Updated: Jan 3
Curated by Anne Allen
Works by Rosalyn Bodycomb, Rachel Barminski Bounds, Janet Chaffee, and Dan Jian
December 2, 2022-January 28, 2023
Exhibition Summary and Curator’s Statement
“Go and sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything”, Abba Moses, as recounted by Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“The simpler the moment in front of you the more anxious I become. I could be doing something, I should be doing something. But a life under constant threat of novelty isn’t a life; it’s exhaustion. …I give myself the chance to remember that this is wrong—that most of life is ordinary; that ordinary isn’t the enemy but instead something nourishing and unavoidable, the bedrock upon which the rest of experience ebbs and flows”, Mike Powell, from Washing Dishes, The New York Times Magazine
“The secret of seeing is, then, the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought.” Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Delving into and reveling in the intimacy of the ordinary and the everyday, peering into the small and revealing what would otherwise be unseen; communing with nature, these are some of the activities/ways of seeing embodied by the work I am proposing for this exhibition. Extraordinarily beautiful, frequently black and white and often dark in tone, these works in drawing and painting by two Texas artists (one of whom now lives in Santa Fe New Mexico) and one artist based in Brooklyn, New York (whose work I have followed since we were in graduate school together), are works that-- regardless of when they were created--speak to me of things I need to listen to today.
Collectively, these works capture a turning inwards, a meditation on, a scrutiny of what goes unnoticed in our daily lives. They are a lesson in paying close attention, seeing what is before us if we will only look. Whether we are indoors or outside, in our homes, our backyard or on the Continental Divide. Here even poppies are filled with anxiety and a feverish energy, nature is reflected back from the stillest and smallest of precious objects, and the mountains beneath our feet are broken down into their most basic patterns and substances, revealing the extraordinary in their composition.
“I just need a little more time,
because I am going to Love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they’re real and worthy of you”
From On Darkening Ground, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Rachel Barminski Bounds
Growing up in a family of artists and musicians, Rachel Bounds was born in Chicago and lived in Fort Worth, Texas for three decades before relocating her home and studio to Santa Fe, NM. She earned her MFA in Painting and Drawing from Texas Christian University (TCU) and her BFA from the University of North Texas at Denton, and was an adjunct faculty member at TCU teaching drawing and other fundamental studio art classes.
Bounds spent 2020 in her studio, part of which looks out on her garden, setting for herself the discipline of painting every day. The works in this exhibition are taken from works she made during those months and that she continues to work on today. Bounds says of her practice "I am a painter. My work is an expression of human experience and represents things, feelings, or thoughts I become obsessed with. Over the years my work has continued to be content driven with each body of work generated from years of collecting, researching and experiencing a subject. Often my subjects are sparked by personal and family history that expands through the process of contemplation and experimentation.” The paintings included here demonstrate a great deal of energy, obsession and even anxiety, something we with which we can all identify. The artist works with what she has available to her and the resulting paintings are intimate while also encapsulating an extraordinary amount of energy.
Originally From Denver, Colorado, Janet Chaffee has lived most of her adult life in Texas. She has a BFA In Painting from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and an MFA in Painting from Texas Christian University (TCU). She has taught drawing at both universities as well as at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and currently teaches art at Trinity Valley Prep School in Fort Worth, Texas.
Chaffee’s work has been included in a number of group exhibitions across the region, including Intense Concentration, a drawing exhibition at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Flow Into The Mystic: Marriage And The Contemporary Artist, at the Tyler Museum of Art. Her solo exhibitions include those held at the Ellen Noel Museum in Odessa, Texas and at Brookhaven College in Dallas, as well as an exhibition with her husband Benito Huerta, Espoused, at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas.
Awards include A Once Upon a Time Grant to participate in the Atelier Hilmsen artist residency in Germany, and Third Place in the Dishman Competition at the Dishman Art Museum at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
Chaffee’s works seek to “recompose landscape” layering connections between her love of nature and need to create. Imagery for the work derives from found rock formations in the western United States, including along the Continental Divide. Many of her paintings utilize encaustic in combination with dry pigments and minerals, such as those found in pearls, shells and limestone creek beds throughout Texas. The works have a earthy, tactile physicality and a micro/macro duality to them.
Dan Jian is a visual artist whose mediums include drawing, painting and animation. Jian immigrated to the United States at the nineteen years old, from the mountain region of Hubei, China. She has a BFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and an MFA from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Jian maintains her studio practice in Fort Worth, Texas, where she is an assistant professor of Art at Texas Christian University.
Dan’s meditative working process involves collage, burnt ash and charcoal dust crafted into dreamlike rural landscapes on translucent paper, populated by flora and fauna, building remnants and the occasional figure. Her sometimes exaggerated horizontal format references the tradition of Chinese landscape paintings, where the image and narrative unfolds simultaneously across the work. Her immersive works have a light touch and the imagery ranges from abstraction to realism with an illustrative quality.
Jian’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions across the U.S. and internationally in Korea, China and Italy. Her residencies include the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, IL, the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, VA among others.
Bodycomb's paintings communicate her interest in the immediacy of the real world and her curiosity about its small moments. Working from photographs she takes of natural and urban landscapes, Bodycomb translates them into paintings that utilize a near-photo realistic style. Her deep engagement with the mundane comes across in her choice of subject matter and her tilted, angled framing of the image. Two selections from her work included here showcase a dark, somewhat foreboding scene from her earlier years at Eagle Mountain Lake near Fort Worth, as well as a scene both calm and turbulent, from her current environs in New York.
Rosalyn Bodycomb received her M.F.A. from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. Her awards include a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award in 2005, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2007, and a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2009. Her work is in the Permanent Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art and many private collections across the United States.