As Is Rural Realism

Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:00 AM - Saturday, August 12, 2017 5:00 PM
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress Street Abilene, TX 79601
Pat Gabriel, View into Infinity, 2015, oil on canvas, 30 x 72″. Collection of Janet Chavigny.

Identifiable subjects are only part of the enduring allure of realism. Each generation of realist artists brings new subjects and new media to the genre.  AS IS rural realism features the art of contemporary realists whose work transforms the mundane into the magical by concentrating on off-road subjects and offering unique ways of seeing just how significant the seemingly insignificant can be.

Just as 19th century American Realists shunned romanticized views of their world, the artists included in this exhibition have abandoned conventional ideals of scenic beauty to depict, in detail, unremarkable scenes of the rural landscape as they encounter it or AS IS.  Each painting can be viewed as a time capsule containing a meticulous record of everyday life lived by some, bypassed by others and typically ignored by all.

Sarah Williams, Jacksonville, 2016, oil on panel, Courtesy of the artist

Every carefully observed, people-less, rural landscape on view is also a testament to each individual artist’s unique approach to the subject. Masterful manipulation of light, scale and viewpoint simultaneously documents a particular place in time and suggests events beyond the picture plane, inviting the viewer to complete the story with a personal narrative. In each painting, remnants of human habitation take center stage often exposing the awkward intersection of human need, Mother Nature and indifferent geography.

Never intentionally nostalgic or sentimental, close examination does reveal that each artist’s personal experience and desire to replicate the rural landscape is often intuitive and informed by senses and emotions other than the strictly visual.  Viewed together these images by fifteen painterly explorers present powerful, silent and stubborn real-world icons capable of evoking memory, pleasure, isolation, longing, regret, loss, acceptance and the imminent passage of time. 

Artists in the Exhibition

 Randy Bacon  |  David Baker  |  Mary Baxter  |  Daniel Blagg  |   Rosalyn Bodycomb  |   Julie Bozzi

 Lloyd Brown |  Brian Cobble  |  Carl Rice Embrey | Charles Ford | Pat Gabriel

Woody Gwyn  | Lee Jamison | Ancel E. Nunn | Mondel Rogers |  Jeri Salter  |  Sarah Williams

Artist Interviews