Reception with the Artists:
Fall Gallery Night
Saturday, September 8
William Campbell Contemporary Art will present two concurrent exhibitions beginning Saturday, September 8, on Fall Gallery Night. Recess and Relief, an exhibition of new works by John Fraser, will include carefully composed geometric mixed-media constructions. New Paintings will feature Otis Jones' intricately layered, nonrepresentational fields of color. Both shows will be on display September 8-October 19. An opening reception will be held on Fall Gallery Night, Saturday, September 8, 12:00-9:00 p.m.
Both exhibitions speak to the ways in which artwork inhabits space-defining its own visual parameters while also inviting the viewer to enter its unique, microcosmic universe. Works explore dimensional space by expanding and contracting, protruding and receding, and recognizing the simple beauty found in the components that form each structure. Whether the quiet, meditative reliefs of John Fraser, or Otis Jones' painterly, tactile surfaces, the fundamental building blocks of each piece serve as the primary subject matter. Ultimately, both Fraser and Jones strive to develop the rich aesthetics found in the visual elements that characterize all artwork.
John Fraser has long been concerned with the physicality of his materials and how their inherent visual elements interact within the picture plane. Paying special attention to the relationships among lines, textures, colors, and shapes, the artist weaves these together to transform essential components into spare yet complex subject matter. Fraser's works are largely minimal and often monochromatic; however, they are not simply about reduction. The systematic compositions honor the formal and aesthetic relationships created as the various components intersect. He acknowledges the inherent functionality of these components, organizing them in such a way as to reveal their engaging purity, austerity, and aesthetic magnitude.
Carefully selected found objects, including rulers, book pages, and photographs, add a referential cue to the otherwise nonrepresentational pieces. According to Fraser, these objects possess a "latent energy"-each one carries its own history, in addition to visual and figurative weight. In the end, these objects are not merely allusions to the outside world, but external representations of the artist's internal dialogue. Also interested in the ability of geometry to "arrest time," Fraser employs hard edges and lines that dissect the plane and act as visual borders. Scrupulously measured and calculated, the resulting segments join together to produce an overall sense of refinement, order, and quiet contemplation. Thus, Fraser creates a certain stasis, both visual and temporal.
Otis Jones combines multiple materials to produce nonrepresentational colorscapes that softly emerge from the wall to engulf the viewer in an internal yet universal meditative space. Fields of color, defined by organic, open edges, comprise layer upon layer of mixed media that have been built up, sanded down, painted, marked, or otherwise manipulated. By continually adding and removing surface elements, the artist exposes the compositional strata, and thus a visual history of the work's evolution. The result is a spiritual yet corporeal matrix of color, texture, and line, grounded in its own sphere by geometric shapes floating along the edge.
Jones' process-focused abstraction employs subtle textures and muted colors to create an atmosphere of depth and introspection. In this manner, he invites viewers to participate in the work's physicality and share its space. In fact, he seeks to inspire people to find their own meaning and importance within the paintings.
Because the colorscapes are non-referential, the abstract paintings become anonymous and universal, in effect visual tabulae rasae. The visceral energy he creates within each space encourages visual awareness and inspires curiosity.
Both Fraser and Jones have concocted a compelling balance within their respective arenas. They not only set up visually stimulating formal relationships throughout each space, but also invite the viewer inside for contemplation, meditation, and reflection. These simultaneous exhibitions map their divergent methods and journeys, which ultimately lead to a common destination: the fusion of internal and external space.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Chicago native John Fraser has exhibited nationally and internationally for nearly three decades. He has shown artwork in dozens of solo and group exhibitions, including venues in Chicago and across Illinois, as well as those in Austin, Cincinnati, Fort Worth, Little Rock, Nashville, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, and New York City, among others. International venues include those in London, Munich, Tokyo, and São Paulo, to name a few.
His work has been featured in various periodicals, including Artforum, the Chicago Tribune, the New Art Examiner, the New York Sun, and Sculpture magazine, among others. He has been the subject of several catalog essays as well, most recently a monograph in his 2010 book titled Restraining Order. Fraser's work appears in numerous public and private collections, among them, those of the Arkansas Art Center, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Cincinnati Art Museum, San Antonio's McNay Art Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, the Sioux City Art Center, and el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vincente in Segovia, Spain.
John Fraser received his MFA from Northern Illinois University and his BA from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He has taught at several universities, and has held the post of visiting artist at Brigham Young University, Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois, and the University of Minnesota, to name a few. He has received various grants and residency appointments, including those at YADDO in New York State and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha.
Renowned Texas artist Otis Jones has an extensive exhibition history that spans more than three decades. He has exhibited work in solo and group shows throughout Texas in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Austin, Galveston, and Houston. National exhibitions include those in Atlanta, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Santa Fe, and New York, among other cities.
Jones' work has appeared in numerous publications, including Art in America, Artlies, Art News, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Observer, Fort Worth's Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle, New American Paintings, and the New York Times. His work is part of many private and public collections, including those of the A.H. Belo Corporation, American Airlines, AT&T, the Compaq Corporation, the Dallas Museum of Art, GTE, MIT, Neiman-Marcus, the Tyler Museum of Art, and San Antonio's Witte Museum.
Otis Jones earned his MFA from the University of Oklahoma and a BFA from Kansas State University. He has taught at Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Austin, among others. In 1982, he was the recipient of a Visual Arts Fellowship Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
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.