published in conjunction with the exhibition 5 DECADES / Selected Works September 4 â€“ October 24, 2015 copyright 2015
2832 E. MLK. Jr. Blvd. Austin, Texas 78702 galleryshoalcreek.com / 512-454-6671
5 DECADES / Selected Works RenĂŠ Alvarado Jennifer Bell Marc Burckhardt Shawn Camp Carroll Collier Catherine Dudley Karen Hawkins Milt Kobayashi Gregg Kreutz Karen Kunc Jill Lear Katie Maratta Marianne McGrath Jerry Ruthven Tony Saladino Kirk Tatom Aleksander Titovets Lyuba Titovets Karen Tual Sydney Yeager
5 DECADES DEFINING ART Few art galleries can boast of a legacy that spans over half a century. Gallery Shoal Creek is the exception! 2015 marks the gallery’s 50th Anniversary. In celebration, GSC presents 5 DECADES / Selected Works, featuring twenty artists whose work speaks to the gallery’s long history. Curated by gallery owner/director Judith Taylor, the exhibition includes a range of work in varied media and focuses on the diversity that has been the gallery's hallmark during Ms. Taylor's 25 year tenure. Founded in 1965, the venture was originally called G. Harvey Gallery. During the first twenty-five years, Ann Hagood Ledbetter was the face of the gallery, as manager and then owner. Artists Carroll Collier and Jerry Ruthven both joined the gallery in the 1970s. Their work speaks to the landscape tradition which has been a constant since the gallery's early days. The gallery’s first solo exhibition with New York artist Milt Kobayashi in 1989 marked a turning point in the gallery’s direction. Taylor took the helm in 1990, and under her guidance the gallery’s scope expanded immeasurably. She made it her mission to both promote her longstanding stable of artists while also seeking out and highlighting newer artists working in a variety of non-traditional media and styles. By 2013, it was time for a bold move! Taylor relocated Gallery Shoal Creek to Austin's east side, creating an urban venue in the Flatbed Building on E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The space lends itself to large-scale contemporary work as well as installations by the gallery’s newest additions, Marianne McGrath and Karen Hawkins. Today, the Flatbed Building is a destination hub for the visual arts. “It is with great pleasure,” says Ms Taylor, “that we present 5 DECADES / Fifty Selected Works in celebration of our history and the people who made it. At the same time, we look forward in anticipation to new directions and continued success.”
RENÉ ALVARADO The Sounds I Can Not See / oil on canvas / 66” x 66” On the last day of a visit to NYC, I was walking with a dear friend who is blind. As usual, a large city has an overwhelming affect on me. I've always indulged my visual palette, appreciating my environment—but this time was different. My friend, with one arm wrapped around mine and a walking stick in her other hand, was walking comfortably. With the long, wide sidewalk our pathway, I experimented by closing my eyes letting her unknowingly guide me. I felt vulnerable and free. Suddenly, the images my eyes would have seen became pronounced with details my mind had never experienced. I listened for the f irst time. My friend’s voice was soothing in casual conversation, and I could hear her smiling amidst the roaring sound of the city jungle. I would open an eye a time or two, but immediately go back to that place I had discovered. It was a restful release that transformed into a beautiful place of wonderment. It was a place of The Sounds I Can Not See.
Surrounded by a large family, René Alvarado spent his early childhood in El Manantial, a small village in northern Mexico. There was little in the way of comforts or entertainments by US standards. What the community did possess was highly developed ritual—acted out in storytelling, music and celebrations. These early experiences formed the foundation of Alvarado's creative spirit. As a painter, his symbolism and rich visual language is a complex mixture of personal iconography that merges his native culture and that of his adopted country. His first studio was at the Chicken Farm, an art center in San Angelo; he now lives and works in a 1920's stucco church which he restored—as he likes to say, "I moved from a chicken coop to a church." Alvarado had his first exhibition at Gallery Shoal Creek in 2000. In 2009, he was named Texas State Artist by the Texas Legislature.
