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Inside the Artist’s Studio: The Texas Biennial

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Miles and Miles of Texas

By Derrick White

Over the summer, in the span of seven weeks, curator Leslie Moody Castro visited 25 Texas cities, 200 artist’s studios, and traveled 11,033 miles! The Texas Biennial is an exhibition of contemporary art celebrating the many cultures and identities influencing and impacting our daily lives across our state. Of the 1,217 applicants, 33 artists were chosen to exhibit in Austin September 30th–November 11th. One artist is from Tyler: Philana Oliphant Pace, an excellent choice.

Philana is a respected and sincere art professor at Tyler Junior College. She embodies a quiet, incredibly patient, forgiving, and knowledgeable approach to instruction. Her artwork, from large-scale sculpture installations to handcrafted drawings and cut-outs are all completed with precision and persistence.

Philana Oliphant Pace mentions in her artist’s statement, “My drawings are remnants of a behavioral form allowing my mind to achieve a meditative state. The results rely on a physiological statement, which is the first principle of communication. The forms are pieces of an infinite puzzle. They are repetitive, connective, and possess a sense of time. Searching for grace, the union of drawing and sculpture manifests what I will pass on while releasing what I will not.” Her artwork exemplifies craftsmanship, passion, and diligent patience.

After a period of evaluation and restructuring, the Texas Biennial is returning in its sixth edition with an ambitious program celebrating the heterogeneous voices across Texas. In 2017, efforts are being made to shift the focus onto communities and learn from them through the curatorial process. This year the Texas Biennial welcomed Leslie Moody Castro as an independent curator and artistic director. Castro has a history of making artistic voices and the communities they work within central to her practice. “I am an independent curator and I split my time between living in Mexico City and Austin, Texas. I earned my Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Museum Education and Museum Studies and my Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago,” Castro said.

Castro blogged each part of her trek across the state. East Texas has so much to offer with its visual arts scene as well as other thriving ventures and communities. It is an honor for us to be included in the conversation about Texas contemporary art. I had the pleasure of hosting Leslie Moody Castro on her visit to our city, and I was proud and excited about the introduction I was able to make. “East Texas, you are beautiful, and I am proud of the artwork being made in this area.” The following are some edited excerpts from Castor’s Texas Biennial Road Trip Blog:

“I had never been to Tyler, and I was eager for what I was about to learn. Tyler Junior College is a partner organization with the Biennial. I had heard Tyler has a burgeoning arts community centered around the junior college and the university. We went to Tyler Junior College. The campus is absolutely stunning, and even though it was summer, the energy on the campus was palpable. The art facilities are better than in some bigger universities I have visited in the past. I learned everyone teaching at the school is a practicing, professional artist and is also expected to show their work. Professors are not just expected to teach medium and technique, but offer insight to professional practices.”

“Later that evening we pulled up to the beautiful home of James and Philana Oliphant Pace. There were so much love and respect among everyone in the room, and I felt lucky to be there. They had prepared a small spread of bites, handed me a beer, and we all walked outside to their shared studio to talk about their work. I walked over to Philana’s area of the studio, and we began talking about the foundations of drawing. Her work is meticulous, but the concentration and focus of her mark making are completely embedded in the sound the mark is making as she places it on the paper. Philana’s marks operate in two time frames, the present, and the immediate past. She listens to the sound of the mark and the sound offers direction for the next mark. It’s a micro-moment of noise she has the sensitivity to hear, and after speaking with both Philana and James about their practices, it was clear how they had become such important mentors in the arts community.”

“It was while visiting Philana and James that I really realized I was on a road trip with the entire state of Texas. We talked about the general need for connectivity between places in the state, and how I hoped the road trip could provide some of that. As we all said our goodbyes I walked away feeling like I truly had a community in Tyler, and the Biennial could do a job bigger than just an exhibition. At that moment I also realized the amount of support the project was truly receiving. We began as total strangers in a place I had never been to, and I walked away with the support of a new community.”

“Being on the road, and traveling is not glamorous, most of the time it’s isolating and lonely, but my time in Tyler was warm, inviting, and friendly. It was during a conversation with Philana I realized this road trip existed in three time zones: the past, immediate present, and future. I was present in the moment of one place, planning for the next place, and writing about the place I had just been in, and the observation was just another moment I realized the empathy that existed in their community of artists, and I was even more grateful to be invited in. As I hopped in the car to head to Huntsville I realized visits like Tyler were exactly the reason this road trip was both necessary and wonderful.”

