Home > Art, Thoughts > Art Review: 100 Degrees of Wally Workman Gallery, ATX

Art Review: 100 Degrees of Wally Workman Gallery, ATX

Opening receptions at Wally Workman Gallery feel more like a post heated debate dinner party than the sterile, nipple-hardening white space of vacancy that many galleries achieve with cold perfection.  Wally Workman Gallery is exactly what one expects from the upper echelon of true roots Austin; it is an inviting house, literally, of creativity and down to earth classiness on West 6th Street.   It’s glory is in the fostering of one’s ability to connect with pieces, with other gallery goers, with the self, and especially with one’s own inspiration.  The house boasts over 100 years of Austin memories and more than 30 years of Wally’s curating expertise.  Taken direct from Wally Workman Gallery, this historic gallery hosts over 50 artists at once, including the contemporary talents Will Klemm, Jan Heaton, Jill Carver, and Ian Shults as well as the figurative work of Jennifer Balkan and Fatima Ronquillo.  This past weekend, a new group exhibition “inspired by Texas summers” opened: 100 Degrees.  Themes of burning heat, spiked color, Texas nature, and the delights of refreshment course through an expansive range of media and styles.  Subject matter included everything from cacti to popsicle, forms from sculpture to ink on paper, and scenes distinctly local to abstract.

The favorite local was of course this Barton Springs ($4000) oil on canvas scene from Patrick Puckett, spanning just over 6 ft wide and about 2.5 ft tall .  Landmark imagery emerges from a bath of contrast, light and lush, cool and warm.  The colors collude into the essence of Austin summertime.  The abstraction serves only to magnify the emotional and physical memory of a deep thaw on the cookie sheet lawn after freezing in the natural spring’s temperature of 68 degrees.  The sprinkling of bodies exhausts Puckett’s successful evocation of the local swimming hole experience.

The most iconic of pieces you may have scene in the hype.  Jan Jefferson’s mixed media June Bug ($3500) stands nearly 4.5 ft tall and 3 ft wide. Relatable across all humanity, a girl child is caught in the act of summertime snacking on what one can only expect is a Dreamsicle.  Mess be darned, there are only moments to taste the cooling, cream-filled, frozen orange treat before it is consumed by summer steam and sun.  The portrait is candid against recognizable truck art, lending itself to both the hurriedness of racing to the “Ice Cream Man” before he turns the corner and the hastiness finish an ice cream before it melts on to hands and asphalt.  The playful lines and shading with pastel colors, Jefferson victoriously channels summer vacation.

The last artist from 100 Degrees that I will take due note of is Holly Wilson.   She works in bronze, encaustic on birch, mostly, but also with brass and oak ($400-4400).  The gallery below begins with her sculpture pieces followed by a few other favorite artists’ work from the group show debut.  Click on any of the photos to begin a slideshow*.

Need more art?  Check out this amazing semi-annual e-zine, Aether, a creative collaboration from the Assistant Director of the Wally Workman Gallery and several other leaders in the gallery world. Here is the latest issue. For easy e-reading, just expand and click through the slideshow.

*In order from left to right (available for purchase through Wally Workman Gallery):

1-3 [Holly Wilson – Blind Faith in bronze ($4600)]  [Holly Wilson – Bird Woman in bronze, oak, brass ($2200)]  [Holly Wilson – If I Could in bronze, oak ($2400)]

4-6 [Holly Wilson – Masked in bronze, African mahogany ($5400)] [Holly Wilson – Messenger in bronze, encaustic on birch ($1800)] [Holly Wilson – If I Were in bronze, encaustic on birch ($800)]

7-9 [Holly Wilson – Secret in bronze, encaustic on birch ($800)] [William B Montgomery – Surveillance Blimp in watercolor ($600)] [America Martin – Play It Loud]

10-12 [Stanford Kay – Alexandria in acrylic on canvas, ($7500)] [Dayna Thacker – River deep, sing me to sleep in collaged paper, graphite, and pastel on paper ($600)] [Nathan Madrid – Portrait 1 and Portrait 2 in oil on panel ($900/ea)]

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