JENNIFER BELL Vignerons - Wine Tasting at the Market / oil / 40" x 30" All of my work is character driven. Long before I start a painting, a character begins to evolve in my imagination. Based on my observations of the human condition, the roles we adopt/play and the longing we have to be known, a story takes root. In Vignerons: Wine Tasting at the Market, the two stoic brothers stand witness to the labours of their 'harvest’—a year of rising at sunrise, toiling the soil, pruning, denying themselves of social appointments and family occasions, calling on the family to support their needs—all to meet the harvest. A bottled year of arduous work, their vintage now up for critique.
As a child growing up in Vancouver, Canadian artist Jennifer Bell saved her allowance money for flea market outings. She directed her creative talents to acting and in her 20s went to study in New York City, but an introduction to the expressionist painter Gustav Rehberger led to studying painting at the Arts Students League instead. In 1999, her portfolio arrived at Gallery Shoal Creek and an engaging gallery/artist relationship began. Her first solo exhibition, titled La Belle Epogue: A Dramatic Cast, conveyed her love of all things French. Then, a "capricious moment" took her to the south of Italy to work on the restoration of the 14th-century Masseria of Jesce. Here she met her husband, the project's founder and director. Today, Bell and her family are based in Vancouver and spend summers in France and Italy leading restoration projects.
MARC BURCKHARDT The Secret / acrylic and oil on wood / 10â€? diameter What do we reveal about ourselves, and others, and when does perception become truth? How does the interpersonal expose the personal, and how do beliefs evolve into reality? The Secret is part of a new series that explores the divide between our rational and emotional selves, and how we seek to shape the inner world we inhabit.
Born in Germany and raised in Texas, Marc Burckhardt admits that place shaped some of his artistic sensibilities and tastes. His paintings are at once foreign yet familiar, rendered in a figurative style that intentionally casts off current trends, instead opting for a folk feel with a sophisticated edge that recalls the German Renaissance period. Burckhardt, who currently resides in Germany, continues to divide his time between commissions for major publications and work for galleries, winning accolades in both arenas.
SHAWN CAMP Summary / oil and mixed media / 30â€? x 30â€? Summary is from a new series that continues to investigate the dichotomy between the physical and the immaterial. Unlike most of my previous work, each painting has a strong f igure/ground relationship that plays with notions of reflective and absorptive paint and extremes of surface. The imagery arose from articles and podcasts commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. The ambiguous cloud or smoke-like forms refer to the sky above Ypres during the battle of Passchendaele. I imagine the extremes of experience and the absurd novelty of modern warfare are the genesis of humanity's transformation into machine. The series represents the disconnect between havoc and deprivation on the ground and contemplative beauty of the sky above-the entirely distant but invariable presence of the sublime.
Shawn Camp grew up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and completed an MFA in Painting at Virginia Commonwealth University. He moved to Austin, Texas in 1999 where he works in his studio and teaches at the School of Art and Design at Texas State University. His mixed media paintings have been shown throughout Texas and in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, along with many other locales, and are included in numerous public and private collections. His work explores the compulsion to find meaning in disorder through a textured expanse of color, light, and sound.
CARROLL COLLIER Country Home / oil on canvas / 30" x 40" When I moved from illustration to f ine art, I painted mostly landscapes. Learning to paint the sky was important, so I began to study the laws governing cloud formations. We moved from Dallas to the country outside of Forney where there was nothing around to obstruct seeing the sky in all directions. In fact, the sky was the most interesting and beautiful sight here. The beauty of the sky became at dominate element in the subjects I painted. Clouds as well as the blue sky can create almost any mood needed for a painting. All elements of design are there.
