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Texas Sculpture at the Dallas Museum of Art

Texas Sculpture, a new exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, offers an introduction to nine major works of art by 20th-century Texas sculptors who are represented in the DMA’s collections. This focused exhibition, on view through January 2, 2011, provides a unique opportunity for the visitor to experience how these dynamic works of art play against one another, along with showcasing the distinct interaction between sculpture and viewer.

Drawn from the Museum’s abundant holdings of Texas art, Texas Sculpture reveals a wealth of ideas, techniques, and materials used by a diverse group of artists who were born in or worked in the state of Texas. The traditional media of wood and stone and the long-established portrait as subject matter by such artists as Dorothy Austin, Bess Bigham Hubbard, and Allie V. Tennant are juxtaposed with more unexpected works by Jim Love and David Bates, who employed less conventional concepts and materials, such as former building exteriors and a hybrid of metals.

“Since its founding over a century ago, the Dallas Museum of Art has engaged Texas’s rich community of artists in its collections, exhibitions and programs,” said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA. “Now with Texas Sculpture, we are pleased to showcase in one of our first-floor galleries these nine excellent sculptures from our collections by some of the state’s most important artists.”

The three-dimensionality of sculpture demands that the viewer perceive the objects from different perspectives. Rather than being placed flush against the walls, the works are displayed in the round, allowing viewers to determine how they wish to see individual works or groupings. The placement of the sculptures, in addition to the matching blue pedestals, creates a much more fluid and changeable installation.

“One of the most fascinating things about Texas Sculpture is the presence of the female, and not just in the subject matter, but the woman as sculptor, unknown elsewhere during the early 20th century,” added Olivier Meslay, Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art, and co-curator of the exhibition. “The art community in Texas at that time seemed exceptionally receptive to acknowledging women sculptors as having a prominent position in the field of sculpture.”

Texas Sculpture is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and co-curated by Meslay and Erin K. Murphy, a member of the Contemporary Art Department. It is on view in the Museum’s first-floor Focus Gallery II through January 2, 2011. Air transportation provided by American Airlines.

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