Throwback Thursday on Facebook allows friends to share photos from the past, revealing younger, sometimes much younger, faces.
The Center for Contemporary Arts, located at 220 Cypress St., features an artful take on Throwback Thursday with its “Then & Now” exhibit on display in the Jane Breed Gallery.
Thirteen Signature Artists members who have been with the CCA before it was named the CCA each included an art piece from the late ‘80s or early ‘90s and a more recent work, some from 2014.
It’s an intriguing idea that delivers from significant changes in the artists’ styles to others that found their “voice” early on and stayed with it.
These folks are Signature Artists for a reason. They speak with unique voices and images that make you step close, then move back, make you think and wonder and appreciate.
I noticed one thing in particular over and over. Even if the style of art or even medium is different, the color palette remains the same for many of the artists.
I saw it first in Ginger Womack Taylor’s 2009 “Texas Roots” landscape and her 1988 still life “Chimayo Remembered.” The subjects were completely different, but the same warm hues of yellows and reds and oranges dominated each piece.
When I looked at Ruth Jackson’s 1987 “Mora, New Mexico” and 2014 “Cristoval,” a bright pink showed up in both. She chose two very different media, but both pieces share that pink.
Esmé Glenn’s 1982 “At Gully Ranch” and 2007 “Pleiades” didn’t even look as if the same artist had painted them both. The first is a Texas landscape and the other is an abstract with circles and colors. But as I took another look, the colors of the sky in the 1982 painting and the colors used in the 2007 one are remarkably similar.
On the other hand, Linda Murray’s pieces share a color palette so similar as to seem exact. Her artistic voice speaks in reds and greens, of nature vs. technology, and artistic vision.
Another artist’s two pieces shared so little, I had a hard time believing they were both by Sharon Rathbun. While both paintings are abstracts, that’s all they share. One is cool blues and pinks while the other features earthy tones. Both are wonderful.
Speaking of earthy tones, Larry Millar specializes in those. But he’s known for using actual dirt, clay, silt and wood in his work. He used fossilized tree tissue, wood and wood dyes in his two pieces in this show. That’s creative, to say the least. I love “Torso.” From afar, it’s hard to believe it’s part of a tree trunk.
Martha Kiel’s vivid color and twisted trees brought a smile to my face, but when I realiazed the paint extended onto the frame of “Olive Trees in Greece: As Old as the Hills They Cling To,” I laughed out loud.
My favorite piece in the show is “Papa and Popeye” by Walker “Dub” Wellborn. It’s a portrait of his grandfather and his grandfather’s dog. I realized after getting back to the office with a pamphlet on the exhibit, with a photo of the painting, that Papa looked very much like Big George, my great-grandfather.
Big George died three years before I was born, but I’ve heard his name and seen his photos all my life.
Maybe that’s why this painting touched me so immediately and so viscerally.
“Papa” looks like family.