As a young man, Carroll Collier pursued a successful 26-year career in Dallas as an award winning commercial artist and illustrator for many prestigious accounts, including Dr Pepper, and Braniff. In the 1970s, he began to paint full time. In the rural area near Forney—amongst the hayfields and cloud laden skies—this modest, unassuming man began his career as a fine artist. He first exhibited his work at the Gallery in 1976 and has contributed to the Gallery’s success for almost forty years. At age 92, he continues to paint. It is a special honor to feature works by Mr. Collier in this 5 Decades celebration.
CATHERINE DUDLEY Carta no.1 / mixed media collage / 22" x 30" After stepping away from large-scale collages for a number of years, I have embraced this familiar format with a fresh approach. Intuitive and recurrent construction, deconstruction and recombination of materials and imagery drive my ever-evolving process. Inspired by a softer palette and a more minimal composition punctuated by moments of screen printed pattern, my newest work marks a new era and a natural evolution in my artistic style.
After living in Chicago, San Francisco and Austin, Catherine has returned to Los Angeles, her home away from home, where she continues to pursue her artistic career. Her particular mixed media collage technique is derived from skills developed over the last twenty years, involving a variety of media, intuition and whimsy. Her inspiration is directly related to the visual complexity and imperfect beauty of the urban landscape. From old signage and graffiti to architectural forms and repetition in nature, these city elements are extracted as â€œvisual souvenirsâ€? and work their way into the art via color, shape and pattern.
KAREN HAWKINS Once Upon a Time, detail / book pages and mixed media / 40" x 24" I surround myself with books, decommissioned ones, pulled from shelves and discarded. Here I f ind the materials and inspiration for my threedimensional sculpted forms. I deconstruct and re-imagine old, forgotten books, repurposing the meaning originally found there. The authority and signif icance of the printed page becomes obsolete and assumes a different role, becoming a vehicle for nostalgia conveyed through form.
Visiting the bookmobile every week as a child—returning one stack, leaving with another—Austin artist Karen Hawkins grew to love books. Today, books guide her artistic process. The process began one day as she was exploring the textural elements of a small, German book purchased at a flea market. As she began folding each page, she suddenly saw the sculptural aspects of the hand-sewn vintage book. As an object it had taken on new form, leading her to create floor to ceiling totems and what she calls “jelly rolls” referencing the coordinated fabric squares her grandmother, a quilter, would assemble and roll in preparation for creating quilt tops. Rather than selecting fabrics, Hawkins gathers pages with colored edges from vintage paperbacks, mostly fiction and romance novels.
MILT KOBAYASHI Lounging / oil on canvas / 24" x 20" Blending East and West, Milt Kobayashi has developed a unique style where time stands still. With the mere hint of detail, the artist has perfected his f ine art of subtlety. Masterfully, he distills the essence of an intimate moment or interior mood so that his imagery engages the audience in an intriguing dialogue. His compositions continue to focus on the female in her quiet reflective world. In his current work, he models his subjects with vibrant color and broad, loose bravura strokes.
As a young illustrator in New York City, Kobayashi frequented the Metropolitan Museum of Art to study the masters. Even today, as a highly successful painter, he returns to spend time with the artists of the 18th and 19th century who have influenced his own work. Kobayashi began is fine art career at Grand Central Gallery in New York City. It was there that Ann Hagood, former GSC owner, first saw his work. In 1984, he sent his first set of paintings to Gallery Shoal Creek. With interest in his work growing, he arrived in Austin in 1989 for his first solo exhibition outside NYC. The show marked a turning point in the galleryâ€™s history with more sophisticated offerings.
GREGG KREUTZ Great Jones Street / oil on panel / 16” x 20” Cityscape painting heightens one’s sense of what makes a picture and what doesn’t. Since there are so many details out there in the urban landscape— cars, streetlights, windows, etc.—you’re forced to f igure out what’s relevant for your painting. You get good at prioritizing reality and reducing complexity to simple design ideas.
