William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art, May 6-June 25
This story was featured in the May 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
From the South Plains to the Piney Woods, the Texas landscape is as diverse as it is grand. So, too, is the group of contemporary regionalists exhibiting in Texas Aesthetic, the 10th annual exhibition of its kind from William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art. The exhibition has become one of the state’s most popular and highly regarded annuals of Texas painting.
The show opens on Friday, May 6, and a reception, which many of the artists are attending, is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. The participating painters include a core group of 16 gallery artists as well as seven invited artists. The gallery is drawing upon a rich well of talent for each; the gallery artists include Noe Perez, who was recently commissioned by the King Ranch for a painting marking its centennial; Laura Lewis, who is now completing a mural for Chevron Corporation; as well as Randy Bacon and Lee Jamison. The guest artists include Hunter George, Erik Sprohge, and Fidencio Duran, the latter being one of the foremost Hispanic artists in the state, whose murals decorate the Austin International Airport.
Gallery co-owner Sarah Foltz says the 80-some works “show the strength, diversity, and character of Texas art in the 21st century, as well as showing a clear linkage with earlier Texas artists.” The subjects covered here are far more varied than the stereotypical cowboys and bluebonnets. “Those are certainly a part of the heritage. But putting these artists together shows a broader vision. As the show has continued, one thing we’ve realized is that the work doesn’t just reflect Texas life but also the greater Southwest and the change that’s happening here,” she says.
Although known for painting the landscape of South Texas near his Corpus Christi home, lately Noe Perez has been reflecting more upon man’s irrepressible and ubiquitous presence on the landscape. However, man’s fingerprints remain subtle in Perez’s work, suggested with the placement of a fence, a water trough, or a windmill. Perez grew up trailing after his father, a cowboy, and developed a love of place. “A lot of people don’t see the beauty in South Texas. When I show those elements, I honor the people who have made South Texas their home and who do see the beauty here,” he says.
Lee Jamison, who focused on Texas historical subjects for a time, has found renewed energy as a contemporary regionalist. Although he often paints the rolling hills and pines of East Texas, in this show he exhibits works from the Texas Rivers Series, which the gallery artists have taken on as a shared subject. Drawn to the interaction between man and the landscape, Jamison finds that rivers have been a prime way to highlight this interaction.
Jamison appreciates the opportunity to focus on Texas subject matter. “There’s a culture to where we are that’s very special. I appreciate the chance we have to lift that visual and artistic culture up for people to see,” he says. —Ashley M. Biggers
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