Intersecting Plains: Views of the Texas Coast & Texas Drought | March 21 – April 26, 2014
Texas Drought: View the Exhibition Catalogue PDF
Views of the Texas Coast: View the Exhibition Catalogue PDF
William Reaves Fine Art Presents “Intersecting Plains” featuring dual exhibitions Texas Drought: Photographs of a New American Dust Bowl by Robb Kendrick and Views of the Texas Coast: Interpretations by Twenty Texas Artists, both on view March 21 – April 26, 2014.
In a pair of rich exhibitions, William Reaves Fine Art turns an artistic eye toward the vast flat lands of Texas, a geography less painted, yet rife with subtle beauty and dramatic intrigue. Intersecting Plains actually affords viewers the rare opportunity to experience two grand Texas exhibitions in one, offering painted narratives of the sandy spits, salt-grassed prairies and fishing villages that nestle the Texas coastline; as well as a spell-binding photographic encounter with the harsh environmental struggles of the drought-stricken high plains. These exhibitions offer artistic accounts of rural back-lands which still exist beyond the immediate reaches of Interstate Highways, featuring indigenous scenes ensconced in the long, flat expanses which predominate in the Southern and Western corners of our state – spaces more often “driven through” than “driven to” by today’s urbane populous.
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A year or so ago, Robb Kendrick, a product of the Texas Panhandle and photographer-extraordinaire, turned his lens toward his native High Plains in an effort to record the effects of the record-setting drought which was casting a devastating pall over the West Texas landscape. In a photographic essay originally published in National Geographic, Kendrick produced a series of gripping, seemingly surrealistic illusions, yet all-too-realistic scenes of blanched farm and ranch lands of the West Texas plains. It is one of the artist/photographer’s most significant photographic series, recording one of the dramatic environmental episodes of all time, and leaving an indelible chronicle of the worst drought ever to torch the Lone Star landscape. While absolutely contemporary, Kendrick’s images are reminiscent of an earlier time, the fabled Dust Bowl period, and through these shots he reminds us of man’s continued subservience to nature’s wrath, even in this new century. Kendrick captures the struggles of the land and its inhabitants in their quiet, determined efforts to persevere in the hardest of times. Yet even in their despair, Kendrick’s photographs still manage to sensitively portray the inherit beauty and integrity of his subjects – whether it be the land, its people or its places.
In terms of sheer power and beauty, Kendrick’s drought series warrants comparison to the iconic Dust Bowl paintings of Alexandre Hogue. Invoking a similar form of “psychorealism” employed by Hogue in his landmark series of the 1930s, Robb Kendrick is equally adept at creating compositions through which the viewer is able to (in Hogue’s words) “not only see the dust Bowl, but also feel it’s heat, it’s despair, its anguished death, the tragedy of its farmers”. Like Hogue, Kendrick also seeks to convey both the beauty and tragedy of the drought experience in his work. Hogue once indicated that “at one and the same time the Dust Bowl was both beautiful in its affects and terrifying in its results. The former shows peace on the surface, but the latter reveals tragedy underneath”. Like Hogue’s painting, Kendrick’s photography simultaneously conveys the eerie interplay between beauty and despair, creating imagery that is super-charged in terms of visceral response and visual command. It is thus an important and compelling collection of Texas works by one of the state’s most accomplished young photographers and we are pleased to show Kendrick’s Texas Drought as a part of the city’s 2014 biennial FotoFest celebration.
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Closer to home the beaches, bay prairies, inlets and estuaries, small harbors and towns which string the Texas coast are all right among us. These points take center stage in the picturesque montage entitled Views of the Texas Coast, a splendid survey of paintings of the coastal country by over twenty Texas artists.
Possessing its own form of understated beauty accentuated thrush lush greenery, dramatic skies, ambient light and thick atmosphere, the Texas coast has long offered fertile ground for the artists’ brush. From Port Arthur to Port Isabel, the coast has attracted a fair share of artistic suitors over a long period of time. Beginning with early twentieth-century artists such as Galveston’s Julius Stockfleth and Paul Schumann, continuing with Texas regionalists such Everett Spruce and William Lester and later modernists such as Dan Wingren and Herb Mears of mid-century and running up until present, Texas artists have taken coastal images to heart, presenting the region’s attributes in a wide range of style and subject matter.
In Views of the Texas Coast, we combine the renderings of earlier masters with fresh, off-the-easel works by Contemporary Texas Regionalists to create a pleasing exposition of coastal subject matter seen then and now through the eyes of prominent Texas painters. With Spring just around the corner, the exhibition presents a special chance for local bay-lovers and beach combers to revel in grand images of the surrounding coastal environs, as the show almost certainly represents the most significant assemblage of coastal works to grace the city in decades. The show will include works by over twenty artists of the state.
Together, the two exhibitions comprising Intersecting Plains take viewers on journeys down roads less traveled and through lands often less considered. The art commands a special intrigue in its conveyance of the edgy forms and minimalist allure which lie often overlooked, within these seemingly monotonous flat-lands. The works remind us of the remarkable strength of character and subtle beauty of the broad, flat Texas terrain, whether the plains of West Texas or those of the Texas coast. While the state’s long-standing tradition of landscape painting has been more often defined by hill country flowers and high desert mountains, the stunning imagery of these exhibitions proves that there is indeed artistic grandeur to be discovered in yet other facets of the Lone Star geography. To that end, we hope that Intersecting Plains brings a compelling dimension of Texas art to the attention of our patrons, and serves to underscore a broader appreciation of the grand and diverse landscape constitutes The Lone Star State.
On View: March 21 – April 26, 2014
Collector Preview Weekend: Friday, March 21st - Saturday, March 22nd, 10am-5pm
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 22nd, 5-8pm
William Reaves Fine Art • 2313 Brun Street, Houston, TX 77019 • Gallery Hours: Tues-Sat, 10am-5pm • 713.521.7500