An award winning painter and author of the classic artist’s guide, Problem Solving for Oil Painters (now in its 5th edition), Gregg Kreutz has been drawing and painting all his life. A resident of New York City, he teaches at the Art Students League and works from his Union Square studio draped in wonderful north light. A versatile painter, Kreutz moves with ease between studio work and plein air painting. In either, light is the element that distinguishes his work. Kreutz travels often in the US and abroad teaching workshops. The past several summers he has conducted workshops in the sun-drenched hillside town of Assisi, Italy.
KAREN KUNC Oscillation Shift / woodcut / 16.5” x 56" My newest print creates an immersive, intricate pulsing world that can be imagined as molecular systems, sensory impulses, cosmic diagrams, visualized sounds, codes and charts of connected things. I play with the 2 dimensionality of composition and the juxtaposition of the shifting viewpoints, as dimensionally layered passages and shadows create illusions of impossible conf igurations. Of course, this focused energy f ield I have imagined evokes everything we know to be true of our interconnected selves and our world on so many levels. Karen Kunc is internationally known for her large scale, elaborately colored, abstract woodcut prints. “It is their lush exuberance,” says Curator David Acton, "that distinguishes her prints from other contemporary work." She exhibits worldwide, and her work is in many prestigious museums. Among her many awards, Kunc was recognized as Printmaker Emeritus by the Southern Graphics Council Conference in 2007. She is Cather Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and in 2014, she founded Constellation Studios, a creative gallery and workspace where she passes on her passion for prints, paper and bookmaking.
JILL LEAR Goose Island Oak II / mixed media on 9 panels / 66 x 90 in. total It starts with a single tree in the landscape. Assigned its latitude and longitude, the investigation begins. A transcription of not only the experience of being in and thinking about Nature, but also about the way in which we process the world around us, literally. From the particular, the place itself, a topographic study involving measurement, proportion, negative space, positive formsâ€Ś[followed by] light, space, sound. Then, by subtraction, painting the experience of being there, the major lines and colors of the landscape remain until, like the tree, its signif icance survives.
In the spring of 2014, Jill Lear set out on a 1300-mile road trip to explore twenty historic Texas trees. Then, in mixed media paintings, she began to pay homage to each. The result was the artists most accomplished series to date: Witness Trees of Texas. Varying perspective, she conveys structure and hints at the story of each. Close up views speak to the trees' strength and endurance. As the lens pulls away, the expansive reach of branches is emphasized and accentuated by the movement of color emphasizing a palette which is slightly muted yet highly saturated.
KATIE MARATTA Gold Carnival, Gold Horizon, Gold Horse, Gold Silos (details) mixed media drawings with gold leaf / 1" x 48" My typical landscapes are four feet long, one inch high, and executed in graphite, ink, pastel, and watercolor. They are meant to convey, in white, black, and tones of gray, the Texas horizon as you would experience on the wide open plains. For these new pieces I have added a single element—a substratum of gold leaf—with surprising results. The gold, which underlies everything, adds a subtle, warm tone to the white. In the places where the gold breaks through, you can imagine a plains sunset or sunrise, a golden glow at the vanishing point, flecks of golden light in the sun's dying rays. Gold suggests the richness of the landscape that is not always immediately apparent.
Katie Maratta began her professional career newspaper cartooning. Today her monochromatic graphite drawings recall the black and white narrative of those cartoons. The literal picture plane is small, but the visual space it suggests is vast, and the compositional elements retain their weight and punch. Upon moving to Texas in the mid 1990s, Maratta was struck by the rich visual experience of West Texas. While these wide-open expanses and long lonely highways may be the stuff of clichéd country songs and western movies, they still evoke wonder for the Princeton (BA Studio Art) educated artist who calls Austin home.
MARIANNE MCGRATH Houses / mixed media / various sizes My work is a contemplation on material, process and object metaphors that juxtaposes the medium of clay with other materials to create installations and small works that speak of landscapes lost. The resulting works are entities that are symbiotic yet impossible, balancing what can be seen now, and was seen before. These works speak of the human idea and need of home, and the necessary yet chaotic change that rural and suburban landscapes constantly undergo. They are meant to leave viewers questioning, perhaps considering the role they play in the landscapes that surround them.
