour August 2nd.
The first Friday of each month, 11am-12:30pm, the TMA offers a full day of free admission plus guided tours of its spotlight exhibitions.
Family Days will be from 2-4pm Saturday, August 10th.
Free admission, interactive art projects, light snacks, and a festive atmosphere for all ages are on the menu for the second Saturday of each month with the Tyler Museum of Art’s Family Day.
Luminary – James Robert Pace on Exhibit
Legendary East Texas visual artist James Robert Pace is the heart of influence in the artistic spirit of the Tyler area and has been for over three decades. An exhibition honoring James Pace’s extensive, influential, and brilliant art and his lasting legacy opens Monday, August 26th and will remain on view through Friday, October 4th, 2019 at the Meadows Gallery at the University of Texas at Tyler’s Cowan Center located at 3900 University Blvd, Tyler, TX 75701. A reception with the artist will be held Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. An exhibition catalogue will be available.
James Pace is a recently retired Distinguished Professor of Visual Art at The University of Texas at Tyler, where he has taught since 1985. He holds a Master of Fine Art degree from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma. Pace was appointed to the Oge’ Professorship in Visual Art, the White Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching, and received the Chancellor’s Council Teaching Award while teaching at the University of Texas at Tyler. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally since 1976 and has received numerous awards for his paintings, drawings, prints, and mixed media work. He maintains an active studio practice in the forest of East Texas, where he lives with his artist wife, Philana Oliphant, poet daughter Aza Rene’ Pace, and an ever-changing number of rescued dogs.
“Like most people who practice art-making, I’ve done so for as long as I can remember. I’m sure most people find some kind of early support through family and friends, and thereby experience some type of self-actualization. I did, still, do,” states Pace, adding, “Trained in printmaking, painting, and drawing, I always thought those were my media interests. But, one day, while working on a large canvas on the floor of my studio, I inadvertently dropped a piece of paper on a painting. The experience brought a flood of memory of long-forgotten understanding. I knew mixed media was my way of finding a full voice of aesthetic consideration.”
Dedicated to the visual art spirit of East Texas and to seeing it prosper and grow, as well as garnering the statewide and national attention it deserves, Pace hopes his newly enlarged and renovated studio space becomes a place for our community of artists and thinkers to congregate. He hopes to facilitate a more cohesive, yet diverse arts community. “This is about helping, in whatever ways we can, the next generation of East Texas artists,” states James Pace.
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