February 18, 2016
UNT on the Square exhibition reveals Tarascan cultural influence on couple’s art.

What: The Comptons of Texas: Rediscovered Works by Carl Benton and Mildred Norris Compton, an exhibition highlighting surrealistic and regionalist art.

When: March 4-26. An opening reception will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 6 (Sunday). Dr. D. Jack Davis will give a presentation at 4 p.m.

Where: UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St., Denton (Downtown Denton Square)

Cost: Free

 

DENTON (UNT), Texas – For the first time in more than 50 years, art produced by Carl Benton and Mildred Norris Compton, a married couple with strong ties to Denton, will be showcased by the University of North Texas Institute for the Advancement of the Arts.

The Comptons of Texas: Rediscovered Works by Carl Benton and Mildred Norris Compton exhibition will feature more than 50 pieces – including paintings, sculptures and ceramics – during its run from March 4 (Friday) to March 26 (Saturday) at UNT on the Square, 109 N. Elm St., Denton.

A reception will be held from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. Art Professor Emeritus Dr. D. Jack Davis will give a short talk during the reception on his research into the Comptons’ career.

Davis, the founding dean of UNT’s College of Visual Art and Design, hopes the Comptons’ art work will help UNT art students and faculty understand that the programs in the College of Visual Arts and Design have a rich history. 

Herbert Holl, director of UNT Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, said it’s an opportune time for this exhibition, a gift from the William Reaves and Sarah Foltz Fine Art in Houston, as it coincides with university’s 125th anniversary.

“As we contemplate our past and our future as an institution, it is appropriate that we share this single opportunity to view pieces, most of them having not been displayed anywhere for decades – a potent reminder that discovery travels both directions,” Holl said.

The Comptons were a power duo in the Texas art world from the early 1930s through the mid-1950s as early proponents of Lone Star Regionalism, and later helped to usher in more modernist styles of Texas art through their surrealistic art.

Carl served as an art professor for 25 years at the North Texas State Teacher’s College, which later became the UNT. He retired in 1969 and passed away in 1981. Mildred withdrew from the art world after 1956. After earning her master’s degree in education from North Texas State Teacher’s College she worked as a high school counselor at R.L.Turner High School in Carrollton, until her death in 1976.

The Comptons, considered to be visionaries, reflected the Tarascan culture of Mexico through their artwork as they frequently traveled south of the border to draw inspiration for their creations.

“They represent an important bridge in Texas regional and Latin American modernism during the mid-century years. These two artists were leaders in connecting the arts in those two sectors of the hemisphere,” said Bill Reaves, co-owner of William Reaves and Sarah Foltz Fine Art of Houston. “It really brings a significant body of their work back to the public eye for the first time in half a century, so that Texas collectors and scholars get a glimpse of how important these two artists were.”

Reaves and Foltz curated this exhibition from the works in the collection of Dallas businessman John Stone. They commend Stone for his “forethought and stewardship in preserving this important collection of art by two of the state's most prominent mid-twentieth century artists."

 

Exhibition Dates and Special Events:

On view: March 4-26, 2016

Opening Reception: Sunday, March 6, 3-5pm

Guest Talk: Sunday, March 6th at 4pm, Dr. D. Jack Davis will give a presentation.

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