Marianne McGrath spent her childhood on a farm in Southern California. While in graduate school, she revisited the farm, which had been in her family for five generations, to discover that it was now track housing, freeway ramps and a shopping center. From this experience emerged works she calls Rootsâ€”tree roots growing out of porcelain slab houses in varied sizes. After McGrath completed her MFA in ceramics at the University of Texas Austin in 2007, she began teaching ceramics at Temple College and became active in the Texas Sculpture Group. Her first installation exhibition at the gallery was in 2013 and confirmed GSCâ€™s decision to embrace installation art. McGrath, her husband and young daughter now live in Southern California, having returned to her roots in 2014.
JERRY RUTHVEN Soft Light - Twin Creek / oil on canvas / 18” x 18” One of my favorite spots in the hills lies just on the edge of the Balcones escarpment northwest of Austin. Here, the flat land drops down to the Hill Country. This small creek is one of two giving the area the name Twin Creeks. It flows into the sister creek about a quarter mile from this scene. Many of my paintings over the years have been taken from this area. In the fall, I am often drawn to the spectacular beauty of the Lost Maples State Park. Here, I've tried to capture the depth of the rugged limestone, the natural canyon, clear streams, and the seasonal change of color in the big tooth maples in late October.
Jerry Ruthven, whose roots are in Central Texas, is quick to say, “I have spent a life time walking dry creek beds and following abandoned fence lines.” This fifthgeneration Texan takes pride in the region's natural beauty, and his painterly work captures on canvas the peaceful solitude and seasonal hues of the Hill Country. On a recent outing to Bull Creek, he talked about his 35 years with the gallery, and while sitting on the limestone banks – in boots and cowboy hat – he described his passion for this natural haven, now nestled in an urbanized area.
TONY SALADINO Rite of Spring V / acrylic on canvas / 62” x 52” My work reflects my approach to life’s questions in a visual way. The brush marks are the output of all that I experience, think about and propose. Artistically, I rely not on narrative but on the visual impact of the work focusing on compositional elements of line, color, shape, and repetition to excite the eye. The relationship of those elements and how they connect echoes life's happenings. As the viewer looks at a painting he or she has only to see what is there-just paint on canvas-and let the color excite certain parts of the brain.
Tonly Saladino, who lives and works in Hurst, Texas, began his association with Gallery Shoal Creek in the 1980s. His early mezzotint prints feature simple subjects-a toy top or bunch of radishes-rendered in rich contrasting colors. By the 90s, he turned to painting quiet landscapes. Gradually his work became more abstracted, allowing form and geometric references to convey a mere suggestion of the landscape. Over the course of twenty years, the need for structure has given way to complete spontaneity. Today, the loose movement of color on the canvas invites us in and allows us to use our imagination, to create our own connections.
KIRK TATOM Single File / oil on board / 27” x 43” Whatever I set my painterly eye on follows its course through my mind and out onto the canvas. All over that canvas are the f ingerprints of my creative mind. The aesthetic detective within the knowing viewer will f ind me out. The clues are many. Is it the overlay of colors? The buried textures? The developed composition? The details that cannot be left out lest the painting becomes unconvincing? I leave a body of work, still breathing, on the floor, a floor of beauty which we all walk upon. I will keep walking that floor, leaving evidence.
For over twenty years, Kirk Tatom was one of the foremost carvers of stone in Santa Fe, NM. Then, in 1997, he put down the chisel and picked up a paintbrush. As a painter, he identifies with lush green fields and the rural countryside – what he describes as a “useful” landscape with agricultural resources and a certain pace of life. Working on board, he pares back the textural elements to create a smooth surface on which he adds translucent backgrounds and tonal landscapes. His mastery of negative spaces and uncluttered compositions render paintings that are both intense and understated.
