Updated: Jun 13
Presented by Art Room
Curated by Katie Murray
Works by David Alcantar, Gerald Bell, Judge Bermes, Kim Brewer, Glenn Downing, Jackdaw,
Sara Lee Hughes, MOM, Christy Stallop, and Camille Woods
January 7–29, 2022
Marlene & Spencer Hays Foundation Gallery
Both Sides Now features the art of local and regional artists whose stories and storytelling abilities are prominent features and decidedly ingrained in their work. With a heavy nod to the Folk genre and a steady western landscape and still life thread tying pieces of work together, this series provides a fresh look and a contemporary equivalent to art of the West. The selected artwork is progressive in visual identity and the stories and intentions behind the art and artist.
The more graphic and often colorful flat layers seen in MOM and Kim Brewer’s work add a lovely contrast to the more sculpturally painted works of Sara Lee Hughes, Christy Stallop, David Alcantar, and Judge Bermes. Glenn Downing is always very direct in his sculptural works, applying emotion at every additional fragment attached. Gerald Bell’s spray-painted diary entries are a relatable source of comfort in a world of frazzled to-dos. Finally, the linocuts add yet another dimension to the diversity of mediums in the work of Jackdaw.
A modern remix of Western and Folk art is the inspiration for Both Sides Now, as seen in Camille Woods’ work. The stories created by each artist are both inspirational and straightforward, teaching us lessons that will one day inspire the next generation of art makers.
About Katie Murray
The unsuspecting world is captured through the lens of Katie Murray and brought to life on canvas. Using a variety of techniques, Katie takes the viewer into the scene's emotion, while her signature style of a work in progress brings intrigue and curiosity.
Katie Murray is a born and bred Texan. Her passion for creativity has earned her a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Arlington in Graphic Design and a master's degree in Painting from Texas Women's University. Currently, Katie Murray serves as Chief Creative Officer for M2G Ventures. Since joining the M2G team in 2015, her focus has been on murals, art, design, and curation. Additionally, Katie is a co-founder and chief advisor for Art Room.
Recently, she has partnered with clients such as Macy's, Wild Acre Brewing, Scout Design, The Fort Worth Zoo, Mclean Middle School, and Facebook. In addition, she received Best Artist of Fort Worth by Fort Worth, Magazine in 2017.
Katie resides in Fort Worth, Texas, with her family and dog Penny.
Everything is a negotiation, whose outcomes affect the trajectories of our narratives, individually and collectively, shaping what we refer to as history. My work visualizes, through various strategies, the intersecting and the unfolding of narratives as a result of negotiated decisions, exploring the contexts and the interests that influence how those decisions, or negotiations, are made or conducted. The aim is to increase awareness of negotiation behavior to an end of personal empowerment so that people have greater command of how they negotiate their decisions.
A native Texan, David Alcantar received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in general studio art practices with an emphasis on Drawing and painting. Later, from the University of Colorado Boulder, David received his MFA in Drawing and Painting. Alcantar’s artistic philosophy is that art speaks to what is common in human experience more than to what is particular, and that it points to beauty that exists in the world. Alcantar’s current work concerns human negotiation behavior—because it is a universal human activity—and the impacts of negotiated choices on the narratives and relationships between people, environments, systems, and experiences. Specifically, his work attempts to illustrate the internalized and time-based “activity” of negotiation through paintings and drawings, to heighten the awareness and understanding of the power dynamics involved in negotiations. David Alcantar currently lives and works in San Antonio, TX.
Gerald Bell, mystery tea, 2021, 8.25 x 5.5 inches, Mixed media on archival paper
Gerald is a self-taught artist that has been creating all his life. He remembers as little boy sitting at the kitchen table to watch his father paint with charcoal and oils. So, his first works as a little boy were either in pencil or oils. But over the decades, his creative process has evolved from folk art to abstract to his current fascination and love of both pop art and shock art.
Gerald has had several shows in the DFW area, including one almost sold-out show in ft worth and a highly successful show in Dallas. He recently won first place at an exhibition at 500X Gallery in Dallas, earning him the opportunity to be featured in a solo show there in 2022.
It was a West Texas desert where Mr. Bermes came into being late in the year 1978. In his formative age he was an inattentive student lost in daydreams and his sketch pad. As a teen he divided his time between cattle pastures, the football field, meandering unnamed oil patch roads of caliche construct, and hiking the remote back-country trails of Big Bend observing the atmospheric distances of the high desert mountains. The high school art room is where methods of screen-printing, oil painting, pastels and sculpting were revealed to the young man. In his twenties and early thirties, screen-printing, stencils, homemade stickers, calligraphy, and songwriting became the focus. Currently oil painting and digital illustration holds his attention once the children and professional responsibilities are settled.
Kim Brewer, FolkAF No. 1, 2020, 36 x 36 inches, Acrylic latex on canvas
This new series, FolkAF, uses Folk Art motifs, pop culture references, quilting, urban iconography, crafts, samplers, and feminist ideologies as a lens to critique ideas of the American identity. Using symmetry, the works reference both reflection and introspection while the textual elements of each painting allow for levity through a variety of colloquialisms, music lyrics and idioms. In using the titling mechanism AF, the works reference and visually echo the digital maximalism that is contemporary digital culture.
Kim Brewer was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1981. Her work investigates social justice issues through a variety of mediums from pure painting to contemporary craft. Kim received her Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from Texas Woman's University in 2015. Her work has been shown at various galleries in the South and has been reviewed in multiple publications including Urban Art and Antiques and Arkansas Made. Her work was recently selected for inclusion in the biennial state tour, Arkansas Women to Watch 2021: Paper Routes. She lives and works in Dallas, Texas.
