OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, May 3, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Parables. New Work, an exhibition of paintings by Fort Worth artist J.T. Grant, will be on display May 3-June 7 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held Saturday, May 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m.The show will be Grant's first exhibition after an extended illness. Parables. New Work will feature Grant's timely yet traditional oil paintings that combine the technical sophistication of the Old Masters with contemporary imagery and thought processes. Widely acclaimed for his lush brushwork, intense rendering of light, and subtly evocative social commentary, J.T. Grant continually brings to the fore complex conversations between traditional and contemporary art.
Grant remarks: "Lately, I've begun to take apart the picture plane....This is emblematic of the fact of change. Change may be judged pleasant or disagreeable, but it is inescapable. Things, people, youth, vanity drop away, new things, new ideas take their places, but voids are always left." And these voids are what Grant revels in, turning negative space into positive, and quiet stillness into something not quite lively, but alive nevertheless.
Absence reveals the intricate and evasive details of a paper wasp nest-one that is perhaps discarded, perhaps teeming with life on the inside. Delicately painted lines weave around each other as they create autonomous sections that then coalesce to become one unit. Suspended on the canvas, the nest remains ungrounded, supported only by a thin, delicate string that disappears into the hazy background at the top of the canvas. This fragile setup creates a buzz of potential energy, but also a sense of vulnerability: one tremor and the whole beautiful form risks destruction. Suggesting the shape of a heart as well, the painted object further delves into the human condition and explores the concept of the ephemeral on both universal and personal levels. Such interplay among elements-visual and metaphoric-typifies Grant's work.
A vast skyscape recalling the oculus paintings of the Baroque, Untitled focuses on the space humans admire but do not reside. Grounded only by slight treetops, the swirling, pulsating sky is punctuated by a helicopter-the single and fleeting indication of humankind's presence here. Perhaps intentional, perhaps not, the blades of the helicopter are in a cross formation as it appears to ascend from the dark, agitated clouds into the clearer, lighter area of sky.
Again, the painting conjures themes of impermanence and change, both macro- and microcosmic. Even as the artist has frozen the objects in time, so too has he retained the near-tactile energy swirling in the heady, early-evening Texas sky.
Grant's new work does in fact explore and reveal multifaceted voids throughout-sometimes obviously, but more often elusively. Grant hands the viewer beautifully rendered andtechnically brilliant scenes. The true fulfillment comes, however, when we gaze intently and thoughtfully to engage on a deeper level. It is at this point that the many visual and figurative layers of each painting come alive.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
For more than two decades, acclaimed Fort Worth artist J.T. Grant has exhibited his work in solo and group shows throughout Texas and across the United States. Noteworthy juried exhibitions include First Texas Annual and Art in the Metroplex, where prominent jurors Luis Jimenez and James Surls awarded him Best in Show for two consecutive years. He was selected to participate in Texas' Annual Congressional Arts Competition, and was also recognized as the featured artist in Fort Worth's 2003 Artists Against AIDS exhibition.
A scholar and teacher as well, Grant has presented lectures and taught art classes at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TCU, and the Kimbell Art Museum, where he has given two lectures in the museum's prestigious Artist's Eye series. In 2011, he organized and directed an art competition for the Trinity River Vision Authority.
Grant's work may be found in various public collections, including those of the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, and the Fort Worth Public Library, among others. He has received commissions from the Omni Hotel, RadioShack, and Acme Brick in Fort Worth, and in 2008, he was commissioned to create the Whitehouse Christmas Ornament.
Most recently, Grant painted a Fort Worth cityscape for the boardroom of the new combat ship, USS Fort Worth-a commission arranged by U.S. Representative Kay Granger. Additionally, he was featured in the FW Weekly article "Big Man on Canvas," which appeared in the April 9 issue. His work will also be featured in Great Artists of the Southwest, a coffee-table book scheduled for summer publication.
A native of Georgia, J.T. Grant received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and his MFA from TCU.
For additional information visit the William Campbell Contemporary Art, Inc. website.