ALEKSANDER TITOVETS Light Revealed / oil on canvas / 40” x 30” In my life time, the world has changed-many fantasies from books have become reality. We, as humans, swallow tons of information without knowing why. We “admire” nature and our world through the windows of cars-zooming past, always running. Perhaps one very early morning, we could leave our electronic toys at home and just walk along an unpaved road watching the sunrise - nor for any reason, but just to see the sunrise.
Aleksander Titovets’ paintings reveal a reflective and optimistic spirit. Classically trained at the University of St. Petersburg, his style combines powerful realistic elements with the soft, lyrical looseness of impressionism. Born in Siberia, he and wife Lyuba left Russia in 1992 and immigrated to Texas. Sixteen years later, he was invited to the White House to meet First Lady Laura Bush, whose official portrait he would paint for the National Portrait Gallery. It was an extraordinary honor for the Russian who came to this country with nothing and in a few short years achieved national recognition as an artist.
LYUBA TITOVETS Austin on My Mind / oil and acrylic / 30” x 40” I cannot resist beautiful and unusual flowers; I enjoy the fun of colorful crowds. I am drawn to the paintings of Peter Bruguel and the stories of O’Henry. These things all come together in a visual kaleidoscope, Austin On My Mind. It is my interpretation of the city-young, sophisticated and provocative. Where past and present live side by side harmoniously. Here, I combine all that I love about painting and my fond memories of Austin.
Lyuba Titovets, born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, thrived amidst the cultural richness of the city. She received a BA and MFA in the University’s College of Fine Arts with an interest in cultural history. In 1992, she left her homeland for the United States and settled in El Paso where she and her husband Aleksander have raised their two daughters. As a painter, Lyuba's talent lies in her visual storytelling. Her figurative paintings employ universal themes: people, customs, and social exchange. All the while, her work pays homage to tradition while maintaining a contemporary point of view.
KAREN TUAL La Bas / oil on panel / 12" x 24" The relationship between man and nature, the interpretation of naturalism and a rural repertoire are at the heart of my work. I paint on carefully primed wooden panels that I pumice repeatedly until light can fall on it without obstacles. I establish the essence of the painting with the paintingâ€™s bed. The sky f irst gets its colors, which impose harmony as to what will be the earth. The mirage of a landscape takes shape, a season emerges and the light takes direction. Light vibrates and underlines the planes in space. Slanting light is best. . .winter light makes reds and brown sing; morning or evening light is soft and subtle.
Karen Tual lives and works in Nantes, France, but draws on the rural region of Vendee where she grew up for her inspiration. Since spending time on the Italian coast with her husband, an avid sailor, she has added new impressions to her work. On a trip to the US in 1996, she visited the gallery. Relying on English/ French dictionaries at first, Tual and owner Judith Taylor began what would be a long friendship and gallery relationship. Tual and her husband have made many trips to the American Southwest. On a trip to New Mexico, Tual returned home with tubes of ocher and orange paints. These warm colors found their place beside the usual bluish tones in her palette.
SYDNEY YEAGER Surge / oil on linen / 60” x 72” This painting, composed of discrete brush marks suspended in a largely untouched f ield of raw linen, is part of a series which investigates the idea of fragmentation. I enjoy the challenge of this immediate and direct way of painting, which allows little opportunity to revise. The title, Surge, describes the sense of movement that I hope the painting conveys. It also implies the urgency with which the paint is applied.
When discussing her work, Sydney Yeager often references a passage from Italo Calvino in which the narrator describes a flock of blackbirds flying over Rome as a "moving body composed of hundreds and hundreds of bodies, detached, but together forming a single object…something…that even in fluidity achieves a formal solidity of its own." This idea of independent parts coalescing into a whole, only to collapse again into singular units, is one that has long interested Yeager and guided her conceptual exploration of fragmentation inspired from visual imagery as diverse as geologic formations and ancient Italian mosaic.
Published on Sep 4, 2015
published in conjunction with the exhibition 5 DECADES / Selected Works September 4–October 24, 2015 Gallery Shoal Creek