I was born and raised in a rural area outside of Waco, Texas. Even though I have traveled all over the world I have returned to Waco and live close to where I was bought up. My father was a farmer who started a street paving business, so I began my life doing all sorts of manual labor. I worked alongside men with little or no formal education; men who grew up using their hands and got where they were in life by just working themselves to death. These men were a little bit crazy; they approached life on their own terms. They were individuals; not always correct in their talk or their manners but willing to get the job done and get on with life. As I got older, I became one of those men. Don’t expect poetry here. Expect rust, dancing, sarcasm, sensitivity, sharp edges, raw spots, droppings, animals, trash, nature, humor, rambling, pretty colors, ugly toys, ink, duct tape, tears, jazz, strangers, junk piles, marks, scenery, goop, fear, red wheels, memories, jewels, plastic, head shapes, dirt, and a list of shit that keeps going but my work is really about one word: Emotion Making sculpture is a physical thing and that’s what I enjoy about the process. I use materials in a direct way and don’t try to cover up my construction methods. I want these pieces to be raw and emotional and profane; throw in everything and the kitchen sink. When I draw, I am interested in creating a collage of life with memorable imagery evoking range of emotions. I strive to keep an unfinished quality and a sense of humor in what I do. In recent years I have been more and more influenced by jazz and its spontaneity. I am not a musician, so my works are my visual tunes combining materials and images like notes. Fragments heaped upon fragments become an image.
Ideas are expressed in crude lines and found objects, likewise crudeness is expressed in fine inks and pastels.
Most of my artwork is based in pop-culture or local history. I make pieces that I think many will connect to and hopefully get a kick out of. I don’t pretend that they’re very profound.
Jackdaw began studying printmaking at Tarrant County College NE in 2006. He specializes in linoleum-cut block printing. Jackdaw lives in Fort Worth.
Sara Lee Hughes, My Grandmother’s Table, A Portrait of Nan, 2020, 23 x 23 inches, Oil on linen
Sara Lee Hughes
I am in possession of a handful of treasured objects from my great grandparents, my grandparents and my father. I use them intermittently throughout my paintings, usually as a representation of that relative, what I like to call an “object portrait”. A portrait where the object represents that person usually due to possession or use by that individual. Using a few of these objects, the Blue Willow and Rosenthal china, My Grandmother's Table is a series of paintings that function as still life and portrait. In this way I am sharing my memory of the person, my Nan and the memory of place, her dinner table: the tablecloth, the dishes, the place settings and the placement of everything “just so” with the audience.
Sara Lee was born in Dallas, Texas in 1968. She graduated Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University) with a degree in theatrical design. After college she moved to the east coast working as a scenic painter for television, film and theater. In 1995 she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she earned a certificate in painting and printmaking. While exhibiting and teaching in Philadelphia and the surrounding townships, she began to explore her father’s story and family heritage in drawings. In 2003 she received a fellowship to the Vermont Studio in order to develop the drawings into large-scale paintings. Shortly after, she moved to New York and earned her Master’s in Painting from Pratt Institute. Sustaining herself through scenic painting and teaching, her work brought her back to Texas in 2008. Her education in theatre and film has remained an important influence as she continues to explore the themes of connection, family, loss, balance and relationship in her work. She sustains a full-time studio practice while living with her family in Lockhart, Texas.
MOM, Juneteenth, 2021, 24 x 24 inches, Acrylic and latex on wood
In my recent exploration with color, I’ve found it much easier to take risks when feeling at a distance from my subject. I chose the landscape motif, not because I love to travel and experience nature, but because I don’t. The conception of my visual language, through paint, occurred during a time of confinement. Being able to experiment with multiple elements while maintaining distance from the imagery enables me to push the landscapes into an abstract space, far from anything natural.
Employing contrast, temperature and value are used in tandem with the hard-edge painting technique to create bold, abstract landscapes. Many flat fields of color are curiously paired and then elevated with stripes to create a sense of depth through overlapping. This technique aids optical illusion that can be controlled by choices made during color and striping placement.
My objective is to challenge and delight the viewer with optical experiences featuring pattern, color, and space.
MOM is a contemporary and multidisciplinary artist, active in Dallas, TX since 2008. Their recent work features a variety of mediums including vinyl, acrylic paint, and ready-made objects. Inspired by experimentation with contrast, balance, and color, landscapes are given a new breath between unexpected color stories and illusionary stripes. MOM is currently featured at Sweet Tooth Hotel in Watter's Creek and co-founded Dallas artist co-op & shop, Trade Oak Cliff.
What started off as an exercise to push my painting skills has led me down a rabbit hole into the world of bandanas. This simple square cloth has so many uses and meanings, couple that with amazing graphics and you have a painter’s dream. From utilitarian to fashion, the square is a part of Americana.
Christy Stallop is an artist living in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in El Paso, her work is greatly influenced by the west. Influenced by design and balance, her work often shifts perspective into unique directions. Christy’s primary focus is creating work that delights and elevates the mood of the viewer.
I am a contemporary figurative painter. My work explores the day-to-day human experience through the lens of my own life and journey as a queer woman. I paint stories of characters individually or collectively using bold colors and themes of desperation and loneliness, acceptance and belonging. I’m interested in how humans relate to each other in love, friendship and community and how these relationships give them the strength to endure. I want the viewer to feel the energy and emotions of the colors vibrating off of the canvas as if the story is their own.