By Molly Atchison | Print Managing Editor
Hanging in the corner of the Mayborn Museum, a stately brick building near Baylor University’s campus, is the artwork of various native Texans. These paintings depict the unique natural diversity in the waterways that lie under the Texas sky, and each image carries the personality of the artist and the colorful ways they perceive the world.
“Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art” is a Mayborn Museum exhibit unlike any other, and until March 25, Baylor students and museum enthusiasts can appreciate the beauty of Texas wilderness through the eyes of some of the best contemporary artists in the state.
The Mayborn is known for hosting unique exhibits centered around Texas culture, such as its most recent “Off the Range: The Art and Architecture of the Trail” exhibit, which ran from July 20, 2017, to Feb. 4, 2018.
“Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art” is no exception; the small but powerful collection of art encompasses a multitude of media — oil on canvas, pastels, even lithographs and hand-colored linocuts — and spans many artistic styles such as impressionism and modernism.
Wandering down the hall, visitors can observe the wide range of interpretations of Texas nature, from the gritty, rust-colored work of Dallas-based Jon Flaming to the vibrant, green-hued creations of Falfurrias native Noe Perez. Each artist displayed vastly different elements in their work. Some chose to focus more on wildlife, such as Tyler native William Battle Montgomery’s depictions of Roseate Spoonbills.
Others, such as his wife and fellow artist Margie Crisp, rendered many of the desert creatures under the sun. Many applied bright, defined colors to their work, such as Marfa artist Mary Baxter, whose painting “Devil’s Falls” mixes azure water with harsh, gray rocks and a blood orange sky. Baxter, as opposed to several fellow artists, focused mostly on the natural structure of the Texas land.
Visitors will likely find whatever they desire to gain from this exhibit. “Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art” is sponsored by William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art LLC, a gallery in Houston that is “dedicated to the promotion of historically significant Texas artists active in the state during the period of 1900-1975.” The exhibit’s content carries a heavy historical significance. These paintings not only display the artistic and natural beauty of the “wild” west, but they also explore the changes in creative style in Texas, from new wave impressionist art such as Lee Jamison’s “Evening Sun and Spanish Moss,” to the photorealism portrayed by Debbie Stevens.
The mentioned artists, along with others in the gallery, painted a beautiful picture of everything that Texas embodies: rough and romantic, old and new, timeless and modern. “Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art” will be on display until March 25.