"The Aluminum Surfaces, Challenge The Viewer To Determine What Is Real And What Is Just An Illusion, & If Indeed It Is The Illusion That Is The True Reality."
The New Testament in Gotham City
Above Image: Superman -Mac, 2012. 19th century silver plated icon with mixed media, 13 x 11 inches.
Ironic Icons The New Testament in Gotham City
The icon has a long tradition in Eastern Orthodox Christianity with examples traced back to the sixth century. Rejecting the Old Testament prohibition of making graven images, the icon being not three dimensional, developed as a flat panel painting, often with elaborate surface carving or metal embellishments. Unlike western Christian painting that emphasized narrative and explored a wide range of Biblical subjects, icons are fairly static depictions of holy beings or objects such as Christ, Mary, saints, angels, the Lamb of God, or the Cross. Less common are narrative scenes such as St. George and the Dragon or a holy portrait with scenes from that individual’s life depicted around the borders of the work. Icons appear to be simply another form of panel painting to western eyes but they are mistaken in that impression. I should know, as having been born and raised in the Ukraine, icons are an integral visible and spiritual element of daily life in Eastern Europe and a mystical manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
An icon is not merely a picture and its significance is hard to describe to the uninitiated. The word that best describes a believer’s response to icons is veneration… a combination of awe and respect. In addition to being an object of contemplation, an icon whether Christ, Mary, or some other image, functions as a symbolic vehicle of salvation for a believer.
Arriving in this country as a young artist, I was struck by the constant verbal references to Christianity by ministers, politicians, and commentators, just like there is today, but a near complete absence of visual imagery in the daily life of average Americans. What also struck me here, however, was the predominance and popularity of superheroes through movies, television, books, and comics. Visually stunning with colorful capes and masks, some endowed with super powers, others with exotic and ingenious weapons, devices, and vehicles, these heroes lived not just in the imagination of young people but occupied a prominent position in the consciousness of adults. As Andy Warhol had transformed and elevated images of Marilyn, Liz, Jackie, and Elvis into substitutes for Jesus and Mary in high art, comic book superheroes functioned in a similar fashion in broad popular culture. Like the teachings of Christianity, the actions of these fictitious superheroes emphasized selflessness and coming to the aid of the oppressed, endangered, and downtrodden.
It was in 1993 that I first began to meld my Ukrainian past, filled with the memories of icons, with the exciting yet unnerving sea of popular culture I was now swimmingin here in America. I focused upon the image of Batman over all other superheroes. Poignantly, he was, more than any of the others, just a man. He was not endowed with any super powers beyond his intelligence, athleticism, and an exotic array of weapons, devices, and vehicles at his disposal. This sense of power mixed with human vulnerability made him an irresistible choice to incorporate into my art. Over an intense two-year period, from 1993 to 1994, I explored the myth of Batman in painting, collage, sculpture, performance art, and photography. During this period, I briefly experimented with the notion of utilizing the icon form in several 1993 works (Batman Icon and Batman Icon (St. George)) but never fully analyzed or understood the full potential of what the form, materials, and spiritual significance of the icon could be in informing my own art…until now.
For decades, one of the most innovative programs at the National Gallery in London as been their series of exhibitions entitled The Artist’s Eye. In those occasional exhibitions, the National Gallery has invited prestigious artists such as Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, and Bridget Riley to curate an exhibition of paintings meaningful to them from the Gallery’s permanent collection. Each exhibition elicited great curiosity and enthusiasm as to what each artist would select and how they would choose to display the works (for example, Lucian Freud asked that many important paintings be hung close together and over each other and omitted identifying wall labels). The originality of this concept was to refocus and enliven the Old Master collection of the National Gallery through the fresh eyes of living artists. In turn, many visitors who were primarily interested in contemporary art came away from those exhibitions with a greater understanding and appreciation of older art through the example of those artists who lovingly and intelligently selected those exhibitions.
Barnaby Conrad III wrote about me that I had, “the skill of an academic master and the satirical eye of a postmodern comedian.” I don’t know if that is true, but unlike many artists today, I seek to know and understand the past in order to intelligently face the future...
Valentin Popov: PempimentorLarge monotypes and gigantic prints on aluminum panels
Artist Valentin Popov
Valentin Popov is among the most incredibly versatile and technically brilliant painters working in the world today. There is not a more precisely detailed photo-realist painter to be seen. He works in a direct, painterly fashion with no digital tricks or crutches. His draftsmanship and printmaking techniques are second to none, with his graphic works maintaining truth to their roots. In addition, Popov's new neo-Pop Russian icon paintings are authentic to the style and jewel like tradition while being imbued with a powerful yet humorous sense of contemporary vision. This exhibition will incorporate numerous examples of Popov's tour-de-force techniques, including perhaps his latest proto-Dutch still-lifes. The show will contain many unique works of great power, wit, dignity and grace; hallmarks of what can be called "That Popov Style".
the Color of Life
the Dorothy Hood Project
photos courtesy of Nicole Boudreaux
the Dorothy Hood Legacy Collection
Susie Kalil, curator of the Dorothy Hood retrospective at the Museum of South Texas, giving a talk at New Gallery on Dorothy's lifework.
New Gallery | Thom Andriola is proud to announce the forthcoming traveling museum retrospective and monograph on the work of Dorothy Hood. The museum retrospective, organized by the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, is curated by Susie Kalil who is writing the definitive book on Dorothy Hood, to be published by Texas A&M press. Susie is known for Houston's Fresh Paint show and catalog, as well as the award winning monograph on Alexander Hogue. The Dorothy Hood retrospective, at the Museum of South Texas, will bring together the largest assemblage of Dorothy Hood's works ever to be exhibited. Many large-scale paintings will be loaned by numerous museums throughout the United States. It will be the first time in the history of the Museum of South Texas that both buildings will be devoted exclusively to the showing of one artist's work. The exhibit will then travel to various art museums throughout this country and to Mexico.
