Other Assorted Tales
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Spring Gallery Night
12:00 to 9:00 pm
Odd Ducks and Other Assorted Tales, an exhibition of new and recent artwork by Benito Huerta, will be on display March 24 through April 28 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held on Fort Worth Art Dealers Association (FWADA) Spring Gallery Night, Saturday, March 24, from noon to 9:00 p.m. The show will feature paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces, both new and recent, that address a variety of aesthetic ruminations and subjects informed by art history, pop culture, and society at large.
A compilation of new pieces and a few that have appeared singularly in other exhibitions, Odd Ducks and Other Assorted Tales is diverse in ideas and materials. As such, it embodies the aesthetic and intellectual density that routinely characterizes Huerta's art. "It's a bombarding of the senses," says the artist of the bold figures, robust lines, and rich colors present throughout the collection.
The disparate yet concordant accumulation of work comprises several thematic and graphic threads, including a human skull with antlers-a fantastical, self-reflective image that becomes iconic in the context of Huerta's oeuvre. Part homage to self-portraits by James Ensor (featuring the artist as a skeleton) and Frida Kahlo (depicting the artist as a hunted deer), the skull construct suggests a fusion of animal and human forms, perhaps precipitated by environmental fallout, flawed evolution, or even recalling humans' basest, most instinctual selves. Here, Huerta has drawn his own teeth into the skull, a physical manifestation of the artist in the work, but also a tongue-in-cheek nod to the gravity of the subject matter.
The eerily striking image of a mushroom cloud also appears in several pieces. Huerta interprets this terrifying, modern icon in its traditional sense, but in some cases transforms it into a strangely beautiful abstraction of delicate floral designs. Such imagery alludes to twentieth-century history and culture, running the gamut from the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the Los Alamos nuclear test site, to the album art for Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation.
Organic lines awash with color populate several of the works as well, painted and drawn, or as hollowed-out paths on wood panels. These lines-drawings of images overlapping to create abstract patterns-form dynamic backgrounds, while also serving to build layers of patterning and dimension, both hiding and revealing additional components throughout the picture planes. They meander across the surfaces, like rivers or veins, defining the fundamental ideas behind each work, while connecting an array of visual elements.
In addition to the two-dimensional pieces, a maquette representing Huerta's recent public art project will also be on view. Titled Urban Still Life, the series of sculptures consists of abstracted line drawings (similar to the two-dimensional work) transformed into three-dimensional representations of signage and other images Huerta selected from the South Main area of Fort Worth. Installed last October, the group of six ten-foot sculptures highlights current features of the neighborhood while memorializing businesses and signage no longer there. As such, Huerta's creation is not only part of the current physical and cultural landscape, but also a fiber woven into its history-a designation that could be made of his entire body of work.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Widely noted throughout the Texas art community and beyond, Benito Huerta has a long and varied career exhibiting work around the state and across the country. Regionally, his work has appeared in dozens of one-person and group shows, including venues in Arlington, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, and San Antonio, among others. Nationally, Huerta has shown work in New York City, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Little Rock, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., among many others. In 2015, his work appeared in an exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art alongside a collection of work from its permanent collection, curated by the artist. In 2005, the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi organized a thirteen-year survey and catalogue of his work titled Soundings: Benito Huerta, 1992-2005. The show traveled to the El Paso Museum of Art in 2007. In 1994, the University Museum at Arizona State University in Tempe mounted Benito Huerta: Preserve, Negate, Transcend, a twelve-year survey of his work. Huerta's art has been exhibited internationally as well, in Mexico, Germany, Japan, and Paraguay.
Huerta has participated in various public art projects. Most recently, in 2018, he designed and implemented a project for the city of Fort Worth titled Urban Still Life, a series of six stainless steel sculptures placed along South Main Street in Fort Worth. In 2013, he oversaw Fort Worth's Marine Creek Park Corridor Master Plan. In 2003, he completed installation of Axis at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio as part of that city's public art program, and from 2002 to 2007, he participated in the creation of Snake Path at the Mexican-American Cultural Center in Austin. From 2002 to 2005, Huerta was commissioned to construct Wings at DFW Airport's International Terminal. In addition to these, in 2001, he was part of a contingent of artists from Arlington and its German sister city, Bad Königshofen, who created international peace monuments in Gene Allen Park and in Germany.
Huerta serves as professor of art at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he is also the director and curator of The Gallery at UTA. He was co-founder, executive director, and now board director emeritus of the Texas-based contemporary art journal Art Lies. He has sat on the Exhibition Advisory Panel of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, the Visual Arts Panel of the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Exhibition Advisory Committee of the College Art Association in New York and has served on the boards of the Arlington Museum of Art, the Dallas Visual Art Center, and Diverse Works in Houston, among others.
Huerta has won various awards, including the 2008 Maestro Tejano Award from theLatino Cultural Center in Dallas and the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art's 2002 Artist Legend of the Year Award. His work can be found in museum collections nationwide, at the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Menil Collection, and Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the DePaul University Museum in Chicago; the El Paso Museum of Art; and the Library of Congress. Corporate collections featuring Huerta's work include American Airlines, AT&T, IBM, and Microsoft, to name a few.
Benito Huerta received his BFA from the University of Houston and his MA from New Mexico State University.
ABOUT THE GALLERY
Founded in 1974 by William and Pam Campbell, William Campbell Contemporary Art exhibits high-quality contemporary art in a variety of media, including paintings, works on paper, mixed-media constructions, photography, prints, ceramics, and sculpture. By exhibiting nationally recognized artists, along with new and emerging talent, the gallery aims to nurture an awareness and appreciation of the exciting diversity found in contemporary art.