After the close of the Austin exhibition, partner organizations, including TJC, will advocate for Texas contemporary art in a variety of ways such as hosting selected works of the Biennial exhibition, hosting artists’ talks, demonstrations, and panel discussions with Biennial and local artists.

Relive the whole road trip by reading Castro’s blog at texasbiennial.org/roadtrip.html.

For more info go to texasbiennial.org.

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Sept. 21st: Trout Fishing in America Peace Concert

Tyler TX Art of Peace 2018

The 6th Annual “Art Of Peace – Tyler” is September 14th-23rd. Come out and celebrate Peace and Community spirit.

The 8th Annual Art of Peace festival has grown from an afternoon of programs to a week long series of peace-activities and programs throughout Tyler. This is a community-wide event to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace (officially on September 21st) and to encourage community spirit. The aim of the Art of Peace – Tyler is to promote a spirit of cooperation and community through fellowship, dialogue, music, poetry, and art.

By date, here are the events planned for this year’s festival events. All events are free unless noted.

Friday, September 14th

Honk for Peace, 12 noon-1pm

Downtown Square in Tyler

Every Friday on the Downtown Square in Tyler, a group of people dedicated to peace hold signs encouraging us to wage peace and not war. The Art of Peace is proud of their weekly vigil and this year, we are going to join them. Make a sign of your own and join the group to promote peace in Tyler.

Saturday, September 15th

Day for Kids, 10am-2pm

Boys & Girls Club of East Texas at Southside Park – off the Rose Rudman Trail, Shiloh and Donnybrook- Tyler, TX

Visit the Art of Peace – Tyler booth at the annual Boys & Girls Club of East Texas Day for Kids. Bring your family for interactive art projects and write peace messages on boards for the next Habitat for Humanity of Smith County home.

Monday, September 17th

Peace Meal, 6:00pm

Tyler ISD Career and Technology Center, 3013 Earl Campbell Pkwy., Tyler, TX

Celebrate Peace by joining community members, peace advocates, and new friends for an open table meal and uplifting program to celebrate peace! Dinner will cost $12 per adult and $8 for college students and younger. Space is limited.  You may register and pay for your seat on tylerpeace.com. If financial assistance is needed for this event, please send a private message through the contact page on the website. Spread the word around and help grow this wonderful event!

Tuesday, September 18th

Meditation: Bridging the Heart-Mind Divide, 5:00-6:45pm

Tyler Public Library – Taylor Auditorium, 201 S. College, Tyler, TX

Take time to explore inner peace at this inspiring Art of Peace presentation, followed by a session of Heartfulness Meditation led by UT Tyler instructor and meditation trainer Gayathri Kambhampati. This event is co-sponsored by the Tyler Public Library.

Tyler Talking Together, 7-9pm

The Foundry Coffee House – 2nd Floor, 202 S. Broadway, Tyler, TX

Promote peace through relationships.  Come have meaningful conversations about race.  Participate in facilitated activities with people from different backgrounds and races.  By getting to know fellow Tyler residents, we help to dispel stereotypes and fears to build strong, supportive communities for all residents.   Come prepared to share your stories and experiences through conversation. This event is co-sponsored by Tyler Together Race Relations Form.

Thursday, September 20th

Songs of Peace, 6:30-9:30pm

Stanley’s Famous BBQ, 525 S Beckham Ave., Tyler, TX

Enjoy an evening of great BBQ and live music, while you get to know local peace advocates at one of Tyler’s favorite gathering spots. Dinner will be on your own. Music will be provided by: Eric Mosley, Connie Mims Pinkerton, Eric George

Friday, September 21st

Peace Pole Dedication, 12 noon

Rose Rudman Park, 450 Shiloh Rd., Tyler, TX

Commemorate the U.N. International Day of Peace by helping dedicate the 2018 Art of Peace annual Peace Pole being installed at Rose Rudman Park. The program includes interfaith prayers, songs, readings and messages of peace spoken in a variety of languages. The peace pole is co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Tyler and artist Kerian Massey.