New Gallery | Thom Andriola will ext5end its current Dorothy Hood exhibition with additional large masterworks from the Dorothy Hood legacy collection and the Hood estate. The show will continue through December 15th.
The goal of the upcoming book and retrospective, according to Suise Kalil, will be to place Dorohty and her work in that unique place in art history that she deserves, alongside the leading women artists of the mid 20th-century. Dorothy is the vital link between the synthetic surrealism of Mexico in the 40's and 50's and the American Color Field School of the 1960's and 70's. The fact that she brought together these two important art forms here in Houston, Texas places her squarely in the forefront of Texas and American Modern Art History.
A note from the director:
Dorothy Hood's paintings are so easy to love that they actually become difficult for the viewer to truly understand. Her technique and deft handling of space and form seems so effortless that we sometimes can overlook the great depth and layers of meaning that go so far beyond that original sensation of sheer beauty. This will be the third exhibition at New Gallery of Dorothy Hood's work. I just wish she were here to guide us further down these subtle passages of the transcendental paintings. -Thom Andirola
We proudly present the following short essay by famed Nobel Prize winning poet, the late Pablo Neruda. Dorothy Hood byPablo Neruda There is a painting which not only caresses with soft fingers that sing, there is a painting that not only struggles and responds to the question of the times, but which interrogates a biting question as to the essences of life.
There is in the painting of Dorothy Hood, this desperate interrogation, an aesthetic of human pain, which runs through the path of all the arts, like a dark vein within the resplendent mass.
Man, trembling before the magnitude of all, lined in the side of the caves with signs which even now vibrate and palpitate the admiration with panic and the mystery, following into new centuries, walking by side of the forests and the shadowy cities, living, until now existing in the snow-like hands of Dorothy.
What would it cost this Amazon of Manhattan to illustrate in frivolous and faddish calligraphy the life of publicity of her birthplace, the same impulse that destroyed Salvador Dali until he became only similar to a fragrant soap factory.
Dorothy, in a savage silence, has embarked on the grand Mississippi, and has passed with a look of fright and security, into a world of sources, chalk white, inaccessible to many humans.
One doesn’t speak of a finished painter; she is the beginning, bringing her canvases the tranquil and the mysterious trembling of the origins.
For her aggressive painting in which the games of misery are transfigured touching the tenderness and the mystery, I have written today these lines, full of hope and affection.
United Nations Association event: Wines Around the World September 21, 2012
The United Nations Association Houston Chapter invites you to attend the 7th Annual "Wines Around The World" on Friday, September 21st at 7p.m. here at New Gallery. Visit www.unahouston.org for ticket information.
Help the UNA-HOU raise funds to build a water well in the village of Siamusambo,Zambia by joining us for an evening of wine tasting from 25 countries, modern art, and international networking... all for the humanitarian cause of bringing water for life.
New Gallery | Thom Andriola is very proud to announce our artist Cheryl Kelley as this year's recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Grant. This award will surely increase her reputation as one of the world's finest photo-realist painters. We are so happy for her since New Gallery was her first gallery, and her entire development was fostered by this relationship. It is another great opportunity to collect this artist's work. We know she is destined for stardom.
Classic Abstraction Group Show
Our latest group exhibition, Classic Abstraction, begins to take form.
the Espada Retrospective
"This is not a good show, this is a GREAT show!" -James Harithas, director of the Station Museum
Staley: Past & Present
A note from the Director:
Earl Staley has been one of the most prolific and inventive artists Houston has ever been home to. For more than forty years he has created a body of work that has been both groundbreaking as well as being part of the modernist art continuum. This show on view at New Gallery displays a wonderful selection of works throughout the years. From the abstract to the allegorical, from neo-expressionism to neo-synthetic cubism; this mini retrospective should place Earl Staley back into the pantheon of artists who have shaped the landscape of visual perception in Houston for more than four decades. This is right where he has always been or has deserved to be. First and foremost, Earl Staley is a painter of remarkable technique and unerring insight. He paints with vivid, pure color and employs impeccable expressive draftsmanship. He is a Houston treasure, a treasure that continues to delight and amaze us. -Thom Andriola
Join us on Friday, April 13th at 6pm for the opening reception of Earl Saley, Paintings: Past and Present.
New Gallery is located at 3225 Milam Street (at Elgin) in the heart of Midtown. Parking is provided in a private lot on the side of the building for gallery patrons.
New Location! Temporary Contempoary/ Thom Andriola
We have secured a new temporary location at:
3225 Milam Street Houston, Texas 77006
Earl Staley Open Studio Event: February 2012
A note from the Director:
New Gallery/ Thom Andriola is proud and honored to present an open studio exhibition of legendary Houston artist, Earl Staley; whose body of work -- both recent and historical-- will be on view. The artist will also give a talk on both days to highlight the event.
This is a special opportunity to view the works of one of the great Houston painters of our time. You will be able to see and hear about this remarkable work that has developed and grown for more than 40 years.
This will be the first in a series of studio exhibitions New Gallery will present while the gallery is in transition and our new space becomes available in April (currently occupied by Sicardi Gallery at 2246 Richmond Avenue.) We are also planning to open a temporary gallery space in the near future to continue uninterrupted our long history of exhibitions in Houston during the next few months.
New Gallery/Thom Andriola has been a leading gallery of contemporary art in Houston for over 26 years. The addition of Earl Staley to our great stable of artists, heralds a new beginning and a wonderful future for both the gallery and artists alike.