  • 2017 – Tyler Peace Pole may be seen at Bergfeld Park.
  • 2016 – Tyler Peace Pole may be seen at the Woldert Park next to the Glass Recreation Center.
  • 2015 – Tyler Peace Pole may be seen at the Duane Andrews Peace Garden at the St. Paul Children’s Foundation.
  • 2014 – Tyler Peace Pole may be seen at the Tyler Rose Garden. It is currently being replanted.

All of the current Peace Poles have been lovingly donated by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Tyler. If your church or business or school would like to place a Peace Pole, please let us know and we would love to add it to our list of poles in the Tyler area.

Peace Concert: Trout Fishing in America, 7pm

Liberty Hall, 103 E. Erwin, Tyler, TX

Celebrate Peace Day with uplifting entertainment by the award-winning musical duo, Trout Fishing in America. Their delightful performances speak to young and old alike, with a blend of music and storytelling, sprinkled with trademark humor. This is music for people who take their fun seriously. Four-time Grammy award nominees, Trout Fishing in America has been performing music for 3 decades that get kids and adults alike singing and bouncing along. In addition, they also delight children with their arresting physical appearance: Ezra Idlet stands at a whopping 6’8″ tall, and Keith Grimwood remains roughly 14 inches shorter than his bandmate. With songs like My Hair Had a Party Last Night and When I Was a Dinosaur, Grimwood and Idlet are “the Lennon and McCartney of kids music” – Kathy O’Connell, NPR.

After the concert, we will form and photograph our annual Art of Peace LIVING PEACE SIGN on the DOWNTOWN SQUARE. The concert is co-hosted by Liberty Hall. Tickets are available for purchase online at tylerpeace.com.

Sunday, September 16th-23rd

“Peace” Art Exhibit

Tyler Museum of Art, 1300 South Mahon Avenue – Tyler (on campus of TJC)

“Our 2018 Art of Peace visual art exhibit is presented in cooperation with the Tyler Museum of Art, where selected art will be on display from September 16th–23rd. The exhibit is free and open to the public during museum hours; Monday through Saturday 10am-5pm, Sundays 1-5pm.

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“Apertures of the Mind: Works by Abhidnya Ghuge” at TMA

Tyler TX Apertures of the Mind Works Abhidnya Ghuge Tyler Museum

This Month at Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler TX

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 and most major holidays.

For more info call the museum at (903)595-1001, tylermuseum.org, or email info@tylermuseum.org.

“Apertures of the Mind: Works by Abhidnya Ghuge”

The Tyler Museum of Art is proud to present the first large-scale museum exhibition of an emerging East Texas talent with “Apertures of the Mind: Works by Abhidnya Ghuge” from September 7th-December 2nd. Admission is free.

Born in India, Ghuge is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Tyler. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Tyler. Inspired by a blend of Indian henna designs and imagery from her previous medical profession, Ghuge’s work explores themes of community, time, and value.

“Apertures of the Mind” features hand-carved woodblocks, ink and gouache drawings, and mixed media wall pieces. The exhibition also will include a site-responsive installation constructed out of woodblock-printed paper plates. Ghuge’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. Her work can be found in public and private collections in India, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Support for “Apertures of the Mind” is provided by Collectors’ Circle-Gold Sponsor Sheryl Rogers Palmer.

Members and special guests are invited for a first look at the exhibition during the Preview Reception from 5:30-7pm Thursday, September 6th at the Museum.

“This & That: Recent Acquisitions”

The Tyler Museum of Art was the recent beneficiary of an extraordinary opportunity to bring back more than 30 works dispersed from the Permanent Collection of The Contemporary Austin. This will be on exhibit September 30th-January 6th, 2019.

Family Days: September 8th, October 13th, November 10th

Free admission, interactive art projects, light snacks and a festive atmosphere for all ages are on the menu from 2-4pm the second Saturday of each month with the Tyler Museum of Art’s Family Day.

First Friday: September 7th, October 5th, November 2nd

The first Friday of each month, the TMA offers a full day of free admission plus guided tours of its spotlight exhibitions at 11am. From contemporary Texas art to Hudson River School to Andy Warhol, each tour is unique.


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